Beer+books=lit talk

BY SHAFIN KHAN | JUNE 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Mill may be a place known for its beer, but every second Tuesday of the month it's known for its books as well.

John Kenyon, the Iowa City director of UNESCO City of Literature, has organized the local group Beer and Books, which has met at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., for the last six months.

"Beer and Books was just an idea we were kicking around to get people from the literary world to come together and meet one another," Kenyon said. "We chose a bar because it was a good social spot for people to meet, and it just kind of came together that way."

Beer and Books meets to discuss different pieces of literature as well as listen to various local guest writers speak.

Around 10 people came the first time the group met, but over the last couple months, attendance has reached upwards of 30.

"It's gone the way we want it to; we would obviously love a bigger crowd but each month, we've had some new faces and have had good conversations," Keynon said. So far in this literary community, we've gotten what we want so far but hope to grow and have people come out with their friends."

The Mill includes them on happy hour, and everything on tap is $4 along with being offered some meal specials, Mill manager Morgan Robinson said.

"This month was the first time I worked the event; they come pretty often from what I've seen, and there have been a great deal of people who have come to it so far," Robinson said. "A lot of people liked the 'Workman's Comp' and 'Flingshot' drinks."

Although some Beer and Books attendees have been published or are in the process of publishing, some just come for the love of reading — and books.

"Beer and Books has been a platform to meet and talk with many community members and find what they are looking for in a literary community," said Andrea Wilson, who said she has never missed a Beer and Books meeting. "Some of those things include a supportive close-knit writing community and resources."

Kenyon said one of the main goals is to bring people together from the literary world to talk about different literature and share their experiences.

"It's open to everyone who has a love for literature, whether it be reading books or writing them, and that is a conversation people in Iowa City are passionate about having," Wilson said.

Kenyon and the members on the board wish to expand the group into other areas next year to create more exposure and help more people interested in literature meet one another.

"Next year, we would like to see it go on the road nearby and after a year of being ingrained in Iowa City, going to Coralville or North Liberty," Kenyon said. "We want people to have the same opportunity as the people in Iowa City to experience discussing different literature."

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