Des Moines Public Library Foundation Announces2024 Iowa Author Award Honorees


Des Moines Public Library Foundation will hold the 2024 Iowa Author Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 10 to honor outstanding Iowa authors and literacy champions. The event is the Foundation’s signature annual fundraiser, celebrating the magic of libraries to inform and inspire the curious. This year’s honorees include:

Lyz Lenz is a New York Times bestselling author, whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post, the Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, and others. Her book God Land was published in 2019, through Indiana University Press. Her second book Belabored, was published in 2020 by Bold Type Books. Lyz’s essay “All the Angry Women” was also included in the anthology Not that Bad edited by Roxane Gay. Her third book, This American Ex-Wife, published in 2024, was an instant New York Times best seller. She is also the host of the This American Ex-Wife podcast.

Lyz received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in Iowa with her two kids and two dogs. She writes a regular newsletter, Men Yell At Me, where she explores the intersection of politics and our bodies in red-state America.


Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey is an author, performer, and producer. He has published two books, Look, Black Boy, and Heart Notes, released two albums, and produced a short film with The Brucemore titled Willing to Grow. He is the winner of several slams across the United States, placed 7th in the 2023 UNESCO Slam-0-Vision global poetry slam, and curates a community of spoken word in Iowa City through his high school program, IC Speaks, and producing events like the Mic Check Poetry Fest.

Carol Roh Spaulding is a writer and professor (Dr. Carol Spaulding-Kruse) living in central Iowa. A California native and grand-daughter of Korean immigrants, she has taught at Drake University since 1996, where she offers courses in writing and American literature. Since 2014, she has directed the Drake Community Press, a community-engaged student publishing laboratory that produces titles in collaboration with nonprofit community partners to help share their story. In 2022, she received the Flannery O’Conner Award for the Short Story from University of Georgia Press, selected by Lori Ostlund. Awards for her work include a Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays 2019 Notable Mention, and the Eludia prize from Hidden River Arts for her forthcoming novel, Helen Button (Sowilo Press, 2024).

The event will also celebrate Tim Hickman and Frank Vaia as the 2024 Friends of Literacy recipients.


2024 Iowa Author Awards Dinner
When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 Where: Embassy Suites by Hilton Des Moines Downtown

Cost: $200


Tickets: or by contacting Des Moines Public Library Foundation Contact: 515-412-0180 or [email protected]


The Des Moines Public Library Foundation supports and enriches the capabilities, resources, and services of the Des Moines Public Library system. The DMPL Foundation was created as a 501(c)(3) foundation in 1998. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library Foundation is to raise funds and advocate for the Des Moines Public Library system.

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