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Iowa Author Series

The Iowa Author Series is an online presentation featuring an Iowa author sharing their personal story about the work they’ve published and their writing journey. The series will be hosted on Zoom and a portion of each presentation is dedicated to live audience Q&A. The series is FREE thanks to our sponsors. Advanced registration is required.


J. Wilson  |  Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. CST  |  Register Here

nullJ. Wilson is a semi-professional beer drinker, lifestyle expert and author of four books, including most recently, “Elevation Gain: Life Lessons above the Tree Line.” This new book tracks Wilson’s 17-day hike on the John Muir Trail, which runs 210-miles from Yosemite Valley (elevation 4,040 feet) to the summit of Mount Whitney (elevation: 14,505 feet). This isn’t the first time Wilson has shared an extreme experience. His first book, “Diary of a Part-Time Monk” shares his 46-day beer-and-water fast to test the legend of doppelbock, a style of beer that is said to have sustained monks from Ash Wednesdays to Easter about 300 years ago. Join us as we hear from J. Wilson and learn what came first, the experience or the idea.

About the Books

“Elevation Gain: Life Lessons about the Tree Line” Life, as the trail, is a never-ending series of ups and downs. An exploration of the challenges and peace found in the Great Outdoors—and how they might salve the plight of daily life—Elevation Gain tracks J. Wilson’s 17-day thru-hike of the John Muir Trail in 2019. Both pensive and light-hearted in style, Elevation Gain contains both affection for nature and cultural criticism alongside history lessons and observation of current events. Trekking with his wife, Wilson explores the simple life of the long-distance hiker while laboring to shake off the clutter of civilization and apply the trail’s magic to a complicated post-hike life. Running from Yosemite Valley (elevation: 4,040 feet) to the summit of Mount Whitney (elevation: 14,505 feet), the iconic John Muir Trail is a 210-mile, long-distance hike in the Sierra Nevada of California. With an elevation gain of around 46,000 feet and descent of approximately 38,000 feet, the trail lies primarily at or above 8,000 feet in elevation. The JMT passes through Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, as well as the Inyo and Sierra National Forests (including the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses), and Devils Postpile National Monument. Over the course of the journey, hikers cross ten mountain passes, six of which lie above 11,000 feet in elevation.

“Diary of a Part-Time Monk” Working to nourish their bodies through lengthy Lenten fasts, the monks of Neudeck ob der Au outside of Munich are credited with developing the rich-and-malty doppelbock style of beer. Packed with carbohydrates, calories and vitamins, this unfiltered “liquid bread” is said to have sustained the monks from Ash Wednesday to Easter, and more than 300 years later, the monastic history and quality of this beer style is well-known throughout the world. Writer and semi-professional beer drinker J. Wilson embarked on a 46-day beer-and-water fast to test the legend of doppelbock’s origins, church connections, and nutritional value, as well as his own will power — and live to tell the tale.

Iowa Author Series Past Presenters:

  • Joseph LeValley
  • Kali White
  • Jackie Haley
  • Sean Adams
  • Rebecca Conrad, Angela Corio and Jim Scheffler