Iowa’s largest city is launching a series of events today celebrating books and reading. The Wonder of Words Festival features four-dozen happenings in Des Moines over the next 16 days, including a new take on the “pub crawl,” called a publishers crawl.

Participants will walk from bar to bar to bar where various authors will be reading from their books and taking questions. Salome Nengean, program manager of the fest, explains the goals of the third annual celebration. “Our purpose is to connect readers and writers and publishers at events that celebrate reading and share the joy of lifelong learning,” Nengean says. “We have a variety of ways to do that, from the serious to the not serious to the haunted to children’s programming.”

Dozens of authors known on the local and national level will be holding readings over the next two weeks, including: Gary Soto, Leonard Pitts Junior, Colin Woodard and Billy Collins. Nengean says Henry Rollins, the former frontman for the band Black Flag, will be featured on November 14th.

“Henry Rollins is a mix of a musician, an actor, a DJ, a spoken word artist, an activist, author, all of those things,” Nengean says. “He will be performing a spoken word show touching on his travels around the world, his vast experiences, his unusual encounters.”

Other featured speakers include: John Shors, a Des Moines native and the best-selling author of “Beneath a Marble Sky,” Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Peterson discussing his new book, “The Drake Relays: America’s Athletic Classic,” and author Chad Lewis, who explores haunted bridges, cemeteries, historic homes, roads and theatres in his book, “The Iowa Road Guide to Haunted Locations.”

Find a full list of the 48 events over the course of the festival at: