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Kyle McCord’s debut novel tells the story of a utopian community and the death of its followers

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Kyle McCord has published many books of poetry and is an instructor in creative writing at Drake University. For his debut novel he went in an unexpected direction with “Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult.” The book is about the people left behind after the members of their isolated religious community in rural Iowa are led to their deaths by a charismatic preacher. Those who survived, and there aren’t many, are grappling with grief, betrayal, guilt and the realization that the cause they sacrificed for and dedicated their lives to was built on lies.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to McCord about the premise behind his novel and the story of the characters who are left behind.

Later in the conversation, Derrick Kapayou, a graduate student at Iowa State University, is studying intercropping through the lenses of sustainable agriculture and anthropology. Kapayou talks about the Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash. The three vegetables are crops that, when planted together, help one another thrive.


  • Kyle McCord, instructor, creative writing, Drake University
  • Derrick Kapayou, graduate student, Iowa State University
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa