Free River Press is more than a publishing company. Our mission is to develop stories and essays by everyday Americans across the country into a mosaic that will help us to restore a collective vision of our country. Through our stories we seek to lessen the divisions that now divide us.

Our goal is to do this through the creation of an enduring collection of Americana, a literary mural, a mosaic, written primarily by people without literary ambition. Each writer seeks to communicate a way of life that has passed or will pass from this land of unceasing change. Our publications are a means of preserving our national memory.


Free River Press grew from a writing workshop Robert Wolf conducted at MATTHEW 25, a shelter for homeless men in downtown Nashville. The workshop opened in 1989 and by 1990 Free River Press was incorporated. That year NPR’s “All Thongs Considered” aired a feature on the homeless writing workshop, and by 1991, the press had published six chapbooks by homeless poets and storytellers.

When Wolf moved to northeast Iowa in 1991, he established a writing workshop for area farmers that met for over two winters. The farm writers produced three small books, one of which, Voices from the Land, was featured on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

Shortly thereafter, small towns in Iowa and Wisconsin began asking Free River Press to conduct writing workshops with local residents to produce self-portraits of their towns. In 1995, “CBS Sunday Morning” produced a feature on Free River Press.

Subsequently, Wolf conducted workshops for Free River Press in Arkansas, New York, Chicago, New Mexico, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Texas.

In 1999, Oxford University Press issued an anthology gathered from the first nine years of Free River Press publications, American Mosaic: Prose and Poetry by Everyday Folk.

For the last six years has recorded its writers for Free River Press’s radio program, “American Mosaic with Robert Wolf,” distributed nationally by the Pacifica Network.