IWP welcomes writers from 28 countries
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The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) is welcoming 31 writers from 28 countries to its fall residency. The unique program connects writers from throughout the world, bringing international literature into classrooms, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, and serving as a clearinghouse for literary news and a wealth of archival materials.
This fall's residency will stretch from late August to early November. From the IWP headquarters in Iowa City—the only U.S. City of Literature in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network—the writers travel throughout the country for a variety of literary activities.
The 2012 IWP community includes book publishers, recorded musicians, film editors, slam poets, librettists, playwrights, human rights workers, BBC journalists, and art curators. They include a winner of the Arabic Booker Prize, one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The roster of this fall's "United Nations of Writers" includes the representatives from Afghanistan, Argentina, Belarus, Botswana, Brazil, Burma/Myanmar, Chile, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritius, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Taiwan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
Throughout the three-month residency, the writers will engage the Iowa public through a variety of free readings, discussions, film screenings, performances, and social events.
The first UI event will be a Shambaugh House reading, with refreshments, by Genevieve Lampasa Asenjo from the Philippines and Mohibullah Zegham from Afghanistan.
Serial events into early November will include joint IWP/UI MFA readings most Sunday afternoons in Prairie Lights, panel discussions at noon most Fridays in the Iowa City Public Library, Friday afternoon readings with refreshments in the Shambaugh House at the corner of Clinton and Fairchild streets, and a series of Cinematheque film screenings on Wednesday evenings in the Adler Journalism Building.
The evolving calendar of events will be posted on the IWP site, on the UI Master Calendar, and on the new Arts Iowa website. These calendars will be updated regularly as new events are added or information changes. IWP events are also listed in a blog format at the UI's Writing University website.
In addition, IWP activities are represented in the Shambaugh House blog, which has been introducing the 2012 writers through photos and text.
Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers' residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature. Since 1967, more than 1,400 writers from more than 140 countries have been in residence at the UI. The IWP is part of the UI Graduate College.
The IWP introduces talented writers to American life; enables them to take part in American university life; and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work.
The UI is the nation's premiere center for creative writing. The practice of giving and attending talks and readings, as well as meeting with well-known and emerging visiting American writers, provides the international writers with broad exposure to currents in American literature. All the activities offered by the program are optional for the participants, and the writers are free to use their time as they wish, to write or to conduct research.
Poet and nonfiction writer Christopher Merrill, director of the IWP, chaired the UI Writing University committee that prepared the UNESCO proposal on behalf of the city. Iowa City was officially designated the third UNESCO City of Literature in 2008.
The U.S. Department of State is a major source of support for the IWP. The residency also includes writers participating on grants from their domestic cultural organizations and foundations.