Sept. 2 event features writers from Kuwait and Botswana
Friday, August 31, 2012

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP), in collaboration with other units in the Writing University, will begin its 2012 series of free Prairie Lights readings with IWP residents Taleb Al Refai from Kuwait and T.J. Dema from Botswana, joined by Nonfiction Writing Program student Ariel Lewiton, at 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2.

Taleb Al Refai

Al Refai has published seven collections of short stories, a play, a number of critical works, and four novels, including the controversial The Shadow of the Sun. His 2002 The Scent of the Sea won the Kuwait National Award for Arts & Literature. Trained as an engineer, he has since joined the staff of the National Council for Culture, Art, and Literature, where he manages the Culture and Arts Department. His articles appear regularly in the Al-Hayat and Al-Jarida Kuwaiti newspapers; and in 2009 he chaired the Arabic Booker Prize for Fiction.

T.J. Dema

Dema is a founding member of her country’s spoken-word movement and a member of Sonic Slam Chorus, a former chair of the Writers' Association of Botswana, and head of Sauti Arts and Performance Management. An editor and anthologized poet, she has produced a multilingual CD, Dreaming Is A Gift For Me, featuring 12 Botswana poets.

These IWP participants—members of a 2012 roster of more than 30 writers from around the globe in residence at the UI the fall—are sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Lewiton, a graduate of Wesleyan University, is a member of the editorial board of defunct magazine at the UI.

For accommodations at the event, contact Prairie Lights at