The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

UI International Writing Program welcomes writers from 20 countries to fall residencies

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Established writers from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and North America are converging on the University of Iowa as the International Writing Program (IWP) organizes a global literary community for its three-month residency in Iowa City. During the fall of 1998 the UI will be the home of 22 writers from 20 countries. Included will the be IWP's first participants from Switzerland and the new nation of Moldova, bringing the program's three-decade total to 114 countries.

During their stay in Iowa the writers will be accessible to the public through a series of 5 p.m. Sunday readings at Prairie Lights Books in downtown Iowa City, panel discussion at 3 p.m. most Wednesdays in Room 304 of the UI English-Philosophy Building, and a variety of other artistic and social activities.

The Sunday readings, presented jointly with the Writers' Workshop, will begin Sept. 6, and the panel discussions will be offered Sept. 2, 9, 23 and 30; Oct. 7 and 14; and Nov. 11.

Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature. Participants in the IWP do not take classes at the UI, but in addition to working on their current writing and research projects, they give readings, serve on discussion panels, initiate translation projects, view cultural and artistic events and contribute to a mini-course, "International Literature Today."

The writers live together on a floor of the Mayflower Residence Hall, and the IWP participants interact not only with each other, but also with the many poets, fiction writers, playwrights and translators in Iowa City, including students in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and the Iowa Translation Workshop.

Most IWP residency groups include a mix of poets, fiction writers, screenwriters playwrights, journalists, essayists and critics. All the writers are well established, and many are among their country's leading literary figures or are writers of international stature.

Many of the IWP writers travel from Iowa City to present lectures, symposia and readings at other campuses in Iowa and throughout the country, and to visit places of cultural or historical interest. During their travels the writers, many of whom are visiting the United States for the first time, become acquainted with American peoples, cultures and society.

The IWP is the primary contact through which foreign writers know the U.S., and it becomes the source of first American publication for many of the writers.

In addition, at the UI the writers experience personal, intellectual and literary encounters that would be impossible in their home countries, free from political pressures. The IWP stresses the common interests of writers everywhere, in an atmosphere that puts political differences into perspective. For writers who live under repressive regimes, the IWP has provided an unprecedented opportunity to write, speak and interact freely. The importance of the IWP to international understanding was recognized in 1976 with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

A quarter century of residencies has enabled the IWP to accumulate an unparalleled collection of resources on international literature. The IWP remains in contact with former participants, creating an unprecedented literary and intellectual network without national boundaries.

1998 is a year of transition for the IWP. Clark Blaise, who directed the program for eight years, retired last spring to devote his full time to writing. The UI is pursuing a year-long search for his successor.

And beginning this fall, the IWP has been re-aligned with the UI Program in Comparative Literature, strengthening the IWP's ties to UI academic life. Steven Ungar, the chair of Comparative Literature, is serving as the IWP's interim director.

The IWP is staffed and housed by the University of Iowa. IWP writers have been financed by the United States Information Agency (USIA), through bilateral agreements with numerous countries; by grants given by cultural institutions and governments abroad; and by private funds that are donated by a variety of American corporations, foundations and individuals.


*  Argentina (Mr.) Fabian Andres CASAS  poet, cultural journalist
   Brazil  (Mr.) Bernardo de CARVALHO  fiction writer, journalist
#  Burma (Mr.) U Pe Myint fiction writer
   Chile (Mr.) Germán CARRASCO poet
 Germany (Ms.) Beatrice KOBOW fiction writer
++ Ghana (Mr.) Kofi ANYIDOHO fiction writer
* Hungary (Mr.) Andras PETOCZ poet, essayist, translator
  Israel (Mr.) Igal SARNA fiction writer, cultural journalist
  Korea (Ms.) HAN Kang fiction writer, poet
+ Lithuania (Mr.) Jurate SUCYLAITE fiction writer, poet 
* Moldova (Mr.) Vasile GIRNET poet, novelist
  Poland (Ms.) Agnieszka KOLAKOWSKA fiction writer, translator, editor
* Russia  (Ms.) Anastasiya GOSTEVA fiction writer
    (Ms.) Olga MUKHINA fiction writer
  Singapore (Ms.) CHNG Seok Tin poet
  Switzerland (Mr.) Emil ZOPFI fiction writer
* Turkey (Ms.) Erendiz Atasu SAYRON fiction writer
* Uganda (Ms.) Ayeta Anne WANGUSA fiction writer, editor
  United States ^(Mr.) Mark DAVIS fiction and non-fiction writer
    ^(Ms.) Susan GUERRERO non-fiction writer, editor
* Vietnam (Mr.) Phan Trieu HAI fiction writer
* West Bank (Mr.) Mahmoud SHUQAIR fiction writer, playwright

*supported by USIA
+only November
++only October
#to be confirmed

^CASE Foundation Fellowship, one week in September or October