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Release: Aug. 27, 1999

International Writing Program welcomes 10 writers from eight countries

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will host 10 writers from eight countries during the 1999 fall semester. The group includes the IWP's first representative from the Republic of Georgia, the 114th country from which writers have traveled to participate in the program during its 32 years of existence.

At least four additional writers will visit the UI at different times during the spring semester.

Two free public readings by the IWP writers have been scheduled: at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10 and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

A panel discussion is being developed for presentation at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 in Room 304 of the English-Philosophy Building. At 7 p.m., the writers will be invited to share their work in a free open mike reading on the Sun Porch of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The public is invited to meet and welcome the writers at a Labor Day picnic at 4 p.m. Sept. 6 in Shelter #2 of Upper City Park in Iowa City. The picnic, sponsored by CIVIC (Council for Visitors to Iowa Cities), will feature barbecued pork and lamb provided by Mercantile Bank. Attendees are encouraged to bring a covered dish or dessert. Those who plan to attend must RSVP by Sept. 1 to 335-0351 or 644-2746.

During the visit, the writers will also attend readings, interact with the Translation Workshop, visit literature classes, learn firsthand about Iowa's rural heritage, meet with an American publisher, attend performances in Hancher Auditorium, and interact with faculty and students in a variety of academic departments.

Seven writers supported by the United States Information Agency -- Konstantine Kubaneishvili of Georgia, Jerzy Jarniewicz and Slawomir Pokraka of Poland, Gleb Shulpyakov of Russia, Titilola Shoneyin of Nigeria, Nguyen Thi Chau Giang of Vietnam and Zakaria Mahmoud of the West Bank -- will arrive on campus Sept. 5 and will be in residence through Sept. 17.

Poland's Halina Cieplinska-Bitner will be in residence Sept. 8 through Nov. 5 through the support of the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation, and two additional writers -- Luljeta Lleshanaku of Albania and Mirela Ramona Ciupag of Romania -- will be in residence at the UI Oct. 28 through Dec. 4 with the support of CEC/ArtsLink.

The IWP is a unique residency program that brings together the writers of the world. Founded in 1967, the IWP was the first international writers' residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature. The IWP brings established writers of the world to the UI, where they become part of the lively literary community on campus. Over the years, nearly a thousand writers from more than 100 countries have completed residencies in the program.

Oversight of the IWP was recently moved to the Office of the Vice President for Research for the 1999-2000 academic year. The program is currently under review by a task force composed of faculty and staff. The task force will develop recommendations regarding the future of the program and plans to submit its report to UI President Mary Sue Coleman and Provost Jon Whitmore by Oct. 1.

To learn more about the IWP, visit the program's site on the World Wide Web:

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supported by USIA, Sept. 5 - 17

Georgia: (Mr.) Konstantine KUBANEISHVILI poet, playwright, translator

Poland: (Mr.). Jerzy JARNIEWICZ poet, translator, literary critic

(Mr.) Slawomir POKRAKA fiction writer, essayist, journalist

Nigeria: (Ms.) Titilola SHONEYIN poet, fiction writer, scriptwriter

Russia: (Mr.) Gleb SHULPYAKOV poet, essayist, translator

Vietnam: (Ms.) Nguyen Thi Chau GIANG poet, fiction writer

West Bank: (Mr.) Zakaria MAHMOUD poet, novelist, playwright


supported by the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation, Sept. 8 - Nov. 5

Poland: (Ms.) Halina CIEPLINSKA-BITNER poet, playwright, essayist, translator


supported by CEC/ArtsLink, Oct. 28 - Dec. 4

Albania: (Ms.) Luljeta LLESHANAKU poet

Romania: (Ms.) Mirela Ramona CIUPAG poet


Suggested Pronunciation Guide

Halina Cieplinska-Bitner /ha LEE nah/ /chep WIN ska/

Mirela Ramona Ciupag /tsee YOO pahg/

Nguyen Thi Chau Giang /NGOO yen/ /tee/ /chow/ /GYANG/ (hard initial g)

Jerzy Jarniewicz /YEH zhee/ /yahr NEE yeh veets/

Konstantine Kubaneishvili /koo bah neysh VEE lee/

Luljeta Lleshanaku /lool YET tah/ /lesh ah NAH koo/

Zakaria Mahmoud /zah KAR yah/ /mah-MOOD/

Slawomir Pokraka /slah foh MEER/ /poh KRAH kah/

Titilola Shoneyin /tee tee LAW lah/ /SHO ney yeen/ (she wants to be known as "Lola")

Gleb Shulpyakov /SHOOL pee ah KOFF/


Biographic Information

Halina CIEPLINSKA-BITNER (translator, poet, essayist, born in Lodz, Poland) is a freelance translator and critic for American and British literature and works for publishing houses, literary magazines, radio and television, and theaters. Her 25 books of translations include H.D. Thoreau's "Walden" /1991/ - which received the 1992 Annual Award from the Association of Polish Translators, for the most outstanding literary translation in essay genre - and critical essays on the transcendental movement, as well as numerous Polish translations of novels by authors ranging from Philip Roth, Jerzy Kosinski and Don DeLillo to John Hawkes. She also is an author of a play "A Cheap Alibi".

Mirela Ramona CIUPAG (poet, Romania; born 1972, Miliasi) teaches philosophy, logic, economics, psychology and civic education at the R. Cernauti High School in Iasi. She holds the B.A. in philosophy from Al. I. Cuza University, with research specialization in the philosophy of Benedetto Croce. She is the author of an unpublished poetry collection, "Tight Fists," her poems and essays have appeared in the Iasi literary magazine, Outopos. Her poetry is described as allusions to the deeper emotions underneath quotidian concerns, often using irony. She created a documentary, "Thresholds," broadcast on Romania National Television. She is attending the IWP as a Fellow of ArtsLink Residencies, and she will be at the University of Iowa from late October through early December. Her surname is pronounced /tsee YOO pahg/.

Nguyen Thi Chau GIANG (poet, short story writer, Vietnam; born 1975, Hanoi) is a writer and editor at Kim Dong Publishing House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. At 24 years of age, Gang is already recognized nationally as one of the most prominent young authors in Vietnam. She started writing when she was four years old and has published nine volumes of short stories (three have won national awards) and many short stories and poems in literary journals and magazines. In her works, she tends to focus on the complexities of modern life typical of a developing society, such as family breakdown and generational conflicts, social disorders, and the feelings of human solitude now plaguing many Vietnamese youth. Her writing tries not only to raise the reader's awareness of these problems, but also seeks ways to cope with them. In addition, Gang is a well-known painter whose works have been included in national as well as international exhibitions. Recent publications of short stories include "The Game," 1999; "Childhood Summer," 1997 (National Award);" Short Hair," 1997 (National Award); "Sleepless," 1997; "The Beautiful Blue Bird," 1996; and "Love Market," 1996. Her participation in the IWP is supported by the US Information Agency. Her name is pronounced /NGOO yen/ /tee/ chow/ /GYANG/ (hard g)

Jerzy JARNIEWICZ (poet, translator, literary critic, Poland; born 1958, Lowicz) is Professor of English at Lodz University and Warsaw University. He is a literary critic and translator for a literary monthly devoted to European literature and a literary critic as well for Tygodnik Powszeckny, a Krakow-based weekly. He speaks five languages (Polish, French, German, Russian, and English) and has translated more than 20 books, including Philip Roth's "Deception and Patrimony;" Edmund White's "A Boy's Own Story," and Seamus Heaney's essays. In addition, he has published for book of poetry in Polish and written various essays on American and British poetry and on contemporary Polish literature. Jarniewicz is currently working on a book on contemporary poetry. During his stay in the United States, he would like to meet poets and literary critics whose work is especially interesting to him: Thom Gunn (San Francisco), Paul Muldon (Princeton), Robert Pinsky and Derek Walcott (Boston), Marjorie Perloff (Stanford), and Helen Vendler (Harvard). He would also like to interview Philip Roth. Jarniewicz has an interest in contemporary art and hopes to visit the Museum of Modern Art at the Guggenheim Museum. The US Information Agency is providing Mr. Jarniewicz's grant to the IWP. His name is pronounced /YEH zhee/ /yahr nee YEH veets/.

Konstantine KUBANEISHVILI (poet, playwright, and translator, Georgia; born 1951, Tbilisi) is a freelance professional poet and writer; translator of Russian writers, among them Maiakowski and Mandelshtam; and host of a radio program in Tbilisi, "Darchi Norchi" (Stay Young). He is also a playwright at the State Rustaveli Theatre and Youth Theatre. Among his publications are "Damoukidebloba" (Independence) with A. Darchashvili, 1999; poems in XX Century (the Georgian literary journal), 1998; German folk ballad translations, 1997; and a selection of English sonnet translations, 1997. Kubaneishvili has been the most active and outspoken player in the changing world of Georgian poetry in the past decade. He appeared on the literary scene in 1990 with his book "Reaktiuli Klubi" (The Reactive Club), which is a collection of poems and radio plays. His poetry touches upon general issues of mankind, as well as describing everyday routine. Also reflected in his poetry are the tensions in the political and public life of Georgia. With the release of his book came T-shirts with logos and slogans distributed widely among young people and the general public. Kubaneishvili also translates the works of international writers and poets, and through poetry and performance uses his fluency in English, Russian, and German–as well as in Georgian–to make provocative statements about humanity and world civilization at the dawn of the new millennium. Kubaneishvili is the IWP's first representative from the Republic of Georgia. He is attending the IWP through a grant from the US Information Agency. His surname is pronounced /koo bah neysh VEE lee/.

Luljeta LLESHANAKU (poet, Albania; born 1968, Elbasan) is the author of four poetry collections, including"Sytw e somnambulws" (1993); "Kwmbanat e sw djelws" (1995); and "Gysëmkubizëm," which received the 1996 best book of the year award from the Eurprolindja Publishing House. Her American translator, Henry Israeli, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, was responsible for the publication of some of Luljeta's work in US publications including Grand Street and the Seneca Review. Her poetry has appeared in publications in Germany, Austria, France, as well as anthologies including "Modern Poetry in Translation" and the Italian-Albanian anthology "Mediterraneo". She also writes reviews and critical studies. Lleshanaku was educated in literature at the University of Tirana, and was chief editor for the weekly magazine Voice of Youth, and subsequently worked in Drita, her country's oldest and largest cultural magazine. She is currently employed in the daily newspaper Rilindja. She is publishing a collection of reviews and essays and is translating John Ashbery's poetry in Albanian. Her participation in the IWP is supported by ArtsLink Residencies. She will take part in the program from the end of October through early December. Her name is pronounced /lool YET tah/ /lesh ah NAH koo/.

Zakaria MAHMOUD (poet, novelist, playwright; sculptor, Palestinian; born 1951, Al-Zawiyeh) is a writer and senior editor for Al Karmel (a cultural quarterly magazine) and weekly columnist and editorial consultant for Al Ayyam (a daily newspaper) in Ramallah, West Bank.). In the past he has also held editorships at five other daily, weekly, and quarterly periodicals. His publications include "A Celebration at Alla Mo ´Tee Citadel" (a collection of plays currently in press); "When the Animals were Silenced" (children's story), 1998; "The Blank Eye" (novel), 1996; and "The Horse Passes Askidar" (poetry). In 1997, his sculpture was on exhibit at the Al-Sakakini Cultural Center. Muhammad is a highly respected writer and Al Karmel, the cultural journal he edits, is widely distributed throughout the Arab world. He belongs to a new genre of Palestinian poets who are focusing more on personal experience rather than reacting to their political surroundings (the old school of commitment literature). In addition to his skills as a writer, Muhammad would like to become involved in the development of a strong publishing industry in the West Bank. The US Information Agency is supporting his participation. His name is pronounced /zah KAR yah/ /makh MOOD/.

Slawomir POKRAKA (journalist, short story writer, and essayist, Poland; born 1974, Lublin) writes for the Echo Ziemi Lubartowskiej (local daily) in Lubartow. At a very young age he has recently published "Palimpsest," "Wall," and other short stories in Akcent (cultural quarterly); "Final Thing" in Tworczosc (national Literary magazine), 1997; "After-image and Other Miniatures" and "What are the Limits of Civil Obedience?" in Scriptores Scholarum (Liblin cultural magazine), 1997; and "Old Woman" in Attempt (university magazine), 1996. His short stories, published in regional and national cultural periodicals, are a valuable voice of his young generation and a reflection of life in the small town and rural areas of southeastern Poland. Pokraka would like to learn about young American literature, logic and literature, and American literary periodicals during his stay in this country. He is attending the IWP on a grant from the US Information Agency. His name is pronounced /slah foh MEER/ /poh KRAH kah/.

Titilolah Alexandrah Atinuke SHONEYIN (poet, short story writer, scriptwriter, Nigeria; born 1974 in Ibadan) started writing at an early age. Now, at 25, her poetry and fiction have received four National Awards from the Association of Nigerian Authors. Her first poetry collection, "So All the Time I Was Sitting on an Egg" (Ovalonian House, 1998) was followed by a second, unpublished collection, "Matters of Grave Persistence," which received the first prize in the competition of the Ono chapter of ANA. She is currently editor of the Ovalonion Publishing House and marketing manager for the literary journal, Glendora Review. A former student of IWP alumnus Niyi Osundare, Lola holds the MA in literature from the University of Ibadan and the BA (Honors) in English from Ogun State University. Her poetry, newspaper articles and scripts for television sitcoms are popular; and her poems and short fiction have appeared in Glendora Review, the Association of Nigerian Authors Review, and in various Nigerian newspapers and magazines. She plans to establish an non-governmental organization and creative writing school, Rising World, that will stimulate and encourage other young writers. The US Information Agency is providing the grant for her participation in the IWP. Her name is pronounced /tee tee LAW lah/ /SHO ney yeen/

Gleb Yuryevich SHULPYAKOV (essayist, translator, poet, Russia; born 1971, Moscow Oblast) is editor-in-chief for poetry in Novaya Yunost (New Youth) Literary Magazine and reviewer for Ex-Libris, a book review supplement in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (daily newspaper). He is the author of numerous essays and articles about literature and a translator of contemporary British and American poetry. Shulpyakov represents the best and the brightest of a new literary generation that is seeking greater cultural contact with the outside world while remaining true to its Russian literary roots. Only 28 years old, Shulpyakov has already established a strong reputation as a rising star in the Russian literary landscape. His verse has been published in the most prestigious Russian literary journals such as Novy Mir, Evezd', Strelet', Volga and Arion. He is interested in contemporary American literature and major book reviews. He is attending the IWP through the US Information Agency. His surname is pronounced /SHOOL pee ah KOFF/.