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Release: Sept. 3, 1999

International Writing Program participants read at Prairie Lights Sept. 10, 12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) and the Writers' Workshop will present two free, joint readings at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10 and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12 at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. The IWP writers will also participate in a free "open-mike" reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 at Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company, 126 E. Washington St. in downtown Iowa City.

IWP participants in the Friday reading will be poet Kote Kubaneishvili from the Republic of Georgia, fiction writer Slawomir Pokraka from Poland and poet Lola Shoneyin from Nigeria. They will be joined by four Writers' Workshop students: poets Laurel Snyder and Amy Lingafelter, and fiction writers Oscar Casares and Sarah Braunstein.

The Sunday reading will feature Vietnamese fiction writer Nguyen Thi Chau Giang, Polish poet Jerzy Jarniewicz and Russian poet Gleb Shulpyakov, along with fiction writers Jeremy Kryt and Antoine Wilson and poets Matt Miller and Spencer Short from the Writers' Workshop.

Kubaneishvili, the IWP's first participant from Georgia, is a freelance poet, a translator of Russian writers, and host of a radio program in Tbilisi. He is also a playwright at the State Rustaveli Theatre and Youth Theatre. Kubaneishvili has been the most active and outspoken player in the changing world of Georgian poetry in the past decade. 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.

Pokraka writes for the daily newspaper in Lubartow, Poland. His short stories, published in regional and national cultural periodicals, are a valuable voice for the young generation and a reflection of life in the small town and rural areas of Southeastern Poland.

At the age of 25, Shoneyin is an editor of Ovalonion publishing house, marketing manager for the literary journal Glendora Review and a scriptwriter for a radio soap opera. Her publications include "So all the time I was sitting on an egg," poems and short stories published in the Glendora Review and the Association of Nigerian Authors Review, and poems and short stores published in Nigerian newspapers and magazines. She has won four Association of Nigerian Authors 'National Awards' for poetry and prose fiction. She is well known for her poetry, newspaper articles, and scripts for TV sitcoms.

Shulpyakov is the author of numerous essays and articles about literature, and he is a translator of contemporary British and American poetry. Only 28 years old, Shulpyakov has already established a strong reputation as a rising star in the Russian literary landscape, and his verse has been published in the most prestigious Russian literary journals.

Nguyen Thi Chau Giang is a writer and editor at Kim Dong Publishing House. At 24, Giang 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 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.

Jarniewicz is a professor of English at Lodz University and Warsaw University in Poland. He is a literary critic and translator for Literatura Na Swiecie (a literary monthly devoted to European Literature) and a literary critic for Tygodnik Powszckny, a Krakow-based weekly. He has translated more than 20 books, including works by Philip Roth, Edmund White and Seamus Heaney. In addition, he has published books of poetry in Polish and written various essays on American and British poetry and on contemporary Polish literature.

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:

All the IWP writers participating in the Sept. 10 and Sept. 12 readings are supported by the United States Information Agency.

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Pronunciation Guide:

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/

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/