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Release: Aug. 21, 2001

(NOTE TO EDITORS: International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill may be reached through <>, or by phone at 319-335-2609.)

UI International Writing Program hosts 30 writers from 25 countries in 2001 fall residency

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Thirty established writers representing 25 countries will soon converge on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City for the beginning of the 2001 group residency of the International Writing Program (IWP). The Aug. 27-Nov. 20 residency will include a variety of free, public events, including readings, panel discussions and an international conference, "Lost and Found: The Art of Translation."

The roster includes writers from current and recent strife-torn areas, including Macedonia, Israel/West Bank, Georgia, India and Indonesia.

The schedule features joint readings with the UI Writers’ Workshop at 5 p.m. on Sundays, Sept. 9 through Nov. 5, in the Prairie Lights bookstore in downtown Iowa City; and six Wednesday panel discussions at 3 p.m. in the Iowa City Public Library (Sept. 12, 19 and 26, and Oct. 3, 17 and 31), broadcast on the library’s cable TV channel. Additional events are certain to be added after the writers arrive.

The Oct. 12-14 translation conference, organized in conjunction with the annual Paul Engle Day celebration that honors the memory of the IWP’s co-founder, will consist of public readings, lectures and panel discussions by illustrious translators from around the world. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W.S. Merwin will also present the annual Paul Engle Memorial Reading.

For the first time in the program’s history, the IWP writers will be housed in the Iowa House of the Iowa Memorial Union, locating them squarely in the center of campus life. The roster of writers also includes the IWP’s first writers from Laos and Cuba.

During their visit, the writers will not only work on their current literary projects but will also contribute to a mini-course, "International Literature Today," attend readings, interact with students in the UI Translation Workshop, visit literature classes, learn firsthand about Iowa’s rural heritage, attend performances in Hancher Auditorium, and interact with faculty and students in a variety of academic departments.

Founded in 1967 by Paul Engle and Hualing Nieh Engle, 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 115 countries have completed residencies in the program.

At the UI, IWP participants interact with each other and with the many poets, fiction writers, playwrights and translators in Iowa City. The UI is the home of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop the Iowa Translation Workshop and a graduate program in literary non-fiction. The Writers’ Workshop, another groundbreaking UI program, was the first university program to grant academic credit for creative work in literature and was the prototype for the many college creative writing programs that have transformed the terrain of American literary life.

Like most IWP residency groups, the 2001 community is a mix of poets, fiction writers, screenwriters, playwrights, journalists, essayists and critics.

Many of the IWP writers will 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. In recent years, IWP writers have visited ethnic communities in the United States and Canada with cultural/historical ties to their literary traditions.

The IWP becomes the source of first American publication for many of its 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, which functions as a sort of United Nations of writers, 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.

As an active advocate of literary freedom throughout the world, the IWP has identified and supported writers who have been spokespersons for freedom, and has intervened on behalf of oppressed and imprisoned writers.

The importance of the IWP to international understanding was recognized as early as 1976, when former senator, diplomat and UN Ambassador Averrill Harriman nominated the Engles for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1995 the program was honored with the Governor’s Award for distinguished service to the State of Iowa.

A quarter century of residencies have 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.

The IWP is staffed and housed by the University of Iowa. IWP writers have been financed by the United States State Department, 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.

The IWP, administered by the UI Vice President for Research, is directed by poet, essayist and radio commentator Christopher Merrill, a faculty member in the UI English department.

To learn more about the IWP, visit <> the on the World Wide Web. For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit <>. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.

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Country Name Genre Sponsor
Argentina (Mr.) Sergio Alejandro PUJOL fiction writer US State Department
Bulgaria (Mr.) Nikolay GROZDINSKI fiction writer US State Department
Burma (Dr., Ms.) Khin Lay NYO fiction writer US State Department
  (Mr.) U Thu Maung fiction writer University of Iowa
China (Mr.) SU Tong fiction writer University of Iowa
Cuba (Mr.) Norge ESPINOZA poet, playwright University of Iowa
Georgia (Mr.) David TURASHVILI fiction writer US State Department
India (Mr.) Joy GOSWAMI poet US State Department
  (Mr.) Shashi WARRIER fiction writer US State Department
Indonesia (Ms.) Medijanti LOEKITO poet US State Department
  (Mr.) Sitok SRENGENGE poet US State Department
Ireland (Ms.) Antonia LOGUE fiction writer University of Iowa
Israel (Mr.) Etgar KERET fiction writer US-Israel Educational Foundation
  (Ms.) Aida NASRALLAH poet US State Department
Italy (Dr., Mr.) Rocco CARBONE fiction writer US State Department
Korea (Mr.) Man-sik LEE poet KCAF; Univ. of Iowa
Laos (Mr.) Thongbay PHOTISANE poet, journalist US State Department
Lithuania (Mr.) Marius BUROKAS poet US State Department
Macedonia (Mr.) Dejan DUKOVSKI playwright US State Department
Malaysia (Mr.) Rashid REHMAN fiction writer US State Department
New Zealand (Mr.) Vince FORD fiction writer NZ Arts Council
Norway (Ms.) Torunn BORGE poet US State Department
Poland (Mr.) Marek ZALESKI critic, essayist US State Department
  (Mr.) Dariusz SOSNICKI poet US State Department
Russia (Mr.) Andrey S. BYCHKOV fiction writer US State Department
Serbia (Mr.) Mileta PRODANOVIC fiction writer US State Department
Togo (Dr., Mr.) Victor ALADJI fiction writer US State Department
United Kingdom (Mr.) Ben RICE poet, fiction writer US State Department
Vietnam (Mr.) Viet Huu TRAN poet US State Department
West Bank (Mr.) Ghassan ZAQATAN poet US State Department

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Biographic Information, IWP 2001

Yawo Weka ALADJI (fiction writer, Togo; b. 1941, Hanyigba-Duga) is assistant professor of the sociology of communications in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Lome, and director and publisher of Editions Haho. Aladji was formerly head of the publication section of Togo’s Ministry of Information and was a journalist at Radio-Lome. His publications include "La Voix de l’Ombre" (1985) and "La Mediation des Conseils de Presse et Organismes Similaires dans l’Afrique en Transition: Annales de l’Université du Benin" (1998).

Torunn BORGE (poet, Norway; b. 1960, Oslo) is already considered an established and well-respected figure in Norwegian literary circles. She is a freelance writer and translator of articles, children’s books and cartoons. Her most recent publication is the nonfiction work "Fear of God" (2000); her poetry collections include "An Infinite Durability" (1999) and "The Interval" (1997).

Marius BOROKAS (poet, Lithuania; b. 1977, Vilnius) is a project manager and editor in Lithuania’s largest public relations company, Viesuju Ryiu Partneriai; and he is concurrently completing graduate studies in Lithuanian literature at Vilnius University. He is the author of the poetry collection "Ideograms" (1999); and his poems have appeared in various Lithuanian, Finnish and Russian journals. A second book of poems, "Planning a Murder," is forthcoming this fall.

Andrey Stanislavovich BYCHKOV (fiction writer and scriptwriter, Russia; b. 1954, Moscow) is the author of "Lovets" (2000), which was short-listed for the prestigious Russian "Anti-Booker" Prize. He received the Eisenstein Prize in German in 1994, and his short stories have appeared in his country’s most distinguished journals.

Rocco CARBONE (fiction writer, Italy; b. 1962, Reggio Calabria) is a literary critic and cultural commentator for Rome’s Il Messagero and Naples’ Il Mattino, and L’Unita. Carbone’s novels include "Agosto" (1993), "Il Commando" (1996) and "L’Assedio" (The Siege), (1998). "The Apparition" will be published this year.

Dejan DUKOVSKI (playwright, Macedonia; b. 1969, Skopje) is associate professor on the drama faculty of Sv. Kiril i Metodij University. Among his publications are the screenplays "Head Noise" (1996) and "Powder Keg" (1999); the plays "Balkanista" and "The Giant and the Seven Dwarfs" (1992); and the puppet play "Siljan the Stork" (1992).

Norge ESPINOSA (poet and playwright, Cuba; b. 1971 Santa Clara) is the author of the poetry collections "Las breves tribulaciones" (1989) and "Los pequeños prodigios y Estategias del páramo" (2000) and of plays including "Romanza del lirio" (1996), published in a recent issue of the Revista Tablas, the main Cuban theatre journal. Two of his poems, "Vestido de novia" (bridal veil) and "Dejar la isla" (leaving the island) are among the most widely anthologized poems by younger Cuban poets. Espinosa is the director of Libreria El Ateneo, one of Havana’s finest bookstores, works as production assistant for Revista Tablas, and is one of the leaders of Teatro El Publico, an important Cuban theatre group. He has also been the organizer for the last three years of the Semanas del Arte Homoerotico, a week-long gay and lesbian cultural event in Havana.

Vince FORD (fiction writer, New Zealand; b. 1969) has already won two awards for his two novels for children. His first book, "2Much4U" (1999) received the 1998 Tom Fitzgibbon Award for best children’s fiction by a previously unpublished author. He is currently working on a novel for a more adult audience. Scripting, managing and presenting video productions is Ford’s current occupation. He has worked as a Jackaroo on a 400,000 acre Australian property and a laborer in salt mines. More information can be found at

Joy GOSWAMI (poet, India; b. 1954) writes in Bengali, and (since his debut with the collection "Christmas and a Bunch of Winter Sonnets" at 23), he has written more than 800 poems that have been compiled in 17 books. His other writing includes eight novels and a collection of essays on modern poetry in India. He has twice received the Ananda Purashkar literary award -- for his 1990 poetry collection "Leaves of Fire, Are You Sleeping?" and his novel written in verse, "Those Who Were Wet By the Rain" (1998).

Nikolai Lachezarov GROZDINSKI (fiction writer, Bulgaria; b. 1973, Sofia) is part-time lecturer in Tibetan language, history and culture at the New Bulgarian University. He holds the diploma in musical composition from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. His collection of short stories "Lives of Idle Men and Lost Mystics," is a bestseller, and he received a grant for a first publication from the Open Society Book Program in 2000. A novel, "To Have a Nap on the Lap of the Great Sameness" is in the process of publication.

Etgar KERET (fiction writer, Israel; b. 1967, Tel Aviv) has written books, short stories and comedy for Israeli TV, and is a lecturer at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film. All his books have been bestsellers. His two short story collections have sold more than 100,000 copies, and more than 40 short films have been produced based on his stories. His movie "Skin Deep" won the Israeli Oscar as well as first prize at several international film festivals. A film based on one of his stories received the 1998 American MTV Prize for best animated film.

Man-sik LEE (poet, Korea; b. 1953) is deputy professor at Kyungwon College and is currently writing a doctoral dissertation on T.S. Eliot at Korea University’s Department of English Literature. Lee has written extensively on deconstruction as literary theory, and his translation of Jonathan Culler’s "On Deconstruction" was selected as one of Korea’s Best Scholarly Books of 1998. He has published two poetry collections: "God’s Baseball GameTicket" (1997) and "On Poetry" (1994).

Medijanti LOEKITO (poet, Indonesia; b. 1967, Surabaya) is executive secretary of the Shimizu Corporation and previously worked as inbound tour administrator for Setia Tours and Travel. Her poems have appeared in various anthologies and in many Indonesian journals.

Antonia LOGUE (fiction writer, Ireland) is the author of "Shadow Box" (1999, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, and Grove Atlantic, NY), which won the Irish Times Literature prize for Irish Fiction, and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn-Rhys Award for Fiction and the Hawthornden Prize. She received her MA in English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin, in 1997. "Shadow Box" has been translated in France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands and Spain.

Aida NASRALLAH (poet, Israel; b. 1958, Uhm el Fahm) is the pen name of Mahammeed Nasra. She teaches at the High School for the Arts in Naamat, and she organized and ran a weekly salon for women poets and writers, serving as mentor for Arab women in Israel who wish to experiment with poetry and fiction. Most recently, she was the driving force behind an art exhibit, "Common Threads," that displayed the work of Jewish and Arab women artists side by side at the prestigious gallery of the Tel Aviv University. She has published more than 40 short stories and 60 poems in various Arabic publications in Israel.

Khin Lay NYO (fiction writer, Burma; b. 1954, Taunggyi) is public relations officer and content specialist of the Behavioral Change Communications Department for Population Services International in her country, and is an ophthalmologist with training from the Republic of Congo. An author since 1979, Nyo has written more than a hundred short stories, articles and poems, and published 25 novels. She has successfully broached highly sensitive subjects such as AIDS, using her novels as vehicles for incremental change in public awareness.

Thongbay PHOTISANE (poet, Laos; b. 1960, Svanakhet) directs and edits the only monthly literary magazine in Laos and serves as second secretary of the Lao Writer’s Association, editing its newsletter. His most recent short stories, "The Life of Love," "The Love of the Luang Prabang Song," "Life and Family" and "Song of Man" have appeared in Vannasin magazine, the monthly publication of the Lao Ministry of Information and Culture. He is the IWP’s first writer from Laos.

Mileta PRODANOVIC (fiction writer, Serbia/Montenegro-Kosovo; b. 1959, Belgrade) is vice dean of the School of Painting at Belgrade’s University of Arts and also lecturer in Studies of Culture and Gender at the Alternative Educational Network in Belgrade. Since 1980 Prodanovic has held more than 30 one-man exhibitions in the former Yugoslavia and in Europe. Most recent among his 10 books are the short stories and travel fragments "The Eye on the Road"; two editions, also published in Croatia, of "This Could Be Your Lucky Day"; and the novels "Red Scarf, the Silk One" and "Dance the Monster on My Gentle Music."

Sergio Alejandro PUJOL (fiction writer, Argentina; b. 1959, La Plata), novelist and historian, writes for Argentina’s most influential newspaper, Clarín, and is concurrently associate professor of 20th-century history in the School of Journalism and Social Communication at the National University of La Plata. He is also the Buenos Aires correspondent for Jazz Notebooks magazine in Madrid and a member of the Argentine Association of Musicology. His most recent publications are: "History of Dancing: from Tango Dancing Spots to Disco" (1999), "Diescepolo: an Argentine Biography" (1997); and "Valentino in Buenos Aires: the Twenties and Show Business" (1994). His book "Jazz Down South" was honored in 1995 by the National Secretariat of Culture in Argentina.

Rashid REHMAN (fiction writer, Malaysia; b. 1955, Perak) is the author of "Malaysia Journey," a best selling book that presents, in alternating fictional and nonfiction segments, reflections on Malaysian society since independence, and on the relations among Malaysia’s three major ethnic groups. He also wrote "Pangkor: Treasure of the Straits." He is currently at work on another novel. As a journalist, Rehman served as senior writer for Bermuda Business and Asiaweek, and lead writer for the Straits Times. He holds a bachelor of science in marine biology from the University of Swansea (Wales).

Ben RICE (poet, fiction writer, United Kingdom; b. 1972, Tiverton, Devon) is the 2001 recipient of the Somerset Maugham Award. His first book, the novella "Poppy and Dingan" (2000), was very well received and is published in the United States by Knopf, with rights sold in 20 countries around the world. His travels -- through Europe, Asia, the Pacific and the Mediterranean -- also include a year in Maine as a child, when his father was an exchange professor. At 18 he taught English as a second language for a half year in the Czech Republic. He holds the M.A. with distinction from the University of East Anglia, his country’s most competitive creative writing program.

Dariusz SOSNICKI (poet, Poland; b. 1969, Kalisz) is editor at Empiz Publishers. He has received several prestigious literary awards -- his first poetry collection was honored as the "Best Debut" book of 1994. Sosnicki’s second collection is described as "a weather-and-soul report," and he is regarded as a representative voice of his generation. His poetry and literary criticism are well anthologized; they are translated in Czech, English and Slovenian, and have appeared in the Chicago Review issue on New Polish Writing (vol. 46, nos. 3 and 4, 2000) and other journals.

Sitok SRENGENGE (poet, Indonesia; b. 1965, Grobogan, Central Java) is program coordinator for the Utan Kayu Community in West Java; and he is also a lecturer at the Jakarta Arts Institute, a literature teacher for Eksotika Karmawiggangga and editor of the Kalam Cultural Journal. His work has appeared in "2001: Secrets Need Words" (ed. Harry Aveling, to be published by the Ohio University Press); the "Nonsense Poetry" anthology, and various poetry and short fiction anthologies in Indonesia. Last year Srengenge was cited as one of his country’s leaders in society in culture by Asiaweek magazine.

SU Tong (fiction writer, China; b. 1963, Suzhou) is the author of the novel "Rice" (Penguin Books). His novella "Raise the Red Lantern" was made into an internationally acclaimed film that was nominated for an Academy Award. Su graduated from Beijing Normal University with a degree in Chinese literature. He now lives in Nanjing.

Viet Huu TRAN (poet, Vietnam; b. 1963, Hanoi) writes poetry exploring the sensibility of post-1975 Vietnamese youth, and their complex attitudes toward contemporary Vietnam in transition. He has received a number of awards for his careers in poetry and in journalism. He is editor of the Sunday literary and arts supplement of the Tien Phong newspaper, and also writes for other leading journals directed toward youth. He also works as a literary translator. A miscellany including critical work is being published early next year.

David TURASHVILI (fiction writer, Georgia, b. 1966, Tbilisi) is lecturer in literary history at Tbilisi State University. In 1989 he was one of the leaders of the student protest action taking place at the David Gareja monasteries in East Georgia. His first novels, published in 1988, are based on the turmoil of those events. The premiere of his play "Jeans Generation" was held in May this year. Turashvili’s other publications include the travelogues "Katmandu" (1998) and "Known and Unknown America" (1993), and two collections of short fiction and movie scripts.

U Thu Maung, also known as U Bala (fiction writer, Burma; b. 1951, Yangon) has written 32 novels, and numerous short stories and articles. He received the Mandalay Literary Award for "My Father’s Mother" in 1999. The son of Burmese film director U Tha Du, Thu Maung has starred in 43 films and won Burma’s Academy Award for best actor in 1990. He has also directed five films. He embarked on a career as classical singer in 1975, and added pop music to his repertoire, becoming well known. He earned a degree in Diesel Engineering.

Shashi WARRIER (fiction writer, India; b. 1959, Ottapalam, Kerala State) started his career as an economist and a software specialist in the early 1980s. Warrier’s writing career began in 1994 with a juvenile fiction work "The Hidden Continent" (Penguin/Puffin), and he moved on to thrillers including "Night of the Krait" and "The Orphan." "Sniper" was published by HarperCollins in 1999. He has also published numerous short stories on an Internet site, "Rediff on the Net." He provides regular reviews for various Indian journals.

Marek ZALESKI (essayist, critic, Poland; b. 1952, Lomza) is deputy editor-in-chief of the monthly Res Publica Nowa in Warsaw, and a researcher for the Institute for Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Since 1982 he has published numerous articles in Polish dailies, magazines and periodicals. He is the author of several books of literary history and criticism, including "The Second Avant-Garde Adventure" (1984, now in its second edition); "Woe or Wit?" and "Forms of Memory." His scholarship specializes in the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz.

Ghassan ZAQATAN (poet, West Bank; b. 1954, Beit Jala) is co-founder and director of the House of Poetry in Ramallah. He is chief editor for the Al-Shua’ra (Poets) quarterly and writes weekly columns for two newspapers in Ramallah and in the Gulf. His poetry collections include "Luring the Mountain in Beirut" (1999); "Prescription of a Description in Jerusalem" (1998) and "Weightless Sky" (1980). His novel, "Describing the Past," was published in Jordan in 1995. Zaqatan has also written a number of scripts for various film documentaries. He is currently working on a poetry/prose anthology whose theme is "roads," comparing paths in life with the physical environment. His play "The Narrow Sea" was honored at the 1994 Cairo Festival.