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Release: Oct. 5, 2001

(NOTE TO EDITORS: International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill may be reached through <>, or by phone at 319-335-2609. The IWP writers are living at the Iowa House, 319-335-3513.)

IWP sponsors readings and films by Flying Café Europa Oct. 18 in UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will present an evening of readings and films by Flying Café Europa, an informal alliance of writers from eastern and western Europe, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 in the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

Participants will be IWP director Christopher Merrill, a poet who has been active in Café Europa activities; current IWP participant Mileta Prodanovic, a writer and visual artist; Dutch poet/playwright Chris Keulemans; and Sarajevo writer/broadcaster/scriptwriter Antonije Zalica, who will show several of his short films.

Keulemans writes of Café Europa: "There's a café traveling through Europe. It is an old-fashioned and at the same time very modern café. The deep red velvet curtains, the pastel shaded chairs, the cigarette haze and the scent of coffee remind you of Central Europe, a pre-war continent where everything has remained the same. But this café travels. It picks itself up and moves with virtual ease. Where it alights, it opens its doors as if it has always been there. And then it's gone again. . . . A coffeehouse on the corner of the century, that turns up where people need to speak to each other."

Prodanovic 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."

Zalica writes poetry, novels and plays. He published a collection of short poems, "Tilt," and a number of short stories published in magazines. He has done several radio dramas and adaptations for Radio Sarajevo, written for several TV and film magazines, written scripts for feature films, scripted documentaries and music videos, and directed and reported for TV Sarajevo.

Merrill's poetry, fiction, essays, articles and translations have appeared in many books, magazines and literary journals, ranging from the anthologies "Poems for a Small Planet" and "The Pushcart Prize XV: The Best of the Small Presses" to periodicals including The Antioch Review, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Fiction Review and Sports Illustrated. He has also had articles, reviews and commentaries in the Albuquerque Journal, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Orion Magazine, Quarterly West, Salt Lake City Deseret News, San Francisco Chronicle, Santa Fe New Mexican and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." He is a regular commentator on international literature for the syndicated radio program "The World."

His recent book, "Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars," has received extensive critical praise. A starred review in Publisher's Weekly stated, "this book might very well become a modern classic about what once again seems a painful and incomprehensible corner of Europe."

Thirty writers representing 24 countries are now in residence at the International Writing Program on the UI campus, through Nov. 20. The IWP was the first international writers residency at a university, and it remains unique in world literature. Over the years, nearly a thousand writers from more than 115 countries have completed residencies in the program.

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.

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.

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 <>.