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Release: Sept. 4, 2001

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

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Pronunciations: Etgar Keret -- eht-GAHR KEH-ret; Khin Lay Nyo -- keen ley nee YOH; David Turashvili -- DAH-veed too-RAHSH-vee-lee.)

IWP opens series of discussions with Sept. 12 event

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will launch a series of six fall panel discussions with a free event, "The Long and the Short of It: Writing Short Fiction and Shorter Fiction." at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the large meeting room of the Iowa City Public Library. The discussion will be broadcast live on the library's cable channel and taped for re-broadcast.

Participants in the discussion will be Etgar Keret of Israel, Ben Rice of the United Kingdom, Khin Lay Nyo of Burma and David Turashvili of the Republic of Georgia.

Etgar Keret 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 achieving cult status: 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.

Khin Lay Nyo is public relations officer and content specialist of the Behavioral Change Communications Department for Population Services International in her country, and is an ophthalmologist trained in the Republic of Congo. An author since 1979, Nyo has written more than 100 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 changes in public awareness.

Ben Rice is the 2001 recipient of the Somerset Maugham Award. His first book, the novella "Poppy and Dingan," 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 master's degree with distinction from the University of East Anglia, his country's most competitive creative writing program.

David Turashvili is lecturer in literary history at Tbilisi State University. In 1989 he was one of the leaders of the student protests in East Georgia, and his first novels 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" and "Known and Unknown America," and two collections of short fiction and movie scripts.

Thirty writers representing 24 countries are now in residence at the IWP 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 1,000 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 <>.