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Release: Sept. 5, 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: Viet Huu Tran is pronounced vee-ET hoo TRAHN. Rashid Rehman is pronounced rah-SHEED RAY-mahn.)

IWP, Writers' Workshop launch joint readings series

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) and the Iowa Writers' Workshop will launch a series of weekly joint readings with a free event at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City. Each reading will pair an established foreign writer in residence at the IWP with a graduate student in the Writers' Workshop, America's premier creative writing degree program.

The inaugural reading will feature IWP participants Viet Huu Tran from Vietnam and Rashid Rehman from Malaysia, and Danielle Proussoni, a second-year graduate student in the fiction writing program of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Rehman 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 Strait," and 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).

Tran 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. A miscellany including his critical work is being published early next year.

Proussoni was a natural reading partner for Tran because she has written fiction partially set in Vietnam.

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 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 and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, visit <> and <> the on the World Wide Web:. For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit <>. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.