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Release: Aug. 20, 2002

(NOTE TO EDITORS: International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill may be reached through <>, or by phone at 319-335-2609 or 515-770-1396.)


Thirty-six established writers representing 30 countries are converging on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City for the beginning of the 2002 group residency of the International Writing Program (IWP). The three-month residency -- the first IWP residency since the one-of-a-kind program’s move into the welcoming atmosphere of the relocated Shambaugh House -- will include a variety of free, public events, including readings, panel discussions, an international conference and a variety of social events.

The 2002 roster includes writers from current and recent strife-torn areas, including Argentina, Bosnia, Burma, Colombia, India, Israel, Nigeria, the Philippines, the West Bank and Zimbabwe. The group also includes the IWP’s first representative from Madagascar.

The schedule of public events features joint readings with the UI Writers’ Workshop at 5 p.m. Sundays in the Prairie Lights bookstore in downtown Iowa City; Wednesday panel discussions at 3 p.m. in the Iowa City Public Library, broadcast on the library’s cable TV channel; special evenings of African and Chinese readings in the Shambaugh House and a series of Friday readings. Additional events are certain to be added after the writers arrive. Check < > for a regularly updated schedule of events.

A notable event on the local schedule is the Oct. 11-12 IWP Festival, an international conference on “New Media Poetry: Aesthetics, Institutions, Audiences.” The conference will conclude with the Paul Engle Memorial Reading by South African novelist Etienne van Heerden, honoring the memory of the IWP’s founding director. View a full schedule of events and list of participants at
< >.

The IWP writers will be housed in the Iowa House of the Iowa Memorial Union, locating them squarely in the center of campus life and a short walk from the Shambaugh House.

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, work 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. Included in the off-campus schedule are events at the Des Moines Art Center in September, participation in the Chicago Humanities Festival in November, and performances at the Portland (Maine) Theatre Festival in November.

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 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 2002 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.

The importance of the IWP to international understanding was recognized as early as 1976, when former senator, diplomat and UN Ambassador Averrill Harriman nominated founders Paul and Hualing Nieh Engle 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, which have been organized in a new library in the Shambaugh House. 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 is now directed by poet and essayist Christopher Merrill, a faculty member in the UI English department, and the international literature commentator for the syndicated radio program “The World.” Merrill is the author of “Only the Nails Remain,” a first-hand account of the tragedy in the Balkans. His most recent book of poetry is “Brilliant Water.”

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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IWP Participants 2002

Argentina (Mr.) Nestor MARTINEZ fiction writer, essayist

Bosnia (Mr.) Nihad HASANOVI playwright, fiction writer

Brazil (Mr.) Narlan MATOS-TEIXEIRA poet, translator

Bulgaria (Ms.) Radostina G. GRIGOROVA poet, screenwriter

Burma (Mr.) U KYAW ZWA (Chit Oo Nyo) fiction writer

Chile (Mr.) Cristian Gonzalo GOMES-OLIVARES poet

China (Mr.) LI Rui fiction writer

China (Ms.) JIANG Yun fiction writer

China (Mr.) MENG Jing Hui playwright

China (Mr.) LIU Jun (Xi Chuan) poet, translator

Colombia (Mr.) Hugo CHAPARRO-VALDERRAMA poet, fiction writer

Cuba (Mr.) Antonio José PONTE poet, fiction writer

Ghana (Ms.) Amma DARKO fiction writer

Germany (Mr.) Michael ZELLER fiction writer

India (Mr.) S. DIWAKAR poet, fiction writer

India (Ms.) Sukrita Paul KUMAR poet, translator

Indonisia (Mr.) Arif Bagus PRASETYO poet, art critic

Israel (Ms.) Dorit RABINYAN fiction writer, poet

Japan (Ms.) Nori NAKAGAMI fiction writer

Laos (Mr.) BOUNTHANONG Xomxayphol fiction writer, poet

Lithuania (Mr.) Tomas BUTKUS poet, translator

Madagascar (Mr.) Elie RAJAONARISON poet, translator

Malaysia (Mr.) Eddin Bu-Eng KHOO poet, journalist

New Zealand (Mr.) Gordon McLAUCHLAN fiction writer, journalist

Nigeria (Mr.) Sunny AYEWANU poet, fiction writer

Philippines (Ms.) Marjorie M. EVASCO-PERNIA poet

Philippines (Mr.) Charleson Lim ONG fiction writer

Poland (Dr., Mr.) Piotr SOMMER poet, translator

Poland (Ms.) Marzanna Bogumila KIELAR poet

Russia (Ms.) Ksenija DRAGUNSKAYA playwright

Singapore (Mr.) Alvin PANG poet

Uganda (Mr.) Charles MULEKWA playwright

United Kingdom (Mr.) Edward CAREY fiction writer, playwright

West Bank (Mr.) Mahmoud Abu HASHHASH poet

Zambia (Mr.) Gideon NYIRENDA poet

Zimbabwe (Ms.) Freedom NYAMUBAYA poet, fiction write

Writers of the 2002 International Writing Program

Sunny AYEWANU (SUN-nee AI-e-WAH-new; poet, Nigeria; b. 1967, Lagos) is the author of “Flowering Bullets,” which was a runner-up for the 1998 Association of Nigeria Author prize for poetry. He has contributed poems to three anthologies -- “Trembling Leaves” (1999), “Cramped Rooms & Open Spaces” (1999), and “25 New Nigerian Poets” (2000) -- and is the featured author of “Nejma 4: The Writings of Sunny Ayewanu.” In 2001, he collected and edited Passport to the New World, an anthology of poems and short stories published in commemoration of the third millenium. In his newest collection of poems, Four Seasons of Solitude and Poorverty, he uses peasant language to narrate the commoners’ experiences. Ayewanu is the president of the Association of West African Young Writers, one of Nigeria’s oldest literary associations. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

BOUNTHANONG Xomxayphol (bown-thah-nawn sohm-sigh-phon; fiction writer, poet, Laos; b. 1953, Champassak) has written 13 books about, in his words, “the daily life of village people and what they are fighting for.” A former magazine and newspaper editor, and a founding member of four magazines as well as the Lao Writers Association, Bounthanong is at work on a new novel about a young woman who leaves the rice fields to face life in the city. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Tomas BUTKUS (TOH-mahs BOOT-kuss; poet, Lithuania; b. 1975, Klaipeda) is the author of numerous translations and original collections of poetry. His most recent publication is “Kas Bos Parasyta Kaip Siandien” (How Today Will Be Written, 2001). At the publishing house Vario Burnos in Klaipeda, Butkus works as a designer, a publisher, and a bookmaker -- his special interest is handmade books. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Edward CAREY (EH-dward KAH-ree; fiction writer, playwright, United Kingdom; b. 1970, E. Walsham) is a writer quickly gaining international recognition. He has had five plays produced, most recently an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “The Pickwick Papers.” His novel “Observatory Mansions,” a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Prize, is appearing in 10 different countries. This novel, and his forthcoming novel “Alva and Irva,” contain original artwork by the author. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Hugo CHAPARRO-VALDERRAMA (HOO-goh chah-PAR-roe VAHL-de-RAH-mah; poet, fiction writer, Colombia; b. 1961, Bogota) has won awards for his fiction and critical work and is a two-time recipient of the Colombian National Poetry Prize. He has translated Shakespeare, writes regular columns on film for several magazines, and is soon to publish both a novel, “La Sombra del Incantropo” (The Werewolf’s Shadow), and a volume of poetry, “Escrito en el Tiempo” (Written in Time). He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Amma DARKO (AH-ma DAR-kow(u); fiction writer, Ghana; b. 1956, Koforidua) is the author of the critically acclaimed “Beyond the Horizon.” “The Housemaid ,” the second of her titles to appear in English, was published in the African Writers Series in 1998, the same year that she won the Ghana Book Award. A former Fellow at the Cambridge Seminars, Darko has recently contributed “The Color of Poverty” (2001) to a collection by Amnesty International-Germany. She is participating courtesy of the National Resource Center for International Studies and the University of Iowa.

S. DIWAKAR (DEE-wa-KAR; fiction writer, India; b. 1944, Somathanahalli) is highly regarded both as a short-story writer and as a translator, having published many translations of works by Nobel Prize-winning writers, as well as collections of his own short stories and poems. Diwakar is a book reviewer for the prestigious Indian Review of Books, and an editor in the Office of Public Affairs at the American Consulate in Chennai. He is participating courtesy of the Southeast Asia Studies Program at the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa.

Ksenija DRAGUNSKAYA (KSEN-ee-yuh DRA-goon-SKAI-uh; playwright, Russia; b. 1965, Moscow) has written more than 10 original plays for adults, two adaptations and six children’s plays, almost all of which have been published by the distinguished magazines Playwright and Modern Playwriting. The plays “Forever and Ever” (1996) and “The Red-Haired Play” (2000) were both short-listed for the Anti-Booker prize, the latter forming the basis for a television film. She is participating courtesy of the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Marjorie M. EVASCO-PERNIA (MAR-joh-REE eh-VAS-koh payr-NEE-uh; poet, Philippines; b. 1953 Maribojoc, Bohol) is director of the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing and Research Center at De La Salle University. She is the recipient of the Philippines 1987 and 1999 National Book Awards for Poetry; her books include “Dreamweavers: Selected Poems 1976-1986” (1987); “Ochre Tones: Poems in English and Cebuano” (1999); and, most recently, “A Life Shaped by Music” (2001). She is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Cristian Gonzalo GOMES-OLIVARES (KRIS-tee-en gun-ZAH-loh GOH-mez OH-lee-VAH-rez; poet, Chile; b. 1971, Santiago) is a professor at Diego Portales University, a regular contributor to well-known magazines, and a dynamic promoter of poetry. Besides his three collections of poetry, he has edited the “Anthology of Chilean Poetry” (1999), and surveyed his country’s poetic landscape in his “Panorama of Modern Chilean Poetry” (2001). He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Radostina G. GRIGOROVA (RAD-oh-STEE-nuh GREEG-oh-ROH-vah; poet, playwright, fiction writer, Bulgaria; b. 1974, Sofia) is the editor of Egoist Magazine, and the author of several screenplays, including “Truth or Dare” (2001) which won the national contest for Best Screenplay on Channel One. More than 50 of her poems, short stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines and other periodicals. She is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Nihad HASANOVI_ (NEE-hahd hah-SAHN-oh-VEECH; playwright, fiction writer, Bosnia; b. 1974, Nihac) is currently finishing his studies in philosophy and literature in Sarajevo. He has translated French novels by Rachid Mimouni and Kenize Mourad, and written a short story collection to be published later this year. He has also written plays -- “Podigni visoko baklju” (Raise your torch!, 1996), and the prize-winning “Zaista?” (Really?, 2001) which was broadcast on Bosnian National Radio. His participating through the courtesy of the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Mahmoud Abu HASHHASH (mah-MOOD ah-BOO huh-SHAH-HASH; poet, West Bank; 1971, Hebron) is the Project Coordinator of Culture and Science at the Qattan Foundation, and an editor at the Palestinian House of Poetry in Ramallah. Published in many magazines and journals, he is the author of “Waj Al Zujaj” (The Pain of Glass, 2001) and a contributor to “Dueof An-Naar Ad-Da’Emoun,” a joint publication of poetry for 13 young Palestinian poets. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

JIANG Yun (gee-ahng yuun; fiction writer, China; b. 1954, Shanxi) graduated in 1981 from the Chinese Department of Taiyuan Normal College and later studied at Beijing University. Her first published story, “Wo de liangge nuer” (My Two Daughters), marked the beginning of the Wound Literature movement in Shanxi. Since then, Jiang has published widely. “Xianchang taoyi” (Escape from the Scene, 1998), the third of her four story collections, was translated into French; and her five novels include “Shanshuo zai nide zhitou” (Shining on the Top of Your Tree, 1998) and “Wo de leilu” (My Interior Land, 2001). She is participating courtesy of the University of Iowa Chinese Community.

Eddin Bu-Eng KHOO (AY-din BOO-ENG KOO; poet, Malaysia; b. 1969, Selangor) has been deeply involved in preserving the heritage of Malay culture, particularly through his writing. As a journalist with the Star, Malaysia’s largest circulation English newspaper, Khoo has written many articles about the arts and traditions of Malaysia. Currently, he is working to establish a publishing firm that would translate literary works into Malay in the next two years he will publish five new books of his own -- works of translation, criticism, and original poetry. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Marzanna B. KIELAR (mar-ZHAHN-ah KEE-eh-LAHR; poet, Poland; b. 1963, Goldap) holds a doctorate from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. She is an adjunct professor at the Special Education Academy in Warsaw. Kielar’s poetry has appeared in many journals in Poland, Germany and the U.S. “In Den Rillen Eisiger Shunden” (2000) won Germany’s Herman Lenz Preis. She is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Sukrita Paul KUMAR (soo-KREE-tah PAWL KOO-mar; poet, India; b. 1949, Nairobi, Kenya) is an associate professor of English at Zakir Husain College, University of Delhi. The recipient of many grants and awards, she has published nearly 10 books of literary criticism, translation and poetry. Her most recent book of poems is “Folds of Silence” (1998). She is currently at work on two new books. She is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

KYAW ZWA (Chit Oo Nyo) (KEE-aw ZWAH; fiction writer, Burma; b. 1946, Mandalay) through more than 20 novels has made Burmese history and Buddhist culture come alive for Burma’s younger generations. His novelization of the “Ramayana” -- in which the villain Dasigiri becomes the protagonist -- is regarded as a classic. Chit Oo Nyo (U Kyaw Zwa’s pen name) is working on a novel about an 18th-century member of the Royal Court, U Po Hlain, a figure known for his radical ideas. U Kyaw Zwa is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

LI Rui (LEE Rhuee; fiction writer, China; b. 1950, Beijing) is best known for a series of stories published under the title “Houtu” (Thick Earth), which won the China Times Literary Prize and gained him an international reputation. One of his country’s major writers, Li has published four novels, three essay collections and four story collections. Many of these works have been translated into Swedish, English, French, Japanese, German, Dutch and other languages. His most recent novel is “Yingcheng gushi” (Tale of Silver City, 2001); an eight-volume “Dongyue Wenku: Li Rui Collection” will be published by Shandong Wenyi Publishing House in 2002. He is participating through the courtesy of the University of Iowa Chinese Community.

LIU Jun (Xi Chuan) (see CHWAN; poet, China; b. 1963, Xu Zhou) is a vice-professor of western literature and English language at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Elected in 1996 to the board of directors of the Chinese Poets’ Association, Xi Chuan (pen name of Liu Jun) has published four collections of poems, most recently “Water Stains” (2001), in addition to a play and translations. His poetry has been widely anthologized and translated into more than 10 languages. Among his many prizes is the prestigious Lu Xun Prize for literature in 2001. He is participating courtesy of the Freeman Foundation.

Nestor Guillermo MARTINEZ (NAY-stohr ghe-YEHR-moh mar-TEE-nez; fiction writer, essayist, Argentina; b. 1962, Bahia Blanca), who directs the Mathematics Department at the School of the Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, is one of Argentina’s most important contemporary writers. His story collection “Infierno Grande” (Vast Hell, 1989), winner of one of the most important literary prizes in Argentina, is required reading in many high school literature courses, and several of his stories have been translated into other languages, including English. His first novel, “Acerca de Roderer” (Regarding Roderer), has been included in a collection of the best Argentine literarure of the 20th century. Two more novels have followed, “The Woman and the Master” and the recently completed “The Oxford Series.” His essays, articles and reviews are regularly published in “La Nacion” and other major newspapers. For further information, refer to his web site, < >.He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Narlan MATOS (nar-lahn MAH-tohs; poet, Brazil; b. 1975, Bahia) is considered to be his country’s most promising poet. Matos’s collection “Ladies and Gentlemen: the Dawn” was awarded the Jorge Amado Foundation Prize, and his collection “No Acampamento Das Sombras” (At the Camp of Shadows) won the Xerox Award of Brazilian Literature, the most prestigious university literature award in Brazil. A translator from English and Slovenian, , and an invitee to some of Europe’s most important literary festivals, including Druskininkai, Vilenica and GM Hopkins, he is also editing the complete works of Dr. Duarte, one of the mentors of the Tropicalia and New Cinema movements. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. State Department.

Gordon McLAUCHLAN (GOHR-dun mik-LAWKH-len; fiction writer, journalist, New Zealand; b. 1931, Dunedin) is a highly accomplished journalist and fiction writer. He is the chairman of Four Star Books and host of the Radio New Zealand program “Book Club.” He has also hosted two New Zealand network television magazine shows, edited Bateman’s “New Zealand Encyclopedia,” provided the New Zealand questions for “Trivial Pursuit,” and was president of the New Zealand Society of Authors. He has written more than eight books, including political commentaries. He is participating courtesy of Creative New Zealand and the University of Iowa.

MENG Jing-Hui (muhng jing whooay; playwright, China; b. 1965, Ji Lin) is a graduate of the Beijing School of Dramatics, and is called one of the foremost avant-garde playwrights in China. His productions in Chinese off-Broadway theaters have included “The Rhinoceros in Love,” “Scandals from One Street” and Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” adapted for Chinese. His latest film is “Chicken Poets.” He is participating courtesy of the Asian Cultural Council.

Charles MULEKWA (CHARLZ moo-LAY-kwah; playwright, Uganda; b. 1966, Mbale) is very involved in Ugandan theater. A founding member and co-director of the drama group Teamline, he is a committee member of the Kampala Amateur Dramatic Society, and an executive member of the National Theater Guild. His works include “A Time of Fire” (1999), “Between You and Me” and “The Woman in Me.” He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Nori NAKAGAMI (NOHR-ee NAH-kah-GAH-mee; fiction writer, Japan; b.1971, Tokyo) grew up in the suburbs of Tokyo before moving to California and Hawaii for high school and university. She published her first book “A Red Flower of Ayawaddy” in 1999. The same year her first novel, “Kanojo no Purenka,” was awarded the Subaru Prize for literature. Now back in Tokyo, Nakagami writes articles for major magazines and newspapers. Her most recent novel, “Paradise” was published in 2001; another, “Akuryo,” is forthcoming. She is participating courtesy of the Freeman Foundation.

Freedom NYAMUBAYA (FREE-dum nyam-oo-BAI-ah; poet, Zimbabwe; b. 1958, Murehwa) is the author of “On the Road Again” (1986) and “Dusk of Dawn” (1995), both published in English; and co-author of “Ndangariro” (1987). Her work expresses ideas few dare voice, given the current political situation in Zimbabwe. She was once a member of the Zimbabwe Liberation Army in Mozambique, and now is the program director for Management Outreach Training Service for Rural and Urban Development. She is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Gideon NYIRENDRA (GIH-dee-un nee-RREN-drah; poet, Zambia; 1963, Ndola) is a freelance journalist for the Community Voice and the Zambian Citizen newspapers in Lusaka. Established poet, former president of the Poetry Society of Zambia and dedicated student of Human Rights Law, Nyirendra has been helping to advance every form of Zambian literature. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Charleson Lim ONG (CHARL-son LIM ONG, fiction writer, Philippines; b. 1960, Manila) is professor of literature at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines. He has edited both The China Post (Taipei) and The Daily Globe (Philippines), and is the author of “Men of the East and Other Stories,” “Woman of Am-Kaw and Other Stories,” “Conversion and Other Fictions” and “An Embarrassment of Riches.” He received the Philippines 1990 National Book Award for Fiction. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Alvin PANG (AL-vin PANG; poet, Singapore; b. 1972, Singapore) is the author of “Testing the Silence” (1997) and the co-editor of two poetry anthologies. His poems and critical essays have appeared in a number of magazines, journals, and anthologies. Pang serves on a number of literary committees and arts councils and as the editor for several online literary websites, including the Poetry Billboard ( ), which features Singapore writers. He is participating courtesy of the Singapore National Arts Council.

Antonio José PONTE (an-TOHN-ee-oh hoh-SAY PON-tay; fiction writer, poet, Cuba; b. 1964, Matanzas) studied at the University of Havana, worked as an engineer and then as a screenwriter. He has published prize-winning collections of poetry and essays and a book of short fiction in English translation “In the Cold of the Malecon and other Stories”; a second collection of stories will appear this fall, “Tales from the Cuban Empire.” An interview with the author can be found at the City Lights website: Ponte is participating in the IWP courtesy of the William B. Quarton International Writing Program Scholarship.

Arif Bagus PRASETYO (ah-REEF BAG-oos PRAH-seh-TYO; poet, critic, translator, Indonesia; b. 1971, Madiun) is an art curator and the editor of the Jakarta literary journal Prosa (Prose). Winner of the national Sanggar Minum Kopi Bali Award for poetry, Prasetyo has recently published two volumes of art criticism, translations of Bharati Mukherjee and Octavio Paz, and his own selected poems, entitled “Mahasukka” (2000). He is participating courtesy of the Open Society Institute.

Dorit RABINYAN (DOH-rit rah-BIN-yen; fiction writer, poet, Israel; b. 1972 Kefar Saba) is the author of “Persian Brides” (1995), which won the Yitzhak Vinner Prize for debut literature, the Golden Book Award, and the Platinum Book Award, and The Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Award in London.. The book has been translated into 15 languages, including English. In 1997, her television script “Shuly's Fiancé” was directed by Doron Zabari, and won The Israeli Academy Award as the year’s best drama. Her second novel “Strand of a Thousand Pearls” (1999) was also published to great acclaim, winning the Golden and Platinium Awards, as well as the Eshkol Award. and is available in English and a dozen other languages. She is at work on a third novel. She is participating courtesy of the US-Israel Educational Foundation.

Elie RAJAONARISON (EH-lee-eh RADZ-ah-OH-nah-REE-sun; poet, Madagascar; b. 1951 Ambatondrasaka) founded Sandratra, an association of young Malagasy poets, and joined with others to found the Malagasy National Committee of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). In addition to his work as a poet -- Rajaonarison has authored many poetry collections, including “Voyage Sur Les Hautes Terres” (Trip to the Highlands, 2002) -- he makes translations, contributes to local newspapers and often appears on radio and television programs. He is participating courtesy of the U.S. Department of State.

Piotr SOMMER (pee-OHTR SOHM-mayr; poet, translator, Poland; b. 1948, Walbrzych) is a poet, critic and editor of the monthly Literatura na wiecie. He has translated the works of John Ashbery, John Berryman, Seamus Heaney, and numerous other American and Anglo-Irish poets, while many of his own poems, translations and critical works have appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, Ploughshares, and the Times Literary Supplement. A collection, “Things to Translate and Other Poems” (1991), is available in English. His most recent book is “Piosenka pasterska” (1999). He is participating courtesy of the Jurzykowski Foundation.

Michael ZELLER (mi-KHAYL TSEL-ler; fiction writer, Germany; b. 1944, Wrocaw, Poland) is the author of “Follen’s Heritage: A German (Hi)Story” (1986), “The Man Who Comes Again” (1990), “Café Europa” (1994), and “Kropp: A Revenge” (1996), as well as many short stories, essays and poems. He has been writer-in-residence at New York University and artist-in-residence at the University of Erfurt/Thuringia. He is participating courtesy of the Max Kade Foundation.