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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 25, 2005

International Writing Program Featured 'Talk of Iowa' Radio Program Sept. 2

On the next "Talk of Iowa" radio program Sept. 2, three writers from the University of Iowa's International Writing Program will discuss their work and their impressions of Iowa.

IWP Director Christopher Merrill will join the discussion on "Talk of Iowa," which is hosted and produced by Ben Kieffer on the University of Iowa's public radio station WSUI-AM 910. "Talk of Iowa" is broadcast live on public radio affiliates throughout Iowa; the public is invited to join the audience for this 10 a.m. live broadcast at The Java House in downtown Iowa City.

Award-winning folk-rock artist Willy Porter performs live on the program. A singer, songwriter, storyteller, entertainer and extraordinary guitarist, Porter defies labels and blends genres.

This program features the IWP, which has hosted over a thousand writers from more than 115 countries since 1967. The IWP is continuing its unique residency program this year by welcoming 36 writers -- representing 29 countries -- who will join the UI literary community for three months, Aug. 27 through Nov. 21.

Writers on the Sept. 2 program include Mona Prince, John Mateer and Ma Thida.  Prince is a novelist, short story writer and essayist from Egypt. Her work includes two selections of short stories, "Shortsightedness" and "The Last Piece of Clay," and the novel "Three Suitcases for Traveling." At work on a new novel, she has published essays on writing in Egyptian and other Arab newspapers and literary magazines. 

South African poet and art critic John Mateer has published five collections of poetry, which have won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry in 2001 and the Centenary Medal for his contribution to Australian literature. His most recent book of poems, "The Ancient Capital of Images," details his experiences living in South Africa, Australia and Japan.

Ma Thida is a fiction writer, physician and activist from Burma. She was in medical school when Burma's military junta shut down the universities. She then served as a health care provider as well as an editor for the non-violent National League for Democracy. Her many short stories containing disguised criticism of the Burmese government led to six years in solitary confinement, without access to reading or writing materials. In 1999 she was pardoned and released on humanitarian grounds. She is now the editor of a youth magazine as well as a surgeon at the Muslim Free Hospital, which treats poor patients at no cost.

Every Friday morning at 10 a.m., "Talk of Iowa Live from The Java House" offers an eclectic variety of topics and guests for its listeners. The show can be heard on WSUI AM 910 from Iowa City/Cedar Rapids, WOI AM 640 from Ames/Des Moines, KTPR-FM  91.1 from Fort Dodge, KOWI-FM 97.9 from Lamoni and KWOI-FM 90.7 from Carroll. The broadcast can also be heard in streaming audio at by clicking on "Listen to WSUI"; it is rebroadcast on WSUI at 10 p.m. Fridays.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,;