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University of Iowa News Release

Release: Sept. 9, 2005

IWP And Writers' Workshop Present Joint Reading At Prairie Lights Sept. 18

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) and the Iowa Writers' Workshop will jointly present a free reading at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Two writers from the IWP will be featured: Slovenian poet Marjan Strojan and novelist/poet Wendy Ella Wright, who was born in New Zealand and resides in Australia. They will be joined by a student in the Writers' Workshop.

In translating "Beowulf," "The Canterbury Tales" and the complete works of Robert Frost, Strojan has brought to Slovenian audiences canonic works of English-language literature. His version of Milton's "Paradise Lost," published in 2004, has been adapted into a 25-episode radio play and a stage play. He recently edited and co-translated Slovenia's first comprehensive anthology of English poetry, and he is the author of four poetry collections.

A doctoral candidate in creative writing at the University of Adelaide, Wright lived in Japan for 16 years, an experience that inspired her novel "The Air of Tokyo." Her prose, poetry and translations of Japanese literature have appeared, often in her own performances, on the Australian Broadcasting Commission's "Poetica" Program, Writer's Radio 5UV and SBS Japanese Radio.

Through the IWP 36 writers from 29 countries will be members of the UI community for the next three months. Biographies of all the writers are accessible on the IWP Web site,

The IWP introduces talented writers to American life; enables them to take part in American university life; and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. Since 1967, more a thousand writers from more than 120 countries have attended the IWP, including poets, fiction writers, dramatists, screenwriters and non-fiction writers.

The IWP, which functions as a 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.

Nearly four decades of residencies have enabled the IWP to accumulate an unparalleled collection of resources on international literature, which have been organized in a 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 UI. IWP writers are financed 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 activities of the IWP are assisted financially by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended.

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