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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 12, 2005

IWP, Writers' Workshop Present Joint Reading At Prairie Lights Sept. 25

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) and the Iowa Writers' Workshop will present a free reading at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Two writers in residence at the IWP -- fiction writer Zoltan Pek from Hungary and Mani Rao from Hong Kong -- will be joined by Writers' Workshop student Albert Pulido.

Pek received n master's degree in English from Eotvos Lorand University, where he now teaches courses on the English novel and the theory of literary translation. While working as a jazz musician, he wrote short stories for numerous publications, and he has published two collections. His translations include Bill Bryson's "Notes from a Big Country" and Paul Auster's "Oracle Night."

Rao, who was born in India, has published six books of poems, and her work has been translated into French, German, Chinese, Arabic and Korean. She has also co-edited an anthology of poetry and co-founded a poetry reading series. Now she hosts a radio program about poetry, and she has performed at international literary festivals. Some of her performance work can be seen at

Pulido majored in English Literature at Cornell University, where he received the 2001-02 Student Art Award for his fiction. He spent two years as a private school teacher in Pusan, South Korea, before returning to the United States to attend the Writers' Workshop. His publications include a letter in the anthology "Letters to J.D. Salinger" and short stories on

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 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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