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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 27, 2005

IWP And Writers' Workshop Present Joint Reading At Prairie Lights Oct. 9

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) and the Iowa Writers' Workshop will jointly present a free reading at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Two writers from the IWP will be featured: fiction writer Sherko Fatah from Germany and fiction writer/playwright Yvonne Owour Adhiambo from Kenya. They will be joined by Nina Siegal, a graduate student in the Writers' Workshop.

Fatah exemplifies the increasingly multicultural life of Europe. The son of an Iraqi Kurd father and a German mother, he grew up in Berlin but visited Iraq for extended periods. His first novel, "Im Grenzland" ("At the borderline") is the story of a smuggler operating in the border triangle between Iraq, Iran and Turkey. The book won the 2001 Aspekt Prize, which recognizes the best German debut novel. His subsequent works continue to explore the bitter tension, displacement and violence he observed in the Middle East.

Adhiambo won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2003 for "Weight of Whispers," a story told from the perspective of a Rwandan fleeing after the 1994 massacres. She has written several screenplays and serves as the executive director of the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Siegal has been a journalist for the last 10 years, writing for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, the Progressive, and other publications. She has also worked as a playwright and dramaturge and drove a truck for a traveling musical comedy troupe.

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.

The Writers' Workshop is an academic unit of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,