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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 30, 2006

Sept. 15 IWP Panel Goes 'In Pursuit Of Justice'

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will present "In Pursuit of Justice," a free panel discussion featuring writers from the Palestinian Authority, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq and Senegal, at noon Friday, Sept. 15, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library at 123 S. Linn St. in downtown Iowa City.

What are the key challenges to achieving a more just world today? Who gets to define what justice is? How should the rules be set? These are among the questions that will be addressed Ken Bugul (Senegal), Jamby Djusubalieva (Kyrgyzstan), Mazen A.I. Sa'adeh (Palestinian Authority), and Fadhil Thamir (Iraq).

Bugul, the pen name of Marietou Mbaye Bileoma, is a novelist and fiction writer whose pen name means "one who is unwanted." Her first novel, "Le baobab fou" (The Abandoned Baobab: The Autobiography of a Senegalese Woman), investigated post-colonial identity for a young African woman in Belgium. From 1986 to 1993, Bugul headed the African region section of the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She has also convened writing workshops in underprivileged areas, and widely organized other cultural outreach. In 1999 her novel "Riwan ou le chemin de sable" (Riwan or the Sandy Track) was awarded the Grand Prix Litteraire de l'Afrique Noire.

Djusubalieva is a correspondent accredited to the United Nations, a frequent contributor to the Kyrgyz and European press and the editor-in-chief of the journal Meerim. From 2000 to 2003, she served as an official at Kyrgystan's Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva.

Sa'adeh is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and director who was born in Jordan but resides in Ramallah. He has published two novels, written five plays and worked on several films as writer and director. His most recent project, "My Friend, My Enemy" (2004), is a documentary about friendships between Palestinian and Israeli women. In 2004, he co-founded the Open Workshop for Culture and the Arts in Palestine, an organization that encourages cultural exchange between Palestine and the global community through art.

Thamir, an editor, literary critic and translator, recently served as the chairman of the Iraqi Writers Union. He writes regularly for Arabic-language newspapers and magazines, including the Baghdad Observer, and he translates extensively from the English-language press. In the 1960s he led a student movement opposed to the Baath Party, and after the 1963 coup d'etat he was arrested and tortured. His refusal to become a Baathist led to several more arrests between 1979 and 1993. In 1994 he left Iraq, not returning until 2003 to participate in rebuilding the country's cultural infrastructure. His most recent book of literary criticism is "The Repressed and Unspoken in Arabic Narration" (2005).

Bugul, Djusubalieva and Sa'adeh are participating in the IWP courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Thamir is attending through the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

The panelists are among the 29 writers, representing 22 countries, in residence this fall at the IWP. Biographies of all the writers are accessible on the IWP Web site,

This year's roster of well-established poets, fiction writers, screenwriters, translators, editors, essayists, journalists, playwrights and literary critics includes writers from current news hot spots including Sri Lanka, Palestine and Iraq. All the world's populated continents are represented.

The IWP -- a unique program that has been described as "The United Nations of Writing" -- 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 than a thousand writers from more than 120 countries have attended the IWP.

The evolving calendar of events is accessible at and on the IWP site. These calendars will be updated regularly as new events are added.

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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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,

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