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University of Iowa News Release


July 31, 2007

East Asian Writers Focus Of Library Exhibit

In the fall of 1967 a handful of writers from around the world came to Iowa City to participate in a new and unique writing experience: the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa. From those very early days up to the current year, with more than 40 invited participants in the program, writers from East Asia have been an integral part of the IWP.

To celebrate the program's 40th anniversary, the UI Libraries presents "East Asia in the Midwest: 40 Years of East Asian Writers at the International Writing Program" in the North Exhibition Hall of the Main Library. The exhibit, on view now through October 2007, will be open during regular library hours. Admission is free.

As part of the anniversary celebration, a reading and panel discussion, "Scattered Seeds: Writers from China and the Chinese Diaspora," by distinguished visiting Chinese-language program alumni is scheduled from 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in Room E105 Adler Journalism Building.

The exhibit highlights prominent authors from China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan who participated in the program. Of the more than 1,100 IWP novelists, poets and essayists, nearly 150 writers have come from these East Asian countries.

For many years, Iowa City was one of a very few places where an encounter could occur between mainland Chinese and Taiwanese writers and intellectuals. Very often literary collaboration continues long after writers leave Iowa City and return to their home countries.

"The IWP brings the world to Iowa, and there is no more important part of the world to learn about than East Asia," says Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program. "The writers featured in this exhibit give us the inside stories about places crucial to our understanding of what it means to be alive today."

Information about the International Writing Program and other anniversary events can be found at For more information about the exhibit, please visit the UI Libraries Web site at

The International Writing Program -- a unique residency 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 program, which aims to promote world literatures as well as international understanding.

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

CONTACT: Kristi Bontrager, Public Relations Coordinator, University of Iowa Libraries, 319-335-5960

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,