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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 4, 2007

UI International Writing Program panel discussions begin Sept. 14

The first panel discussion of the 2007 residency of the University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will take place at noon Friday, Sept. 14, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library at 123 S. Linn St. in downtown Iowa City. The topic "The Most Important Book on My Bookshelf . . . The Writer as Reader" will be addressed by poet István László Géher from Hungary; fiction writer, nonfiction writer and critic Lawrence Pun from Hong Kong; and fiction writer Alex Epstein from Israel.

The discussion will launch a series of free panels at the Iowa City Public Library, most Fridays through late November.

Geher holds degrees in Hungarian and English Literature from L. Eötvös University in Budapest. He has written five books of poetry and his translations of Larkin, Dickinson, Shakespeare, Hughes and Yeats have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. He received a fellowship to the International Writers' House in Rhodes, an NKA Literary Grant and the Radnóti Award for Poetry. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State is supporting his IWP residency.

Pun has written three novels and a number of nonfiction works. Among his awards are the Hong Kong Youth Literary Award, a Chinese Literature Creative Award and the 7th Hong Kong Chinese Literary Biennial Award. His fiction appears regularly in journals and anthologies in Hong Kong and mainland China, and he teaches creative writing and cultural studies courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He participates in the IWP through the Asian Cultural Council.

Epstein is the author of three collections of short stories and three novels, and he was the winner of the Prime Minister's Prize for Literature in 2003. He writes literary reviews for several newspapers and teaches creative writing in Tel Aviv. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State supports his residency in the IWP.

Biographies of all the IWP writers are accessible at A description of the program and the 2007 residency period is accessible at

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 than a 1,100 writers from more than 120 countries have attended the IWP, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk from Turkey.

This fall the IWP is hosting writers from more than 30 countries, including the program's first participants from Malta and Montenegro. The schedule will provide many opportunities for the public to meet and interact with the writers in social events, formal and informal readings, lectures, performances, film screenings and panel discussions.

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

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073,