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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 26, 2008

International Writing Program presents first 2008 panel discussion

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will present its first panel discussion of the 2008 residencies at noon Friday, Sept. 5, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

The topic "The City" will be addressed by Niq Mhlongo from South Africa, Veronica Raimo from Italy, Nikola Madzirov from Macedonia and Ruby Rahman from Bangladesh.

A majority of the world's population now lives in an urban setting. The writers will consider how "The City" might be not only our collective fate but also our imaginative cradle.

Mhlongo, who hails from the Soweto area of Johannesburg, has published two novels, "Dog Eat Dog" and "After Tears." His short stories have appeared in journals and anthologies in South Africa and Europe, and he is a prolific writer of screenplays for film and television. A speaker of languages including Afrikaans, Xitsonga, Setswana, Swazi and English, he has presented his work at key African cultural venues, including the Caine Prize Workshop and the Zanzibar International Film Festival.

Raimo, a native of Rome, debuted in 2007 with her novel, "Il dolore secondo Matteo" ('Pain According to Matteo'). Her short stories have appeared in journals and anthologies throughout Italy, and she contributes regularly to Italian magazines including Rolling Stones and Liberazione.

Madzirov is the author of five collections of poetry, including "In the City, Somewhere." He has won both the Hubert Burda Poetry Award and the Miladinov Brothers Award, and his work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Rahman from Dhaka, the capital city with 12 million inhabitants, has been one of the major poets of Bangladesh since the 1960s. Her work has been anthologized in Bangladesh and India, and has been published in U.S journals. From 1970 to 2004, she taught English at the University of Dhaka, and she now serves on the editorial board of Kali O Kalam, a Bengali monthly literary journal, and on the Jury Board of the Prothom Alo newspaper.

Biographies of all the 2008 IWP writers are accessible at

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

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

All four of the Sept. 5 panelists is participating in the IWP through the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

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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; 310-430-1013 (cell),