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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 29, 2008

International panelists discuss 'Why I Write What I Write' Sept. 12

The University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) will present a free panel discussion, "Note to Self: Why I Write What I Write," featuring a diverse quartet of writers now in residence at the UI, at noon Friday, Sept. 12, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library. Light refreshments will be available.

The participants will be Agnes Lam from Hong Kong, Hu Xudong from China, Leonardo Henriquez from Venezuela, Uche Umezurike from Nigeria and Anat Pick from Israel. Another group of IWP writers will address the same subject on Oct. 17.

Lam -- a poet, essayist and literary critic -- has published two collections of poetry and two scholarly books. Her other publications include several short stories, scholarly monographs and other creative and critical works. She has received grants from the governments of Hong Kong and Singapore, and from the Fulbright Foundation and the British Council. She teaches at the Centre for Applied English Studies at the University of Hong Kong, and she is currently researching Asian poetry in English.

Hu, a faculty member at the Institute of World Literature in Beijing, is a poet and essayist whose most recent poetry and essay collections were published last year. He recently was named among the "Top Ten New Poets" of China, and his awards include the Rougang Poetry Award and the Liu Li'an Poetry Award. His work has been published in journals and anthologies in the United States, Japan, China and Spain. He attends the IWP through the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Henríquez has written and/or directed four films, including "Sangrador," which was Venezuela's 2003 nomination for an Academy Award for Foreign Language Film. His most recent directorial project, "El Infierno Perfecto," will be released by Post Meridian Cinema in June 2008. He co-founded the film school at the University of the Andes in Mérida, where he teaches screenwriting and directing, as well as the Annual Venezuela Film Festival. His IWP residency is also supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Umezurike writes novels for children, as well as other fiction and poetry, winning numerous national and international awards. His collection of folk tales, "Tim the Monkey and Other Stories," is forthcoming later this year, and he is working on a collection of poems centered on the despoliation the Niger Delta. He is also participating through the Department of State.

Pick began her career as a pianist but eventually branched out to develop a repertoire of innovative language-oriented performances. For the past decade she has given concerts across Israel, the Far East and Europe. Her many collaborations with other artists and musicians have involved a variety of forms, including spoken-word and free improvisation, and she maintains an intense interest in the performance of Dada sound poetry. She is at the IWP with the support of the Foundation for Jewish Culture and the UI Louis Schulman Hillel.

Biographies of all the 2008 IWP writers are accessible at

The evolving calendar of IWP 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.

The panelists are 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; cell: 310-430-1013;