The International Writing Program (IWP) is a unique conduit for the world’s literatures, connecting well-established writers from around the globe, bringing international literature into classrooms, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, and serving as a clearinghouse for literary news and a wealth of archival and pedagogical materials. Since 1967, over fourteen hundred writers from more than 140 countries have been in residence at the University of Iowa.
While the IWP conducts classes and tours throughout the year, its principal program is its Fall Residency, which runs from late August to mid-November. The Residency is designed for established and emerging creative writers — poets, fiction writers, dramatists, and non-fiction writers. The minimum requirements are that they have published at least one book, and that they possess sufficient proficiency in English to profit from the Iowa experience.
The Residency provides writers with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. It also introduces them to the social and cultural fabrics of the United States, enables them to take part in American university life, and creates opportunities for them to contribute to literature courses both at the University of Iowa and across the country.
The University of Iowa is the nation’s premier center for creative writing. Talks and readings by, and meetings with, well-known and emerging visiting American writers provide the international writers with a broad exposure to currents in American literature. We also strive to give each writer the opportunity to present her or his work in a public forum. Televised and radio interviews with writers are broadcast in the Iowa City and university communities.
Participants of the Fall Residency do not take classes at the University of Iowa, and no degree is given for participation. The program provides various literary activities, outlined here. All the activities offered by the program are optional, and the writers are free to use their time as they wish, to write or to conduct research. The IWP may also facilitate individual visits to other parts of the United States, including schools and community colleges within Iowa and around the nation.
The U.S. Department of State is a major source of support for the program. The IWP also administers the grants of writers who come to the University of Iowa under subsidy from cultural organizations both in the U.S. and abroad.
Stacy MATTINGLY writes on Asymptote's blog about IWP's latest exchange, Narrative Witness: A Caracas-Sarajevo Collaboration.