Well, it’s officially Spring, and that means time for another Shambaugh House Quarterly Roundup, in which we share good news from our associates, friends, and alumni of the International Writing Program. Have news to share? Send it our way and we'll include it in an upcoming post.
Many members of the IWP community were honored for their achievements this spring. They include U.R. Ananthamurthy (IWP '74, India) who was named a finalist for the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, Lin-Hwai-min (IWP '70, Taiwan) who received the 2013 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for his lifetime contribution to modern dance (see the video at the end of this post), and Book Wings China playwright Dan O’ Brien who was named one of two inaugural winners of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History. Dan’s 10-minute play, Kandahar to Canada, commissioned by Book Wings, will be produced by Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City as part of the their Marathon of One-Acts. Chandrahas Choudhury (IWP '10, India) and Anisul Hoque (IWP '10, Bangladesh) were featured in the 2013 Jaipur Literature Festival. And right here in Iowa City, Suddenly, A Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret (IWP '01, Israel) was recommended as a pleasure-read by Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Bookstore and featured in the The Iowa City Press-Citizen.
IWP alumni also spoke out about writing, literature, and events in their home countries. Fiction writer, physician, and activist Ma Thida (IWP ’05, Burma) was profiled in The Irrawaddy Magazine (“I Write Just to Be ‘A Good Citizen'”). “As a doctor I do scientific work, but as a writer and editor I do an artist’s work,” she says. “I feel I’m useful to the Burmese people by using two different professional skills.” Poet Jayanta Mahapatra (IWP ’76, India) was interviewed at length on reading, writing, and what keeps him going (“Something in me refuses to die”) in Live Mint & The Wall Street Journal. Ogochukwu Promise (IWP '09), novelist, cultural entrepreneur, painter, and social activist, spoke about literary affairs in Nigeria in an interview with Vanguard. Taleb Al Refai (IWP ’12) was interviewed at length on trends in creative writing in his native Kuwait (“New Generation Creating Own Path in Creative Writing”) in the Arab Times. And poet Maung Swan Li (IWP ’03, Burma) was profiled in Sampsonia Way (“Maung Swan Yi: A Burmese Encyclopedia”) about his hope of returning from exile.
IWP alumni continue to publish widely. Poet and musician Rodrigo Garcia Lopes (IWP ’12, Brazil) had poems in Machado de Assis magazine and also released a new CD. Mani Rao (IWP ’05, India) had poems in Omniverse, Mascara, Muse India, and elsewhere and is translating the works of Kalidasa for publication in 2014.
Also in the news, IWP director Chris Merrill emphasized the importance of supporting the arts through cultural diplomacy in a recent edition of The Huffington Post.
And that's just a small sampling of the many achievements within the IWP community over the past three months!
Have good news to share? Send it to ashley-r-davidson[at]uiowa.edu and we’ll include it in the next Shambaugh House Roundup.
We're so very pleased! The 2012 Best Translated Book Award for poetry, given annually by the indispensable journal and site Three Percent has just been announced at the PEN New Voices festival, and it goes to a title featuring not one but two IWP alumni: Spectacle and Pigsty is a selection from two decades of work of the Japanese avant-gardist Kiwao Nomura (IWP '05) selected, edited and co-translated by Kyoko Yoshida (IWP '05), with Forrest Gander.
In fact, Nomura and Yoshida first met and began collaborating while in residency at the IWP, in the fall of 2005, so it was a triple pleasure to be able to welcome them back to Iowa City on their reading tour last fall. In addition to a fantastic, and packed, bilingual reading at Prairie Lights Books Kiwao and Kyoko also visited their old stomping grounds, the second-floor library of the Shambaugh House, to teach an hour-long seminar on their translation process. With Kiwao at her side Kyoko, herself virtually bilingual, a writer, and a professor of English and American literature at Keyo U in Tokyo walked the seminar through a close reading, and older stranslation (by Angus Turvill) and then the several drafts of the opening poem as shuffled between her and her colleague Forrest Gander, unpacking some of its literary antecedents (say, the tanka) , the philosophical landscape of abjection (by way, especially, of Pasolini’s Accattone ) and the performative/acoustic/phonic work the original poem was doing, and needed to do again, in English. To say that the publisher of the collection, Omnidawn, took a risk on work this far from the going poetic parameters (especially in print—when read out loud the poems' incantatory quality has an energy all its own) would be an easy understatement. Good for Omnidawn, thank you Three Percent, and congratulations Nomura-san, Yoshida-san and Forrest-san.