Summer Institute

2019 Summer Institute

In the summer of 2019, 29 participants from Pakistan, India, and the U.S. came to Iowa City for the inaugural Summer Institute, the IWP’s creative writing and cultural exchange program for participants aged 18-22.

Multitudes, edited by Summer Institute Program Assistant Siyanda Mohutsiwa, is a compilation work by the 2019 participants:


An overview of the 2019 Summer Institute participants and activities:

2019 Summer Institute Mentors:
Rochelle Potkar, India (fiction writer, poet), is the author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories, Four Degrees of Separation, and Paper Asylum. Widely published online and in print, Rochelle is the poetry editor at the Joao-Roque Literary Journal. Rochelle Potkar was a member of the IWP Fall Residency in 2015.


Anjali Sachdeva, U.S. (fiction writer), is the author of All the Names They Used for God (2018), and her fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Pittsburgh. She also worked for six years at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, where she was Director of Educational Programs.


Harris Khalique, Pakistan (poet, nonfiction writer), is the author of eight poetry collections, including Between You and Your Love (2004), Ishq ki taqveem mein (2006), and Melay mein (2012), which won the 2013 UBL Literary Excellence Award for Urdu poetry. His poems have been anthologized internationally. A campaigner for worker’s, women’s, and minority rights in Pakistan and abroad, he contributes regularly to national and international news publications and is now serving as the Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Harris Khalique was also a member of the IWP Fall Residency in 2015.

2019 Summer Institute Staff:

Summer Institute Coordinator: 

Peter Gerlach received his BA and MA degrees in English from Ripon College and the University of Northern Colorado, respectively. After serving in the U.S. Peace Corps in Mongolia, he earned a PhD in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University. Since 2004, he has taught a variety of university-level courses in both English and Education departments. Prior to coming to the University of Iowa, he was Director of International Affairs at Coe College.

Summer Institute Program Assistant:

Siyanda Mohutsiwa is a satirist, TED speaker, and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is a Botswana national, known internationally for the coining of the term “Social Panafricanism” – an ideology that encompasses the growing place of social media in the African political landscape. She lives in Iowa City.


Summer Institute Resident Assistant:

Ellen Boyette is a poet and essayist from Asheville, North Carolina. She is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she is a Teaching-Writing Fellow and an editorial assistant for The Iowa Review. Her poems appear in Prelude, The Bennington Review, Ninth Letter, pulpmouth, Tagvverk, Flag + Void,, and elsewhere. Her interviews can be found at The Iowa Review online, and her first piece of nonfiction is forthcoming from VIDA. She has received fellowships from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Random House Wanda Chappell fund, and the Blanche-Armfield foundation. 

Summer Institute Resident Assistant:

Ben Bush is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, and an incoming Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California creative writing PhD program. His fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, Yeti, and The Fanzine. His non-fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Salon, Bookforum, The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poets & Writers, San Francisco Chronicle, Alternet, and Conversations with William T. Vollmann (University of Mississippi Press). He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Truman Capote Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Kimmel Harding Nelson, Poets & Writers / the New York State Council on the Arts, Key West Literary Seminars, and Sozopol Fiction Seminars.


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Happening Now

  • Kristian Sendon CORDERO (IWP '17) co-edited a special issue of Words Without Borders on writing in the Philippines. Its range of poetry in the country's many languages includes Filipino work of Genevieve ASENJO (IWP '12).

  • Muhamed "Nabo" ABDELNABI (Egypt, IWP '13) has been awarded France's 2019 Prix de la littérature arabe for his 2016 novel, published last year in the UK as In the Spider's Room .

  • Over on  Asymptote, in English and Cantonese, the long poem " The Man Who Lost HIs Shadow,"  by Hong Kong poet and editor Stuart LAU (IWP '17).

  • On fish-paste English and cheddar-English: a long interview at LARB (Los Angeles Review of Books) about language, politics, and language politics with Burmese poet and worker KO KO THETT (IWP '16).

  • Behind the 2018+ 2019 Nobel Prizes for Literature given to novelists Peter Handke  and Olga Tokarczuk are translators--one key among them Jennifer CROFT, novelist as well as translator from the Polish, Ukrainian, and  Spanish. Congratulations!

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