About IWP

IWP MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the International Writing Program is to promote mutual understanding by providing writers from every part of the world the necessary space, physical or imaginative, for creative work and collaboration in an intercultural setting.

Our mission is anchored in the values of freedom of expression and inclusiveness, and in the belief that creativity has the power to shape the world.

We execute this mission by building enduring creative communities, encouraging cross-cultural dialogue, and supporting writers at all stages of their careers.

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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 fifteen hundred writers from more than 150 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.

Happening Now

  • To mark PEN International’s centennial, Words Without Borders has published a sampler of works by writers committed to freedom of expression. Algerian novelist and scholar Med MAGANI is among them.

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

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