What is the IWP Fall Residency?

The IWP is a 12-week residency program for 30-35 writers and literary professionals from all over the world, typically running between the end of August and the middle of November. Refer to This Year's Program for a full description.

How does the IWP differ from other writing residencies?

The IWP is the world's oldest and largest residency for international writers. For nearly fifty years, the program has brought some of the brightest writing talent to Iowa City – home also to the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Playwrights' Workshop, and the Spanish Language Creative Writing Program. Our goal is to provide visiting writers with the time and space to write. Participants complete projects and begin new ones. In addition, they forge productive relationships with colleagues and translators, and take part in the vibrant social and academic lives of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and the American literary scene.

What is the difference between the International Writing Program and the Iowa Writers' Workshop?

Because both programs are based at the University of Iowa, and because both are the oldest and most widely recognized programs of their kind, they are often confused. The IWP is a non-degree-granting 12-week residency designed for early- to mid-career international writers; it also does not offer academic credit for participation. The Iowa Writers' Workshop is a 2-year MFA-granting graduate program for students of creative writing enrolled at the University of Iowa.

How often does the Residency take place?

The IWP's Fall Residency is held annually during the fall semester only, from the end of August through mid-November. The rest of the calendar year features IWP programming such as Overseas Reading Tours, Distance Learning courses, and the youth-based Between the Lines program.

Does the IWP have regular publications?

Where is the IWP located?

The IWP is centrally located on the University of Iowa campus at:

Shambaugh House
430 North Clinton Street
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

To Attend

Who is eligible to attend the Fall Residency?

Participants are primarily early- to mid-career international writers of fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, drama, or screenplays. Literary translators and journalists have also participated, but only with a comparable track record in one of the creative genres. Writers must have at least one published volume alongside works that have appeared in significant publications (anthologies, journals, literary magazines) over the last two years. Refer to How To Nominate a Writer for more information on eligibility requirements. Refer to Fall Residency for biographies of our most recent visiting writers.

How are writers selected for the program?

Nominations may reach us from two places: cultural agencies, institutions, and other literary organizations interested in funding a writer; and writers or non-funding institutions interested in drawing a writer to the IWP's attention.

  • If you represent a cultural agency, institution, or other literary organization, and know of a qualified writer whom you wish to nominate and would be willing to fund, submit a completed online nomination form, accompanied by a brief résumé or CV, and a representative example of his or her writing (10 or more pages in English translation). Contact us for a 12-week budget covering the estimated costs of the program.
  • If you are an individual writer or a non-funding institution: despite the limitations on funding, the program aims to represent adequately the world of contemporary letters. If you would like to nominate yourself, or know of a writer you think we should consider, please submit a completed online nomination form as instructed above.

Space at the IWP Fall Residency is limited. The IWP does not have in-house funding for the writers who participate; rather, the program directs qualified candidates to potential funding sources. The selection processes at these outside funding sources vary, but each is quite competitive and independent of direct IWP influence. Overall, the IWP's goal is to generate a diverse group of writers who would benefit from, and contribute to this dynamic exchange.


Does the IWP provide financial support for participants?

The IWP does not fund individual residencies. Rather, the program works with external funding, through grants with other arts agencies worldwide.

Can the IWP help me find a funding agency that might sponsor my participation?

A review of the annual reports or writer biographies from recent years will illustrate the funders with whom the IWP has most recently worked. These agencies divide roughly into three groups:

  • U.S. State Department/Embassies: A worldwide competition for a limited number of funded spots is annually conducted by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, through its network of U.S. Embassies. To participate, it is necessary to be nominated by the U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in your country. Some Embassies conduct their own searches, some do not make nominations at all, and still others are amenable to writers requesting to be nominated. The State Department competition is contingent on grant funding, and is typically announced during early February.
  • Cultural and arts agencies in the U.S. and elsewhere: These agencies typically conduct their own searches and select nominees internally. We are always interested in exploring new partnerships with cultural agencies.
  • Grants available in the writer's own country: Some writers apply for grants internally in their countries, through a national agency or a university, or through a combination of means. The IWP deals with these opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

Each funding agency works on its own timeline, usually throughout the spring. All selections are finalized, and invitations issued, by June 1.

How can my organization fund a writer to attend the Fall Residency?

The IWP is interested in exploring new partnerships with arts organizations in the U.S. and around the world. If your organization would like to fund a writer's attendance at the Fall Residency, please contact the Associate Director.

Can I pay to attend the Fall Residency?

The IWP does not allow self-funding. Writers must secure funding from an appropriate funding agency.

Traveling to/from/within the United States

What type of visa will I need to participate in the Fall Residency?

Participating writers must enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa. Depending on your funding source, IWP staff may be able to help you throughout the application process. More information on the J-1 visa can be found on the Department of State and University of Iowa Web sites. Visa interviews should be arranged with your local Embassy or post no later than three months in advance of expected travel.

How will my flights be arranged to and from the IWP?

Most funding sources deposit grant funds directly to the IWP for international round-trip airfare. The program will work with you on all itineraries and reservations. Depending on your funding, the flights may be restricted to the policies under the Fly America Act. Significant charges incurred while in transit (such as overnight hotels) may under some circumstances be reimbursed (the process takes up to four weeks).

What are the luggage allowances as I travel to, from, and within the U.S. during the Fall Residency?

Luggage allowances (number of pieces and weight per bag) differ flight-to-flight, depending on your airline carrier. The general rule is a minimum $25 fee for every piece of checked-in luggage on domestic flights (typically one bag is free on international flights). You will be responsible for luggage fees on all your international travels. For in-residency travel, the IWP covers the fees for one suitcase weighing 50 lbs. (23 kg.) or less. IWP does not cover any overweight luggage fees (starting at $100) charged by the airline.

Please note:

  • Some products and belongings are NOT allowed in carry-on luggage within the U.S.
  • Books can be shipped directly to the IWP ahead of time and home before the end of the residency. IWP does not cover shipping costs of books.
  • As the weather cools off, writers will have the opportunity to purchase affordable warmer clothing.

Can I bring my spouse, children, and/or other family members?

The Fall Residency is a writing period for the participant selected. The IWP does not have long-term accommodations for spouses and children. We discourage family visits apart from brief stays.

What are the travel periods?

Participants will travel to a number of U.S. cities during the course of the Residency. These educationally-focused staff-led trips offer the chance to encounter other distinct American literary communities. During the mid-residency travel period, writers will have their choice between two cities in the country's Southern and Western regions. A weekend trip to Chicago is also scheduled during the residency. During the final travel period, the writers will round off the Fall Residency with visits to Washington D.C. and New York City. These trips are subject to individual budgets.

What form of transportation does the IWP provide throughout the Residency?

The University of Iowa campus is largely in downtown Iowa City, so IWP writers walk to and from most daily events. The IWP provides transportation for events out of town. NOTE: We are not allowed to provide transportation for any individual not directly sponsored for the Fall Residency, nor for any personal and professional trips away from the program.

Can I take trips outside of Iowa City by myself during the Residency?

IWP staff will help with professional visits to universities and organizations outside of Iowa City. Non-residency-related personal travel is discouraged, and the days away will not be covered by the per diem. Any trip outside of IWP programming will require full contact information for where you will be staying. J-1 visas have a 30-day grace period on either side of the Residency. Personal travel is ideally taken at that time.

Life at the Residency

Where will I be housed and what accommodations will the IWP provide?

Most IWP writers live at the Iowa House Hotel, located directly on campus in the Iowa Memorial Union building (IMU), predominantly on the same floor, which also includes a common room for group use, a laundry room, and an office for the housing coordinator. Each room has a private bathroom, a writing desk, wireless internet, as well as a mini-fridge, coffee pot, and microwave. Other facilities within or near the IMU include cafeterias, several student performance venues, computer labs, and a gym. A limited number of other housing alternatives may become available, depending on funding and need.

I'm a smoker. Are there any city or university rules or policies that apply to smoking and smokers?

Since 2008, the University of Iowa has banned smoking on its grounds, including all University-owned buildings (e.g. the Iowa House Hotel) and all University grounds (e.g. parking lots and sidewalks). Smoking on University grounds is an offense subject to a $50 fine; inside University owned-buildings like the Iowa House Hotel the fine is $100.

How will I cover grocery costs and other daily expenses?

Fully-funded participants in the Fall Residency will receive 'per diem' checks on the first business day of each month; the per diem will cover the basic monthly cost of food and incidentals, at a rate as set by the University of Iowa. Individuals may wish to supplement this amount with their own funds. NOTE: Per diem amounts increase while on travel periods to U.S. cities where the cost of living is higher.

What does a dollar buy in Iowa City?

Refer to this document, which lists examples of goods and services and their cost.

Will I need a local bank account during the Residency?

During the first week of the Residency, IWP staff will help writers open accounts at a local bank. Per diem checks issued at the beginning of every month can be deposited into these accounts, and debit cards will be available.

Will I need to apply for a Social Security number during the Residency?

Yes. A Social Security number (SSN) is essential for any payments. IWP staff will arrange for each writer's SSN.

Will the IWP provide me with health insurance, and if so, what does it cover?

To comply with J-1 visa requirements, all IWP participants must be covered by University of Iowa insurance. Most grants cover this expense. The UI insurance covers routine visits and emergency care. For more information about health coverage, patient co-pays, and other health insurance related questions, please contact the IWP Program Officer. In addition to the policy covered by your grant, consider purchasing additional health insurance from your own country.

Are my personal belongings covered in the insurance, or should I seek travel and/or housing insurance on my own?

Fall Residency grants do not include the funds for travel and housing insurance. Please look into private policies to insure personal items.

What is the weather like during the Residency?

The weather in Iowa City during your stay will range from 35 Celsius (95 F) when you arrive, down to 2 Celsius (35 F) or below near the end of the Residency.


What types of events will I participate in?

The Fall Residency calendar of events includes public readings, class visits, panel discussions, film screenings, dinner and party invitations out into the community, museum visits, trips to various Iowa landmarks, and other cultural outings. Though attendance to a number of these will be encouraged, the only events you will be required to attend are those at which you've previously agreed to appear, as well as a few IWP-sponsored highlight events.

Classes featuring IWP participants during the Fall Residency include:

  • International Literature Today – This upper-level university course for undergraduates is based on the work of International Writing Program participants. Each week different IWP writers speak to their own writing and to the relationship between their works and the literary scenes in their home countries. The two-hour class is held each Monday afternoon.
  • International Translation Workshop – Graduate-level students of creative writing, translation, and literature work one-on-one with IWP writers in a seminar setting to create English translations of participant materials. The class meets on Friday afternoons throughout the semester.
  • Cinemathèque – Writers are invited to introduce, screen, and lead a discussion of a film of their choice in seven or eight slots of the residency. This can become the opportunity to bring little-known works to the attention of local film audiences, film scholars, and University of Iowa undergraduate students.

Should I bring copies of my books with me to the IWP?

Please do! Both the Shambaugh House library and the main University of Iowa library have extensive collections of IWP participants' work. You may also want to bring a few copies for personal readings and presentations.

Can the IWP help me with contacting U.S. publishers?

The IWP is first and foremost a residency and cultural exchange program. Though we have long-standing relationships in the American literary landscape, we do not serve as a literary agency.

Can I get paid for a class visit and/or appearance at a university?

Invitations to appear at various universities and organizations often arise during the course of the Fall Residency. Some of these are paid, and others are volunteer efforts. IWP staff will facilitate invitations for these arrangements, but each writer is responsible for negotiating any payments directly with the inviting organization.

Can I take or visit a class at the University of Iowa?

Taking (or auditing) a UI course is subject to approval by the course instructor. Because IWP participants are not on campus for the full semester, taking courses for credit is unlikely. The UI's course listing site contains a complete list of courses offered each semester.

Can I take or visit a class at the Iowa Writers' Workshop?

Participation in classes at the Writers' Workshop is subject to the approval of the course instructor. Arrangements are usually difficult to make, as the program's workshops are highly selective and work-intense.

For Alumni

How can I locate additional information about particular writers who have previously attended the program?

You can search on our Web site for specific lists of participants organized by region/country, year of residency, and genre.

How can I sign up for the IWP mailing list?

  • Go to the contact form on this site.
  • Enter your name and e-mail address in the fields provided.
  • Select "Add me to mailing list" from the Category drop-down list and click Send e-mail.

Can I contribute to the IWP blog?

Contact the IWP's Publicity Coordinator.

Can alumni participate in the Fall Residency again?

Sadly, we do not have funds to support return visits to the IWP, but we would always be excited to see you again. If you are traveling through Iowa City, please do let us know ahead of time! We also welcome, and whenever possible post alumni news on our website's home page.

Please send further inquiries to:

International Writing Program
430 N. Clinton Street
Iowa City, IA 52242-2020
Phone: (319) 335-0128
Fax: (319) 335-3843
E-mail: iwp[at]