Summer Institute

2022 SI Session Info

A group photo from the Summer Institute; students sit together outside with program staff, in front of the Shambaugh House.

The Summer Institute (SI) was a two-week creative writing and cultural exchange program for participants age 18-22 from Pakistan, India, and the U.S. The program took place each year from 2019 through 2022. 

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, SI was held virtually in 2020 and 2021. Fortunately, conditions allowed SI 2022 to be held in person and on campus at the University of Iowa. The program took place as a pair of two-week sessions. Students from all disciplines—the arts, humanities, sciences, and everything in between—were welcomed to participate. Attendees took part in collaborative workshops focused on their creative work, in seminars to expand literary knowledge of diverse global literatures, in special seminars on the craft of writing, and in activities designed to forge new lines of understanding and shared purpose among its community of writers.

The Summer Institute was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

Another group photo from the program; in this one, students stand or sit in front of the Shambaugh House or on the porch, doing "silly" poses.

Swansong, edited by the Summer Institute mentors, is a compilation of work by the participants in 2022 SI Session 1 (June 23–July 7):

Heartworm, edited by the Summer Institute mentors, is a compilation of work by the participants in 2022 SI Session 1 (July 14–28):

The Session 1 and Session 2 booklets provide an overview of how each session works:


2022 Summer Institute Mentors: 

Chandrahas Choudhury is the author of three novels: Clouds (2019), Days of My China Dragon (2019), and Arzee the Dwarf (2013); the editor of India: A Traveler's Literary Companion (2010); and most recently the author of a book of literary criticism, My Country Is Literature. He has written essays, reportage, and literary criticism for the Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, the Washington Post, and Mint, and lectures widely on writing and the Indian novel.


Sanam Maher is a journalist and author based in Karachi, Pakistan. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Caravan, and the Guardian amongst others. Her first book, A Woman Like Her: The Short Life of Qandeel Baloch, an investigation into the murder of Pakistan’s first social media celebrity, was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2020 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.


Dini Parayitam has an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa’s Writers' Workshop. Her short fiction has been published in The Iowa Review, Boston Review, and BOMB Magazine, among other places. She was an Emerging Writing Fellow at Yale-NUS College (Singapore) and a KALAKARS (NYC) Fellow for Scriptwriting. She is working on herdebut novel in Austin, Texas.


2022 Summer Institute RESIDENT ASSISTANTS: 

Medha Faust-Nagar is a farmer, writer gardener, green grocer, and full time dog dad, who attempts to connect their worlds of agriculture, food sovereignty, poetry, and fiction by writing from her unique position of mixed Lukknavi and Iowan decent and their non-binary butch lesbian identity.


Glen Waters is an upcoming secondyear poet at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and received his B.A. in English and African American Studies from Georgetown University ('21). During his time at the Workshop, he published a poem in Stephen F. Austin’s Journal of Multicultural Affairs and will be attending the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference in July. Glen enjoys producing, writing, and engineering music in his spare time.


2022 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 university students in subjects such as composition and literature, English as a foreign language, qualitative research, and international education. In addition to the IWP, where he has been since 2018, Peter is adjunct assistant professor in the International Studies Program at The University of Iowa.


Summer Institute Program Assistant:

María-José Plata Flórez María José is a Colombian writer in the University of Iowa's MFA in Spanish Creative Writing program. She was one of the 35 winners of the 2014 edition of the National Short Story Contest at Colombia and she also won second place at the National Short Story Contest Caro y Cuervo. During her undergraduate at the University of Los Andes she cofounded Pigasus, a creative writing workshop that got to
publish a short story collection in 2018 with an independent Colombian publishing house called Escarabajo Editorial. She has also been a popular educator and a human rights defender.

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