Outreach Courses

The IWP's online outreach courses are developed in collaboration with U.S. embassies and/or international schools and universities for groups of participants in one or more selected regions. Outreach courses offer live video lectures and discussions; reading and writing assignments, and asynchronous online workshopping. Each instructor is an experienced teacher of creative writing and literature with a strong publication record and a passion for recreating the workshop model within an online learning environment. Supported by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the University of Iowa, each outreach course is designed to provide an opportunity for creative writing, community-building, and cultural exchange.

CURRENT Outreach Course

11/5/2020—12/22/2020 (Near East and Northern African regions, though open to all)

This short course series contains six one-hour courses (each with a 30-minute lecture and two 15-minute assignment sections). Courses are captioned/subtitled in Arabic and in English. Each course is taught by a different disabilities writer/activist.

The courses in the series are released on a weekly basis. To view the course series on your own schedule, please click here: bit.ly/DAwritingcourse

Instructors include Sheila Black, a poet, writer, and disabilities activist and currently director of development at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), the main professional organization for creative writing programs; Ron Marz, comic book writer known for the Green Lantern and the Silver Surfer, but also for an international creative collaboration  project in 2012 where he and others, at the invitation of the Syrian government, created the Silver Scorpion, a Syrian-American teenage superhero who is wheelchair-bound; Elsa Sjunesson, Hugo, Aurora, and British Fantasy awards winner, and an activist for disability rights; and Melody Moezzi, writer, lawyer, and disabilities activist, a United Nations Global Expert and an Opinion Leader for the British Council's Our Shared Future initiative, and who, several years back, was part of an ECA program involving young American-Muslim leaders.

RECENT Outreach Courses


6/15/2020 through 8/1/2020   (Kazakhstan, Latvia, Russia)

The Movement sessions of this course work with aspects of meaning-making in dance, with establishing context and point-of-view, and with generation of movement and experimentation with structure. These sessions form the starting point of each Word session, which are in creative writing workshop format. Participants experiment with form and with language, fusing responses, insights, and reactions from the Movement sessions into their creative writing.

View text galleries of some of the course projects and assignments submitted by the Russian-speaking and Latvian-speaking participants here:  http://www.distancelearningiwp.org/wordmovementtextgalleries

(AFTERNOTE: This course’s emphases on diverse perspectives and on resiliency, occurring as it did in the midst of an unexpected global pandemic, both echoed and intersected with the myriad types of virtual artistic and issue-oriented collaborations appearing across the United States during this time.)



4/15/2020 through 10/15/2020  (Argentina, Botswana, Colombia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mexico, Somalia, South Africa)

This project furthers already-established connections in the IWP's Women's Creative Mentorship (WCM) Project,  broadens international networks and collaborations, and amplifies the many threads of conversation established by the mentor-mentee groups. A series of professional practice seminars anchored and applied these topics.

Participants were invited to create digital collages of their work in this project, and, given the COVID-19 pandemic, their work beyond it.

Click below to view the WCM participants' short videos, their texts and images, and their writing resource lists in response to being asked to describe their past few months, including the balancing/un-balancing of life, COVID-19, writing, and global and local concerns: http://www.distancelearningiwp.org/digitalcollageswmp2020

Past Outreach Courses

To view our past outreach courses, please visit the Past Digital Learning Programming page.

For inquiries about our outreach courses or other online programming, please email us by selecting "Digital Learning courses"  from the drop-down menu on our contact form here >

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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