Virtual Writing Project (Iowa City, USA | East Jerusalem, Israel)

Exchange Description

Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had.” Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities. What is the oldest object you own? What is the strangest? Is it beautiful? Is it visible? Is there a story behind that picture? In this six-week online course, we will share our cities and pasts by generating writing inspired by the artifacts that construct our present, arriving together at a newly imagined city we’ll call the future. During each week’s hour-and-a-halflong meeting, University of Iowa students will engage in creative online mentorship with young writers at the Dar al-Tifl high school in East Jerusalem. You'll have the chance to participate in group-wide discussions and exercises as well as to engage in one-on-one collaborations and writing exchanges. We’ll experiment with poetry, prose, memoir, drama, interview, and photoessay. In between meetings, you’ll be able to share your writing through Twitter, Tumblr, the University of Iowa digital message boards, and the postal service. The class will culminate in a public reading (live in person or on Skype) and in the creation of an online literary magazine.


Margaret ROSS is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Iowa Review, and Volt. She has taught poetry courses at the University of Iowa as a third-year teaching fellow and most recently at Cornell College.

Happening Now

  • Behind the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature, shared by novelists Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke, are translators--one key among them Jennifer CROFT, translator from the Polish, the Ukrainian, and the Spanish. Congratulations!

  • "Resisting English": at NYRB, Adam Kirsch reviews three decades of the translated work of the Japanese novelist and essayist Minae MIZUMURA (IWP '03).

  • Just out in Beirut, the intriguingly titled ['Laughter as Destructive History'] by the Iraqi poet, translator, and editor Soheil NAJM (IWP '07).

  • Death is Hard Work, the fifth title of the Syrian novelist Khaled KHALIFA (IWP '07), published by FSG in Leri Price's translation, is on the long list of the 2019 National Book Awards, in the Translated Literature category.

  • In the travel journal Off Assignment,  journalist and novelist Milagros SOCORRO (Venezuela, IWP '12) recalls a snowy day in Iowa City, and one woman's special gesture.

Find Us Online