Narrative Witness 2014: Caracas-Sarajevo

Exchange Overview

In summer 2014, a new creative collaboration will bring together emerging and established writers and photographers in Caracas, Venezuela and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Led by writer Stacy Mattingly and photojournalist Elizabeth Herman, Narrative Witness will begin in June with 22 writers and photographers meeting online in a live video seminar.

As the exchange continues throughout the summer, the participants will meet online for weekly workshops of writing and photography. Participants will be encouraged to produce new pieces in response to the work of their peers, ultimately building a new international creative community between the two cities.

The participants are encouraged to write in whichever language they prefer, which will result in pieces produced in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Spanish, and English. Translators Mirza Purić and Mariela Matos Smith will translate the work to English in real time, allowing all of the participants to be involved in the workshops. The collected work from the exchange is currently being showcased on the new “Collections from the IWP Experience” website at


Elizabeth D. Herman is a Boston-born freelance photographer and researcher currently based in New York. She spent 2011 in Bangladesh as a Fulbright Fellow, researching how politics influence the writing of national histories in textbooks. She has spent the past four years working on A Woman’s War, a photography and oral history project that explores the experiences of female combatants and the impact that war has had on them, both during and after conflict, taking the project to five countries on three continents. The work has been the recipient of various scholarships and awards. Since moving back to the U.S., Elizabeth has been freelancing for a number of national and international news outlets, and served as the International Picture Intern at TIME Magazine. She graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics in 2010. While at Tufts she received Highest Thesis Honors in Political Science for her research on representations of 9/11 in history textbooks worldwide. Her work has been exhibited in a number of group shows in the U.S., as well as at a solo show at United Photo Industries in NY and at Shadhona Studios in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Stacy Mattingly is the founder of the Sarajevo Writers’ Workshop, a bilingual group of poets and prose writers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She holds an MFA in fiction from Boston University, where she was a Marcia Trimble Fellow, a Leslie Epstein Global Fellow, and recipient of the Florence Engel Randall Graduate Fiction Award, and where she has since taught creative writing. She has been a collaborative writer with, among others, Ashley Smith, on a New York Times bestseller, and has just completed a first novel, set in the Balkans.

Happening Now

  • 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.

  • The poetic documentary Songs Still Sung: Voices from the Tsunami Shores, written and co-produced by Takako ARAI and creatively subtitled into English by a class of UI students of Japanese, will be screened at the prestigious Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, on-line 10/7-14/2021.

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