2018 Egypt/Eritrea Tour

Left to Right: Zaina Arafat, Caite Dolan-Leach, Douglas Manuel, & Kelly Bedeian

Lines & Spaces: Egypt and Eritrea, Nov.-Dec., 2018

Lines & Spaces: American Writers on Tour

Over the course of five days in Egypt, the Lines & Spaces delegation worked directly with over 150 Egyptian students, educators, journalists, and writers in the cities of Cairo and Luxor.

They held workshops and panel discussions at Ain Shams University, South Valley University, and the American University of Cairo. A special highlight was the chance to reconnect with IWP alumni from the IWP Fall Residency and Between the Lines programs.

A special Lines & Spaces tour was added to the 2018 schedule thanks to a special project with the ECA Collaboratory and the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea. The delegation traveling to Egypt extended their trip to travel south to Asmara for a three-day introductory workshop with local writers. Topics covered in the first three days included poetry, fiction, and literary translation. While most of the group departed after the initial workshop, Caite Dolan-Leach remained in Asmara to take the workshop beyond the surface with two additional weeks of meetings focused on workshopping the participants’ original materials.

IWP Lines & Spaces Delegation


Zaina Arafat, a Palestinian-American writer, has had stories and essays appear in The New York Times, Granta, The Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, BuzzFeed, VICE, NPR, and elsewhere. A novel and an essay collection are forthcoming. A recipient of the 2018 Arab Women/Migrants from the Middle East fellowship, she was also a Muslim Communities coordinator at the Asian American Writers Workshop, where she curated a portfolio of work responding to the travel ban. She holds an M.A. in international affairs from Columbia University and an M.F.A. from Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn.

Caite Dolan-Leach is the author of Dead Letters (2017), and We Went to the Woods (2019), and the co-translator of two novels, Orphans and Newspaper, from French. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Nylon, Music and Literature and The Quarterly Conversation; her novel has been a Book of the Month Book of the Year nominee, a Publisher’s Weekly Writers to Watch selection, and translated into four languages. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holding a MA in Cultural Translation from the American University of Paris, Caite lives in Iowa City.

Douglas Manuel received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University, a MFA from Butler University, and is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at University of Southern California. His poems are featured on Poetry Foundation's website, and have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, The Los Angeles Review, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. He has also served as the poetry editor for Gold Line Press. His first collection, Testify, won the 2017 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for poetry. www.douglasmanuelpoetry.com

Christopher Merrill has published seven collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. His writings have been translated into nearly forty languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, numerous translation awards, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial and Ingram Merrill Foundations. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa since 2000, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. He served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 2011-2018, and in April 2012 President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities. www.christophermerrillbooks.com

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