Between the Lines Sessions

Please note that the information on this page is out of date; to learn about current Between the Lines sessions and programming, please see this page.


June 18 – July 2, 2022 (currently planned to be in-person) 

BTL: Identity & Belonging is for U.S.-based participants, ages 15-18, and brings together 22 Muslim and non-Muslim youth hosted by IWP and the University of Iowa. Over a rigorous two weeks of BTL summer programming, young writers will live in campus dorms and spend their days in creative writing workshops and global literature seminars. Led by esteemed core faculty José Olivarez and Poupeh Missaghi, participants read, write, and engage in discussions designed to encourage complex conversations around identity, narrative, and what it means to belong. They also experience writing as a form of action––a personal and empowering skill that can be utilized for social change.

Students who are American Muslim, first- or second-generation immigrants, or from refugee communities, low-income households, or marginalized positions are particularly encouraged to apply.  

Made possible by the Doris Duke Foundation's Building Bridges Program, BTL: Identity and Belonging aims to work through cultural biases and promote understanding across communities for mutual well-being.  

“Participating in BTL has become the highlight of my day[.] It makes me so happy to know there are other people my age who feel and value things the same way as I do, even if they are on the other side of the country.”  — Zelda (U.S., BTL '20): 


July 15 – July 30, 2022 (online) 

BTL: Peace and the Writing Experience will bring together 30 international (non-U.S.) and 10-14 U.S.-based students, ages 15-18, for two weeks of intensive BTL summer programming hosted online by IWP and the University of Iowa.

U.S. Embassies/Consulates in the following countries are invited to nominate students for the 2022 Between the Lines (BTL) Peace and the Writing Experience program: Armenia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.

“I would simply say that BTL helped me A LOT in my writing and it also made me fall in love with other cultures.” — Participant (BTL' 21)

With award-winning U.S. and international faculty as their mentors, participants spend 2-4 hours a day in synchronized creative writing workshops, world literature seminars, literary readings and Q&As with visiting authors, plus social opportunities for cultural exchange, group and individual writing assignments outside of class, and more. All programming is conducted in English.

“…[F]rom the very first day, you changed the way I see this world.” — Ariya (Bangladesh, BTL '21)

Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience is sponsored through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Programming partners include the University of Iowa (UI) and Prairie Lights Bookstore.

“Another day of BTL and it was just as magical as the rest.”   — Farah (Azerbaijan, BTL '20)

How to Apply & Deadlines Here >

WANT TO learn MORE ABOUT BTLregister here >

Topic: BTL 2022 Information and Q&A Session with IWP staff and BTL alumni
Time: Feb 20, 2022 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Where: Zoom (students and families welcome!)

Want more insight into the BTL experience?

Listen along with BTL alumni on Ad Aster, the podcast companion to Aster Lit, projects created by 2020 BTL alumni working together with support of BTL 2020 microgrants (their projects also include @aster.lit on Instagram and TikTok): “Come aboard as we cross cultural boundaries and traverse the creative universe together. Through Ad Aster, we hope to share the camaraderie, zeal for writing, and intercultural understanding we gained from BTL with a wider global audience.”  

A picture containing graphical user interfaceDescription automatically generated

This showcase highlights thirty short films created by some of our 2020 participants from the U.S., Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, and UAE, to name a few. It gives a snapshot of BTL participants’ creative work while offering viewers a glimpse into lives of youth around the world facing the pandemic.  

Upcoming Events

Happening Now

Find Us Online