Crafting the Future (CTF) is a series of international virtual creative writing workshops that teach students who are between the ages of 18 and 25 and live outside the United States to produce speculative writing in several forms—poetry, fiction, essays, and hybrid. In addition to providing culturally appropriate creative writing instruction and craft exercises, these courses promote the development of resilience and new ways of thinking about current social issues by encouraging students to imagine alternative futures and ways of living, including potential solutions to problems they face in their own lives and communities (as well as the potential dangers of existing or possible technologies, systems, and cultural innovations).
Since 2022, CTF has provided several hundred students from all over the world with creative writing instruction in a total of seventeen classes. Each course focuses on serving students from a particular country and/or diaspora. The instructors, who are recruited from among the IWP’s extensive network of alumni and distinguished writers, are generally members of those same communities, often accompanied by U.S.-based instructors who facilitate cultural exchange. Each class is customized in its content and format to serve its particular students. CTF classes have been provided for students in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. You can see some of the work of our 2022 Ukrainian students by viewing these three video anthologies hosted on the IWP YouTube channel.
Writers between the ages of 18 and 25 who are interested in participating in a future CTF class should know that recruitment for these courses happens on an unpredictable schedule. When it is determined that a new course is ready for launch, we advertise the opportunity on our social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and in our email newsletter. You should follow us in those venues to have the best chance of seeing the next announcement.
Crafting the Future is sponsored through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
Crafting the future instructors
The following writers have each taught at least one Crafting the Future course.
Victoria Amelina (Ukraine) was a Ukrainian novelist, essayist, and human rights activist based in Kyiv. She won the Joseph Conrad Literature Prize for her prose works, including the novels Dom's Dream Kingdom and Fall Syndrome, and was a finalist for the European Union Prize for Literature. She was a founder of the New York Literature Festival, which takes place in a small town called New York in the Donetsk region. Her prose, poems, and essays have been translated into many languages, including English, Polish, Italian, German, Croatian, Dutch, Czech, and Hungarian. Beginning in 2022, Amelina worked to help document Russian war crimes in Ukraine. She was tragically killed in a Russian airstrike while at a restaurant in Kramatorsk, Ukraine.
Silvina López Medin (U.S. & Argentina) was born in Buenos Aires and lives in NY. Her books of poetry include: La noche de los bueyes (1999), winner of the Loewe Foundation International Young Poetry Prize, That Salt on the Tongue to Say Mangrove (translated by Jasmine V. Bailey, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2021), and the chapbook Excursion, which was selected by Mary Jo Bang as the winner of the Oversound Chapbook Prize. Her play Exactamente bajo el sol (staged at Teatro del Pueblo) was granted the Plays Third Prize by the Argentine Institute of Theatre. She co-translated Anne Carson’s Eros the Bittersweet and Robert Hass’s Home Movies into Spanish. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Hyperallergic, Brooklyn Rail, Harriet Books/Poetry Foundation, and MoMA/post, among others. She has taught poetry workshops at the New York Public Library, the International Writing Program/University of Iowa, and NYU. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU and is an editor at Ugly Duckling Presse.
Askold Melnyczuk’s (U.S.) most recent book is The Man Who Would Not Bow (stories). He’s published four novels as well as work in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Missouri Review, etc. He is founding editor of Agni and Arrowsmith Press.
Nina Murray (U.S. & Ukraine) is a poet and an award-winning translator of Ukrainian literature, including works by Oksana Zabuzhko, Oksana Lutsyshyna, Serhiy Zhadan, and Lesia Ukrainka. She is the author of several poetry collections and a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service.
Joaquín Ortega (Venezuela) works across media and institutions. The author of a volume of poetry and of plays like “Lo escuche llorar en mi boca. Tríptico de Caracas” [I Heard Him Cry in My Mouth. A Caracas Triptych], he has long been a librettist for popular radio and TV comedy shows, and has also published La cultura del milenio: ensayos sobre creatividad [The Millennium Culture: Essays on Creativity]. He teaches at Universidad Central de Venezuela, in the School of Political and Administration Studies. His residency is made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Homeira Qaderi (Afghanistan & U.S.) is an Afghan writer, activist, and educator. She has written seven books, including a collection of short stories and her acclaimed novel Noqra: The Daughter of Kabul River (Rozgar Publishers, 2009). Before leaving Afghanistan, Qaderi taught at Gharjistan University, in Kabul, and worked as a senior advisor to both the minister of education and, earlier, the minister of labor, social affairs, martyrs, and the disabled. Qaderi received her PhD in Persian literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, in India. A lifelong human rights activist, Qaderi was awarded the Malalai Medal—Afghanistan’s highest civilian honor—for exceptional bravery by the president Afghanistan. She was a writer in residence at the International Writing Program’s Fall Residency in 2015, and she was as fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute in 2021–2022. Her first book in English translation, Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son (Harper, 2020), was excerpted by the New York Times and chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best nonfiction books of 2020.
Iryna Vikyrchak (Ukraine) is a Ukrainian culture manager and poet. She directed and curated numerous literary festivals and events in Ukraine and Europe. She’s also worked as head of the National Desk of Creative Europe in Ukraine (2016-2017) and as assistant to Nobel Prize Laureate Olga Tokarczuk (2019-2021). She’s the author of three poetry collections, of which the latest, Algometria, was published in Kyiv in 2021. She is a member of PEN-Ukraine and is a PhD student at Wroclaw University in Poland. She writes in Ukrainian and English.
Fátima Villalta (Nicaragua) is the author of Danzaré sobre su tumba (2011), which won the Narrative Prize of the Nicaraguan Center of Writers. She holds a Master 's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Her research focuses on post-war literature in Nicaragua and El Salvador.