Origins Podcast

Origins: The International Writing Program Podcast is an interview series with writers from around the world addressing the origins of their creative works, the literary and social cultures in which they write, and the art of language.

2018 Episode Schedule

January 15: Kirmen Uribe, Spain
February 15: Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Kenya
March 15: Vladimir Martinovski, Macedonia
April 15: Kinga Tóth, Hungary
May 15: Panashe Chigumadzi, South Africa/Zimbabwe
June 15: Maung Day, Myanmar
July 15: Esther Dischereit, Germany
August 15: Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Somalia/Italy
September 15: Sharlene Teo, Singapore
October 15: Dilman Dila, Uganda
November 15: Gozo Yoshimasu, Japan
December 15: Julienne van Loon, Australia

2017 Episode Schedule

January 15: Vivek Shanbhag, India
February 15: Ameena Hussein, Sri Lanka
March 15: Zhou Jianing, China
April 15: Tse Hao Guang, Singapore
May 15: Courtney Sina Meredith, New Zealand
June 15: Mariano Tenconi Blanco, Argentina
July 15: Henriikka Tavi,  Finland 
August 15: Stephanos Stephanides, Cyprus
September 15: Alice Yousef, Palestinian Territories
October 15: zp (Priya) Dala, South Africa
November 15: Shenaz Patel, Mauritius
December 15: Akhil Katyal, India  


Yoshimasu Gozo on the Embodiment of Creativity

November 15, 2018 | Yoshimasu Gozo | 37:15

Host Kathleen Maris Paltrineri talks with Japanese poet Yoshimasu Gozo about literary translation and his recent collection from New Directions, titled Alice Iris Red Horse: Selected Poems of Yoshimasu Gozo. They also discuss the relationship of touch, sound, color, and fragment in building creative worlds as well as the poet’s transcription of poet and philosopher Yoshimoto Takaaki’s poetry as a form of honoring his work.

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Julienne van Loon on Philosophy and Literature

December 15, 2018 | Julienne van Loon | 26:24

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Australian writer Julienne van Loon about her forthcoming collection of essays titled, The Thinking Woman, due out in March 2019 by NewSouth Books. Focused on six living, contemporary women thinkers, writers, and philosophers, van Loon engages with their work and their ideas on work, wonder, play, and much more. Van Loon also discusses her novel-in-progress, Instructions for a Steep Decline, and about how research can be a playful creative practice.

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Dilman Dila on Filmmaking in Uganda

October 15, 2018 | Dilman Dila | 31:00

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Ugandan science fiction writer and filmmaker Dilman Dila about his work in teaching storytelling to filmmakers. They also talk about how his disability propelled him into becoming an artist.

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Sharlene Teo on the Reversal of Gender Expectations

September 15, 2018 | Sharlene Teo | 15:16

Host Christopher Merrill talks with London-based Singaporean writer Sharlene Teo about her award-winning novel Ponti. They discuss how her novel utilizes the Southeast Asian mythical creature of the Pontianak, a cannibalistic entity that kills and eats men, to explore a cultural reassignment of fear.

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Ubah Cristina Ali Farah on Mixing Italian and Somali Literary Traditions

August 15, 2018 | Ubah Cristina Ali Farah | 21:23

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Somali-Italian writer Ubah Cristina Ali Farah about how her novels tell the stories of the Somali civil war and its refugees in Italy. They also discuss her work of collecting stories from migrant women for oral history projects, and the role Somali theatre played in anti-colonial fights during the 1950s and 1960s.

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Esther Dischereit on Writing in Post-Holocaust Germany

July 15, 2018 | Esther Dischereit | 24:32

Host Christopher Merrill talks with German writer Esther Dischereit about her groundbreaking work Joëmis Tisch – Eine jüdische Geschichte [Joëmi's Table – A Jewish Story], which is a collection of thoughts, questions, and problems regarding life as a Jewish person in postwar Germany. They also discuss her collaborative creative works, and her efforts toward discovering what is revealed when examining the relationship between truth and doubt.

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Maung Day on Avant-Garde Poetry

June 15, 2018 | Maung Day | 26:02

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Burmese poet Maung Day about defying censorship with performance art and the history of Burmese poetry as well as his translation between Burmese and English of poetry and literature.

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Panashe Chigumadzi on Art and the Female Black Body

May 15, 2018 | Panashe Chigumadzi | 36:03

Guest host Kathleen Maris Paltrineri talks with Zimbabwean and South African writer Panashe Chigumadzi about literature's relationship to feminism, jazz, and anti-racist discourse as well as Chigumadzi's forthcoming collection of essays, Beautiful Hair for a Landless People.

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Kinga Tóth on Vision, Sound, and Poetry

April 15, 2018 | Kinga Tóth | 34:30

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Hungarian writer, Kinga Tóth about national identity, as well as her award winning project Moonlight Faces.

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Vladimir Martinovski on Writing and Music

March 15, 2018 | Vladimir Martinovski | 31:41

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Macedonian writer, Vladimir Martinovski, about the music of verse, as well as writing in Macedonian literature.

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Happening Now

  • We regret the passing, on April 11, 2024, of the distinguished Romanian author and critic Dan Cristea, who served as the editor in chief of the Luceafărul de Dimineață cultural monthly. In addition to being an alum of the 1985 Fall Residency, Cristea received his PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa.

  • Our congratulations to 1986 Fall Residency writer Kwame Dawes, who has been named the new poet laureate of Jamaica.

  • Congratulations to our colleagues Jennifer Croft and Aron Aji, who are among those serving as judges for the National Book Awards this year, in their case in the category of translated literature.

  • Ranjit Hoskote’s speech at the 2024 Goa Literary Festival addresses the current situation in Gaza.

  • In NY Times, Bina Shah worries about the state of Pakistani—and American—democracy.

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