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  


Tse Hao Guang on Singlish as a “Creole in the Making”

April 15, 2017 | Tse Hao Guang | 27:50

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Singaporean writer Tse Hao Guang about his latest poetry collection, Deeds of Light. They also discuss the challenges of defining a literature by nation or even by language.

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Zhou Jianing on Contemporary Chinese Narratives

March 15, 2017 | Zhou Jianing | 26:54

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Chinese writer Zhou Jianing about the influence of Japanese literature on contemporary Chinese authors, her interest in urban narratives, and the disorientation that comes with writing in a rapidly growing society. She also describes translation as a peaceful language practice devoid of ego and her experience translating into Chinese the works of American authors like Flannery O’Connor, Jeanette Winterson, Alice Munro, and others.

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Ameena Hussein on Overcoming Self-Censorship

February 15, 2017 | Ameena Hussein | 32:36

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Sri Lankan writer Ameena Hussein about Hussein’s novel, The Moon in the Water, and its strong female protagonist. They also discuss Hussein’s sociological research on migrant Muslim women in Los Angeles, and Hussein’s role as co-founder of the Perera Hussein Publishing House.

Ameena HUSSEIN is a writer and co-founder of the Perera Hussein Publishing House which has established itself as the frontrunner for cutting edge Sri Lankan fiction from emerging and established Sri Lankan writers. Her novel The Moon in the Water was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Award and the Dublin IMPAC Prize. Her first short story collection Fifteen was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Prize in 1999 and her second collection of short stories Zillij won the State Literary Prize in 2005. She has also edited three collections of children’s stories and a collection of stories for adults. Now she is currently at work on a novel.

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Vivek Shanbhag on the Love of Language

January 15, 2017 | Vivek Shanbhag | 28:56

Host Christopher Merrill talks with Indian writer Vivek Shanbhag about Shanbhag’s novel, Ghachar Ghochar, and the challenges of writing a story set in a rapidly changing society. They also discuss the ways memory can be built into language and the Indian writer who had an early influence on Shanbhag’s work.

Vivek SHANBHAG (fiction writer, playwright; India), engineer by training, is the author of two plays, five short-story collections and three novels. His writing has appeared in Granta, Seminar, and Indian Literature; his most recent novel, Ghachar Ghochar, appeared in English in 2016. He writes in Kannada, and is the founder of the literary magazine Desha Kaala. His participation is made possible by the William B. Quarton Fund through the Cedar Rapids Community Foundation and the U.R. Ananthamurthy Fund for Karnataka Culture through the University of Iowa.

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