Between the Lines

Students sitting and talking under trees by the Iowa River in the beautiful light of magic hour.

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”  
—Toni Morrison 

Applications for both U.S.-based and international Between the Lines applicants have now closed.
  • If you are a U.S.-based student who would like to participate in BTL, click here to learn how.

  • If you are an international student living in one of the countries participating in BTL in 2023 (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe), and you would like to participate in BTL, click here to learn how

July 8 through July 21, 2023, Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience will bring together 30 international (non-U.S.) and 10 U.S.-based students, ages 15–18, for two weeks of intensive BTL summer programming hosted online by IWP and the University of Iowa. The program will be virtual and free of cost for all participants. 

U.S. Embassies/Consulates in the following countries are invited to nominate students for the 2023 Between the Lines (BTL) Peace and the Writing Experience program: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe. 


Topic: BTL 2023 Information and Q&A Session with IWP staff and BTL alumni 
Time: April 7, 2023 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada) 
Where: Zoom (students and families welcome!) 
To join us for this event on Zoom, use this link.

“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 synchronous 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 and Prairie Lights Bookstore. 

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

Follow Between the Lines on Instagram @btl_uiiwp and Facebook and sign up for our email list to be in the loop about future opportunities. 

Since 2008, Between the Lines (BTL) has hosted young writers at the University of Iowa for a cultural exchange program that focuses on the art and craft of creative writing. Participants ages 15-18 come together in Iowa City or online for an intensive two-week session.  

From a participant in a previous the BTL session:  “I would definitely recommend this program to a friend... I have never been in a group where I felt I could share my thoughts and beliefs free of any judgment [before this experience in BTL]—and I believe everyone should have a chance to experience that.” 

BTL 2023 will transcend social distances by offering an intensive creative writing program combined with the exciting discoveries of intercultural exchange. Through honing their craft together and engaging in open-hearted discussions, a new community of young writers will connect the dots between their home cultures, sparking friendships throughout the U.S. and around the globe.   

Both sessions will be led by a faculty of prize-winning poets and writers from the U.S. and abroad, who are also experienced creative writing teachers. Guest artists will bring focus to special craft topics, and participants will perform in an open mic reading. Plenty of fun social and cultural activities encourage dialogue and strengthen the bonds we build into a vibrant BTL community. At the program’s end, everyone’s new work will be published in the annual anthology and each participant will receive a graduation certificate.   

If you have more questions, please see the FAQ by clicking here.  


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