2014 Between the Lines

BTL 2014 was a landmark year, bringing together young writers from 9 different cities in Russia, 9 different states in the U.S., and 9 different countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa: Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, and Tunisia. Whether discussing the merits of Russian rhyming poetry versus American free verse, or eating tabbouleh and learning basic Arabic, this session brought cultural exchange to a new level. The morning Global Literature Seminar featured both contemporary and classic texts from multiple countries; students spent their afternoons sharing and critiquing each other’s work in creative writing workshops conducted in their own languages. Participants also tried their hands at playwriting with dramaturge Kim Euell, and experimented with performance assisted by the slam poet Malcolm London. Their writing efforts culminated in a student reading at the Dey House, home of the Iowa Writers Workshop. Other events included a literary scavenger hunt to find Iowa City landmarks, a translation workshop, a visit to the Wildcat Den State Park and Figge Art Museum on the Mississippi River, and a Ramadan dinner celebration at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids. BTL 2014 wrapped up with a Fourth of July celebration in Coralville and students found some free-time to enjoy the Iowa City Jazz Festival. 

June 21st-July 5th, 2014

Meet the Instructors:

Alan CHERCHESOV has published the novels Requiem for Living (1994; and, in English, Northwestern University Press, 2005), Wreath for the Grave of the Wind (2000), and Villa Belle-Lettre (2005), in addition to numerous short stories. He was an IWP resident in 2010, during which time he finished his latest novel, Don Ivan (2012). Cherchesov is the president of the Institute of Civilization, a private educational institute in Vladikavkaz, in North Ossetia, Russia. The recipient of a number of literary prizes, he was a finalist for the 2001 and 2006 Russian Booker Awards. His novel Don Ivan was nominated for Russia's Big Book Award.

Kiki PETROSINO is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the Creative Writing Program. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Fort Red Border (2009) and Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013), both from Sarabande Books. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Tin House, The New York Times, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writer's Workshop and an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago.

Iman HUMAYDAN is the founder of ARRAWI, a non-profit center that encourages creative writing among youth in Lebanon, and the co founder of PEN Lebanon in 2012. Her short stories, essays, and journalism have appeared in German, Swiss, French, and Arab newspapers and magazines. Her novels B Mithl Beit, Mithl Beirut (B as in Beirut) and Toot Barri (Wild Mulberries), have been published in Arabic, French, German, and English, followed, in 2010, by the third, Hayawat Okhra [Other Lives] which was translated to various languages. Humaydan co-wrote the screenplay for Chatti ya Deni [Here Comes The Rain], which won the first prize at the 2010 Dubai Film Festival. She edited the creative writing textbook Kitabat alkitabah (2010).

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