2017 Between the Lines

Between the Lines conducted two sessions in the summer of 2017, bringing together groups of young artists to focus on creative writing and literature, while exploring histories, cultures, languages, and what identity means to them.

In 2017, Between the Lines brought together 22 students and three adult chaperones from Russia and the NEA region, and 14 young Americans. Participants attended seminars and workshop courses designed to increase awareness of world literatures and improve their writing craft. Classes were led by prize-winning poets and prose writers. Weekend events and nightly activities allowed students to deepen their understanding of each other’s cultures through specialized creative exploration. Events included bookmaking, slam poetry, open mic night, literary translation, and a group trip to Lake Macbride State Park. We asked a great deal of these 39 young writers, and they exceeded expectations at every turn. Over the course of two weeks in Iowa City, their shared experiences yielded global-minded understanding, and lifelong bonds.

In addition to BTL Russia Arabic, a special session occurred, bringing together 11 students from different Muslim and largely immigrant populated communities from 7 states including: Michigan, New York, Louisiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio. Participants spent mornings in literature courses and special seminars and afternoons in creative writing workshops with their faculty member. Events included a guided Text & Context discussion about identity, digital storytelling, slam poetry, and a movement workshop. Through each activity and workshop, the participants learned what it meant to dismantle assumptions and stereotypes by creatively engaging and working with each other. For just one week, students exchanged creative work, deep discussions, and pure curiosity that made this special program a magical one. 

2017 Session Dates:

  • BTL Russia Arabic: July 1-July 15, 2017
  • BTL Identity & Belonging: July 22-July 29, 2017

Happening Now

  • To mark PEN International’s centennial, Words Without Borders has published a sampler of works by writers committed to freedom of expression. Algerian novelist and scholar Med MAGANI is among them.

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

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