Between the Lines Alumni Writing Contest

 

Contest results

After considering the many wonderful submissions we received, the International Writing Program (IWP) and Between the Lines (BTL) are beyond excited to announce the winners of our first annual BTL Alumni Writing Contest. During the last two months, over 60 of our 300 + alumni sent in their poetry and prose. We were lucky to have had the chance to read their exciting work.

It is with pleasure that we announce our two winners: Zain-Minkah Murdock (BTL ’17, U.S.) and Yazan Omari (BTL ’14, Jordan).

Of Zain’s poetry, guest judge, novelist, and current IWP Fall Resident Amara Okolo (Nigeria) said: “I absolutely loved Zain's poetry. It had a voice from the beginning, and was easy-flowing. The language is pure, there is no hesitation or pretense . . . Everything was just as it should be.”

When describing Yazan’s poetry and prose, guest judge, fiction writer, journalist, and current IWP Fall Resident Eman AlYousuf (U.A.E.) wrote: “Brilliant in both poetry and prose, [and] great use of all writers' tools. [Yazan] is good at writing about both intimate human existential issues and world issues.”

In addition to having their work published on our website, Zain and Yazan will be joining our Fall Residency trip to Washington, D.C., on November 1-3, 2018.  Their travel, lodging, and meals will be paid for by the IWP in collaboration with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The two winners will also give a virtual presentation to next summer’s (2019) BTL session.

We also congratulate our six contest finalists: Doha El Jerrari (BTL ’18, Morocco), Ekaterina Filonova (BTL ’13, Russia), Isabella Jibilian (BTL ’13, U.S.), Alena Piksaeva (BTL ’14, Russia), Caitlin Plathe (BTL’13, U.S.), and Rand Safi (BTL ’08, Palestinian Territories).  We will publish their luminous, moving work on our website soon as well—be sure to stay tuned!

Finally, a well-deserved congratulations is in order to ALL our applicants; we received outstanding work and were hard-pressed to choose finalists and winners.

We also thank our judges, 2018 IWP Fall Residents Amara Okolo (Nigeria), Kateryna Babkina (Ukraine), Salah Badis (Algeria), Eman AlYousuf (U.A.E.), Chandramohan Sathyanathan (India) and Iva Pezuashvili (Georgia), as well as IWP Editor Nataša Ďurovičová, for the time and care they put into reading and considering every submission.  

This contest is supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

 


 

contest details

[Contest submission period has closed.]

Past participants in the International Writing Program’s (IWP) Between the Lines (BTL) sessions are invited to submit their prose or poems for a chance at publication on the IWP website and the opportunity to travel and participate in upcoming IWP events! This contest is supported by funds from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

The top five submissions will be published on the IWP/BTL website. Of these five, one top American winner and one top international winner will be chosen. Both the American winner and the international winner will join the Fall Residency trip to Washington, D.C., taking place November 1-3, 2018; travel, lodging, and meals will be paid for by the IWP in collaboration with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. The top two winners will also give a virtual presentation on their writing contest experiences at the following summer’s (2019) BTL session. 

Contest Guidelines:

  • Who: 2008-2018 Alumni of Between the Lines (excludes participants in 2016 BTL “Silk Routes” and 2017 BTL “Identity and Belonging” – if uncertain of eligibility, please email:  btlalumni-contest@uiowa.edu)
  • What: Works of prose or poetry in any language – no longer than 10 pages total
  • Deadline: August 31, 2018
  • Format: Double-spaced, 12-point font, as a PDF or Word document, with name and contact email at the top of your submission
  • Submit: By email to btlalumni-contest@uiowa.edu


Please also answer the following in a separate document, with name and contact email at the top, and email it along with your writing submission:

  1. What Between the Lines session did you participate in, and what year?
  2. Have you pursued creative writing since BTL, and if so, in what ways? (100 words max)
  3. How has BTL impacted your writing and literary life? (250-500 words)
  4. How has BTL impacted the way you think about your identity, and how you interact with others in the world? (250-500 words)

Participants are encouraged to submit in any language; please indicate which language you’re using in the body of your email. Submissions can include any number or combination of poems, short stories, or essays, so long as the total number of pages does not exceed 10.

Submitting work to the Between the Lines Alumni Writing Contest grants International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa permission to use these materials for IWP and BTL social media, publicity, and grant reporting.

Winners will be announced via email the first week of October.

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