International Conferences

IWP's international conferences are designed to bring together international and American writers in direct conversations around a pressing theme. They commonly result in a collection of topical essays, and in a short film documenting a gathering.


 Who has the right to cross a border, who has the obligation to open the door, must the one crossing the threshold “deserve” …? And how to think about this dialectic of yearning and rights as a fault line much less tangible than a national border hovers above us all, namely the latitude below which heat and drought makes living conditions less and less possible?  These are some of the questions the participants will take up and develop in the course, and then in the wake of, the 2022 symposium in Sejny, Poland.


Margins of the sea - summit (2019)

Peace  |  Global Understanding  |  Climate Change

May 14 & 15, 2019 on the University of Hawaii Campus in Honolulu, Hawai'i

Held on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu, the Margins of the Sea global summit, a joint effort by the IWP and the Liljestrand Foundation, brought together distinguished writers, thinkers, cultural organizers and artists to discuss how to creatively advance a broader world perspective on climate change. 

TO WHAT do i belong?  (2017)

Poets, writers, playwrights and filmmakers specialize in translating private stories of conflicting identities into public discourse. In a period of tumultuous change such as the present, the conference brought together distinguished IWP alumni in the historically 'open city' of Tangier (Morocco) to address the question: to what do I belong? And, is it possible to create new stories to counter eruptions of extremism caused in part by the inadequacy of prevailing narratives of belonging and inclusion?

The Same Gate: A Poetic Exchange (2013)

Writers from the U.S., Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran convened in Turkey to participate in a conference centered around the life and work of celebrated 13th century poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a central poet in Afghan, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Turkish literature.

Souk Ukaz: A Market of Ideas (2009-2010)

Brought together a group of international and American writers to Maghreb and neighboring regions of the Mediterranean to study and witness first hand the conflicting facts of urban life. Based in Fes (Morocco).

The New Symposium (2006-2008)

Convened writers, artists, and thinkers from America, Greece, and around the world to the island of Paros to focus intensely on a common theme. Co-sponsored by the Fulbright Foundation in Greece, EKEMEL (European Translation Center) and the Office of the Mayor of Paros.

Happening Now

  • We regret the passing, on April 11, 2024, of the distinguished Romanian author and critic Dan Cristea, who served as the editor in chief of the Luceafărul de Dimineață cultural monthly. In addition to being an alum of the 1985 Fall Residency, Cristea received his PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa.

  • Our congratulations to 1986 Fall Residency writer Kwame Dawes, who has been named the new poet laureate of Jamaica.

  • Congratulations to our colleagues Jennifer Croft and Aron Aji, who are among those serving as judges for the National Book Awards this year, in their case in the category of translated literature.

  • Ranjit Hoskote’s speech at the 2024 Goa Literary Festival addresses the current situation in Gaza.

  • In NY Times, Bina Shah worries about the state of Pakistani—and American—democracy.

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