2013 United Arab Emirates

April 21st – 27th, 2013, the IWP brought current U.S. poet laureate Natasha Tretheway and Civil Rights scholar and writer Brett Gadsden to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of a reading tour organized in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The reading and lecture tour was designed to foster greater understanding and stronger creative ties between our nations. Participating writers gave readings, took part in panel discussions and question and answer sessions, led master classes and engaged with local writers, journalists, cultural ambassadors, and with students at the American University of Sharjah and NYU Abu Dhabi as well as with members of community organizations such as the UAE Women Writers Association. While in the UAE, they also participated in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

Participating Writers:

Natasha TRETHEWEY was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. She is the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States and the author of four collections of poetry, Domestic Work (2000), Bellocq’s Ophelia (2002), Native Guard (2006)—for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize—and, most recently, Thrall, (2012). Her book of non-fiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, appeared in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Emory University she is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing.

Christopher Merrill has published seven collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. His writings have been translated into nearly forty languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, numerous translation awards, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial and Ingram Merrill Foundations. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa since 2000, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. He served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 2011-2018, and in April 2012 President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities. www.christophermerrillbooks.com

IWP Staff Coordinator: Kelly Bedeian

In Their Own Words:

  • Trethewey and Merrill gave a reading and answered questions at the American University of Sharjah

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