Peter BALAKIAN is the author of seven books of poems, including June-Tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000 and the forthcoming Ozone Journal. His memoir Black Dog of Fate won the PEN/Albrand Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book; The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response (2003) won the Raphael Lemkin Prize. Translations of his work have appeared in a dozen languages; he is the recipient of many awards including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. A Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, he directs the Creative Writing Program at Colgate University.
Maureen FREELY was born in the US, grew up in Turkey, and has spent most of her adult life in England. A professor at the University of Warwick, she is currently the President of English PEN and the chair of the Translators Association. A translator of the Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, she has been involved extensively in human rights campaigning in Turkey. Her sixth novel, Enlightenment (2007), covers some of that ground; her seventh, Sailing through Byzantium, was named one of the best novels of 2013 in the Sunday Times.
Mary HICKMAN is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she received an Iowa Arts Fellowship. Her poems have been published in Boston Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, the PEN American Poetry Series, and elsewhere. She is the author of This Is the Homeland (Ahsahta Press, 2015) and teaches creative writing at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Gish JEN is the author of four novels, a collection of short stories and, most recently, the volume of lectures Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self (2013). Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and dozens of other periodicals and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories of the Century. Nominated for a National Book Critics’ Circle Award and an International IMPAC Dublin Book Award, she has received a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim fellowship, and numerous other awards; in 2009 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many works of translation and edited volumes, among them, The Forgotten Language: Contemporary Poets and Nature and From the Faraway Nearby: Georgia O’Keeffe as Icon; and five books of nonfiction, The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer, The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, and The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War. His work has been translated into nearly forty languages, his honors include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government, and his journalism appears in many publications. As director of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, he has undertaken cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries.
Gregory ORFALEA was born and raised in Los Angeles. He is the author of Journey to the Sun: Junipero Serra’s Dream and the Founding of California, published in January 2014 by Scribner. With degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Alaska, Orfalea has published nine books, including a history of his father’s unit in World War II, Messengers of the Lost Battalion, and Angeleno Days, a memoir of growing up in Los Angeles, which won the Arab American Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN USA Prize in Creative Nonfiction. He is also the author of a collection of short stories, The Man Who Guarded the Bomb, as well as the seminal study, The Arab Americans: A History. Orfalea directed a writing program at the Claremont Colleges and has taught at several universities, including his alma mater, Georgetown, California Lutheran University, and currently Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where he directs the Conference on California Studies.
IWP Staff Coordinator:
Kelly BEDEIAN received a degree in Linguistics from the University of Iowa, after which she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, then went on to work on a variety of professional development and exchange programs, including as a Country Manager for Armenia and the Caucasus Region with IREX. She joined the IWP in 2004, where she is an Administrative and Program Coordinator.