2017 Armenia Tour

ARMENIA, NOV. 8-13, 2017

Lines & Spaces: American Writers on Tour

Over the course of the week, during a series of panel discussions, roundtables, lectures, workshops, receptions and readings, the US delegation interacted with over 250 Armenian participants.  Additionally, the US writers made appearances on two nationally televised live morning shows.

Over the weekend, the US delegation conducted a bi-national writing workshop for Turkish and Armenia youth (ages 18-25).  The three-day workshop began with community building exercises focused on core human identities, then evolved to workshops in which writing exercises explored those identities through poetry, fiction, and playwriting.


Natashia Deón is a 2017 NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the novel Grace, which was awarded the 2017 First Novel Prize by the American Library Association's Black Caucus (BCALA), was named  Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016, a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Book Riot Favorite Book of 2016, The Root Best Book of 2016, and an Entropy Magazine Best Book of 2016. Her writing has appeared in American Short FictionBuzzfeed, LA Review of BooksThe Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall and other places. A practicing attorney, law professor, and creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit, Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, and  of fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, Prague's Creative Writing Program, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside--Palm Desert. www.natashiadeon.com

Lisa Schlesinger is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Playwrights Residency Award and of a BBC International Playwriting Award. Her plays include Celestial Bodies Trilogy, Rock Ends Ahead, The Bones of Danny Winston, and Twenty-One Positions, co-written with Naomi Wallace and Abed Fattah AbuSrour.  She has received commissions from the Guthrie Theatre, the BBC, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and fellowships from the NEA, CEC Artslink International, the Sloan Foundation, and the Iowa Arts Council.  Produced nationally and internationally, her work has appeared in American Theatre Magazine, Performing Arts Journal, Broadway Plays, NoPassport, Playwrights Canada Press, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Currently she is at work on The Iphigenia Project, a multi-year multidisciplinary collaboration in a response to the global refugee crisis. She teaches at the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop. www.lisaschlesinger.com

Michael Collier has published six collections of poetry, including The Ledge, a finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has published a collection of essays, Make Us Wave Back; a translation of Medea; and has edited or co-edited three poetry anthologies. His many honors include an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. For a decade he served as poetry editor for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Director Emeritus of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, he teaches at the University of Maryland, where he directs the Creative Writing Program.

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

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