Silk Routes

Silk Routes: Heritage, Trade, Practice is a three-year project (2014-2016) designed to foster long-term region-wide networks of younger writers in South and Central Asia working in their own traditions yet united by a common engagement with the craft and art of writing; showcase the influences of creative writing traditions and literature on the economic development in the Silk Road countries; build constructive person-to-person links between teachers and writing students multi-nationally; and use virtual exchange and the power of the Internet to assemble a core online resource available to students, teachers, and others interested in creative writing, both within the region and globally. Silk Routes is made possible by a grant from the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.


Twelve writers, teachers, literary organizers, and cultural entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States convened for a week-long Symposium in the Maldives in March 2014 for a series of lectures and discussions on the writing traditions, pedagogies, and practices in their respective countries. Building upon shared heritages, participants are collaborating to propose, develop, and implement bi-lateral and multi-lateral Local Projects centered on writing. In parallel with these projects, to support them and expand their reach, the IWP will assemble an Online Resource of essays, video-talks from participants, and pedagogical materials.

Finally, to encourage cultural and creative exchange, twelve students from the Silk Routes region will travel to Iowa City to participate in Between the Lines (Silk Routes) a dynamic two-week creative writing and cultural exchange program for young international and American writers ages 16-19.

The virtual Silk Routes website is now live!

Explore this interactive website that maps creative media from contributors along the Silk Routes and its maritime paths. If you would like to join the project as a contributor, please email

Happening Now

  • To mark PEN International’s centennial, Words Without Borders has published a sampler of works by writers committed to freedom of expression. Algerian novelist and scholar Med MAGANI is among them.

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

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