Twelve students, identified by Silk Routes participants through their local projects, traveled to Iowa City in July 2016 to participate in the IWP’s Between the Lines (BTL) creative writing and cultural exchange summer program for young writers ages 16-19 alongside American and international students. BTL Silk Routes included one instructor selected from among Silk Routes participants to teach at the BTL session, and one Silk Routes teacher-chaperone to accompany students and participate in teacher enrichment. The IWP has conducted BTL since 2008, with a bi-lateral structure, Arabic-language or Russian students, paired with American students. In 2014, the IWP conducted its first multilingual session, with Arabic-language, Russian, and American students. It is this model that was used for the Silk Routes session, with twelve Silk Routes students, twelve American students, and twelve students from another region learning from representative instructors.
The young Silk Routes writers lived and studied on the University of Iowa’s campus, attending daily creative writing workshops focused on a range of styles and processes, interspersed with peer-to-peer translation activities and literary seminars that drew on the literatures of all regions represented.