2020 Summer Institute – Application Details

Before applying, please carefully read the information on this page and the Frequently Asked Questions for U.S. applicants here or for Pakistani and Indian applicants here.



The Summer Institute is an immersive two-week creative writing and cultural exchange program held in Iowa City, Iowa, U.S., a UNESCO City of Literature, for participants age 18-22 from Pakistan, India, and the U.S. Students from all disciplines – the arts, humanities, sciences, and everything in between – are welcome to apply! This program is free for selected participants, and will focus on creative writing and the power of narrative. Attendees take part in master classes in the craft of writing, in collaborative workshops focused on their creative work, and in activities designed to forge new lines of understanding and shared purpose among its community of writers. The Summer Institute is an opportunity to see writing as a form of action – a personally-empowering skill that can be employed for social change.

10 applicants from each country will be accepted to SI 2020.

NOTE: Possession of a valid passport is a requirement for participation in this program for students from India and Pakistan. However, passports and/or copies of passports should not be included in the materials submitted with your application. We will only require applicants to submit a passport if they have been officially selected to participate in the program. We will notify you if you are selected, and then we require this from those selected applicants.

NOTE: Applicants must be between the ages of 18-22 by the start of the program, 4 July, 2020. Those under or over this age range will not be considered for acceptance.

A brief introduction from the Summer Institute Coordinator:


Hear from 2019 Summer Institute Participants:



APPLICATION information 

Attachments for Online Application:

Required (see note below #3):

1.  Creative work in English (6-8 pages). Essays and other forms of nonfiction such as school reports, for example, will not be accepted. By creative work, we mean your original writing that is poetry, fiction, nonfiction (again, if it is original and creative), screenplay, stage play, memoir, etc. There are many possibilities. You may submit one piece or several pieces of creative work to make the 6-8-page requirement.

2.  Prompt #1: The 2020 Summer Institute session will include discussion of identity as it relates to creative writing and the life of a writer. Please include 2-3 pages in response to the following:

  • In our daily lives, we navigate many different roles—student, sibling, daughter, son, peer. We negotiate family, friends, religious groups, as well as class, gender, race, country, and so many other groups, adjusting the way we speak or behave to fit the demands of each encounter. As we move through the day, we work through how and why we occupy each particular role. What do you consider to be the strongest, most central aspects of your identity? Or, asked another way, what does it mean to you to be a creative writer and how does your writing influence who you are as person?

3.  Prompt #2: The 2020 Summer Institute session will include discussion of the personal, national, and cultural/social impacts of the India-Pakistan partition and relations between these two nations. Please include 2-3 pages on the following:

  • Conflict is a part of the human condition, and oftentimes is unavoidable. Conflict (interpersonal, generational, national, international, and others) shapes us directly and vicariously. Describe how conflict/s has/have forced or led someone you admire to take a position on a particular issue or topic. First, what was the issue or topic? Second, how were their worldviews impacted, values tested, relations with others challenged, and/or growth as a person shaped by the conflict they experienced? Third, what was the position they took? Finally, what did you find admirable about how they handled/responded to conflict?

  • Separately, in a few sentences, please share how, if at all, the historical and contemporary India-Pakistan conflict affects you and/or your family.

NOTE: For #1, #2, and #3, the following formatting standards are required. If not followed, applications may not be considered.

Format:          Typed (Microsoft Word document preferred but not required)
Font type:      Times New Roman
Font size:       12 point
Spacing:        Double (NOTE: if submitting poetry, allowances will be made for single spacing.)
Margins:         1 inch on all sides
Header:          Includes your name, name of piece (creative work, prompt #1, prompt #2)
Footer:            Includes page numbers
Citations:       If using other people’s words/content, always give them credit


Video Statement of Purpose  (strongly encouraged): this video statement should not be emailed; rather, it should be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or comparable sites and be shared as a viewable link ​​​on the online application. Please contact iwp-summerinstitute@uiowa.edu if you encounter problems or have questions. In 2 minutes maximum in English, please do the following:

  • Introduce yourself

  • Describe the moment/event you knew creative writing was important in your life

  • Share what you hope to learn at our program in Iowa



SUBMIT your application HERE.

NOTE: once you submit your application, If you receive a message that states, “Successfully Submitted to Workflow,” then we have received your application.

summer institute 2020 – Pakistan / India / U.S.:
Saturday, 4 – Saturday, 18 JULY, 2020

PDF icon Summer Institute - Poster - 2020.pdf2.32 MB

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