is a founding member of Malaysia’s foremost political satire troupe, the Instant Café Theater Company. She has performed in many productions for stage, in television; and in films. She is also a promoter of commercial and charity stage productions, and a speech and English teacher. Currently, Ms. Sodhy is the executive director of a musical she wrote to raise money for two homes for special children. She participates courtesy of the US Department of State.
was born in 1933 in Sulina, Romania, of Greek parents. He attended the Greek community schools of Sulina and Bucharest before emigrating to Greece after WWII. From 1947-1957 he lived with his parents in a 2,000-inmate refugee camp while also finishing his secondary education and graduating from the National University of Athens. He studied English and American literature at Yale on a Fulbright scholarship, and Comparative Literature, Classics, Old and Middle English at the University of California at Berkeley. Between 1965 and 1996 he taught in the English and Cinema and Comparative Literatures departments at the University of Iowa. He has received numerous research awards, and his publications include books and articles in scholarly journals, as well as performance and intermedia art projects.
began her career as a pianist, eventually branching out to develop a repertoire of innovative language-oriented performance, one elaborating from the base of a phonetic mixture of eastern and western languages. For the past decade, Pick has given concerts across Israel, the Far East, and Europe. Her many collaborations with other artists and musicians have involved a variety of forms, including spoken word and free-improvisation.She maintains an intense interest in the performance of Dada sound poetry. Pick lives in Tel Aviv and participates courtesy of the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the University of Iowa Louis Schulman Hillel.
published her first story collection after winning a literature medal at the 1999 Urdd National Eisteddfod. Her first novel Lliwiau Liw Nos [‘Colours by Night’] appeared in 2005; her second novel Atyniad [‘Attraction’] was awarded the prose medal at the 2006 National Eisteddfod; her third novel ['The Library'] received the David Owen Prize in 2009. In 2008, Dafydd published her first novel in English Twenty Thousand Saints. She lectures at the University of Wales, Swansea and publishes on R.S. Thomas. A popular singer-songwriter, she also performs regularly. She participates thanks to funding from the British Council.
Lijia (张丽佳) is a factory-worker-turned journalist, TV producer and lecturer. Her memoir about working at a missile factory, Socialism Is Great! (2008) was published in the U.S., Australia, and India, and is being translated into a number of languages. Other publications include China Remembers, an oral history of the PRC, and Western Images of Chairman Mao, presently banned in China. Her articles have appeared in prominent Asian, European and American magazines and newspapers, and she is a frequent commentator for the BBC, CNN and NPR. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State.
Patrícia PORTELA (playwright, fiction writer; Portugal) has written and coordinated nearly twenty stage performances and live art works across Europe, the Middle East, China and Brazil. Widely anthologized, she is the author of the novels Para Cima e Não Para Norte (2008) and Banquete (2012). A founder of the cultural association Prado, she teaches regularly at Forum Dança in Lisbon and, recently, in the Program for Visual Criticism and Film at the University of Antwerp. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Daren KAMALI (poet, performer; New Zealand) began performing as a musician and street poet, later putting out the albums Immigrant Story and Keep It Real. He is the author of poetry collections Poems and Songs from the Underwater World (2011) and Squid Out of Water (2014), two parts of the trilogy Squidluminaries, forthcoming in 2015. He has facilitated writing workshops and poetry slams, and worked as a music director and youth mentor. A co-founder of the South Auckland Poets Collective, he participates courtesy of Creative New Zealand.
El JONES (poet; Canada) is the 2013-2015 poet laureate for Halifax. Named a “Bold Visionary,” one of 23 in her country, she was also the Poet of Honor at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2015. Her collection of spoken-word poetry Live from the Afrikan Resistance! appeared in 2014. Her participation is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
Courtney Sina MEREDITH (poet, playwright, fiction writer, musician; New Zealand) published her award-winning play Rushing Dolls in 2012; a poetry collection, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick, appeared the same year. A new book of short stories, Tail of the Taniwha, is available in August 2016. Her writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, French and Bahasa Indonesia. Her participation is made possible by Creative New Zealand.
Hensli RAHN SOLÓRZANO (musician, fiction writer; Venezuela) is the author of story collections, Crónicamente Caracas (2008) and Dinero fácil (2014), named the best Venezuelan short story book of the year by El Universal. A regular contributor to literary journals and news sites, including Contrapunto, Sacven, and Prodavinci, he is also a songwriter; in 2008 his band Autopista Sur released the album Caracas se quema. He is currently based in Berlin, Germany. He participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas.
Yaroslava PULINOVICH (playwright; Russia) is an actress as well as a prolific playwright. Her plays are performed in in Russia and abroad. The film adaptation of [“I Won’t Come Back”] has received recognition at international film festivals in Rotterdam, Vlissingen, Moscow, and New York City. Moscow Times named her play [“Natasha’s Dream”] as one of the top ten Russian plays of the 21st c. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Matjaž PIKALO (poet, screenwriter, musician, multimedia artist; Slovenia) has five books of poetry and many works for children. Luža [Puddle] won the 2002 Večernica Award for Best Book for Young Readers, and was honored by the IBBY Congress in Cape Town; in 2004 the children’s book Think Good and Wise won him Italy’s Arte Senza Confine award. The Second Ivan’s Death, a documentary about Slovenia’s key writer Ivan Cankar, based on his screenplay, is in production. He plays with the band Autodafé, and on an artist soccer team. His participation is made possible by the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana and the University of Iowa.
Kinga TÓTH (poet, translator, illustrator, songwriter, performer; Hungary) has published six poetry books, all self-illustrated. Her visual poetry has been exhibited widely; she is the lead singer of the experimental band Tóth Kína Hegyfalu and is working on the visual/sound/poetry projects X and [Moonlight Faces], for which she received the 2017 Hazai Attila award. Ms. Tóth participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Xavier VILLANOVA (playwright, screenwriter, stage director, actor, translator; Mexico) has had his work staged in Mexico, the US, and Venezuela; in 2011, the Lark Play Development Center in New York workshopped his Acheron: The River of Tragedy. Ocean Blues, co-written by him and based on his eponymous play, is on Netflix. In 2010 he won the National Playwright Award given by the UANL, and received a grant from the Fundación para las Letras Mexicanas. He teaches theatre history at Universidad de la Comunicación in Mexico City. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Roberto ECHETO (poet, fiction writer, essayist; Venezuela) has published three story anthologies, a novel, and two books of essays. A founding member and faculty at the Instituto de Creatividad y Comunicación in Caracas, he writes and edits for journals, produces for radio, and writes scripts. In 2015 Echeto won the mixed-media contest Concurso Transgenérico from Cultura Urbana for Maniobras elementales [Elementary Maneuvers]. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. State Department.
Aušra KAZILIŪNAITĖ (poet, performance artist, journalist; Lithuania) is the author of four volumes of poetry: in 2018, The Moon is a Pill appeared in English. Kaziliūnaitė's poems appeared in How the Earth Carries Us: New Lithuanian Poets (2017) and New Baltic Poetry Anthology (2018), and have been translated into many other languages. She is the recipient of several national awards, including, in 2016, the Young Artist Prize from Lithuania’s Ministry of Culture. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Róbert GÁL (poetry, fiction; Czech Republic), a literary editor and publisher, works at intersections of genres and media. His six volumes of philosophical prose have been translated from his native Slovak into English and Czech; he has collaborated with composers, dancers, filmmakers, and visual artists in performance and installation work in Europe and the U.S. His participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Roy Chicky ARAD רועי צ'יקי ארד (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, performance; Israel) is an activist, musician/performer and writer, with eight published volumes of poetry and prose. He edits the poetry magazine Ma'ayan, translates, largely poetry, and writes for the daily Ha’aretz. The Culture Guerilla group, which he co-founded, takes poetry into Israeli streets. He participates courtesy of Fulbright Israel.
Gabrielė LABANAUSKAITĖ (poetry, drama, fiction; Lithuania) teaches drama theory and creative writing at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater. A “text producer,” she works across media, often in collective forms, also organizing poetry and stage events. She has published three poetry collections in CD/DVD format as well as a theory of drama narratives, Dramatika; a number of her plays have been staged in Lithuania and abroad. Her participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.