This Year's Program

Read all about the 2019 Fall Residency here >

2019 Fall residency Program Dates:
September 1 - November 16, 2019

The INTERNATIONAL WRITING PROGRAM (IWP) is the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world. With a tradition of excellence that has continued for nearly five decades, the IWP annually brings outstanding authors from every continent to the University of Iowa (UI), a major American research institution internationally renowned for its writing programs. Since 1967, over 1,500 writers from more than 150 nations have taken part in the IWP’s Fall Residency. The goal of the IWP is to provide authors a one-of-a-kind inter-cultural opportunity and the time and space to write, read, translate, study, conduct research, travel, give readings, stage work, and become part of the vibrant literary and academic community at the university and in Iowa City, the only American city designated as a UNESCO City of Literature, in part because of the IWP’s presence.  

For 2019, the IWP will bring together 30-35 of the world’s emerging and established writers to participate in the Fall Residency’s unique inter-cultural experience. Over the course of 11 weeks, aside from working on their own projects, writers will give readings and lectures that share their work and cultures, collaborate with artists from other genres and art forms, and travel and interact with American audiences and literary communities across the United States.

Program Overview

The Fall Residency will run from September 1 to November 16, 2019.  The first days are set aside to welcome and orient the writers to life in Iowa City and at the IWP. Weekly events include public readings on Sundays and Fridays, IWP writer-based courses for UI students on Monday and Friday afternoons, panel presentations at the Iowa City Public Library Fridays, and film screenings, field trips, and cultural events typically on weekends.

Some of these activities include:

  • International Literature Today - This upper-level University of Iowa course for undergraduates is largely based on the work of IWP participants. Each week different IWP writers speak to their own writing and to the relationship between their works and the literary scenes in their home countries. The two-hour class is held each Monday afternoon.
  • International Translation Workshop - Graduate-level University of Iowa students of creative writing, translation, and literatures work one-on-one with IWP writers in a classroom setting to create polished English translations of participant materials. The class meets to discuss the translations in progress on Friday afternoons throughout the semester. 
  • Readings - Because Iowa City is uniquely nurturing of creative writing, readings occur almost every night of the week, in coffeehouses, arts centers, restaurants, and other venues. The IWP sponsors two weekly reading series: Sunday afternoons at Prairie Lights Bookstore in cooperation with the University’s MFA programs. The Friday afternoon reading series takes place in the IWP’s own Shambaugh House, which is often in a bilingual format. Both reading series are streamed live and archived online. In addition, numerous readings are scheduled through the sponsorship of foreign-language departments, civic entities, or other groups. 
    • IWP Panel Series - These weekly panels take place each Friday at noon at the Iowa City Public Library and present discussions on literary issues and on the influences and forces shaping writing around the world. These panels are streamed live and archived online. Topics in the past have included “Writing Across Languages,” “Teaching Writing,” “The Migrant as Figure in Literature Today,” “What Matters Now: Social Change in the World,” “Writing in a Country at War,” “Spectral Gender,” and “Freedom’s Limits.”  These discussions draw audiences from across the University and local community.
    • IWP Cinematheque - IWP writers may be invited to introduce, screen, and lead a discussion of a film of their choice. This 8-week series is an opportunity to bring little-known works to the attention of local film audiences, film scholars, and University of Iowa undergraduate students. Screening time is limited.
    • Theatre Collaborations - The IWP arranges opportunities for the works of its playwrights and performance artists to be read dramatically. One venue for this is “Global Express.” During this evening of dramatic readings, 10-15 minute excerpts and pieces written by IWP writers are read by actors from the University’s Division of Performing Arts. Other opportunities may arise through the University, local venues, and the Portland Stage Company (ME).
    • Iowa City Book Festival (ICBF) - Occurring in early October, the ICBF will feature notable American authors and IWP writers across a week of panels, lectures, readings, and other keynote events.
    • Dance Collaborations - Similarly, IWP writers will work with choreographers and dancers at the University’s Dance Department on a collaboration that culminates in a public event towards the end of the Residency.
    • Music Collaborations - IWP writers also collaborate with the University's Music Department. Past performances have featured the reading of IWP writers' poetry and the musical performance of a visiting internationally renowned ensemble, and events at the annual Pittsburgh Poetry & Jazz Festival.
    • Cultural Activities & Field Trips - Participants receive complimentary tickets and entry to occasional cultural events including concerts, performances, and regional activities like a rodeo, nature hikes, and more. Readings, lectures, and performances by American and international writers and figures of note are held almost nightly at the University of Iowa and in Iowa City.
    • Community Interactions - A particular benefit of the program involves invitations to more deeply interact with a wide range of local community members, including: individual and group visits and dinners to homes of faculty members and IWP supporters; talks given by IWP writers for area groups (including the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, and UI Senior College); classroom visits to local elementary, middle, and high schools and colleges; and trips to speak and/or read across the state of Iowa.
    • Other invitations - Throughout the Residency, writers may also receive invitations to appear at a number of courses and events hosted by a range of universities, organizations, and institutions across the country.
    • Participation in Other IWP Programs - Writers are encouraged to lend their expertise to the various programs the IWP, including Digital Learning Courses, Between the Lines, and Origins: The International Writing Program Podcast. Some of the programming that Fall Residents may participate in includes, but is not limited to: recording craft talks, recording interviews, facilitating creative collaborations, generating creative and critical web content, reading for a youth writing contest, and mentoring young writers.
    • Domestic travel - For participants with the appropriate funding, the IWP will arrange group travel periods to cities like Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and New York City. The purpose of these trips is to introduce IWP writers to different, important, and diverse American literary communities. Activities scheduled will include city tours, visits to sites of important cultural or historical significance, public events, community engagement, and educational outreach.

    For examples of past, full calendars of events, please see our Annual Reports.

    Accommodations for the 2019 Residency are at The Graduate Hotel, located in the heart of Iowa City on the pedestrian mall ("Ped Mall"), one block from the UI campus. Writers will live predominantly on the same floor, which includes a ‘common room’ for group use, and an IWP office outpost. Each room provides a private bathroom, a writing desk, a mini-fridge, coffee pot, and microwave. Meals are mostly eaten away from the hotel. The IWP provide once-a-week access to a community kitchen for the cooking of meals and sharing of cultural cuisines. Other amenities provided to writers living in The Graduate Hotel include free wifi and complimentary access to exercise facilities and pool. As part of campus life, IWP writers are also given visiting scholar privileges, providing access to the state-of-the-art University of Iowa library system.

    IWP Expectations of Participants

    • There is no requirement that a literary text must be completed at the end of the Fall Residency.
    • Writers are expected to participate in: one public reading, one discussion in the IWP Panel Series, mid-Residency travel, and a collaborative capstone project. Otherwise, the Residents’ calendars are dominated by unstructured time to allow for individual work schedules and goals.
    • As per standard J-1 visa regulations, travel away from the program is allowed for professional engagements, such as invitations to lecture, read, or appear in another similar capacity. 
    • The Fall Residency is designed for the writer only. Spouses and children are not allowed to accompany a writer, but a visit for up to seven days may be negotiated, though not during IWP-led travel.

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