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One Course, Ten Nations

Lithuania. Spain. Mexico. Bali. Puerto Rico. Hong Kong.

These are just some of the nations represented in “International Issues in Creative Nonfiction,” one of the IWP’s spring semester distance learning classes.

The students, UI undergrads to professional journalists, come from ten countries. Texts include books by Dave Eggers, Luis Alberto Urrea, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Suketu Meha. Students consider these and other exemplars of world literature academically and artistically, writing critical and creative work and engaging in live discussions through Elluminate Live, a group video conferencing system. By the end of the course, students will have generated numerous pieces of nonfiction and engaged in extensive collaboration and workshopping.

“International Issues in Creative Nonfiction” operates on a structure similar to courses offered in earlier semesters. The audience, however, marks a paradigmatic shift. Modeled on the IWP’s fall residency, “International Issues in Creative Nonfiction” seeks to bring together persons of numerous nationalities in one setting. The goal: to reach and unite a broader community of writers in a single virtual space.

Previous distance learning classes linked two locations: one domestic, one international. Though bilateral offerings will continue to comprise the bulk of the IWP’s programs, we will open one class a semester open to the global writing community at large. Though the IWP will continue to offer targeted classes with exclusive educational partners, we hope this new endeavor will allow us to provide our programs to a broader population of students, whether adult learners or writers outside of the academy.

Keep an eye on the IWP’s blog and Facebook page for fall semester offerings, and contact distance learning coordinator James O’Brien at james-obrien@uiowa.edu if you’d like to be added to a list of interested parties.

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