• The "On Going Home" series offers a glimpse of what returning home means for authors who have spent three months in the U.S. as part of the International Writing Program's Fall Residency. This installment comes to us from Samuel Kolawole:

    On the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Abuja, two Nigerian men argued over where to put what in the overhead luggage compartment....

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  • The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa will offer the #Flashwrite Teen Poetry MOOC, its first open online course designed exclusively for teenage students, from March 30-May 3, 2016. Students 13-19 years old are invited to write, share, and discuss poetry with Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates and fellow teenage writers...

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  • Narrative Witness: Indigenous Peoples, Australia-United States, a publication from the International Writing Program, is now available.

    The collection features work created during an online exchange that brought together 32 indigenous writers and photographers living in Australia and the United States in fall 2015. During the two-month exchange, the artists created...

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  • By Laura Wang, a current student at the University of Iowa, originally published on laurayingwang.wordpress.comThe Shambaugh House in Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. It was originally the home of Professor Benjamin F. Shambaugh. After passing away in 1940, he gave his home to the University of Iowa, and the Honors Program moved in....

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  • By Alyssa Cokinis, Between the Lines ICRU Fellow

    Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience (BTL) is the International Writing Program’s creative writing and cultural exchange program for teenage writers between the ages of 16 and 19. This summer, two sessions will convene in Iowa City, IA for BTL’s ninth year: Russian/Arabic, which will bring together 32 students from...

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  • Written by Karen Villeda, 2015 Fall Residency Outreach Fellow, in November, 2015

    “He always thought of the sea, as ”la mar,” which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her. Sometimes those who love her say bad things of her but they are always said as though she were a woman. Some of the younger fishermen, those who used buoys as floats for their lines and had... more
  • The "On Going Home" series offers a glimpse of what returning home means for authors who have spent three months in the U.S. as part of the International Writing Program's Fall Residency. This installment comes to us from Rochelle Potkar:

    Iowa is affixed in my mind as this cool place of beauty, sprawling gold fields, the rippling river blue, the talcum sky above, the bridges...

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  • On Thursday January 14th, 2016, IWP joined dozens of literary organizations and hundreds of writers in a Worldwide Reading event, coordinated by the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin to draw attention to the dire situation of the Palestinian-born poet and curator Ashraf Fayadh.  A long-time resident of Saudi-Arabia, Fayadh was arrested in 2014 for “spreading blasphemous ideas among...

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  • The "On Going Home" series offers a glimpse of what returning home means for authors who have spent three months in the U.S. as part of the International Writing Program's Fall Residency. This week's installment comes to us from Raed Anis Al-Jishi:

    I lived in Iowa for more than 12 weeks. It felt like home—a dream home for a writer.

    Libraries with enormous resources. An...

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  • By Karen Villeda, 2015 Fall Residency Outreach Fellow

    In the course of the fall 2015 semester, in my role as the International Writing Program’s Outreach Fellow, I developed a web-based project, titled INTERNATIONAL WRITING PROGRAM: WRITING LIVES!

    First off, the site is a documentary combining text with multimedia (images, videos) generated by some of the IWP 2015...

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52 Weeks of Walt Whitman

“It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”  ― William Carlos Williams

 Need a little more poetry in your life? The IWP has just the thing: WhitmanWeb, a new multimedia gallery that is publishing Walt Whitman’s epic poem, “Song of Myself,” in 52 short weekly installments.

 The gallery, which launched in October, presents a new section of the 52-part poem each week, in English and eight other languages, including the first-ever translation into Persian. Visitors to the gallery can also hear a new section of the poem read aloud each week in English by University of Iowa professor of acting Eric Forsythe, and in Persian by the poem’s co-translator, Iran-born Los-Angeles-based poet Sholeh Wolpe. These two very different voices highlight the internal tensions of the essential American democratic self Whitman captures so successfully in the poem.

 “The influence of ‘Song of Myself’ on American poetry is incalculable,” says poet and IWP director Christopher Merrill. “Whitman insists that ‘every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you’—words that have inspired countless poets to map new worlds. It is hard to imagine William Carlos Williams discovering ‘the pure products of America,’ Theodore Roethke undertaking ‘the long journey out of the self,’ or Allen Ginsburg writing ‘Howl’ absent Whitman.”

 Each week, visitors will also find photographs of Whitman (courtesy of the Walt Whitman Archive), along with commentaries and questions for discussion. There’s even a special WhitmanWeb Facebook page, designed as a forum for international conversation and exchange of ideas about the poem, Whitman, translation, and other topics.

 “Whitman lends himself to cultural translation,” says Whitman scholar and University of Iowa professor Ed Folsom, who co-directs the Walt Whitman Archive. Visitors to WhitmanWeb will find a general introduction as well as a weekly foreword by Folsom and an afterward by Merrill accompanying each new section. Weekly discussion questions draw readers into a conversation with the material. These commentaries, designed to orient, inspire, and challenge readers, are also made available in Persian and Russian, with translations into Chinese and other languages forthcoming.  Ed Folsom and Christopher Merrill spoke about the genesis, development, and international appeal of the WhitmanWeb project during a recent World Canvass radio broadcast “IWP: Telling the Stories of the World” (the discussion, which lasts about 20 minutes, begins at the 1 hour 17 minute mark).

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, section 51

 “Whitman’s idea of a modern self, expansive and capacious, has attracted readers from surprisingly many different languages and literary cultures,” says editor Nataša Ďurovičová, who oversaw the design and coordination of the gallery. “‘Song of Myself’ is challenging to translate because it is a vernacular poem, its language both colloquial and exalted; it speaks to so many people because the first-person-singular voice bursting forth is so imaginative and cerebral yet also coming out of a tangible, material body and the physical world it inhabits. This is poetry one can’t resist reading out loud.”

In addition to making translations of “Song of Myself” available in Chinese (simplified), French, German, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian in one location in a clickable, user-friendly format and opening a forum for international discussion, WhitmanWeb has also commissioned new translations of the poem. In addition to the first-ever translation into Persian, in 2013 the site will publish a new Russian-language translation by young Uzbek poet Alina Dadaeva, an IWP alumna, the first new translation of “Song of Myself” into Russian since 1922. The University of Nanjing (China) has also promised to collaborate on the translation of the weekly commentaries, with additional translations of the poem and commentaries to be added to WhitmanWeb as they become available. Especially exciting is the prospect of publishing not just one, but possibly two translations into Arabic, one a published “classic” from the mid-1980s, one a brand-new version by a Damascus-based poet.

In the internet age, when few of us have time to sit down and read “Song of Myself” from cover to cover, we hope that you’ll take a few minutes each week to visit WhitmanWeb, and read, listen, and join the conversation on Facebook. By the 52nd week, not only will you have read “Song of Myself” in its entirety, but you will have spent a year under the tutelage of Walt Whitman—who knows what great new poetry may emerge as a result?

Images of America

“I will take Iowa with me in my heart to my country…The most important thing about America is the freedom it gives to everybody”—Taleb Al Refai (Kuwait)

On Friday, November 2nd, writers and community members assembled in the Iowa City Public Library for “Images of America,” the final panel discussion of the fall 2012 residency. IWP director Christopher Merrill offered opening remarks and invited the writers to come up to the podium to share experiences, anecdotes, and memories they would take with them back to their countries. In the course of the hour-long panel, fifteen writers offered extemporaneous remarks. “Images of America” prompted both laughter and tears from the audience.  Since there were no papers written for this panel, we’d like to take this opportunity to give you a taste of what was said there.

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman (New Zealand) spoke first, thanking his fellow writers and offering a Maori blessing (many of the writers left Iowa City knowing basic Maori greetings, thanks to Jeffrey's s bilingual interventions). He read two poems about America, one written from outside and another, “The Birds of Pittsburg,” written during the residency, which touched on what emerged as a common theme: that the 10-week residency had reshaped the image of America many writers had prior to their arrival in Iowa.

By popular demand, Taleb Al Refai (Kuwait), came to the podium next and spoke to another common theme: the diversity of the residency cohort. “I will go back to Kuwait full of lovely stories about the many different IWP characters,” Al Refai said. “When I got to Iowa, I wrote a sentence about [each of the writers], a first impression. Day by day, my impression versus the reality of the person changed. I’m sure I will miss Iowa… the capital of literature… I have great memories of Iowa City and [the] IWP.”

Rodrigo Lopes (Brazil) spoke of “How much we have to learn from America [regarding] the importance of education to give perspective on the world” and of how enriching it was for him to meet writers from so many different countries. “A program like this: where else could I find a crazy Belorussian?” Lopes joked, referring to fellow writer, Andrei Khadanovich. “We are spoiled here,” Lopes went on, turning serious again. “I don’t know when I’ll see you,” he said, addressing his fellow writers, “but I hope we’ll meet again in our lives.”

Mohib Zegham spoke of the newspaper articles he had written during the residency: “Now my readers in Afghanistan know a lot about the US and Iowa.” Many of the writers published articles abroad and blogged about the residency experience during their time in the US, giving readers in their home countries a chance to see and learn about America through their eyes.

Milagros Socorro (Venezuela) explained how the residency broadened her perspective on the world: “Before I came here, there was only one country, Venezuela—I am in love with my country. [Being at IWP] I have discovered Venezuela is not alone in the world.”

Andrei Khadanovich (Belarus) fondly recalled driving a tractor during a visit to Solstead earlier that week and expressed the hope that “together we will labor [to forge] a big international web of writers."

Chris Mlalazi (Zimbabwe) recalled “Two and a half months in beautiful Iowa, all four seasons, a source of healing for my heart.”

Lin Chun Ying (Taiwan) spoke of the furtive raccoon he saw on Madison Avenue during his early days in Iowa City. “Sometimes I think I am like that raccoon,” he said, “always hiding. But not here.” 

The audience alternated between raucous laughter and pensive reflection when Jana Beňová (Slovakia) read an original work, “Footnote to Iowa City,” in which each phrase, echoing her key influence, Alan Ginsburg, began with “holy”. Here’s a snippet: “Holy the smoke alarms. Holy the gossip. Holy the election. Holy the time. Holy the end. Holy the road.”

Luis Bravo (Uruguay) spoke about feeling nurtured and encouraged as a writer in Iowa City, joking that “What we call reality…Iowa City calls nonfiction.”

Federico Falco (Argentina) spoke of the silence behind the writers’ doors in Iowa House in the computer age. “In the past there were typewriters…[but it was] very quiet—what are these people doing?” Of Iowa City, Falco said: “there is a place, a whole city of writers writing together. I want to read what was written behind those closed doors.” Take a peek behind those doors by exploring his project: 26 Writers’ Rooms.

Nay Phone Latt (Burma) touched on the common theme of solidarity among writers, regardless of national origin: “In a global age, we are all connected […] we have to think as a global people.”

Genevieve Asenjo (Philippines) explained how the residency served its personal and professional purpose for her, a theme echoed by Pandora (Burma) who called the residency “one of the best experiences of my life” allowing her to share her own culture and to learn about others.

Stephanie Ye (Singapore) spoke to the IWP’s role in “expanding [her] knowledge of the world” in a way she would never forget and to the collaboration that would grow out of the residency, saying she looked forward to translating the works of her fellow writers.

Though there was much more to be said, the hour  was over. Christopher Merrill returned to the podium to conclude the panel. “It’s hard to stay in touch; now you have friends in 28 countries,” Merrill said. “But if experience serves, many of these friendships will endure.”

To the writers of the 2012 residency and others, past and future: as challenging as it may be, please do keep in touch. Share good news for inclusion in quarterly Shambaugh House Roundups by sending it to ashley-r-davidson[at]uiowa.edu and follow us on Facebook and Twitter  to keep up to date on what is happening at the IWP and with your fellow writers. 

Eastbound on Election Day: Writers Travel to DC and NYC

If you had stopped by the lobby of the Iowa House Hotel this morning shortly before 7am, you would have found two dozen writers exchanging last minute hugs, goodbyes, and promises to keep in touch with Iowa City friends and IWP staffers, including Housing Coordinator Mary Nazareth and her husband, Program Advisor Peter Nazareth. Last night, Peter and Mary could be found tearing up the dance floor at the Clinton Street Social Club where IWP writer Rodrigo Lopes (Brazil) performed after the IWP 2012 Farewell Reception, held in honor of the writers at the historic Englert Theatre in downtown Iowa City yesterday evening.

The writers first had a chance to reflect on Iowa and on the residency experience at last Friday’s “Images of America” panel at the Iowa City Public Library. Pandora (Burma) called the residency “One of the best experiences of my life” and explained it had given her a chance to share the culture, landscape, and literature of her own country while learning about those of her fellow writers. Andrei Khadanovich (Belarus) addressed the shared hope that friendships and creative bonds forged during the residency will endure, saying “Together we will labor [to create] a big international web of IWP writers.”

In the final days, as the writers prepared to leave Iowa, their creative home for the past ten weeks, Federico Falco (Argentina) took it upon himself to photograph the spaces in which the writers lived and worked during the residency. His project, “26 Writers’ Rooms” offers a rare glimpse into how each of them configured and transformed these small and seemingly identical spaces into personal havens for writing.

At last night’s farewell reception, IWP director Chris Merrill offered closing remarks and presented each writer with a certificate along with a residency group photo as a way to help writers remember their time in Iowa.  Sitting in the audience at the Englert, watching party-goers mingle onstage before the ceremony, Yaghoub Yadali (Iran) reflected on his time in the residency as “the most productive period of my life” in terms of writing.

Outside Iowa House today, under an early morning drizzle, the writers climbed into waiting vans and headed for the airport, embarking on the end of residency travel period, which will take them first to Washington DC, where they will arrive in time to watch the election results roll in tonight, and later to New York City.

While in Washington, writers will join high school students for the D.C. Youth Poetry Slam at the Martin Luther King Library and participate in discussions and reading groups at DC area schools.

On Thursday, November 8, at 4pm, IWP writers will read at Politics & Prose Book Store, where they will be joined by Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock. A recording of the event in downloadable MP3 format will be made available by Politics & Prose here.

The writers will then travel to New York City, where on Sunday, November 11, new works commissioned from IWP writers on the theme of freedom will be brought to life in a performance by the Battery Dance Company.

While in New York, writers will also meet with literary agents and attend an issue release party for Granta 121: Best of Young Brazilian Novelists at McNally Jackson Books, before heading home to their respective countries next Tuesday.

Shambaugh House feels pretty quiet and empty without the writers around, but we look forward to hearing about their travels and to reading their new writing. And we hope you will let us hear from you too. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check back here soon for more on IWP programming.

Time Flies: the Writers’ Last Week in Iowa City!

It’s hard to believe that the residency is almost over, but it is, and the writers are preparing for one last week of events before heading off to Washington DC and New York City early next week.

This Tuesday, catch the last installment of IWP Cinemathèque with Stephanie Ye (Singapore) presenting the 2006 film Singapore Dreaming, about a family with big dreams living on a small island and the struggles brought on by an unexpected lottery win. E105 Adler Journalism Building, 7:30pm.

Then on Wednesday, join us at the Shambaugh House for a reading by Chilean writer, journalist, film critic, and film director Alberto Fuguet (IWP ’03), 5-6pm. On Thursday at 3:30pm, Fuguet’s film, Country Music, will be showing at the Bijou Theater in the Iowa Memorial Union.

On Friday, join us for a special “Images of America” panel; IWP writers will give their impressions of Iowa  and other places they’ve travelled during the residency. Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A, noon-1pm.

Later Friday afternoon, join us in honoring writer and IWP co-founder Hualing Nieh Engle at her IMPACT Award Ceremony, which will be held in conjunction with a WorldCanvass broadcast  titled: “IWP: Writing the Stories of the World.” Stephanie Ye (Singapore), Lin Chun Ying (Taiwan), Alina Dadaeva (Uzbekistan), Rodrigo Garcia Lopes (Brazil), and Life of Discovery writer Sun Wei (China) will participate in the broadcast, to be held in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.

Finally, on Sunday, Alisa Ganieva (Russia) and Bilal Tanweer (Pakistan) will read at Prairie Lights, 4-5pm. If you’re not in Iowa City, you can always stream it live.

For more IWP news (including photos of weekly panels, readings, and other events), visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Sunil Gangopadhyay (1934-2012): The Artist Returns

(Guest post from Shabnam Nadiya)

Such yearning in the heart, lips that care so much
Still he must go back, must go back
You call this going back? This isn't a pleasure jaunt
The road ends there
Whoever returns to a strange land? You can go. But return?
(Excerpted from The Artist Returns: by Sunil Gangopadhyay, translated by Arunava Sinha)

            I discovered the Nil-Lohit books at a perfect age: I was about thirteen and had received his book Koishore as a birthday gift. Koishore translates as Adolescence, although the clinical English sorely lacks the poetry drenching the Bangla word. I remember the book still, smaller in size than the usual offerings from Ananda Publishers, barely a hundred pages, a laminated white cover with a window painted in vivid colors. I had no idea who the writer Nil-Lohit was, and the book languished on my desk for months before I picked it up one afternoon. I was utterly transformed as only a teenager in love with words and sorrow can be. Sadness like that: isn’t that what adolescence is for?

            The rest of the afternoon I spent by the calm, green waters of the lake near my house, sitting behind the wide trunk of a Flame Tree. Those Flame Trees had hidden much in those days, and they hid my tears that afternoon as well.

            I cannot say why I wept, why the story of a young girl so unlike me called up tears. But I do remember feeling that if only I could meet Nil-Lohit he would surely understand all that I could not put in words. It was a few more weeks before I realized from the back-cover bio that Nil-Lohit was Sunil Gangopadhyay’s pseudonym. Sunil, whose poetry collections and novels took up a half a shelf’s worth of space in my library. The love that had started years ago when I began reading his YA novels on the adventures of Kaka-Babu (uncle) and Shontu, that was cemented as I grew into an avid reader of poetry, transformed into a personal triumph with the discovery of the Nil-Lohit novels, stories narrated by a bohemian soul who flaneured his way through life.

It was as if this was a shared secret between the poet I would never meet and me; a space no one else could share. For after all, I was his one, true reader, I was the one who understood. All his poetry was mine too—I was the reader whose eyes he sought when he crafted those lines. Love like that: isn’t that what adolescence is for?

***

Sunil Gangopadhyay is a towering figure in Bangla literature, straddling both sides of the border in his life and words. Born in Faridpur, a district in present day Bangladesh, he grew up in Kolkata, India. In 1953, he founded a quarterly little magazine called Krittibas, which went on to shape Bangla poetry for decades to come. That same year a poem of his was anthologized in the seminal collection Love Poems of 25 Years. His first poetry collection was published in 1958. In 1966, he published his first novel Atmaprakash (Self-Revelation) which drew inspiration from Kerouac’s On the Road, but was wholly Bangali in spirit. 

Although poetry forever remained his primary love, he was also a prolific novelist, short story writer, memoirist, travel-writer, with over a hundred books published. Among the many awards he won was the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985 for his seminal Shei Shomoy (Those Times), a two-volume novel set against the tumultuous and vast backdrop of the 19th century Bengal Renaissance.

             He was invited twice to Iowa City’s International Writing Program ; once in the early years of the IWP, later in 1981. He wrote a book called Chobir Deshe, Kobitar Deshe (In the Land of Images, In the Land of Poetry) where he recounted his time in France and America.

***

            Chobir Deshe, Kobitar Deshe was and remains one of his more popular non-fiction books on our side of the border. Part memoir, part travelogue, the American chapters cover his time at the IWP and his friendship with Allen Ginsberg.

            I remember reading the book as a teenager, and being enamored of the idea of an institution like the IWP, of such nurturing of poets. Of being enamored of the vivid descriptions of Ginsberg. I remember hunting through the shelves of my literature professor father, looking for something by Ginsberg. If Sunil thought him a good poet, surely he must be worth seeking. And I remember becoming mind-blown upon reading September on Jessore Road and Howl, the latter in a boring looking Norton anthology.  Through such connections are our lives made large.

Sunil wrote of his discovery of the French Impressionists, the creative give and take with the Beat Poets and how all of this enriched his world. And thus he enriched ours. He was one of those people who opened up the world for us, who looked upon the world in its varied and diverse beauty and ugliness and sought to show us the same. “At times I think, there’s no use living anymore/At times I think/I’ll see the world to its end!/At times I rage at people/Yet love has to be given to someone.”

[An earlier version of this piece appeared in Bangla at bdnews.com]

----------------------

Shabnam Nadiya is a writer and translator, who grew up in Jahangirnagar, a small college campus in Bangladesh. She is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; and is currently working on a collection of linked stories called Pariah Dog and Other Stories.

Life of Discovery 2012

From October 26th through November 2nd, the IWP welcomes four top young Chinese writers to Iowa City as part of the Life of Discovery creative exchange project. The four writers, Mao Juzhen, Zhang Yuntao, Sun Wei, and Liu Yewei, arrive in the United States on Wednesday, less than two weeks after it was announced that Mo Yan (IWP ’04, China) had won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Life of Discovery exchange is a collaboration between the IWP and the China Writers' Association (CWA) which brings together young American and Chinese poets, fiction writers, and playwrights to discuss literature, translation, and culture, and to engage in mutual creative writing projects. Through exchange and dialogue, IWP and CWA writers learn about each country's literature, form friendships, and create new work.

In June 2012, four American writers, Amelia Gray, Dora Malech, Kaui Hart Hemmings, and Dan O’Brien, traveled to China for the first leg of the exchange. Now four Chinese writers complete the cycle with a reciprocal visit to the US, stopping first in Chicago before coming to Iowa City for a series of creative meetings and events.

While in Iowa City, the Chinese writers will meet with John Kenyon, director of the City of Literature, and with Hualing Nieh Engle, co-founder of the IWP, among others, as well as with University of Iowa students. Life of Discovery writers will also participate in collaborative workshops and events with writers from 28 countries currently in Iowa City for the fall 2012 residency.

Several events (which are free and open to the public) will also be streamed live through The Writing University. These include:

  • Friday, Oct. 26th 5-6pm: A welcome reception and a reading by Zhang Yuntao and Mao Juzhen at Shambaugh House (430 N. Clinton St)
  • Sunday, Oct 28th 4-5pm: A reading by Sun Wei,  Liu Yewei, and Dora Malech at Prairie Lights Bookstore
  • Friday, Nov. 2nd 5-7pm: A special edition of World Canvass: “IWP: Writing the Stories of the World” with reception to follow (Senate Chamber of Old Capitol Museum)

Full biographies of the American and Chinese participants are available here.

Life of Discovery is made possible through grant funds provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

We hope you will join us this week in welcoming the Life of Discovery writers to Iowa City!

Countdown: Only 15 Days Left in Iowa!

After a weekend in Chicago, which included visits to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home, the Ernest Hemingway Museum, the Poetry Foundation, and the Field Museum of Natural History, as well as forays into Chinatown and Little India, the writers returned to Iowa City late Sunday evening. They now have only 15 days left in Iowa before finishing off the 2012 residency with readings and other events in Washington DC and New York City!

This week, we start out with IWP Cinemathèque, Tuesday night, with Alina Dadaeva (Uzbekistan) presenting Ivan Vassilievich Changes Profession. In this film, a man builds a time machine and, along with an apartment complex manager and a petty burglar, is accidently transported to 16th century Moscow, while Tsar Ivan the Terrible travels to the year 1973. E105 Adler Journalism Building, 7:30pm.

Friday’s panel, “At Language’s Edge,” will be held in the Gerber Lounge (English Philosophy Building, room 304) with Genevieve Asenjo (Philippines), Rodrigo Garcia Lopes (Brazil), and Taleb Al Refai (Kuwait).  Noon-1, pizza provided.

Then Friday at 5pm, join the IWP in welcoming Chinese writers Liu Yewei, Mao Juzhen, Sun Wei, and Zhang Yuntao to Iowa City. IWP Director Chris Merrill will officially welcome the writers and Zhang Yuntao and Mao Juzhen will give a reading.  The writers are part of the Life of Discovery creative exchange project,  a collaboration between IWP and the China Writers’ Association which puts writers from People's Republic of China in direct contact with American writers with the goal of fostering creative and academic exchange.The writers will be in Iowa from Oct. 26th through Nov 2nd. Join our Life of Discovery Facebook Event for more details about free public events during their visit.

On Sunday, Life of Discovery writers Sun Wei and Liu Yewei will read with poet Dora Malech, who traveled to China last June as part of Life of Discovery 2012. 4-5pm at Prairie Lights.

With only two weeks left in the 2012 residency, we hope you will join us in Iowa City this week or visit The Writing University to hear many of these events streamed live.

Shambaugh House Roundup!

We’re overdue for a Shambaugh House Roundup, in which we share good news from our associates, friends, and alumni, as well as a few choice bits from within the walls of Shambaugh House, home of the International Writing Program. As always, if you have news to share, send it our way and we'll include it in an upcoming post.

To begin, of course huge congratulations are in order for Mo Yan (IWP ’04, China) who has been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. Mo Yan was praised by the Swedish Academy for merging "folk tales, history and the contemporary" with "hallucinatory realism." Mo Yan is the second IWP alumnus to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; Orhan Pamuk (IWP ’85) won the Prize in 2006.

This summer, IWP friend and colleague Natasha Trethewey was named the new Poet Laureate of the United States. Trethewey accompanied IWP on a reading tour of Cyprus in 2008 and joined us that same year in Paros, Greece for the IWP's New Symposium exploring the theme "Home/Land."

Lília Maria Clara Momplé (IWP ’97 Mozambique) was recently announced the winner of the 2011 José Craveirinha Literary Prize. The prize, established in 2003, recognizes distinguished Mozambican authors. Here's an article about her win (in Portuguese).

Current IWP resident Jana Beňová (Slovakia) was here in Iowa City when she learned that she had won a European Union Prize for Literature for her book Café Hyena (Plán odprevádzania) (Café Hyena (Seeing People Off)). You can read a sample of the book here. The prize aims to bring the work of winning writers from a dozen EU countries to a wider international audience, and touch readers beyond national and linguistic borders.

Eavan Boland (IWP’79, Ireland), won a PEN Center USA 2012 Literary Award for A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet.

Andrea Hirata (IWP ’10, Indonesia) was profiled in The Wall Street Journal in anticipation of the release of his autobiographical novel, The Rainbow Troops, in the U.S. in January 2013. The book, which describes the hardships endured by a group of impoverished children on the remote Belitung Island, off the southern tip of Sumatra, sold over a million copies in Indonesia.

The Words Without Borders “Oil” issue features three IWP alumni: Maria Sonia Cristoff (IWP ’11, Argentina), Anja Kampmann (IWP ’10, Germany), and Etienne van Heerden (IWP ’90, South Africa) as well as several translators from the University of Iowa MFA in Translation program.

Poet Jan-Willem Anker (IWP ’09, Netherlands) has a debut novel coming out, A Civilised Man, based on the looting of the Acropolis by Lord Elgin.

IWP Between the Lines Instructor Camille T. Dungy (who  also travelled with the IWP in Africa) co-edited Passageways, the first book out from Two Lines Press,  through the The Center for the Art of Translation.

Alex Epstein (IWP ’07, Israel) is publishing seven micro stories in Electric Literature's Recommended Reading. Once all are published, the entire set will be available for free download in Kindle and EPub formats.

Meena Kandasamy (IWP '09, India) was featured in DNA’s: The great Indian rewrite, which took a look at contemporary Indian writers writing in English. 

Congratulations to all these fine IWP writers!

If you have news or information you'd like to share, please send it along to: ashley-r-davidson[at]uiowa.edu.

IWP Alumnus Wins Nobel Prize, Writers Travel to Chicago

It was an exciting week at the IWP with the announcement Friday that Mo Yan (IWP ’04, China) had been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature. Mo Yan is the second IWP alumnus to win the prize, after Orhan Pamuk in 2006. Check back here soon for a Shambaugh House Quarterly Roundup with other good news from IWP alumni. If you have news or information you’d like to be included, please send it along to ashley-r-davidson [at] uiowa.edu.

Last week, current IWP writers also got a chance to talk with WW Norton editors Robert Shapard and James Thomas during a special question and answer session. Shapard and Thomas, who edited the anthologies Sudden Fiction and Flash Fiction Forward, were in Iowa City in part to talk about their new anthology, Flash Fiction International, for which they are currently accepting submissions.

The schedule of upcoming events is slightly different than usual this week, so here’s the rundown of what you have to look forward to:

On Tuesday, at IWP Cinemathèque, Rodrigo Garcia Lopes (Brazil) presents the short film Satori Uso and Milagros Socorro (Venezuela) presents the feature film Hermano. E105 Adler Journalism Building. 7:30pm

On Wednesday, tune in at 3pm to hear Genevieve Asenjo (Philippines), Alisa Ganieva (Russia), Jeffrey Paparoa Holman (New Zealand), Christopher Mlalazi (Zimbabwe), Pandora (Burma), and Stephanie Ye (Singapore) on KRUI-FM’s The Lit Show, which streams live.

On Wednesday, we have the Shambaugh House reading with Jeffrey Paparoa Holman (New Zealand), and Dimitris Lyacos (Greece/Italy), 5-6pm. For those of you outside Iowa City, don’t worry, if you can’t join us, you can always stream it live.

On Thursday night, Luis Bravo (Uruguay) and Federico Falco (Argentina) participate in the latest installment of the Anthology reading series, in conjunction with the Works in Progress Festival, at PSZ, 120 N. Dubuque St., 9pm.

No Friday Iowa City Public Library or Sunday Prairie Lights reading this week, as the writers travel to Chicago to soak up the literary culture of the windy city.

For more IWP news (including photos, news, and other events), visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Already Week 7! Writers Join in Celebration of Paul Engle Day

Having passed the halfway point, there are still more than sixty events scheduled for the 2012 residency! In addition to regular IWP events, this week includes a joint reading by former Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell and IWP director and poet Christopher Merrill as well as a celebration of Paul Engle Day, which honors the IWP’s co-founder who was also a long-time director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

The proclamation, signed by former Governor Tom Vilsack in 2000, recognizes Engle for having “brought the literary world to Iowa” and commends him and his wife, Hauling Nieh Engle (who will be honored later this month with an International Impact Award) for founding the IWP, which “each year creates a world-wide community of writers.”

This year, the annual Paul Engle Literary Festival, which coincides with the celebration of Paul Engle Day, (October 12th, Engle’s birthday), includes a screening of the documentary film “City of Literature” at the Englert Theatre this Sunday, October 14th at 2pm. This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring UI professor of English Loren Glass, Marvin Bell, and Jim Harris, the founder of one of Iowa City’s most beloved independent bookstores, Prairie Lights.

On Monday, 7-8pm at Prairie Lights, Bell and Merrill will read from their new book of prose poems, Everything at Once, written collaboratively by email. Bell, one of America’s leading poets and an emeritus faculty member at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, has been described by The Harvard Review as having "the largest heart since Walt Whitman." Merrill, who led the initiative to have Iowa City designated a UNESCO City of Literature, has published four collections of poetry, translations, several edited volumes and five books of nonfiction, and his work has been translated into 25 languages. If you’re outside Iowa City, you can stream the reading live.

On Tuesday, IWP Cinemathèque returns with Jeffrey Paparoa Holman (New Zealand) presenting When A City Falls (New Zealand, dir. Gerard Smyth), a documentary about how earthquake survivors struggle to recover and rebuild. E105 Adler Journalism Building. 7:30pm

On Friday, we’re back at the Iowa City Public Library with a “Works in Progress” panel featuring Christopher Mlalazi (Zimbabwe), Barlen Pyamootoo (Mauritius), Luis Bravo (Uruguay), and Milagros Socorro (Venezuela). Meeting Room A, noon-1pm. Panels stream live, and the papers presented can be found in the IWP Archives. This week’s panel is also the first event of the 2012 Works in Progress Festival.

After the panel, head over to the Shambaugh House for our Friday reading with Choi Myoung Sook and Hae Yisoo (both of South Korea). 5-6pm. For those of you outside Iowa City, don’t worry, you can stream it live.

Then Sunday, we’re back at Prairie Lights for a reading with Lin Chun Ying (Taiwan), Pandora (Burma), and Writers’ Workshop student James Molloy, 4-5pm, also streamed live.

For more IWP news (including photos of weekly panels, readings, and other events), visit us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Hope to see you soon!

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