• 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....

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...


A New Look for a New Year: Introducing the IWP's New Website

The International Writing Program is proud to announce the launch of its newly redesigned website. Here you can find information about the IWP’s many programs and initiatives in one (if we may say so) attractive location: iwp.uiowa.edu

Through strategic partnerships with many international organizations, and frequently with the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, the IWP fosters   relationships and understanding between international and American writers; provides joint distance learning opportunities for American and international students; and publishes materials that bring established and new international voices to a broad audience.

While the URL remains the same, you’ll notice that the redesigned site makes it easier than ever for an extended network of readers, writers, teachers, and students to explore the cache of literary work, presentations, interviews, films, news items, and collaborations accumulated over the IWP’s 45-year history.

Here’s a preview of what you’ll find on the new online home of the IWP:

Since 1967, the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa has been dedicated to welcoming professional writers from across the globe to Iowa City in order to encourage creative engagement, collaboration, and fellowship. Under the Residency tab, you will find listings for 45 years of IWP participants, organized as a searchable database.  You will also find information about our fall residency programming, important forms for residents, and a list of frequently-asked questions for potential nominees and nominators.

The International Writing Program offers classes at the University of Iowa as well as distance learning courses that put American writers and students in direct contact with writers and students worldwide, from Spain, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates to Lebanon and Scotland.  On-campus courses as well as distance learning opportunities will be announced here.

Under the Publications tab, you’ll find 91st Meridian, the program’s online literary journal, as well as information about the 91st Meridian book series published by Autumn Hill Books. The newest offering in the series is a free e-book, How to Write an Earthquake, in which sixteen Haitian writers respond to the 2010 disaster in English, French, and Creole.  Several new volumes are forthcoming.

Each year, the IWP administers a number of special programs, including a international reading tours and creative exchange programs. Additionally, since 2008, the IWP has been bringing together high school students from the U.S. and abroad in a program called Between the Lines. A unique creative writing summer initiative at the University of Iowa, BTL will mark its fifth summer in 2012, hosting a group of young writers from the Middle East and, for the first time, a group from Russia. This is just one of the many initiatives that you’ll find under the Programs tab.

In 45 years of continuous programming, the IWP has amassed a rich archive of original essays, panel papers, short stories, novel excerpts, poems, photographs, interviews, and recordings of older audio and video presentations, all available under the Archives page.

We hope you’ll agree that our new website is an important tool for wide-ranging reading and research, a gateway to new ways of thinking about creative writing’s global potential, and an inspiration for ways of engaging across literary borders.


And now, onward.


Christopher Merrill


The International Writing Program

Shambaugh House Roundup

In 45 years, the IWP has hosted over 1,400 writers, and today it's easier than it's ever been to stay in touch with our former fall residents and to share their work with the public. To that end, here's a brief roundup of recent pieces written by IWP alumni and/or about the IWP that have recently been published online. We will periodically publish these roundups here on the Shambaugh House blog, so check back for more. And if you're an IWP alumnus, feel free to send your updates our way!

Chandrahas Choudhury (IWP '10) recently a piece for The Telegraph explaining how he came to love the novel. 

Bina Shah (IWP '11) has a very interesting piece in Dawn calling for for a greater role for women in Pakistan's business community (and, more generally, for economic independence for all women).

Rajeevan Thachom Poyil (IWP '04) interviewed by GSP Rao at Muse India.

Last but not least, here's a wonderful article in The Spectator by examining the origins and the growth of the International Writing Program by Winston Barclay, a writer and editor with the University News Services. 




This week in Iowa City: Iowa & Invisible Man: Making Blackness Visible

Today marks the beginning of the Invisible Man Project here in Iowa City. This five-day exploration of the work of Ralph Ellison will culminate in a staged reading of the new (and first) stage production of Ellison's Invisible Man, which will open at Chicago's Court Theatre in early 2012. 

The week's events include lectures, panels, and roundtable conversations. All events are free and open to the public. A full schedule of events is available here.

Moshe Sakal Makes the Shortlist for the Sapir Prize

Last week, while many Americans were eating their turkey dinners, novelist and IWP Fall 2011 resident Moshe Sakal's novel Yolanda was shortlisted for the Sapir Prize for Literature, one of Israel's highest literary awards. 

According to Maya Sela writing in Haaretz, "The winner of the Sapir Prize will receive NIS 150,000 and his book will be translated into Arabic and one other language of his choice. The other finalists will receive NIS 25,000 each."

Congratulations Moshe! 

[author photo: Greg Bal]



Ogochukwu Promise Interviewed at the Dept. of State's IIP Site

Here's a wonderful article at the Department of State's IIP site, featuring 2011 fall resident Ogochukwu Promise. A writer of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and children's books, Promise has been deeply invested in literary and humanitarian endeavors in her home country, Nigeria. http://bit.ly/ryJTfA

The IWP in Sierra Leone

During the week of October 24th the IWP visited Sierra Leone to conduct a series of creative writing seminars with local groups including PEN Sierra Leone, the Instituit Francais Film School, the Sentinel English Language Institute, and the Falui Poets Society. The writers also visited the American International School and Forouh Bay College. All seminars were hosted at the US Embassy in Freetown and were facilitated by IWP writers Jenny Browne (poetry) and James O’Brien (fiction). During their weeklong visit, Browne and O’Brien led a diverse number of sessions on constructing character, plot, narrative, and setting in fiction and, in poetry, establishing images, creating rhythm, and performing pieces to an audience. Other topics included close reading, the rhetorical implications of stylistic choices, and revision. The IWP writers additionally discussed with facilitators, teachers, and the potentials and possibilities of integrating creative writing in the classroom and curriculum, and with emerging writers the nature of the publishing world, funding opportunities, and professionalization of the writing career. The trip terminated with an event hosted by the US ambassador, Michael S. Owen, at his residence that included music, stand-up comedy, and readings from the students and the IWP writers.


The outcomes of the visit were illuminating and encouraging; Browne and O’Brien connected with the facilitators and students, and were grateful for the ongoing and sincere support of the US Embassy. Resultantly, the IWP Distance Learning Program, which offers creative writing classes and events to nations and regions that might not otherwise have access to it, decided to pioneer a new, virtual endeavor to maintain relationships with the groups encountered on reading tours and through programs by developing and hosting secure, individualized websites that offer additional creative writing exercises and opportunities for interaction through message boards in order to foster ongoing dialogue between the IWP and writers in Sierra Leone.

IWP Writers Claim two Spots Among 2012 DSC South Asia Prize Shortlisters!

We're thrilled to announce that two IWP writers have made it onto this year's DSC Prize Shortlist! Congratulations to current resident Usha K.R. and alumna Kavery Nambisan (2007) for the well-deserved recognition!


Tonight: A Special Cinemathèque Screening of Historias Extraoridnarias

Tonight, Saturday, Oct. 29th at 7 p.m., the IWP will hold a special Cinemathèque screening of the contemporary Argentine film Historias Extraoridnarias (dir. Mariano Llinás, 2008) in Adler E105. Though this screening is part of a course, it is free and open to the public. And because the film is 245 minutes long, we'll hold a brief intermission so that you can stretch your legs and grab a drink of water!


Lyonel Trouillot (IWP '94, Haiti) Names a Finalist for the Prix Goncourt

A huge congratulations to IWP alumnus Lyonel Trouillot ('94, Haiti), who is a finalist for the Prix Goncourt! http://bit.ly/tW47Cx

You can read recent work of his in "How to Write an Earthquake," published by 91st Meridian Books, an Imprint of Autumn Hill Books. It's a free and downloadable here: http://bit.ly/sj8lqN

IWP to Host Arabic Forum Featuring Iman Humaydan & Naseer Hassan

Arabic Forum

Thurs., Nov. 3, 5:00 pm

Shambaugh House

The International Writing Program will host what promises to be a deeply engaging discussion with two very different writers from the Arab world. Lebanese novelist Iman Humaydan and Iraqi poet Naseer Hassan will be led in a discussion of contemporary Arabic literature and culture by Dénes Gazsi, Assistant Professor of Arabic language and culture at the University of Iowa.

Iman Humaydan (novelist, fiction writer) is the founder of ARRAWI, a non-profit center for marginalized youth in Lebanon. Her short stories, essays, and journalism have appeared in German, Swiss, French, and Arab newspapers and magazines. Her novels B Mithl Beit, Mithl Beirut (B as in Beirut) and Toot Barri (Wild Mulberries), have been published in Arabic, French, German, and English, followed, in 2010, by the third, Hayawat Okhra [Other Lives]. Humaydan co-wrote the screenplay for Chatti ya Deni [Here Comes The Rain], which won the first prize at the 2010 Dubai Film Festival, and edited the creative writing textbook Kitabat alkitabah (2010). Her participation is provided courtesy of the William B. Quarton Foundation.

Naseer Hassan (poet, translator) is the manager of a cultural NGO poetry forum, a producer at Free Iraq Radio, and an award-winning journalist. He has published four poetry collections, [The Circle of Sundial] (1998), [Suggested Signs] (2007), [Being Here] (2008) and Dayplaces (2010). In addition to his [Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems and Critical Articles] (2009), and (Days of the Shore: Selections From the New American Poetry For the Period 1980-2010) (2011), and (Luis George Borges: 60 poems) (2011), he has several book-length translations forthcoming, including House of the Star: Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, and the German philosopher Arthurs Schopenhauer’s philosophical work (The World as Will and Representation). His collected poems were published in 2010 by the Arabic House for Publishing in Beirut. He participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.


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