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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 31, 2005

Sept. 7 Panel Launches 2005 IWP Discussions At Iowa City Public Library

The 2005 series of free Wednesday panels presented by the University of Iowa International Writing Program in the Iowa City Public Library will begin with "Worlds of Letters" at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 7 in Meeting Room A.

Mani Rao (Hong Kong), Ma Thida (Burma), Kristien Hemmerechts (Belgium) and Sherko Fatah (Germany) will address questions including: What is the social and material situation of literature in your country, or in your language domain today? Who is the reading public? Where does writing fit in the general media landscape?

Biographies of the writers are accessible at http://www.uiowa.edu/~iwp/WRIT/WRITmain.html.

Through the IWP 36 writers from 29 countries will be members of the UI community for the next three months. The IWP introduces talented writers to American life; enables them to take part in American university life; and provides them with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. Since 1967, more a thousand writers from more than 120 countries have attended the IWP, including poets, fiction writers, dramatists, screenwriters and non-fiction writers.

The IWP, which functions as a United Nations of writers, stresses the common interests of writers everywhere, in an atmosphere that puts political differences into perspective. For writers who live under repressive regimes, the IWP has provided an unprecedented opportunity to write, speak and interact freely.

The importance of the IWP to international understanding was recognized as early as 1976, when former senator, diplomat and UN Ambassador Averrill Harriman nominated founders Paul and Hualing Nieh Engle for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1995 the program was honored with the Governor's Award for distinguished service to the State of Iowa.

Nearly four decades of residencies have enabled the IWP to accumulate an unparalleled collection of resources on international literature, which have been organized in a library in the Shambaugh House. The IWP remains in contact with former participants, creating an unprecedented literary and intellectual network without national boundaries.

The IWP is staffed and housed by the UI. IWP writers are financed through bilateral agreements with numerous countries; by grants given by cultural institutions and governments abroad; and by private funds that are donated by a variety of American corporations, foundations and individuals. The activities of the IWP are assisted financially by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu