historic changes in the structure and leadership of THE INTERNATIONAL
WRITING PROGRAM. Following the retirement of outgoing director Clark
Blaise in June, the College of Liberal Arts reaffirmed its commitment
to the Program by integrating the IWP under the administrative aegis
of the Program in Comparative Literature. A steering committee was convened
to assess the needs of the IWP, submitting its recommendations to Dean
Linda Maxson. Professor Steven Ungar, chair of the Program in Comparative
Literature, was appointed Interim Director of the IWP while the search
for a new director was being conducted. The IWP is now part of what
will soon be a Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature (CCL)
of the IWPs third decade its thirty-first year of continuous
service to world literature was characterized by change. The
1998 session opened with significant alterations in personnel. The search
for the IWPs new director is in its final phase, with the director
scheduled to take office on July 1, 1999. Staffing changes during this
year of transition include key staff positions such as audiovisual coordinator,
translation coordinator/editorial associate, and program secretary.
These will be finalized by the newly appointed director.
major source of external support, the United States Information Agencys
International Visitor Program, continued its vital participation
in the IWP. 1998 also marked the first full year that the program was
administered by USIA Program Officer Audrey Annette Ford.
writers from seventeen countries attended attended the 1998 program.
In addition, an American journalist supported by the CASE Foundation
took part in the program for a week, bringing the participation to a
total of twenty authors from eighteen nations. Moldova and Switzerland
were represented for the first time in the IWP; quite fittingly, these
two new member-nations represent countries that are among the worlds
youngest and oldest democracies. The IWP now lists 114 nations as constituents,
with approximately 854 authors participating throughout the 31 years
since the programs founding. In 1998, nine of the writers were
fully supported by the US Information Agency, which began its history
of sponsorship in 1968; the other half came to Iowa this year through
the continued support of cultural agencies in other countries and international
institutes based in the United States.
continued its mission through the astute direction provided by Steven
Ungar, through the efforts expended by the reduced staff, and through
support from the Graduate College, the Office of the Provost,
the Office of Arts Center Relations; and cooperative endeavors
with the Writers Workshop, the Department of English,
and International Programs.
sources of support within the Iowa City community provided the necessary
links between the programs past and its future; among them, such
longstanding friends as First National Bank of Iowa City were
undergoing a metamorphosis in designation (to Mercantile Bank), but
provided a much needed and appreciated steadfastness in the service
and hospitality they provided to the program and our writers. Perhaps
these transitions are merely the headwaters, the neap tide in the millennial
current upon which our sense of time and event are borne. The enduring
combination of efforts from the programs sources federal,
state, corporate, and private funding work in unity with the
academic and administrative components of The University of Iowa; they
are the lighthouses, the seawalls, and the foundations on which the
report provides details of the 1998 International Writing Program and
its efforts and activities, its accomplishments and plans.
of the 1998 Participants
youth, and experience exemplify the dynamic and the character of this
years constituency. A notable characteristic defining this years
writers was their relative youth; collectively, 1998 featured the youngest
in the programs history of participants, the culmination of a
trend that became apparent two years ago. Where the median age of the
1996 writers was 44, and 1997 average was forty, in 1998 the average
age was 37. Of the nineteen participants, six were born in the 1970s,
one in 1969. The youngest of this years writers was 21 years old:
Beatrice Kobow attended the IWP through a new exchange-student
arrangement with the German government involving the Writers Workshop
and the IWP, and through a grant from Mrs. Joan E. Vander Naald. Well-established
and seasoned talent was provided by veteran authors Igal Sarna
(Israel), Kofi Anyidoho (Ghana), Mahmud Shuqair (West
Bank), Erendiz Atasü Sayron (Turkey), Emil Zopfi
(Switzerland) and U Pe Myint (Burma). Rounding out the roster
are writers with nationally-recognized and established careers: Brazilian
fiction writer and journalist Bernardo Texeira Carvalho, poet
András Petöcz (Hungary), Moldovan poet, novelist,
and editor Vasile Gîrnet, Argentinean poet Fabián
Casas. Lithuanian author Jurate Sucylaites publications
have begun appearing prolifically, though only recently, because of
her countrys political and economic changes; by contrast, Polish
author Agnieszka Kolakowska was already well known as a translator
and essayist before she received a grant from the Jurzykowski Foundation
to write her first novel at the IWP.
Though it was a relatively smaller group than in previous years, this
years constituency achieved balance in terms of career accomplishment,
writing genres, and regional representation. Over half of the participants
write in more than one genre; six of the 19 are primarily poets, six
write plays in addition to fiction or poetry, and twelve support their
writing by careers as journalists, cultural commentators, and editors
of publications, or as translators. Eight of the nineteen writers were
women, maintaining the gender balance being established in the IWP.
This demographic fact was countered by an equitable (though not fully
balanced) regional distribution. Three writers represented Latin American
literature (we facetiously referred to them as the ABCs, Argentina,
Brazil, Chile). Asia and the Pacific (strongly represented in previous
years) sent three writers, though none from the Pacific islands or the
antipodes. Two authors came from western Europe; six from eastern and
central Europe; two from Africa; and three from the Mediterranean region
and the Middle East.
The writing was also enriched by a variety of careers. Dr. Erendiz
Atasü Sayron taught in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Ankara University
before devoting her time to writing; Dr. Jurate Sucylaite works
as a psychiatrist; Dr. U Pe Myint was a medical doctor in Yangon
before serving as editor of two publishing houses. Igal Sarna, who
won the IBM Prize for Tolerance for a series of articles about political
refugees in Israeli prisons, is an investigative reporter and previously
served as a tank commander in the Israeli army. Phan Trieu Hai
works with the management of the Issho Iwai Corporation in Ho Chi Minh
City. Before turning to teaching creative writing, Emil Zopfi
was a computer engineer, as well as a seasoned rock-climbing expert
who has scaled mountains all over the world. Anastasiya Gosteva,
trained as a physicist, works in the Barins Realty Company in
As we came to know the writers and learned more about their backgrounds,
a unique commonality or biographic motif emerged. 1998 might well be
designated "the year of literary daughters." Of the eight women, five
are second-generation writers, whose parents (father, mother, or both)
were well-known literary figures in their countries. Agnieszka Kolakowska
began her career translating the work of her father, critic and scholar
Leszek Kolakowski, who recently received Polands most prestigious
literary award. The mother of Jurate Sucylaite was a famous dissident
Lithuanian poet, and her travails and the ramifications of her political
convictions shaped Jurates own writing. Han Kangs
parents are both well-known Korean poets and fiction writers. Ayeta
Anne Wangusa is the daughter of Ugandas famous novelist Timothy
Wangusa, and by her account, her fathers regional background
certain geographic features identified with the senior Wangusas
work figures in Ayetas first novel. Though she is not a
second-generation writer herself, Anastasiya Gostevas academic
training in physics, which she shares with her father, shows as a noticeable
influence in the philosophy and style of her first novel, Samurais
Daughter. Erendiz Atasü traces her writing roots to
two maternal lines preceding her. We are considering a future project
that might feature this distinctive quality of literary continuity
and generational craftsmanship, a heritage of storytellers from
this years writers.
Developments in 1998-99
reduction in funding led to reductions in staffing. The
impact was felt most significantly in the areas of editorial work, secretarial
support, community events, and publications. At present, the IWPs
outreach is provided by the video project.
With the resignation of the editorial associate at the start of the
schoolyear, the duties of editing and preparing writers work for
classroom use, coordinating translations, and overseeing the publication
of 100 Words were filled by research assistants. The editorial
associate, Carolyn Brown, had completed much of the editorial work before
she left but other duties and commitments had to be filled on short
notice. Director Ungar assigned the graduate student assistants to fill
the programs staffing needs, and we acknowledge with deep appreciation
the continuing support of the Graduate College, in particular,
Dean Leslie B. Sims. The program also acknowledges the support of Assistant
Dean Sandra Barkan in authorizing the services of an emergency appointee,
Iowa Arts Fellow Gila Primak, to fill the short-term secretarial needs
of the program during the spring 1999 semester.
The IWPs previous secretary, Jane Bradbury, moved to Kansas City
in July 1998. The tasks of coordinating local field trips and providing
logistic and technical support for the writers had previously augmented
her secretarial and bookkeeping responsibilities; the three-quarter
time position was cut back to half-time. The job was assumed for the
fall semester by Mary Jones, who held a concurrent half-time position
with Literature, Science and the Arts.
The staffing for the IWPs many 1998 activities was sustained by
the remaining staff, consisting of the program associate, the audiovisual
coordinator, the housing assistant, three research assistants, and five
undergraduate work/study assistants. Professor Shelley Berc, on developmental
leave, arranged the playwrights visits to the east coast. Professor
Peter Nazareth (jointly appointed in the Department of English and in
African-American World Studies) taught International Literature Today
with program associate, Rowena Torrevillas.
In short, while the administrative burdens were carried by the director
and two fulltime staff members, a half-time secretary and the housing
assistant, the implementation of the logistics were borne largely by
graduate assistants Megan Buzzi, Jen Hofer, Cris Mattison, and Keith
Knox (Peter Nazareths teaching assistant), supported by five work/study
driver/clerks and audiovisual assistants. During the 1998 session, the
fulltime staff members were program associate Rowena Torrevillas and
audiovisual coordinator Lem Torrevillas; with housing assistant Mary
Nazareth, they combined efforts for an equivalent of 46 years of work
experience in the IWP: Rowena Torrevillas and Lem Torrevillas having
begun work in 1985, and Mary Nazareth in 1976 a work history
that stood them in good stead when the session was at its busiest and
program resources at their most challenging.
New developments were instituted by Director Steven Ungar during
the 1998 session. The first of these innovations sought to integrate
the IWP further into the universitys academic life. The series
of panel discussions is now a seminar offered for credit to University
of Iowa students. The new class is designated Dialogues in International
Literature. The weekly panel discussions, held on Wednesdays in
the John C. Gerber Lounge (304 English-Philosophy Building) from 3:30
to 5:00, feature three to four writers and a faculty panelist. The moderator
is Steven Ungar. These seminars are videotaped and rebroadcast on the
local cable stations, where they are currently running on the University
cable channel and the Iowa City Public Access television stations. A
description of the seminar appears later in this report.
The responsibility for community events, hospitality, and field trips
were distributed among the staff. The opening and closing receptions
were hosted by Steve and Robin Ungar at their home. The Ungars also
organized an all-day trip along the Mississippi River from Dubuque to
the Wisconsin border. The director also offered to organize a trip to
Chicago, which scheduling difficulties precluded, although a number
of writers expressed great interest in exploring the city.
During the weekends, particularly while the Iowa weather remained clement,
day-trips to local attractions were organized by staff, particularly
by work/study assistant Jason Khongmaly and audiovisual coordinator
Lem Torrevillas. They took groups of writers swimming in Coralville
Lake and the Coralville Reservoir, on shopping trips to the outlet shopping
center in Williamsburg and to the newly-opened Coral Ridge Mall (where
writers watched movies at the multiplex). Smaller groups of writers,
led by the adventurous Igal Sarna, visited the Kalona Mennonite/Amish
community and the Amana Colonies, while Swiss rock-climber Emil Zopfi
and his wife Christa explored local caves and the hills and visited
the Swiss-immigrant community of New Glarus, Wisconsin.
Seeking to bridge the past and solidify the future of the program, the
director initiated receptions honoring the outgoing director
Clark Blaise and program co-founder Hualing Nieh Engle.
Program associate Rowena Torrevillas coordinated these the events with
the entities where the receptions were held. The reception for Clark
Blaise was hosted by First National Bank at the start of the session,
in conjunction with the Banks annual reception for the IWP. The
reception honoring Mrs. Engle was held toward the end of the program,
and served also as the inauguration of a new project conceived by Steven
Ungar: the Engle Reading Series. As envisioned by the
director, the annual series would be used as a fund-raising occasion;
the event would bring an IWP alumnus back to the program for a reading
and a lecture each year, in honor of the program founders, Paul Engle
and Hualing Nieh Engle.
The US Information Agency Program Officer, Audrey Annette Ford,
who coordinates the IWP with the International Visitor Program in Washington,
D.C., was invited to visit the program. She spent three days at the
University of Iowa meeting with the writers, university administration
and IWP staff, and conducting an evaluation session with this years
USIA-supported participants. Steven Ungar had previously met with Ms.
Ford twice during visits to the Agency in Washington, D.C. at the outset
of his tenure.
In the months since he assumed the leadership of the program, Steven
Ungar has sought to establish and renew connections for the IWP.
Working closely with the University of Iowa Foundation, he has visited
with corporate and foundation supporters in Minneapolis and New York
City, among them the Grotto Foundation and the Japan Foundation, and
he continually seeks to solidify the programs funding base. He
also reached out to the programs former participants, and during
the middle of the session he sent a letter to the entire list of nearly
a thousand alumni of the IWP, conveying his greetings and a status report
on the program.
One of the changes resulting from the reorganization of the IWP was
the decision to suspend the publication of the program journal, 100
Words. Now in its sixth year since its founding by IWP fellows Rolf
Hughes and Mark Shatunovsky, the journal increased its subscription
base and sustained its partial funding from the University of Iowa
Student Government and International Programs. Submissions
to the five annual editions continue to arrive from many sources, through
regular postage, electronic mail, and via fax. While the scope of 100
Words continues to be international, materials submitted by United
States-based writers far outnumbered the entries received from abroad.
With the journals increasing domestic success, a trend surfacing
during the past two years indicates a somewhat disproportionate ratio
between international and US-based submissions. Lacking the staff and
financial support needed to sustain the quality of the journal, the
program decided that Volume 6 would be discontinued until the form and
staffing of future IWP publications is determined.
The search for a new director is being completed. A search committee,
headed by Prof. Ed Folsom of the Department of English, was convened
at the start of the fall semester. The new director will be appointed
to the faculty of Comparative Literature, in addition to possessing
requisite background in creative writing and translation. The program
is confident that the transition toward new direction will proceed smoothly
and seamlessly, given the conscientious and firmly-grounded transition
that is being provided by the current director.
IWP continues to be the threshold through which its writers step into
international renown. The most recent successes of previous participants
include reviews and excerpts in the New York Times and in the
Times internet edition, of three books by Viktor Pelevin
(Russia, 1996), Orhan Pamuks latest novel (Turkey, 1986), and
books by Israeli authors Savyon Liebrecht (1990) and A.B. Yehoshua (1968-69).
Liebrechts book, and one of Pelevins novels,were completed
here. We are proud to have introduced them and their work to the United
course, International Literature Today.
was developed in 1986 by Daniel Weissbort and Frederic Will, with eight
students attending the first time it was offered. In the succeeding
twelve years, the program has limited class size to forty, though it
has proven so popular that special admission is granted to allow enrollment
by as many as fifty upper-level students from a variety of disciplines.
Several students have repeatedly taken the class over the years, a phenomenon
explainable not only because of the unique attractions of firsthand
experience with three dozen nationalities and cultures, but because
the content of the class renews itself each year. The classes were held
on Monday afternoons from September 7 through October 19, and most of
the program members attended each session as well. A change of venue
took place this year; in previous years classes were held on the first
floor of the EPB, in lecture hall 107; in 1998, a more convenient location,
427 EPB, was provided for International Literature Today. Prof. Peter
Nazareth, who co-teaches the course with Rowena Torrevillas, provides
this summary on the class:
The class had an enrollment of 48 students. There were six class sessions
of 2 hours, held on Monday from 3:30-5:20. Translations of the work
of each writer in the Program (not exceeding ten pages) were made available
to the students the week before the writer was to speak in class. Keith
Knox worked as a Teaching Assistant, distributing material and asking
questions of the writers and the writing to stimulate the thinking of
At the end of the sessions, each student turned in a ten-page paper
on the writing and/or writers of particular interest to the student.
Most of the papers were brilliant analyses of the work of the writers.
The IWP made photocopies of all the papers and circulated them among
the writers. The writers were very impressed at how deeply the students
had got into the work. Some of the writers were praised by all the students,
while others were praised by some and found fault with by others, which
is an indication of how much the writers and their work stimulated thought
among the students. There was variety in the formats used, some students
interviewing the writers and drawing on these interviews to interpret
the work. Our judgment is that these were the best essays since the
class was first offered in the early 1980s.
seminars, "Dialogues in International Literature."
panel discussions were offered for one credit hour, a new academic link
forged by the director at the start of the semester. One student availed
himself of the opportunity to attend the seminars for a semester hours
credit, and he fulfilled the final requirement by submitting a ten-page
exegesis of the seminar series.
were held throughout the writers residency, on Wednesdays from
3:30 to 5 PM in the John C. Gerber Lounge of the EPB. The topics for
discussion were formulated by the program associate and the director
during the preparatory phase of the program. The topics and a description
of them were among the preliminary information data sent to each of
the writers prior to their participation in the program, with the request
that each person indicate her or his preference for the panel on which
to speak. The composition of the panels was finalized during the orientation
meeting held on the writers arrival. Preliminary meetings were
held a week before each discussion, to finalize the issues and aspects
each participant was planning to discuss. These sessions were videotaped,
produced and edited in a format that rendered the discussions in broadcast
quality, and are currently being aired regularly on local cable.
All the seminars were moderated by Steven Ungar. The series opened on
September 2 with "Creating Identities Through Literature," led
by the director, with speakers Beatrice Kobow, Ayeta Anne Wangusa, Han
Kang, and Mahmud Shuqair. September 9 featured a topic that was fairly
new to the seminar series, "Book and PowerBook: Writing and Technology."
The faculty panelist was Prof. R. Brooks Landon of the Department
of English, and he guided discussion by a diverse group of panelists:
Anastasiya Gosteva, Emil Zopfi, Phan Trieu Hai, and András Petöcz,
who represented a range of technological experience and philosophical
points of reference. Steven Ungar moderated the third seminar, which,
quite appropriately for the topic, "Writing Short Fiction and Shorter
Fiction: The Long and the Short of It," featured brevity in its
panel line-up of Mahmud Shuqair and András Petöcz.
"The Writer as Translator" on September 30, with faculty panelist
and Translation Workshop director Daniel Weissbort," drew the largest
group of speakers: Fabián Casas, Agnieszka Kolakowska, Germán
Carrasco, Erendiz Atasü Sayron, and Beatrice Kobow. On October
7, Prof. David Hamilton of the Department of English, and editor of
The Iowa Review, served as faculty panelist for "Literary
Nonfiction." A lively discussion of that amorphous genre was staged
by Bernardo Carvalho and Igal Sarna (who arrived in time to debate with
Bernardo, despite Igals delayed return flight from Tel Aviv to
Iowa City), and by U Pe Myint, who provided some historical background
defining literary reportage. The final seminar was held at the International
Center on November 11, following a reception hosted by International
Programs. "Images of America," the culminating topic that sought
to summarize the writers impressions and preconceived notions
of the United States, was led by faculty panelist Ed Folsom, who responded
to presentations by Emil Zopfi, Jurate Sucylaite, and Germán
and Context class.
of this informal class were taught by Steven Ungar on Wednesdays at
11 in the morning in the Mayflower Conference Room. He integrated discussions
of American culture and American idiom with the study of written selections
taken from a variety of sources, including features from The New
York Times. Approximately 12 writers attended the class regularly.
Shelley Berc once again used her range of theatre contacts to provide
the IWP playwrights with valuable experiences in New York and in Portland
(Maine). She provides the following report on a successful project,
which brought five IWP writers (with the travel coordination of research
assistant Megan Buzzi) to have readings of their work staged in professional
venues, and also provided a reunion with Hungarian writer András
Nagy (IWP 1993). The project also represents the generous efforts of
community volunteers, who provided hospitality for the writers in Portland.
Playwrights Readings in Portland.
October 24th through October 26th IWP writers Petösz, Kobow,
Casas, Mukhina, Shuqair and former IWP fellow András Nagy
were in residence for their readings at Portland Stage Company in Portland
Maine. They were housed in Portland by members of the theater community.
They rehearsed their plays with professional actors and directors that
the theater provided. Opening night was a great success. The theater
was full (about 250 seats) and the audience was extremely receptive.
Artistic Director Anita Stewart received many compliments the next day.
The IWP relation with Portland Stage Company is very solid (this is
our third year of presentations) and pledged the continuation of the
program. Portland Stage printed a program and The University of Iowa
and the IWP were prominently mentioned and thanked.
A great deal of the funding for this event came from the Council of
International Visitors of Portland which hosted a special reception
for the writers and helped arrange their housing.
Readings in New York.
November 2nd IWP writers Petösz, Mukhina and former IWP writer
readings of their plays at New York Theater Workshop. NYTW is one of
the most important Off Broadway theaters in New York, having produced
plays such as Angels in America and Rent. The IWP writers
rehearsed their plays in the morning with professional actors provided
by the theater and the readings were held in the afternoon as part of
the theatres Mondays at 3:00 new play reading series. While
the readings in Portland were directed to the general public, those
at the NYTW were aimed exclusively at theater professionals artistic
directors, dramaturgs and theater agents. A total of 50 people attended
the readings. The session was presented by Associate Director Linda
Chapman and Artistic Director Jim Nicolla. After the reading there was
a discussion and a questions and answers session. The playwrights were
extremely happy with the results of this session and Ms. Mukhina (who
has five plays running concurrently in Moscow theatres) had an interview
with a prominent playwriting agent afterward. Several of the directors
asked for copies of the plays to read and consider for production. The
University of Iowa and the IWP were thanked by the organizers for making
possible the event as well as being prominently mentioned in the playbill.
Ms. Chapman and Mr. Nicolla were very happy with the results and promised
to continue supporting and developing the project. After the readings,
Martha Coigney, director of the International Theatre Institute/US office,
had a dinner for the writers at the theatre followed by another discussion
on international playwriting and common problems of the world theatre
community. Forty people attended. Ms. Coigney provided free theatre
tickets for the IWP writers to see New York theatre. The IWP acknowledges
with great appreciation the contributions of these colleagues of Prof.
Berc, who are prominent figures in American theatre.
Workshop director Daniel Weissbort developed the pioneering interactive
translation workshop, in which graduate students of translation work
face-to-face with writers of the IWP to produce translations of the
writers original texts in literary, colloquial English. We believe
this is one of the only, and perhaps the only, institution that offers
the opportunity for translators to confer directly with the authors.
The translators do not necessarily work with the primary source language;
in some cases, a rough English translation is produced by the author.
Individual writers are matched with students in the class, and the translation
process progresses throughout the semester, and occasionally the collaboration
continues after the author has returned home. Issues in literary translation
are discussed in conjunction with specific texts. Another stimulating
aspect resulting from the class dynamic is the production of multiple
versions in the translation of a single text, where several students
offer individual interpretations of one selection. Eleven students were
enrolled through the Program in Comparative Literature and the Department
The pairings for the Translation Workshop included Swiss fiction writer
Emil Zopfi who worked with translation Chad Bennet; Russian playwright
Olga Mukhina, with Michael Dumanis; Chilean poet Germán
Carrasco, with Sarah Freeman; Vietnamese fiction writer Phan
Trieu Hai, with Johannes Góransson; Korean author Han
Kang, with Karen Kyung Lee; translator Carrie Messenger worked with
Moldovan poet and novelist Vasile Gîrnet. Gila Primak,
who works in three languages, translated the works of Russian author
Anastasiya Gosteva and Israeli author Igal Sarna. Cheeni
Rao worked with Burmese writer U Pe Myint, and also with Igal
Sarna. The translations for Beatrice Kobow were shared by Carrie
Messenger, Sarah Townsend, and Jason Vincz; Sarah Townsend also worked
with Anastasiya Gosteva. Alexandra Rios worked with Argentinean poet
Fabián Casas and with Turkish novelist Erendiz Atasü,
and Jason Vincz forged a very successful collaboration with Hungarian
poet András Petöcz. The involvement in translation
was apparently a career-transforming experience for Chilean poet Germán
Carrasco, who returned to Chile with the intention of translating an
ambitious anthology of contemporary American poets.
Research assistant and MFA candidate Jen Hofer assisted Professor Weissbort
with the class, as did graduate research assistant Cris Mattison.
the IWPs only source of public presence, the video project was
developed over the past twelve years by audiovisual coordinator Lem
Torrevillas. He has expanded the projects coverage to include
documentation of all writers activities, including field activities.
With the acquisition of additional technology, the features include
increasingly sophisticated visual production techniques, through the
use of a nonlinear editing program. Despite an unusually rigorous work
schedule, the IWP was able to provide additional video services to the
writers, including producing a short film that was shown in Leipzig
in November. Lem Torrevillas submits this account of the video project:
We were able to tape the interviews conducted between staff and all
the writers this year. In addition to producing the seminar series,
we planned to augment the regular complement of individual half-hour
interviews with additional shows featuring writers in conversation;
these would be rendered in alternative formats, such as conversations
one-on-one between writers, an interview style with which we have had
previous success. These plans were not completely fulfilled because
of the reduction in staffing; as one of the two remaining fulltime staff
members, I assumed additional duties, including filling in for some
of the tasks that had previously been routinely handled by a full time
secretary. We also trained a willing and competent, but relatively new,
crew of work/study assistants who provided crew services for the project,
in addition to clerical support and driving.
We taped all the panel discussions held in the John C. Gerber Lounge
(304 EPB), as well as the final one held at the International Center
near the end of the session. This particular recording was somewhat
difficult owing to the fact that we had to transport all our equipment
across the river and reconfigure our set-up and connections in an unfamiliar
set. True to the nature of difficult serendipity, we discovered that
the set looked very good on the screen because it was spacious and well
appointed, and because we were able to execute our best lighting design
from the high ceiling of the International Center Lounge.
Three of the interviews were conducted along the bank of the Iowa River,
and in a spot flanked by two trees in their full autumn foliage in the
middle of the EPB parking lot.
We assisted the German writer in writing, producing, shooting and editing
a short film project, which was shown in the Leipzig Art Institute where
she had an on-going production association. The project was very well
The cablecasting of the IWP interviews and panel discussions started
in late-September, and weve since then started receiving good
feedback: one or two members of the IWP staff, as well as several of
our writers, inform me that they have been approached by people in the
streets who told them they had seen them on TV on numerous occasions.
In particular, the panel discussion on "Literary Nonfiction" has been
broadcast several times on Public Access TV, where two young technicians,
a graduate student at the university and another a high school senior
in Iowa City, recently asked permission to make copies of that show
for their own use. I had a chance to review the master tape twice while
making a dub copy of it, but the appeal of that particular show escapes
me. We are pleased, however, at this further confirmation that the video
project serves as an academic resource for the community.
More than half of the writers received their own copies of their interview
tapes while they were here, and the rest left money for the standards
conversion and postage cost of sending the finished tapes to their home
countries. Many of the copies have already been completed and mailed.
They are rebroadcast in the writers countries, and thus reach
a far broader audience than the local community which has year-round
access to an archive that dates back more than a half decade.
One of the newer aspects of the projects that I initiated this year
was the music for the show. Our intro and outro theme has been with
us for half a dozen years now, and it was time to add to our theme collection.
Late in the summer summer last year I was able to convince a woodwind
group to perform on camera, with the stipulation that I could freely
use the classical music whenever there was a need for it. No fee was
involved in that work, only that I promised to design and put together
a show for the group that I would air on PATV. I also made a similar
deal with a local jazz group in Iowa City.
With the themes completed, I should be ready to draft our next highlight
film this spring. I hope to submit this film to PBS in Des Moines, which
has a standing offer to air any work I produce for the International
and edited materials for the class, International Literature Today,
for distribution and use in readings were largely complete by the time
Carolyn Brown resigned from her editorial associate position before
the start of the session. The production of writers materials
in the appropriate format, the reproduction of the writings, and the
completion of translation tasks and editing were performed by graduate
research assistant Jen Hofer, whose services were enlisted by director
Steven Ungar through the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate College.
She was helped by Christopher Mattison, whose research fellowship was
provided to Comparative Literature by the Graduate College. Teaching
assistant Keith Knox assisted in the distribution of materials for the
The responsibilities for editing volume 6 of 100 Words were put
into the hands of Jen Hofer, who invested many additional hours in completing
the edition on the theme, "Map," an issue supported by International
Programs. Acting editor Jen Hofer and Assistant Editor Cris Mattison
produced the issues on "Old," and "Night," the last issue being completed
by Cris Mattison. The program secured the production help of work/study
assistant Kari Bradley until the completion of Jen Hofers tenure
during the first semester. Among those who served on the advisory board
for the publication were Meg Buzzi, Johannes Goranssen, Carrie Messenger,
Sarah Roberts, Prasenjit Gupta, Gene Tana (for "Night,"); Meg Buzzi,
Robert Devlin, Hillary Gardner, Sarah Manguso, IWP writers Agnieszka
Kolakowska and András Petöcz (for "Old"); and
Carolyn Brown, Holly Carver, Meg Buzzi, and IWP writers Beatrice
Kobow, Germán Carrasco and Ayeta Anne Wangusa (for
"Map"). Cris Mattison was responsible for producing the IWP 1998 t-shirt,
with a new logo design by Cheryl Jacobson.
Because the IWP intends to sustain the high quality of program publications
and its international scope, it was decided that the production of 100
Words would be suspended until adequate staffing is obtained and
a decision on the future of program publications is determined by the
new director. In the meantime, Rowena Torrevillas has been responding
to queries from subscribers and returning submissions for the last two
issues of the magazine, originally intended around the themes of "fable"
and "she." Gila Primak, who joined the staff as an emergency secretarial
appointee, has assumed the task of returning submissions and completing
the distribution of the first two issues and the recently-completed,
final issue appropriately entitled "Night."
Peter Nazareth, adviser to international writers, provides the following
report on an aspect of the program which proved to be vital to this
years group, the weekly informal in-house workshop conducted on
IWP writers works in progress. The Open Mike readings drew a faithful
composite of writers throughout the session. Peter Nazareth reports:
The Open Mike was held every Tuesday night from 7:30-9 p.m. in the Mayflower
Conference Room. All the writers attended the sessions at some point
or other, some of them coming to most of the sessions. One of the writers
brought two "outsiders" to join in, that is, writers who were not in
the IWP. Another visitor from Burlington, Iowa came on her own initiative.
Teaching assistant Keith Knox read his work at one of the sessions and
answered questions, providing the writers with the "black experience"
in America. Writers read their work (each for about 30 minutes) and
then intense discussions followed in which the writers participated.
Ayeta Wangusa and Mahmud Shuqair read their work.
Fifteen people attended. Among the active discussants were Vasile,
Olga, Anastasiya, Hai and Pe Myint.
Erendiz Atasü, Igal Sarna and András Petöcz
read their work. Sixteen people attended. Among the active discussants
were Olga, Anastasiya, Mahmud, Bernardo, Beatrice, Fabian,
German and Agnieszka. This was an excellent session.
Ayeta and Emil read their work, plus an English writer named
Simon. Sixteen people attended, including outsiders. Among the active
discussants were Anastasiya, Mahmud, Olga, Erendiz, and Beatrice.
I (Peter Nazareth) read Buket Uzuner's piece about living on
the 8th floor, which she sent me. (Buket Uzuner was the representative
from Turkey in 1996.) Beatrice Kobow read a long poem in English, twice
at the request of the writers, a poem she wrote in English. Vasile asked
me (Peter Nazareth) to read the English translations of his work, and
then Luke, a visiting writer, read more of the poems. Everyone thought
they were excellent poems. Among the other writers there were Olga and
records for 9/29.
U Pe Myint, Emil Zopfi and Kang read their work. Among the discussants
were Erendiz, Ayeta and Hai.
Keith Knox read his fiction. Beatrice read one of his pieces again so
people could compare the tone of the language. Twelve people were present.
Igal was one of the most active discussants since this was a window
into the "black experience" for him, including "black language."
Jurate Sucylaite read her work.
Ghanaian author Kofi Anyidoho, whose residency at the IWP took
place from mid-October through mid-November, had his work discussed
as a featured reader.
I read my work too, sometimes to get things going: but sometimes because
I wanted to read with Ayeta. During one of the sessions, I read an extract
from her father's long poem and the conclusion of my novel, The General
is Up, to show how similar they were.
Field Trips, and Community Activities.
opening and closing receptions were held at the home of Steve and Robin
Ungar, whose hospitality throughout the session included a day-long
trip along the Mississippi River.
As cited in the beginning of this report, the First National Bank of
Iowa City (now Mercantile Bank) provided its traditional opening reception
for the program, introducing the IWP writers to the community for the
first time with a reception held at the Bank on September 10, at five
in the afternoon. The event also included recognition of outgoing director
Clark Blaise. Bank President Robert Sierk and his staff extended
the warmest of welcomes to the program, a tradition valued deeply with
each passing year.
Symmetry in program receptions and public acknowledgements took place
nearing the sessions end, on November 9, with a reception honoring
the programs earliest direction, in the person of Mrs. Hualing
Nieh Engle, IWP co-founder with her husband, poet Paul Engle. The reception
was held at the Levitt Center for University Advancement, in the Centers
Wyrick Rotunda, and served as the occasion to inaugurate the Engle
Hospitality toward the writers was offered throughout the semester by
supporters and friends of the program. The Council for International
Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) held its annual picnic honoring
the writers on a balmy late-summer evening at City Park. A day earlier,
on September 15, International Programs hosted its annual reception
for the writers, which also featured readings by IWP members and staff
and the launching of the 6th edition of 100 Words with
the issue on "Map." The traditional visit to farm of the Keith Hemingway
family was foregone this year because of illness in the family, but
the Hemingways were represented at the closing farm-visit event for
the program. The programs Thanksgiving dinner and culminating
home hospitality was offered by good friends John and Allie Dane
on November 8, whose generous feast was enhanced by the companionship
of their friends and neighbors; the program was also fortunate to have
the presence of USIA program office Audrey Ford at this event, as her
evaluation visit coincided with the reception for Mrs. Engle and the
Dane Farm visit. The closing seminar, "Images of America," also included
a reception at the International Center, given by International Programs.
Among the interdepartmental and community literary activities were a
luncheon with the Association of University Women featuring IWP
authors Hang Kang, Jurate Sucylaite, and Anastasiya Gosteva, and a meeting
of the Mount Pleasant Scribblers, which also featured Jurate,
Anastasiya, and Olga Mukhina. Emil Zopfi and his wife Christa
visited the Swiss immigrant community of New Glarus, Wisconsin,
where his visit received prominent coverage in the media, in part because
he managed to trace a family link in the community there.
One of the highlights each year is the tour of the facilities and world
headquarters of Deere and Company in Moline, Illinois, which
includes an afternoon ride aboard a steamboat, in the fabled manner
of Mark Twain, on the Mississippi River. Program writers are particularly
distinctive in the Iowa City environs following that trip, because of
the John Deere caps that are welcome gifts in the autumn weather, and
the tote bags in which battered manuscripts and newly purchased books
or library research are borne around town.
the weekends, the IWP staff, particularly Jason Khongmaly and Lem Torrevillas,
took the writers out for relaxation. Nature hikes along Lake MacBride,
a couple of swimming excursions in the Coralville Reservoir, shopping
trips to the new mall in Coralville and to the Tanager outlet in Williamsburg,
were among the informal field trips.
The writers also had opportunities to meet with contemporary American
authors and to learn about publications in the United States. Director
Ungar arranged for Prof. David Hamilton, editor of The Iowa
Review, to hold a session, attended by all the writers, at the Mill
Restaurant on October 14, called "Pizza and Publication." Prof. Hamilton
introduced the group to the opportunities and the realities attendant
upon the publications industry in this country.
Numerous cultural opportunities were open to the writers throughout
the semester. The program provided tickets to Hancher Auditoriums
presentations of the Broadway production, Forever Tango and the
ballet "Dracula." Because the University of Iowa is holding a year-long
commemoration of the Declaration of Human Rights, the writers had opportunities
to listen to notable figures, among them talks by Nobel laureate Elie
Wiesel and a concert by Joan Baez. The management of Hancher Auditorium
also offered, with its customary generosity, tickets to such events
as the Emerson String Quartet and the St. Petersburg State Symphony.
component of the program coordinated by Writers Workshop graduate
assistant Megan Buzzi, whose assistantship was provided, as throughout
the previous decade and a half, by the Graduate College. Meg
worked with the eighteen full term writers in planning travel
itineraries for the two weeks of optional travel (October 20 through
November 2, though some began their travels before or slightly after
these dates). She liaised with the International Visitor Programs
designated program agency, the IIE (Institute of International Education);
Angela Bond continued as the IIE program assistant administering the
writers grants and travel. Meg also worked with the Meacham Travel
Agency, particularly Meacham owner Elaine Shalla and her very helpful
travel agents. The University Travel Office was the administrative entity
for the travel project.
writers availed of the individual travel services offered, each taking
three to six separate trips to different parts of the country. The writers
gave talks, readings, or presentations at other schools, institutes,
or theatres; they met with translators and prospective publishers, or
with colleagues in their professional fields. Several conducted
research or visited area studies in such schools as the University of
California in Berkeley or Columbia University.
Coordinating the travel was comprised of several components. Meg assisted
the writers in securing travel within the allowable allocation, on airlines,
by train, or overland on rented cars or interstate buses. She identified,
located, and placed reservations for lodgings in each of the locations,
a complex proposition requiring patience and resourcefulness in such
urban areas as New York City, where writers per diem budgets were
limited to $70 a day. Meg also helped Mary Nazareth arrange ground transportation,
to and from the Mayflower and the Eastern Iowa Airport. Throughout the
process, Meg worked through the various administrative levels involved
in the travel process, securing trip numbers from the Travel Office,
arranging reimbursements between the department and individual participants
who availed of the universitys procurement card, adjusting the
itineraries of several writers who made late changes. A total of 67
trips to other parts of the country (including 2 abroad) were arranged
in the 1998 session.
The interim director, Steven Ungar, stepped forward to take the
helm of the program and learn the intricacies of the program operation
in media res, right on the spot, just as the new program was
about to start. With characteristic incisiveness and a judicious scrutiny
of the facts, he worked with the reduced budgetary allocations and the
unexpected changes in staffing. Going far beyond the role of caretaker
for the program, Steve introduced innovations that included proposals
for the Engle Reading Series, exploring new housing for the program,
extending and solidifying the IWPs funding base with visits to
corporate sponsors and foundations based outside the state and with
the USIA. He responded to various queries from program alumni with a
mass mailing in midterm. He led program events, moderated public presentations,
and hosted writers during their stay. While balancing his duties as
head of Comparative Literature and professor in that department, he
has been part of the search committee to identify a new director for
the IWP; most significantly, he is responsible for shaping the new consortium
of programs comprised of Film Studies, Comparative Literature, Translation,
and the IWP, while coping with the massive administrative and staffing
details attendant to structuring the new unit.
Rowena Torrevillas is the Program Coordinator, and she manages
the programs activities. She handles the IWPs administrative
aspects, beginning with the nomination process through to the planning
and execution of the programs literary events. She is responsible
for the budget and grant administration, coordinating with the USIA
and other funding agencies; she liaises with university departments
and other schools, arranges readings and appearances here and at other
institutions, manages the travel project, oversees office staff, prepares
grants and reports, organizes seminars and readings. She assists the
director with communications and other aspects of program administration,
and works as liaison with the community through her involvement with
organizations such as the Council of International Visitors to Iowa
Cities. She co-teaches the International Literature Today class, serves
as moderator for public events, and conducts interviews with writers.
Beyond schedules and paperwork, her goal is to see each session through
to a harmonious, organic, and shapely whole, a challenge that evolves
and renews itself with each incoming group of writers.
Torrevillas, the Audiovisual Coordinator, increased his program
appointment commensurate with the output of the video project over the
past year. Several years worth of shows he produced, including
the latest, the 1998 session, are running concurrently on local cable
television, proving to our writers that a certain immortality is guaranteed
to them. The video project was enhanced this year with some vitally-needed
editing equipment and software. The documentation now includes taping
public readings and all public events such as the series of panel discussions,
for rebroadcast. He is pursuing the logistics of CD-ROM technology to
widen the distribution of the programs voluminous archives, and
is also expanding into cooperative ventures with other departments,
notably those in international studies and the arts. The program is
hoping that his work with the video project can be restored by the incoming
Mary Nazareth continues as the Housing Assistant. More than any
other person on the staff, she has charge of the writers well-being,
a job she has done for two decades with inimitable grace and generosity.
The staff and the writers would be lost without her. Hers is a job that
is defined as much by its flexibility and improvisational quality as
by its steadfastness, and it is Marys good sense and sensibility
that reconcile the tangle of paradoxes inherent in sheltering 34 residents
(nineteen this year) along a single corridor.
Peter Nazareth, Professor of English and African-American World
Studies, is the programs Adviser to International Writers. He
and his wife, Mary, have the longest tenure on the IWP staff, since
their association with the program dates back to the 1970s when
he himself took part in the IWP. He co-teaches the mini-course, International
Literature Today, runs the open-mike readings, conducts radio and television
interviews, and helps moderate talks and readings. Because he reads
the participants individual works closely, he was asked to adapt
the format of the Tuesday night open-mike readings, such that these
informal readings could function as an in-house workshop where the writers
discuss their own texts. His readings of the writers work and
his leadership in the discussions are informed by an openness to the
thinking behind the text, and the dialog he promotes is central to the
Prof. Shelley Berc, the programs Theatre Consultant, was
on a developmental research assignment during the fall semester to work
on her research and writing. But she dedicated her contacts toward providing
the playwrights with valuable experience in the theatre world in New
York, and in the city theatre of Portland, Maine. With her husband,
artist and graphic designer Alejandro Fogel, she traveled to
other parts of the world on lecture assignments, notably Singapore,
Australia, Italy, Turkey, and Israel, and while she was there, she visited
cultural agencies on behalf of the IWP. The helpful contacts she has
opened up include links with the Australian Aboriginal Council and the
ministry of culture of the Republic of Georgia. She also teaches an
increasingly popular creativity workshop for students at the University
The duties of half-time program secretary were assumed by Mary K.
Jones during the fall semester. The secretary keeps the books for
the IWP, a task of escalating proportions in these years when grants
are negotiated individually, and the funding for program support comes
from multiple sources. Additional help was provided by work/study staff
and research assistants in taking charge of the front desk, maintaining
the mailing lists, assisting with manuscript preparation and the dissemination
of program publicity. Mary left the University in early January to pursue
employment opportunities in her home state of Minnesota. In mid-March,
an emergency secretarial appointment was filled by Iowa Arts Fellow
Gila Primak, who has been assisting with closure matters for
the publication. Sarah Moeller of Comparative Literature provides
valuable interdepartmental liaison help.
The position of editorial associate was vacated when Carolyn
Brown resigned at the end of August. She completed the bulk of the course
material used in International Literature Today, securing (and in some
instances providing) translations, and editing and formatting the texts
before her departure. The work of editing 100 Words, the tasks
of coordinating translations, and liaising with the Translation Workshop,
were assumed by Jen Hofer and Cris Mattison, research assistants.
The research assistants in 1998-99 are Megan Buzzi, Jen Hofer,
and Christopher Mattison. Meg is a first-year student in the
graduate poetry workshop. Jen is a graduate of the Workshop and completed
an MFA in comparative literature. Criss research assistantship
services with the IWP were provided by Comparative Literature, where
he pursues postgraduate studies. The IWP had the good fortune to have
their services the scope of their duties was described earlier
and to receive not only a high level of expertise but diligence
and good spirit as well. Meg was Rowenas right-hand person, to
whom the travel project was assigned. She served as liaison for the
Writers Workshop, organizing Prairie Lights readings, providing
introductions and other emcee duties. She created the programs
monthly newsletter and helped coordinate fliers. She assisted individual
writers with orientation needs, and gave full support during the constant
times extra help was required. Julie Fall, our fourth-year work-study
employee, provided office support, gave crew service to the audiovisual
project, and drove the van. Jason Khongmaly is in his second
year of work with the IWP; Ray Teresi and Mackenzie Soedt
joined the staff as work-study employees assigned to the audiovisual
project, and also did some of the clerical work. Kari Bradley
was hired to help with 100 Words at mid-term. We owe the day-to-day
execution of the program activities to these students. Their diligence,
quickness to learn, and sunny good nature provided true staff support
during a crucial time and a challenging era of change.
Press releases and public relations services were provided by Winston
Barclay, assistant director of Arts Center Relations, who attended
all program events and each of the weekly staff meetings. His efforts
were responsible for the participation of CASE Fellow Mark Davis of
The Philadelphia Inquirer. Winston consistently widens the network
for stories about the program and its writers, and his dedication to
the programs activities supports the conviction that the IWP publicity
needs require a permanent and fulltime assignment.
the many unseen, sometime unacknowledged, acts of kindness from friends
and volunteers. These are the persons who step forward to offer a friendly
word in the corridor or along the walkways of the campus, who put a
human face to the Midwest, the attentive listeners in the audiences,
the colleagues whose nominations result in long-lasting collaborations,
the teachers who bring visitors into their classrooms, all who welcome
the writers into the community.
The United States Information Agency, through the Group
Projects Division of the International Visitor Program, provided grants
for nine of the eighteen full-term participants. This was the thirtieth
year that the USIA has supported the IWP with nominations and grants
for distinguished writers to attend the program, and the high quality
of the 1998 USIA participants attests to the Agencys invaluable
and unparalleled strength as an advocate for the worlds writers.
In a year when federal funding for cultural exchange experienced a decline,
the International Visitor Programs continued sponsorship hold
profound significance for the program. Such faithful continuity is attributed
to the strong efforts of Ms. Audrey Annette Ford of the USIAs
Africa Desk, whose thorough and conscientious handling of the project
assured us of the programs most valuable access to writers abroad.
Her patient and discerning leadership was instrumental in the USIAs
continuing support and the successful mounting of the 1998 program.
The cultural affairs officers at the posts worldwide continue to play
a most significant role in the success of each IWP program session.
Of primary impact is the individual posts decision to take part
in the project by nominating a participant to the IWP. The allocation
designated to the program from each posts budget constitutes the
IWPs most crucial source of external support. Beyond the matter
of fiscal structure, the selection of writers whose outcome is
unquantifiable from the outset, but produces the programs harmonic
dynamic is dependent upon each cultural affairs officers
discernment and astute judgment. The happy balance of this years
writers, and their consistently high level of accomplishment, testify
to the fine work done by each of the officers.
We acknowledge the cultural affairs officers at the USIS
in Moscow, whose double endorsement of the program provided us
with two young writers of high talent, Olga Mukhina and Anastasiya
Gosteva; the American embassy in Chisinau gave us another
first, in the talents and energies of our first Moldovan author, Vasile
Gîrnet. We take pleasure and pride in the continuation of
representation from posts that have maintained a sturdy tradition in
the program Budapest (with poet András Petöcz),
the West Bank (Palestinian playwright and fiction writer Mahmud
Shuqair) and Buenos Aires, in cooperation with the Fundación
Antorchas (represented by poet Fabián Andrés
Casas) as well as the sustained presence of recent or renewed
representation from Vietnam (fiction writer Phan Trieu Hai),
Turkey (author Erendiz Atasü Sayron) and Uganda
(fiction writer and editor Ayeta Wangusa).
The Office of International Visitors sent out cables and
descriptive materials about the project, and facilitated the grants
of these writers, which were then administered by the University of
Iowa and the USIAs designated agency, the Institute of International
Education, primarily through the IIEs Angela Bond.
Among our most consistent and highly valued sources of support in recent
years are the grants given to writers from Latin America, notably Brazil,
Chile, and Argentina. The Vitae Foundation (Vitae Apoio
à Cultura, Educação e Promoção Social),
through Mr. Hélcio Saraiva, General Manager, sent the
talents of author and journalist Bernardo Teixeira Carvalho.
The Fundación Andes, under General Manager Hernán
Rodriguez, gave a well-utilized grant to poet Germán Carrasco.
The Fundación Antorchas is currently working with
the US Information Service in Buenos Aires to select,
and in alternating years, to support a gifted writer from Argentina.
We greatly appreciate the continuing generosity of cultural institutes
whose participation extends for nearly a decade. The Alfred Jurzykowski
Foundation, through the loyal and strong support of executive
director Ms. Bluma Cohen, gave a full grant to Agnieszka Kolakowska.
The Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, through coordination
with the manager of the International Exchange Department, Roh Jae-sung,
gave partial, cost-sharing support for Han Kang. The US-Israel
Educational Foundation has an even longer history of participation
in the IWP, and is instrumental in the presence of consistently luminous
artists from Israel. Under the administration of deputy director Judy
Stavsky, the IWP was the recipient of writer Igal Sarnas
The Burma Project of The Open Society Institute
gave a grant to Dr. U Pe Myint, through the good offices of director
Maureen Aung Thwin and assistant Oo Shwe Zin.
For a fourth year in succession, the IWP was honored with a grant from
ArtsLink/Citizens Exchange Council Residencies. The immensely
hardworking, enthusiastic, and diligent author Jurate Sucylaite
represented Lithuania for a months residency at the IWP, through
ArtsLinks dynamic organization, headed by Susan Wyatt,
with support from program manager Fritzie Brown and associate Cecilia
Eguia, and with local assistance from coordinator Helmutas Sabasevidus
of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Vilnius.
Individual grants supported writers from Germany and Switzerland, and
in both cases, these were initiatives begun in 1998. A grant for German
participation in the IWP was provided by Joan Vander Naald Egenes,
who honored us with a brief visit to meet the grantee, Beatrice Kobow.
Beatrice stayed on for the second semester to pursue her studies in
the Writers Workshop, through an exchange program between the
Deutscher Literaturinstitut Leipzig (the German Institute
at Leipzig) and the Writers Workshop. Under
this arrangement, an annual exchange at each institute takes place for
young graduate student writers; the DLL graduates would study at Iowa
from September to June, and the Writers Workshop student would
go to Germany from October to July. This exchange program was proposed
by former IWP participant Josef Haslinger, and is currently administered
by Burkhardt Speinnen of the DLL. The Swiss government
provided support for the IWPs first Swiss author, Emil Zopfi,
who had applied independently for admission into the program. The Swiss
embassy assisted in an itinerary of appearances for Emil in the Washington,
D.C. area, and we are hopeful that the success of this initiative will
establish the presence of excellent Swiss authors of Emils stature.
The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE
Foundation) provided funding for two writers from the Philadelphia
Inquirer to each attend the IWP for a week. Mark Davis took
part in the program this year; Susan Guerrero was nominated as
well, but work obligations at the newspaper precluded her participation.
We are very pleased that the University of Iowa is one of the few institutions
to be selected as a site for National Media Fellowships. The efforts
of Winston Barclay, assistant director of Arts Center Relations, yielded
The energies and perseverance of Sandra Barkan, Assistant Dean
of the Graduate College, resulted in the participation
of Ghanaian author Kofi Anyidoho. Through Dr. Barkans resourcefulness,
funds were obtained from several sources, including the programs in
African-American World Studies, Comparative Literature,
International Programs and the IWP, to bring Prof. Anyidoho here
for a months activities.
The IWP recognizes the role of the university administration in the
program operations. The Office of the Provost offered
another year of augmentational funding, and we acknowledge the administrative
leadership of Provost Jon Whitmore and Associate Provost for
International Programs Michael McNulty. The College of
Liberal Arts, under Dean Linda Maxson, provided administrative
leadership and support. Guidance in financial and administrative matters
were provided by budget officer Karna Wieck, accountant Sarah
Tallman, and assistant for human resources and facilities and planning
Diane Machatka. Executive Associate Dean Raúl Curto
was a source of steady counsel in administrative matters. The College
provided a fund, held jointly by the IWP and the Writers Workshop,
to bring visiting authors to the campus; support for research assistant
Jen Hofer came from the College.
The IWP acknowledges the crucial element supplied for the past two decades
by the Graduate College. Under the leadership of
Dean Leslie B. Sims, the program has been given two quarter-time
research assistants each year. In previous years and most vitally
in this year of reduced staffing the graduate assistants have
been given increasing responsibilities in the areas of publicity, coordinating
readings, publications, and close involvement in writers activities.
The research assistants provide a steady, reliable source of support
and service, such that their presence has become indispensable, an institutionalized
part of program operations. A living organism, which the IWP is, generally
does not think about its hands and feet, though the awareness of their
fully functioning value is felt at each busy moment of the program.
We recognize with appreciation the continued generosity of the Graduate
College which, over the years, has given graduate research assistantships
to students in the Writers Workshop, Comparative Literature, translation,
video art, theatre, and education. The RAs affiliation with the
IWP has given them unique opportunities to acquire professional skills
and international contacts, and we hope that these shared benefits will
continue. The program also cites the assistance of Assistant Dean Sandra
Barkan, who authorized the services of Iowa Arts Fellow Gila Primak
for emergency secretarial work in the IWP during the second half of
the spring semester.
The University of Iowa Foundation administers the programs
private funds and offers guidance in matters of fund raising. Rich
Wretman, Patt Cain, and Rebecca Podlin have been particularly
helpful to Steven Ungar and Rowena Torrevillas. The Division of
Sponsored Programs, under Assistant Vice President Brian
Harvey, administers the programs grants. Eugenia McGee
has been a source of expertise and advice. Residence Services,
under director Margaret Van Oel, with Vice President
for Student Services Phillip E. Jones, provided administrative
support in housing the writers at the Mayflower.
We rely upon our cooperative relationship with other departments. International
Programs continues its valuable collegial partnership. Associate
Provost Mike McNulty is a source of friendly and dependable assistance.
He was instrumental in extending a Stanley Foundation/UI Support
grant to the IWP. Stephen Arum has given helpful suggestions
in matters of housing. Colleagues in International Programs provide
the activities that give writers access to forums such as the Association
of University Women and the academic components of International Programs.
We cite with appreciation Karen Chappell and her assistant Jocelyn
Colloty, and Evalyn Van Allen-Shalash of the Provosts
office. The Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, under
Prof. Jae-on Kim, has offered cordial support and hospitality.
The Writers Workshop, under the direction of Frank
Conroy, is the IWP participants crucial link with the writing
currently being produced in this country. We especially value the permission
granted to several of the IWP participants which enabled them to observe
and in two cases to regularly attend Graduate Fiction
and Graduate Poetry Workshops. Connie Brothers, the Workshops
program associate, provides steady, shrewd, and perceptive insight,
and her energies nurture the continuing joint ventures between our programs.
Several IWP participants were interested in attending university classes.
The Department of English, and its chair, Dee Morris,
are always very helpful and welcoming toward our participants. The Program
in Comparative Literature, particularly Professors Ruedi
Kuenzli and Alan Nagel, allowed visitors (among them Germán
Carrasco) to sit in on their classes. The Department of Spanish
and Portuguese, as in previous years, arranged readings
and lectures by the Latin American authors; the Program in African-American
World Studies provided support for Kofi Anyidoho and invited
writers into classes. Individual writers were invited to speak and meet
informally with students in various international studies; the International
Crossroads Community comprised of students speaking French, German,
Italian, Russian, Spanish, Japanese invited the IWP to dinners
at Hillcrest Hall on Thursday evenings, an event coordinated by student
The management of Hancher Auditoriaum gave seats at cultural
events, and we cite the generosity of Director Wally Chappell,
assistant director Judith Hurtig, and group sales coordinator
Joel Aalberts for this important facet to the writers experience.
Support from the community was key during this year of transition. The
management of Prairie Lights Books, Iowas premier
book store, provided the services and venue for our Sunday Readings
Series at Prairie Lights. The owner of Prairie Lights, Jim Harris,
gave a gift certificate to each of the participants, a privilege gladly
and well used. The Council for International Visitors to Iowa
Cities and the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council offered
hospitality to the entire program and the opportunity for individual
writers to address a community interested in international affairs.
Tom Baldridge, executive director for both organizations, liaises
actively with the IWP. Meacham Travel Service, under
the leadership of Elaine Shalla, continues to be an invaluable
and unequaled source of travel facilities; the patience and expertise
of Elaine and her staff have constituted a major component in our logistics.
We acknowledge with thanks the contribution offered by Elaine and Dennis
Shalla and the outstanding work by their agency.
In summary, The University of Iowa supports the Program through staff
salaries, office space, and locations for classes and public presentations,
in addition to providing the operations budget in 1998 and helping find
solution to defray the additional cost of housing. The College of Liberal
Arts works with the Program director, and gives an annual allocation
toward operations and campus facilities. The Graduate College provides
research assistantships. The University of Iowa Foundation assists in
administering funds to subsidize a portion of the IWP operations and
the writers grants, and also helps us identify and maintain funding
sources. Support services are given by university units such as the
Travel Office, Student Financial Aid, and particularly the Arts Center
Relations division of University Relations, a source of comprehensive,
reliable assistance in disseminating Program information and liaising
with other public information units outside the university. The Office
of International Students and Scholars supplies the documentation necessary
for the visitors travel; the Division of Sponsored Programs oversees
contract negotiations and grant requirements with donors such as the
ArtsLink Residencies, the Grotto Foundation, and the Lila Wallace Fund,
and with major supporters such as the US Information Agency. The IWP
continues its mission because of the unique collaboration of cultural
institutes, of state funds, and federal, corporate, and individual resources.
They bring Iowa to the world, and the world to The University of Iowa,
as the IWP has done through the latter third of this century.