The Embassy of the United States of America in Burkina Faso is seeking highly proficient writers between the ages of 21 and 65 for the 2023 International Writing Program (IWP) Fall Residency hosted by the University of Iowa.
The IWP is open to established and emerging writers of fiction, graphic novels, drama, poetry, and screenplays from any country. Candidates should have a significant publication record; at least one published book or screenplay/play, or a record of publishing regularly over the previous two years in traditional or online media.
The twelve-week residency boosts participants creativity, facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration, supports professional development, and promotes freedom of expression. The International Writing Program (IWP) is a unique conduit for the world’s literatures, connecting well-established writers from around the globe, bringing international literature into classrooms, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, and serving as a clearinghouse for literary news and a wealth of archival and pedagogical materials. Since 1967, over fifteen hundred writers from more than 150 countries have been in residence at the University of Iowa.
The Residency, which usually runs from late August to mid-November, is designed for established and emerging creative writers — poets, fiction writers, dramatists, and nonfiction writers. The minimum requirements are that they have published at least one book, and that they possess sufficient proficiency in English to benefit from the Iowa experience.
- The first days of the Fall Residency are set aside to welcome and orient the writers to life in Iowa City and at the IWP. Weekly events include public readings on Fridays, IWP writer-based courses for UI students on Friday afternoons, panel presentations at the Iowa City Public Library Fridays, and film screenings, field trips, and cultural events typically on weekends.
- Some of these activities will during Fall of 2023 include:
- International Translation Workshop – Graduate-level students of literary translation and creative writing work one-on-one with IWP writers in a workshop format to create polished English translations of Fall Residency participants’ materials. The class meets to discuss the translations in progress on Friday afternoons throughout the semester.
- Readings – Because Iowa City is uniquely nurturing of creative writing, readings occur almost every night of the week – in coffeehouses, arts centers, restaurants, and other venues. In Fall of 2023, the IWP will sponsor a Friday afternoon reading series in the IWP’s own Shambaugh House. In addition, numerous readings are scheduled through the sponsorship of foreign-language departments, civic entities, or other groups.
- IWP Panel Series – These weekly panels take place each Friday at noon at the Iowa City Public Library, and present discussions on literary issues and on the influences and forces shaping writing around the world. The presentations are streamed live and archived online. Topics in the past have included “Writing Across Languages,” “Teaching Writing,” “The Migrant as Figure in Literature Today,” “What Matters Now: Social Change in the World,” “Spectral Gender,” “Freedom’s Limits,” and many others. These discussions draw audiences from across the University and local community.
- IWP Cinematheque – IWP writers may be invited to introduce, screen, and lead a discussion of a film of their choice. This series is an opportunity to bring little-known works to the attention of local film audiences, film scholars, and University of Iowa undergraduate students. Screening time is limited.
- Theatre Collaborations – The IWP arranges opportunities for the works of our writers-in-residence to be read dramatically, and for collaborations between writers and performance artists. One venue for this is Global Express, an evening of dramatic readings of 10-15 minute excerpts and pieces written by IWP writers by actors from the University’s Division of Performing Arts. Other opportunities may arise through the University, local venues, and the Portland Stage Company of Maine.
- Dance Collaborations – A long-standing collaboration similar to Global Express, IWP writers work with choreographers and dancers in the UI Department of Dance, culminating in a public performance that brings the writers’ words off the page and onto the stage.
- Cultural Activities & Field Trips – Participants receive complimentary tickets and entry to occasional cultural events including concerts, performances, and regional activities, which in past years have included a rodeo, nature hikes, and more. Performances and lectures by American and international fine arts performers, academics, writers, and figures of note are held almost nightly at the University of Iowa and in Iowa City.
- Community Interactions – A particular benefit of the program involves invitations to interact more deeply with a wide range of local community members, including individual and group visits or dinners in the homes of faculty members and IWP supporters; talks given by IWP writers for area groups (including the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council and UI Senior College); classroom visits to local elementary, middle, and high schools and colleges; and trips to speak and/or read across the state of Iowa.
- Other invitations – Throughout the Residency, writers may also receive invitations to appear at events and in courses hosted by a range of universities, organizations, and institutions across the country.
- Participation in other IWP Projects – Residents are encouraged to lend their expertise to the various initiatives at the IWP, including Digital Learning Courses and Between the Lines. Possibilities include: recording interviews or talks about the craft of writing, facilitating creative collaborations and mentoring young writers.
- Domestic travel – The IWP will arrange group travel periods to cities like Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City. The purpose of these trips is to introduce IWP writers to different, important, and diverse American literary communities. Activities will include city tours, visits to sites of important cultural or historical significance, public events, community engagement, and educational outreach.
- Accommodations for the 2023 Residency are at the Iowa House Hotel, located on the UI campus near downtown Iowa City. Writers will have their own private rooms, which include a private bathroom, a mini-fridge, coffee pot, and microwave. Meals are mostly eaten away from the hotel. The IWP provides once-a-week access to a community kitchen for cooking meals and sharing cultural cuisines. As part of campus life, IWP writers are also given visiting scholar privileges, which provides access to the state-of-the-art University of Iowa library system.
IWP Expectations of Participants
The IWP does not require that a literary text or project be completed by the end of the Fall Residency.
- Writers are expected to participate in: one public reading, one discussion in the IWP Panel Series, the mid-Residency travel period, and the final travel period. Otherwise, the Residents’ calendars are characterized by unstructured time to allow for individual work schedules and goals.
- Travel away from the program is allowed for professional engagements, such as invitations to lecture, read, or appear in a similar professional capacity. (Because of J-1 regulations, it is best to consult with the IWP about the terms of the engagement. Also, of course, such engagements should not interfere with a writer’s pre-arranged Residency commitments.)
- The Fall Residency is designed for the writer only and is unable to accommodate spouses, partners, or children. The IWP must ask that visits by family and guests be kept brief—up to seven days, and not during IWP-led travel.
- Participants are primarily early- to mid-career international writers of fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, drama, or screenplays. Literary translators and journalists have also participated, but only with a comparable track record in one of the creative genres.
- Writers must have at least one published volume alongside works that have appeared in significant publications (anthologies, journals, literary magazines) over the last two years.
For more information, visit U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso.