IOWA CITY, Iowa — From July 11-25, Drew Shinozaki, a student at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, will take part in the International Writing Program’s (IWP) Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience session of the University of Iowa.

Drew Shinozaki

IWP’s Between the Lines (BTL) is a prestigious creative writing and cultural exchange program for students age 15-18, hosted by the IWP in collaboration with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department. Although the program was planned to be held in Iowa City, Iowa, a UNESCO City of Literature, due to COVID-19, participants will be joining each other virtually.

Following a competitive application process, 14 American students with join 30 students from 19 countries along the historic Silk Road –  Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) — for the 2020 Between the Lines (BTL): Peace and the Writing Experience session.

During the two-week program, students will participate in online global literature seminars and intensive creative writing workshops. They will also perform a reading of their new work in a spoken-word open-mic event on Zoom and be published together in a BTL anthology.

BTL faculty include prize-winning authors Mary Hickman (U.S.), an Iowa Arts Fellow and Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate who won the James Laughlin Award given by the Academy of American Poets; Rumena Bužarovska (North Macedonia), author of four short story collections in Macedonian, a literary translator, associate professor of American literature at State University in Skopje, and alumna of IWP’s Fall Residency; Vladimir Poleganov (Bulgaria), fiction writer, screenwriter, translator, and alumnus of IWP’s Fall Residency; and novelist Shandana Minhas (Pakistan), also an alumna of IWP’s Fall Residency.

Since 1967, the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa has hosted more than 1,500 writers from more than 150 countries, connecting well-established writers from around the globe, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, publishing books and journals, pursuing cultural diplomacy, and organizing tours, conferences, and other literary and intercultural events around the world. Between the Lines (BTL) is a part of IWP’s programming, and is sponsored through grant funds provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department.


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