International Writing Program: “Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience” 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Cultural Programs Division, in partnership with the International Writing Program (IWP) at The University of Iowa, offers “Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience.”

Thirty writers aged 15–18 years will participate in a two-week creative writing residency at the University of Iowa on July 11–July 25, 2020.  All program activities will be in English.  These will include writing workshops, group and individual writing assignments, world literature seminars, cultural visits, and other local events.  Upon the completion of the program, IWP will publish the students’ writing as an anthology.

ECA grant funds will cover all international participants’ program costs of the exchange, including travel and other costs associated with their stay in the United States.  Limited additional funds may be available for in-country costs associated with participants’ travel for visa interviews.

The program is designed for talented students who show promise to become future literary or media figures in their respective countries and in their own native languages.  Candidates must be between the ages of 15 and 18 as of July 11, 2020; proficient in English (reading, writing, and speaking); and able to participate effectively in intercultural exchange.  The final selection of participants will be determined by ECA and IWP.  In addition to the 30 international students selected, several more will be chosen as alternates.

All participants must have the ability to read, write, and converse in English.  During the two-week program, students will take a writing-focused literature seminar—in English—with their American and international counterparts.  They will also participate in a writing workshop with and active discussion is an essential element of instruction.

The deadline to apply is February 19, 2020.

Please send all application materials to Almaty@state.gov.

All applicants must supply the following:

  • Complete the Application Cover Page (DOC, 15KB)
  • A writing sample /collection of several works to total 6-8 pages of fiction or nonfiction prose and/or poetry in English.  Critical essays (book reports, academic reports, and so forth) will not be accepted.   All writing samples must be sent in .pdf, .doc, or .docx file format, in 12-point font, with one-inch margins.
  • An essay, in English, of no more than three pages in response to the following prompt:

“In our daily lives, we navigate many different roles—student, sibling, daughter, son, peer.  We negotiate family, friends, religious groups, as well as class, gender, race, country, and so many other groups, adjusting the way we speak or behave to fit the demands of each encounter.  As we move through the day, we work through how and why we occupy each role.  What do you consider to be the strongest, most central aspects of your identity? What does it mean to you to be a member of (or seen as a member of) a particular group? In what way does your identity influence you as a creative writer and reader?”

  • A brief statement of purpose (no more than 250 words), in English, describing why writing is important to the applicant’s life, and what he/she hopes to learn at the program.
  • A brief response (no longer than 300 words) to the following:

“An essential component of Between the Lines is encouraging participants to explore the unfamiliar and unknown in a safe and supportive setting.  Please describe a time in your past when you had to engage with a new situation, person, or idea that initially felt uncomfortable or strange.  How did you proceed? If you had the chance, what would you do the same, and what would you do differently?”