2021 International Writing Program (IWP) Call for Applications

The International Writing Program (IWP) at The University of Iowa announces a call for applications for the 2021 “Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience (BTL)” Program.  In a virtual format, BTL will bring together young writers between the ages of 15 and 18 from select countries and regions along the historic Silk Road land route for a two-week, online creative writing program from July 10 to July 24, 2021.  

BTL Program Description: 

IWP will virtually host 40 writers, ages 15–18, from select countries and regions, alongside 10 U.S. peers for a two-week online program from July 10 to July 24, 2021.  All program activities will be in English and will include synchronized writing workshops, world literature seminars, special literary events, and social opportunities for cultural exchange, as well as group and individual writing assignments outside of class. Upon the completion of the program, each participant will receive a certificate (PDF) and IWP will digitally publish the students’ writing as an anthology.  BTL: Peace and the Writing Experience 2021 alumni may also be eligible to apply for BTL follow-on microgrants. These funds will support new work that promotes creative writing and literature, youth leadership skills, professional development, community engagement, and community transformation through collaborative literary projects.

All international participants’ program costs for the virtual exchange will be funded. Additional Materials for Young Writers may found at The BTL program.  By March 14, 2021, all applicants must supply the following to BeijingExchangeProg@state.gov .

I. Personal Information:

a) Applicant’s full name (as it appears on his/her passport);

b) City and country of birth (as it appears on his/her passport);

c) Applicant’s gender (as it appears on his/her passport);

d) City of residency;

e) Country of residency;

f) Country of citizenship;

g) Applicant’s date of birth;

h) Applicant’s email address.

II. Application Materials:  

a) An International Student Application Form (Download Here).

b) A writing sample of 6–8 pages of prose (creative fiction/nonfiction) and/or poetry in English. Critical essays (book reports, academic reports, and so forth) will not be accepted. Document types accepted: PDF, DOC, DOCX. All writing samples must be sent in 12-point font, double-spaced, and have one-inch margins.

c) 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 particular 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?”

d) 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?”

e) 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 BTL.

Language Skills: 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 BTL faculty. Active discussion is an essential element of instruction.