Room 220 & NOCCA present: An evening with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program

Room 220 is delighted to continue its longstanding relationship with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program by presenting a distinguished cadre of its writers for a reading at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the Black Box Theater on the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts’ Bywater campus (2800 Chartres St.).

This event, which is co-hosted by NOCCA, will mark the fourth year in a row thatRoom 220 has partnered with the IWP, which brings each class of its writers-in-residence on (get out of the corn-) field trips to New Orleans and San Francisco. The writers—who come to Iowa from around the world and are often well-known literary figures in their home countries—spend several days seeing the sights and visiting local high school classrooms.

The Oct. 8 reading, which is free and open to the public, will feature four excellent writers from Malaysia, Iceland, South Africa, and Egypt. You can see bios for the entire IWP 2014 class here:

Bernice Chauly has published books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and was the recipient of the 2012 Reader’s Choice Award for her memoir Growing Up With Ghosts, in which she inhabits different voices and layers various texts to excavate one hundred years of her family’s history. She is also an accomplished photographer and filmmaker who has written, acted, and directed for award-winning films that have shown in festivals all over the world.  She is the co-founder of Rhino Press and the festival curator for the George Town Literary Festival in her native Malaysia.

Gerdur Kristny received an Icelandic Literature Award in 2010 for Bloodhoof, a book of poetry that recasts the Nordic myth featuring the abduction of her namesake, Gerður Gymisdóttir. Her other 17 publications, which have won her numerous awards and been been adapted by the Icelandic National Theater, include children’s literature, novels, non-fiction, and poetry. Read an interview with her here.

Sabata-mpho Mokae writes criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, publishing in both English and Setswana. In 2011 he received the South African Literary Award in the category of literary journalism.  His debut novel, written in Setswana, won two M-Net awards, including one for best novel.  Mokae is also an authority on South African literary figure Sol Plaatje, having published a biography about the esteemed linguist, politician, translator, and writer. Mokae is co-founder of the annual Sol Plaatje Literary Festival.

Ahmed Shafie is a poet, fiction writer, and translator. He has translated Charles Simic, Billy Collins, Lucille Clifton, and an anthology of African-American poems into Arabic.  His fiction and poetry, in the modest bits that have appeared translated into English, imbues the historic and the epic with a refreshing playfulness.Shafie also writes for the poetry translation blog ‘Aswast men Honak’ [Distant Voices], and blogs at ‘Qera’at Ahmed Shafie,’ [Readings of Ahmed Shafie].