International Writing Program (IWP) Panel Discussion Series: Writing And...

Friday, September 13, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A
123 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52240

Many writers have a job in some industry other than writing. How does one balance the two professions? Are they connected, and if so, how does writing contribute to the “day job,” or vice versa? Is being a full-time writer the ideal situation, or is there value in having another profession?

BUDDHISAGAR (fiction, poetry, drama; Nepal) authored the bestselling novel [Karnali Blues], which won the 2010 Rastriya Pratibha Puraskar award; an English translation is forthcoming. He has three other novels and one poetry collection; his radio scripts appear on Nepali broadcasts as well as on BBC; a feature film based on his screenplay will be released in 2020. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Department of State.

Batsirai CHIGAMA (poetry, fiction; Zimbabwe) has been a teacher of performance and creative writing workshops for over two decades. Her first poetry collection, Gather the Children, won the 2019 Outstanding First Creative Published Work from the National Arts Merits Awards in Zimbabwe. She participates courtesy the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.  

Madara GRUNTMANE (poetry; Latvia) has a background in cultural management.  A recipient of 2015 Latvian Literature Readers’ Choice Award for her book Narkozes  (Narcoses; 2015) and the 2019 Public Broadcasting Award for her second poetry volume Dzērājmeitiņa  [Drunk Daddy’s Girl], she often presents at international literary festivals; she also works with creative collectives to produce cultural arts events throughout Latvia. Her participation has been made possible by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

THAWDA AYE LEI (fiction, nonfiction; Myanmar), a graduate of the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, is a journalist-turned-advocate. She is also the author of three novels and a story collection [The Borderless Cloud], and the founder of the online magazine Myat shu. Thawda Aye Lei's participation was made possible by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Allison Gnade in advance at (319) 335-0128 or