Summer Writing Workshop – “Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience”

The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP) invites young Russian writers to apply to participate in a two-week summer cultural exchange program called Between the Lines (BTL). Three young writers from Russia will join 30 other students from all over the world and 10 American writers for a residency and workshop program in Iowa City on July 13-27, 2019All program activities will be in English and 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’ writings as an anthology. The program will cover the cost of travel, per diem, and other expenses associated with the students’ stay in the United States. Funds may also be available to support in-country travel for visa interviews.

Ideal candidates are talented young writers who show promise to become future literary figures in Russia. Students must be:

  • born between July 13, 2000 and July 1, 2001;
  • proficient in English (reading, writing, and speaking);
  • able to participate effectively in intercultural exchange.

The final selection of participants will be determined by Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and IWP.

Individuals in the following circumstances are not eligible to apply:

  • S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States;
  • Individuals currently studying, residing, or working outside of a participating country;
  • Alumni of U.S. Government-funded programs;
  • Local employees of the U.S. missions abroad who work for the U.S. Department of State; employees are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment;
  • Immediate family members (i.e. spouses and children) of U.S. Department of State employees; family members are also ineligible for one year following the termination of employment.

Student applications must include the following items:

  • Application form (docx, 141kb);
  • 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?”
  • personal statement (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?”
  • brief statement of purpose (no more than 250 words) describing why writing is important to the applicant’s life, and what he/she hopes to learn at BTL.
  • creative writing sample of 6-8 pages of prose in English (fiction or creative nonfiction) and/or poetry. Self-made translations of applicant’s own works in Russian are also accepted. Critical essays (book reports, academic reports, and so forth) will not be accepted.

All e-mail attachments should be clearly marked:

  • 2019 BTL Student: <Last name, First name> Application
  • 2019 BTL Student: <Last name, First name> Essay response
  • 2019 BTL Student: <Last name, First name> Personal statement
  • 2019 BTL Student: <Last name, First name> Statement of purpose
  • 2019 BTL Student: <Last name, First name> Writing sample
  • 2019 BTL Student: <Last name, First name> International Passport (Optional)


Completed submission package should be emailed at Incomplete submission packages will result in disqualification.

Application deadline: March 24, 2019 (23:59 Moscow time)

More information about the program can be found here:

Please contact our office if you have further questions about the program:
Tel: +7 (495) 728-52-42