Sacramento Student Writer Sofia Schumaker Selected to Participate in University of Iowa Creative Writing & Cultural Exchange Program

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG)  |  University of Iowa Release

Students from countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Russia, and the United States will study writing together with award-winning writers in Iowa.

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - From July 14-28, Sofia Schumaker, student at St. Francis High School, will take part in Between the Lines (BTL)­, a prestigious creative writing and cultural exchange program for participants aged 15-18, hosted by the International Writing Program (IWP) in collaboration with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department, held in Iowa City, Iowa, a UNESCO City of Literature.

“Between the Lines invites talented young writers from all over the world to study, make friendships, and engage in artistic discovery in one of the world’s literary capitals: Iowa City. This place was my home when I was a young poet and the connections I made in Iowa continue to sustain me, not only in my writing practice, but in my life,” says Kiki Petrosino, BTL Faculty.

Following a competitive application process, Between the Lines will welcome 36 students from 11 countries and territories in the Middle East and North Africa, 10 cities across the Russian Federation, and 10 U.S. states. During the two-week program, students will participate in global literature seminars and intensive creative writing workshops, and have an opportunity to give a public reading of their own work.

Students will study with prize-winning authors Ameena Hussein (Sri Lanka), co-founder of Perera Hussein Publishing House, and alumnus of the IWP’s Fall Residency; Armen Ohanyan (Armenia) President of PEN Armenia, and alumnus of the IWP’s Fall Residency; and Kiki Petrosino (United States), professor and Director of The Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisville, and graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

During their two weeks in Iowa City BTL students will, in the words of Armen of Armenia, have the chance, “to come across the most important things: new cultures, new environments, new relationships, and a chance to see [themselves] in a new light. We welcome students to the homecoming party far away from home!"

Since 1967, the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa has hosted more than 1,400 writers from more than 140 countries, connecting well-established writers from around the globe, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, publishing books and journals, pursuing cultural diplomacy, and organizing tours, conferences, and other literary and intercultural events around the world. Between the Lines (BTL) is a part of IWP’s programming, and is sponsored through grant funds provided by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department.