Bestselling Egyptian novelist Khaled Khamissi and Iraqi novelist and filmmaker Mortada Gzar are among the University of Iowa’s prestigious International Writing Program participants for 2016:
These are not, as in previous years, emerging writers, but rather writers who have already achieved “national recognition” in their home countries. Last year’s residents included Egyptian novelist Nael Eltoukhy (author of Women of Karantina) and Saudi poet Raed Anis Al-Jishi.
This year, Khaled Khamissi (Taxi, Noah’s Ark) and Mortada Gzar (Sayyid Asghar Akbar, My Beautiful Cult) are among the residents, who are still being announced over at the IWP’s website. Thus far only eight names — of the estimated 30 to 35 — have been revealed. The 2016 program is set to take place over ten weeks, from Aug. 20 to Nov. 8.
IWP resident writers are expected to “participate in one public reading, as part of one public panel, and at a small number of receptions and other events, and are encouraged to present in the International Literature Today class. Otherwise, the residents’ calendars are dominated by unstructured time, to allow for individual work schedules and goals.”
You can read excerpts from Khamissi’s Taxi (trans. Jonathan Wright) and Gzar’s Sayyid Asghar Akbar (trans. Yasmeen Hanoosh) on the IWP website. There’s more about Gzar’s novel at Jadaliyya. Khamissi’s is available in full in English translation.