Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Writing University is asking creative writing programs on campus to come up with simple, easy lists of reading suggestions from their programs, in order to showcase the wealth of incredible writers we have here - alumni, current students, faculty and more!

Today's list is from the International Writing Program. It includes fantastic work by past residents from the Fall Residency program and selections from the 91st Meridian Journal. All of them are great, you can read them all!


  • Shantaram, "Evening Raaga"— Romance takes hold of two elderly Mumbai street vendors in Mumbai.
  • Fujino Kaori, "The Fox Girls of Kowata High" — A pack of Japanese girl foxes considers feminism.
  • Bibish Marie-Louise Mumbu, "Me and My Hair"— A Kinshasa lady’s roots are beginning to show.
  • Birgül Oğuz on Mourning — "Insomnia, lack of appetite, stomach cramps, muscle cramps, loss of concentration, anxiety disorder, diarrhea, constipation, loss of motivation and desire, shortness of breath, burning eyes, outbursts of laughter and crying jags, and so on."
  • Tse Hao Guang on Work— "When I meet someone for the first time, it is almost a courtesy for them to ask what I work as, which means: what do I do to afford to live in this place?"
  • Tade Ipadeola on Hate speech— "Because speech is so closely allied with thought, there is always the risk of virulent speech, the most dangerous form of which is hate speech—truly, speech becomes most dangerous when it threatens people for belonging to a specific group, and treats humanity the way humanity treats snakes, mosquitoes, and other pests."
  • Gina Cole on American language— "When I first arrived in Iowa, I made contact with Joyce Big Soldier of the Iowa tribe of Oklahoma, to find out how to say hello in the Ioway language.  She told me that Ioway women speak a different greeting to the men.  Women say Aha Hanwe pi.  Men say Aho hanwe pi."
  • Sharlene Teo on High emotion— "Yesterday I looked up the etymology of the word emo:  shortform  for  “emotional  hardcore,” born out of the hardcore  punk  scene in Washington in the 1980s."
  • Alice Pung on Not enough sex— "Often when we think about desire in literature, particularly Western literature, we think about sex, and about acquiring sex in all sorts of ways: through romantic love (Jane Austen), adulterously (Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter), or through illicit encounters (Nabokov, Lolita). My talk focuses on something more awkward. Not getting it."


We hope you enjoy! And check back for more lists from other writing programs at the University of Iowa.