Ugandan writer Dilman Dila converses with an attendee at the 50th Anniversary of the International Writing Program on Monday. The welcome event was held at the Park Lodge in the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area. (Paxton Corey/The Daily Iowan)
By Andy Mitchell, The Daily Iowan
The aptly named “United Nations of Writers” gathered to receive a warm welcome to the Iowa City community Monday night. The International Writing Program celebrated the arrival of 34 writers from around the world for their 12-week stay here.
It was a special night for the program; 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the IWP, and it was a time for reminiscing and honoring its storied past. The IWP’s 50th Anniversary coordinator Alice Gribbin, who helped organize historical pieces of the IWP’s history on a new website, said there’s nothing like it in the world. And after 50 years, the IWP continues to be a bright symbol of unity across the world.
Program Director Christopher Merrill officially started the night with a lighthearted interpretation of how Paul Engle and Huahling Nieh Engle thought about bringing together writers from around the world to the University of Iowa. Engle thought it was “a crazy idea.” Merrill capped off his opening statement with “1,500 writers later, here we are.” He took a moment to thank Nieh Engle.