January 2012

Tomaž Šalamun

Tomaž Šalamun (1941) has published 38 volumes of poems in his native Slovenia and has been translated into nearly two dozen languages. The Turbines (Windhover Press, U of Iowa, 1973) and Snow (Toothpaste Press, West Branch, IA, 1974) were the poet's debut collection in English. His true national debut in the U.S. was Selected Poemsof Tomaž Šalamun, edited and in large part translated by Charles Simic, brought out in 1988 as part of Ecco Press's prestigious Modern European Poetry series.

Pushcart Prize, Prešeren Fund Award and Jenko Prize, Ovid Festival Prize
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Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson (1943) is the author of the novels Housekeeping (1981), Gilead (2004) and Home (2008), and the nonfiction works Mother Country (1989), The Death of Adam (1998), and Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (2010). In 1991, Robinson became a professor with the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, where she continues to teach creative writing today.

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2005), National Humanities Medal, Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction
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Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk (1952; 2006 Nobel Prize for literature) took part in the International Writing Program (IWP) in the fall of 1985; he spent three months in Iowa City, from September 1 to December 15. Here is how Peter Nazareth, a chronicler of the IWP, remembers him:

Nobel Prize in Literature (2006), International Dublin Literary Award, Sonning Prize
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John O'Keefe

John O'Keefe (BA 1965, MFA 1971) is an actor, director, playwright, and screenwriter. His best known work, the play Shimmer, was also adapted for film and television.

Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award
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Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) was accepted to the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1945 and obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1947. She was then offered a post-doctoral fellowship at the Workshop and spent another year in Iowa City. Her years in Iowa City became a major turning point in her writing character. It was here, in 1946, that she finally decided to use the name Flannery O’Connor (against the previously used Mary O’Connor, M.F. O’Connor, or even MFOC).

National Book Award for Fiction (1972)
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Herbert Nipson

Herbert Nipson is an award-winning journalist who spent nearly 40 years at Ebony magazine, including 15 years as executive editor (1972 to 1987). He recieved his MFA from the University of Iowa in 1948.

Capitol Press Club Outstanding Journalist
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H.M. Naqvi

H.M. Naqvi (1973) was born in London and grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. He graduated from Georgetown University, and then got an MFA in creative writing at Boston University. He spent many years in the U.S., consecutively working in finance, running a slam venue, and teaching creative writing at Boston University. Presently, he resides in Karachi, Pakistan.

Naqvi published his first novel, Home Boy, in 2009. The book almost immediately enjoyed significant commercial and literary success. The New York Times wrote:

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
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Frank Luther Mott

Frank Luther Mott won the 1939 Pulitzer in history for A History of American Magazines. He was the former director of the UI School of Journalism.

Pulitzer Prize (1939)
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Nicholas Meyer

Nicholas Meyer (BA 1968) is a distinguished film writer and director. Among his many films are Star Trek 11, The Wrath of Khan, Time After Time, Star Trek IV, The Undiscovered Country, Volunteers, The Seven Percent Solution, and many others.

Academy Awards nomination, Emmy Award nomination
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James Alan McPherson

In his non-fiction piece “On Becoming an American Writer” (The Atlantic, December 1978), James Alan McPherson provides rich clues about his identity as a black American citizen who is a writer. He grew up “in a lower-class black community in Savannah, Georgia, attended segregated public schools,” and because of the National Defense Student Loan Program, was able to enroll at Morris Brown College where he received his B.A. in 1965. Summers, McPherson worked as a dining car waiter on the Great Northern Railroad.

Pulitzer Prize (1978), MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship
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