January 2012

Wallace Stegner

Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) came to Iowa City in the fall of 1930 for his graduate studies in creative writing, and he left Iowa in 1934 with a PhD in English. Stegner was born in Iowa, in a place called Lake Mills. But his father's adventurous spirit moved their family often, so Stegner grew up in North Dakota, Saskatchewan, Montana, and Wyoming. Thus, Stegner didn't consider himself an Iowan, and except for the three-year period of his studies and occasional visits to his wife's family in Dubuque, he never came back to Iowa. Responding to an inquiry by one Mr.

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William Stafford

William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1914. He received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and, in 1954, a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. During the Second World War, Stafford was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps-an experience he recorded in the prose memoir Down My Heart (1947). He married Dorothy Hope Frantz in 1944; they had four children.

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W.D. Snodgrass

William DeWitt Snodgrass, born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 5, 1926, was known to his friends as 'De'. He attended Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., then later served in the United States Navy. In 1949, he graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, staying in Iowa City afterwards to study with Robert Lowell, John Berryman and Randall Jarrell.

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Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley (1949) was born in Los Angeles, California. While she was still an infant, Smiley moved to the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, where she lived through grammar school and high school (The John Burroughs School). After getting her BA at Vassar College in 1971, she traveled in Europe for a year, working on an archeological dig and sightseeing, then came to Iowa City where she subsequently earned an MA (1975), MFA (1976), and PhD (1978) at the University of Iowa. In 1981, she went to work at Iowa State University, in Ames, where she taught until 1996.

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Albana Shala

Albana Shala (1968) grew up in Tirana, Albania. She studied English and translated fiction and nonfiction from English into Albanian. In 1990, she began working for the UNDP office in Tirana. In 1995, she moved to the Netherlands to study International Law and Development at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and soon thereafter established herself in Amsterdam.

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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.

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Philip Roth

American novelist and short-story writer Philip Roth is best known for his provocative explorations of Jewish and American identity.

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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.

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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:

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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).

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