The 2023 IWP Fall Residency is scheduled to hold from August 19 through November 4, 2023.
By Helena Olori
Nigerian poet and spoken-word artist, Soonest Iheanyi Nathaniel, has secured the spot at the International Writing Programme (IWP) 2023 Fall Residency. Nathaniel is the first African participant officially announced for this year. This year’s programme is set to welcome 34 participants, with ten already unveiled, and 24 more residents to be announced in the coming weeks, potentially including more African writers.
Hosted by the prestigious University of Iowa, US, the IWP Fall Residency is open to both established and emerging writers – poets, screenwriters, graphic novelists, fiction and nonfiction authors – selected from a pool of applicants from around the world. The program accepts only writers with a high level of proficiency in English, and have published at least one book.
Other announced residents for this year are Taiwan novelist, Kevin Chen, Senka Maric from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maricela Guerrero from Mexico, Li Kotomi, Saba Hamzah from Yemen and the Netherlands, Raoul De Jong, Marina Porcelli, Martha Cecilia Ruiz, and Aigerim Tazhi from Kazakhstan.
Reacting to the announcement, Nathaniel shared “I have tried to contain myself, but this joy knows no bounds. Friends, it gives me great pleasure to announce that I will be a Fall Resident of the @UIIWP at the @uiowa. I am grateful to @ECAatState and @USinNigeria for this priceless opportunity.”
Nathaniel is an award-winning Nigerian poet, spoken-word artist, and broadcast journalist. He has received numerous awards for his works, including winning the 2017 RL Poetry Award, and several other Nigerian poetry and spoken-word competitions. Some of his notable works include the mixed-genre volume, Burying the Ghosts of Dead Narratives (2022), and the poetry collection, Teaching Father How to Impregnate Women (2018). His poems have been published in notable magazines in Nigeria, the US, and the UK.
Nathaniel was named a Langston Hughes Fellow at the Palm Beach Festival and served as the Poet Laureate for the Korea-Nigeria Poetry Festival. He is participating in the residency, courtesy of a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State, and the US Mission, Nigeria.
The International Writing Programme (IWP) is a multinational connective platform for creative writers worldwide that fosters a diverse and intercultural literary community. It nurtures writers’ creativity through activities such as reading and study tours, writing workshops, film screenings, panel presentations, and field trips, and serves as a valuable resource for literary news, educational materials, and global storytelling.
Since its inception in 1967, the IWP Fall Residency has provided residency opportunities to over 1,500 writers from more than 150 countries. This year’s edition, which marks the 56th, will bring together 34 writers from various countries for a three-month period, starting August 19 to November 4.