The Between the Lines Program at the University of Iowa

Deadline to Apply: February 14, 2016.

Between the Lines (BTL) is a summer creative writing program that brings together young writers (between 16 and 19 years of age) from the across the world and American students for cultural exchange and enrichment. The Department of State is pleased to once again partner with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program for the 2016 cycle of this program. The session in Iowa City will begin on June 25 to July 9, 2016. Participants travel to and from the United States in the company of an adult chaperone. The backdrop of the University of Iowa, located in Iowa City – the only UNESCO Creative City of Literature in North America – serves as inspiration for the students to grow as writers and provide them with the opportunity to explore cross-cultural dialogues on creative writing and literature.

Participants attend courses designed to both increase awareness of world literature and improve their craft, including an English-language literature seminar and a language-specific writing workshop (Arabic or English). Classes are be led by teachers who are respected writers in their own right. Extracurricular events and evening activities allow students to deepen their understanding of each other’s culture through their interactions with each other and with the larger community. During the session participants live in a residence hall and be supervised by live-in, trained counselors. The chaperone and counselors work together to help create a lively, supportive writing community. Travel, lodging and meals will be paid for by the Department of State. More program information is available on the IWP website.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Be 16-19 years old;
  • Be native Arabic speakers;
  • Be capable of writing, reading and speaking in English;
  • Be committed to attending all sessions and creative writing workshops as part of the program;
  • Be passionate about writing!

The application must send PART I and PART II of the application to (You can include your answers for PART II in the body of the email that you send to us).

 Part 1:

A writing sample of 6-8 pages of prose and/or poetry in Arabic.

A writing sample of 6-8 pages of prose and/or poetry in English. School essays and other non-fiction writing will not be accepted.

A brief one-paragraph statement of purpose in English describing why writing is important to the applicant’s life, and what he/she hopes to learn at BTL.

A writing sample of 2-5 pages of prose and/or poetry in either language in response to one of the following writing prompts: During breakfast you are startled by a heavy knock at the door. It is someone who demands something from you. Who is it, what does he/she need, and what happens next? Write a short story or poem.

Write a short story or poem that contains three (3) of the following objects and one (1) place: Objects: old bicycle, uncomfortable couch, leaking canoe, sleeping puppy, love note, truth serum; Places: cruise ship, forest with a lake, empty street at dawn, deserted dance club.

All writing samples must be sent in 12-point font and have one -inch margins all around. In addition to the ten students selected, several students will be chosen as alternates.

Part 2

Basic information Needed: First name, family name, middle name; city of birth, country of birth, country of current residence, country of permanent residence, country of citizenship; gender; date of birth—month/day/year

They should also provide a brief answer to the question: “How did you hear about the Between the Lines program?”

Copy of passport. Note: Students without a passport are expected to apply for one immediately upon acceptance into the program.

Please e-mail all complete applications to: No later than February 14, 2016.