IOWA CITY — The International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa has launched the Women’s Creative Mentorship Project in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This project focuses on mentorship between emerging female writers and female IWP Fall Residency alumni.
The project brought writers from Mauritius, Colombia, Somalia, Botswana, Italy, Kenya, South Africa, Argentina, and Mexico together at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Portland, Ore., to kick off the six-month project.
The conference in Portland included master classes, manuscript consultations, one-on-one meetings between mentors and mentees, as well as special seminars with visiting authors and other creative professionals, both U.S.- and overseas-based. Mentees worked with mentors from their home-country and IWP staff to develop personalized plans that provide structure for the six-month distance portion of the project, ending in September.
“This has been a truly enriching experience,” said Firdous Hendricks of South Africa, who participated in the conference. “What an absolute honor to be in the company of so many experts in the literary field. I gained a wealth of knowledge. I was especially moved by strides being made by women in the industry. The connections we made as mentors, mentees, and as women during the conference in just those few days were deep and meaningful and I know that it will be lasting. I look forward to creating in the next 6 months!”
At the project’s conclusion, an anthology of WCM Project creative writing will be published in print and online.