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2012 Programs & Events

International Writing Programs in Cambodia

May 30 - June 3, 2012

From May 30 to June 3, a group of writers from the University of Iowa International Writing Program: Reading Tour, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, visited Cambodia to conduct creative writing workshops with Cambodian writers and students.

Over 40 Cambodian writers and poets participated in two half-day workshops conducted by a group of five American writers from the Iowa University International Writing Program, at the Pannasastra Univeristy of Cambodia.  The workshop was very interactive in that both Cambodian and American writers actively discussed a wide range of topics, including how to write a good poem, style, wording, and meaning.  They also touched on the differences of Cambodian poetry and American poetry.  The American writers were impressed with how rich and diverse the styles of Cambodia poems are and how beautifully they rhyme.   Feedback from the participants was very positive, and the American writers considered the workshop to be highly successful.  The workshop was made possible through collaboration with the Nou Hach Literature Association and the Khmer Writers Association.  Cambodian Television Network (CTN) TV and Rasmei Kampuchea covered the workshop.  The workshop was also posted on youtube and on the Nou Hach Literature Association Facebook page.

The writers also talked to over 400 university and English language learners at Pannasastra University, the Institute of Foreign Languages at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, and ICS English School.  The students had the opportunity to do exercises to practice the creative writing process and shared their stories in class.

Finally, the group visited approximately 50 English Access Microscholarship students, in Kampong Speu and Kampong Chhnang.  The students worked together in groups to create their own poem with guidance from the American writers. The American poets were impressed with the courage the students showed in being able to write in a foreign language, and how interactive and enthusiastic they were.

The group took a personal trip to tour Angkor Wat and other temples in Siem Reap, and learned more about Cambodian culture at the National Museum.