Iowa International Writing Program

Khadija Abdalla Bajaber, Yasser Abdel Hafez, TJ Benson, Abdelaziz Errachidi, and Tariro Ndoro are the African writers to taking part in the Iowa International Writing Program 2022.

The University of Iowa International Writing Program prides itself as being the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world. Started in 1967, it is designed for established and emerging poets, fiction writers, dramatists, and non-fiction writers. The program, running from September 1 to November 16, will include public readings on Sundays and Fridays, panel presentations at the Iowa City Public Library Fridays, as well as film screenings, field trips, and cultural events typically on weekends.

The writers from Africa taking part in the program this year are;

Khadija Abdalla Bajaber (fiction writer, editor: Kenya)

Khadija Abdalla Bajaber has had writing published in Enkare Review, A Long House, Lolwe and Down River Road, among other publications. An assistant editor for Panorama Travel Journal, she was, in 2018, the winner of the Graywolf Press Africa Prize for her debut novel The House of Rust.

Yasser Abdel Hafez (novelist, journalist, editor; Egypt)

Abdelaziz is the author of three novels: [On the Occasion of Life] was longlisted for the 2008 Arabic Booker; The Book of Safety, the winner of the Banipal Translation Prize (English translation Robin Moger) appeared in 2017; the third, [Platitude], is forthcoming. With a long career in journalism, Abdel Hafez is the managing editor of the literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab. He lives in Cairo.

TJ Benson (fiction writer, non-fiction writer, editor, visual artist; Nigeria)

TJ Benson has had writing appear in Transition Magazine, Saraba, Jalada Africa, Catapult, Bakwa Magazine and elsewhere. His story collection We Won’t Fade into Darkness (2018) was shortlisted for the Saraba Manuscript Prize; his first novel, The Madhouse, appeared in 2021.

Abdelaziz Errachidi (fiction and non-fiction; Morocco)

Abdelaziz Errachidi is a professor of Arabic literature at Ibn Tofaïl University in Kenitra and the director of the publishing house AlKassaba. Among his numerous novels and story collections are [Body of clouds] (2018), [Kitchen of Love] (2013), [Foreigners at my Table] (2009) and [Childhood of a Frog] (2005). A recipient of many awards including the Al Sharjah Arabic Novel Prize, Egypt’s Sakyat Essaw Prize and UAE’s Ibn Battuta Prize for his 2014 travel book [Sindbad of Sahara], he has had his works translated widely.

Tariro Ndoro (poet, fiction, nonfiction; Zimbabwe)

Tariro Ndoro is the author of the poetry collection Agringada: Like a Gringa, Like a Foreigner (2019), which won the inaugural NAMA Award for Outstanding Poetry Book from Zimbabwe’s National Arts Council. A finalist in several other poetry competitions, she has had her work anthologized and translated. Ndoro, who has a BSc in Microbiology and an M.A. in Creative Writing, lives in Harare.