Between the Lines 2020: Peace and the Writing Experience Summer Program for Young Writers at the University Of Iowa

The U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan announces an open competition for the 2020 Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience for Young Writers at the University of IOWA (BTL: Peace and the Writing Experience for Young Writers).

Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a fully-funded scholarship that will bring together young writers aged 15–18 years for a two-week creative writing residency at the University of Iowa on July 11–July 25, 2020. With professional U.S. and international writers as their teachers, participants broaden their literary horizons, deepen their empathy and their understanding of one another’s cultures, and improve their communication skills. All programming is conducted in English. These will include writing workshops, group and individual writing assignments, world literature seminars, cultural visits, and other local events.

Eligibility for the Between the Lines: Peace and the Writing Experience Program:

  1. Applicants must be a citizen of the country in which they apply for the BTL Program.
  2. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 18 as of July 11, 2020.
  3. Applicants must be proficient in English (reading, writing, and speaking); and able to participate effectively in intercultural exchange.
  4. Applicants must be committed to return directly to their home country after the completion of the program.

All applicants must supply the following:

a)  An International Student Application Form (DOC – 142 KB)
b) A writing sample of 6–8 pages of prose (creative nonfiction) and/or poetry in English.  Critical essays (book reports, academic reports, and so forth) will not be accepted.   All writing samples must be sent in .pdf, .doc, or .docx file format, in 12-point font, with one-inch margins.
c)  An essay, in English, of no more than three pages in response to the following prompt:
“In our daily lives, we navigate many different roles—student, sibling, daughter, son, peer.  We negotiate family, friends, religious groups, as well as class, gender, race, country, and so many other groups, adjusting the way we speak or behave to fit the demands of each encounter.  As we move through the day, we work through how and why we occupy each particular role.  What do you consider to be the strongest, most central aspects of your identity? What does it mean to you to be a member of (or seen as a member of) a particular group? In what way does your identity influence you as a creative writer and reader?”
d)  A brief statement of purpose (no more than 250 words), in English, describing why writing is important to the applicant’s life, and what he/she hopes to learn at BTL.
e)  A brief response (no longer than 300 words) to the following:
“An essential component of Between the Lines is encouraging participants to explore the unfamiliar and unknown in a safe and supportive setting.  Please describe a time in your past when you had to engage with a new situation, person, or idea that initially felt uncomfortable or strange.  How did you proceed? If you had the chance, what would you do the same, and what would you do differently?”

For more information about the sessions, please visit the ​​​​​​Between the Lines program page

The following formatting standards are required for all submitted documents. If not followed, applications may not be considered.

Format:         Typed (Microsoft Word document preferred but not required)
Font type:     Times New Roman
Font size:      12 point
Spacing:        Double
Margins:        1 inch on all sides
Header:         Include your name, name of piece (creative work, Prompt #1, Prompt #2, Statement of Purpose)
Footer:           Include page numbers
Citations:       If using other people’s words/content, always give them credit
Application must be written in English and submitted electronically no later than February 17, 2020 to:

For more information, please contact Sitora Kasimova, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan; Tel: 2292327;