The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa residents to engage in a panel discussion centered around writing, love

Four writers will discuss topics centering around “Writing Love in the Age of Irony,” in the Iowa City Public Library on Oct. 27.
Lillie Hawker
The Iowa City Public Library is seen on Sunday, March 20, 2022.

For nearly 80 years, the Iowa International Writers’ Program has hosted writers from different backgrounds and cultures residency in Iowa City, allowing them the space to engage with the community.

Each IWP resident is also presented with the opportunity to choose several different panel topics that they would be interested in having a conversation about. The program then decides which writers to place on each panel to create an enriching and thoughtful discussion.

On Oct. 27, the International Writers Program will be inviting four distinguished international writers to the Iowa City Public Library to deliver a panel discussion at 12 p.m. titled “Writing Love in the Age of Irony.”

The participating writers include Wong Yi Eva from Hong Kong, Maricela Guerrero from Mexico, Orit Gidali from Israel, and Noelle Q. de Jesus from Singapore.

Throughout the years, love has been a popular theme in many works of both classical and modern literature, and there are many authors who want to cultivate conversations surrounding love through their work.

“I cannot escape the truth of my life, that my work in both fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even my day job as a copywriter — tends to explore love in all its forms,” de Jesus wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.

In her writing, de Jesus often explores topics surrounding love, sexuality, and relationships. Through both plot and narrative-driven pieces of writing, she examines the flawed nature of humans and the love that people unconsciously aspire toward.

“Ultimately, it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to be part of such a vibrant community and for eleven weeks, to live a very different kind of life — one that is centered on literature, the practice and craft of writing, and the writer’s life,” de Jesus wrote.

In her experience, Wong has found that many people consider stories surrounding romantic love to be shallow and uninteresting, while others resonate deeply with them. Through her work, Wong has come to find that love can be a very powerful way of understanding people from different places.

“I decided to write about love in a way where I use it as a lens to look at how people are living, specifically how people are living in Hong Kong,” Wong explained.

The city of Hong Kong has been a central focus in Wong’s recent work, as she has explored the idea of love and how it can still be present even among people living in a crowded city where everyone has their own agenda.

“A lot of times, writing about love is a sort of literary tradition that is not considered totally highbrow unless you make a classic piece of literature. But I feel like love is a very powerful human emotion and transcends time,” Wong said. “There is actually a lot of room for exploration and creative expression.”

Guerrero has also explored the theme of love in her writing, albeit in a different way. In her work, she writes reflections on love; not only romantic love, but also the familial love and the love that each person has for their given environment.

Through the use of vernacular language in her writing, Guerrero is able to incorporate cultural authenticity and topics surrounding language into her writing.

“[The IWP] is a very rich experience because we have the chance to talk with a lot of other writers,” Guerrero expressed.  “I can also take my time to write and to research. This program is a gift for space and time. I’m very happy to be a resident.”

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About the Contributor
Riley Dunn
Riley Dunn, Arts Reporter
Riley Dunn is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in English and Creative Writing and Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to her time at the DI, Riley interned for Swimming World Magazine.