Even though we’re situated in the middle of the country, the Nonfiction Writing Program has a distinctly international flavor. The program has been home to students from Poland, New Zealand, Cuba, South Korea, Turkey, The Philippines, Norway, Guam, Russia, Mexico, France, Columbia, India, Canada, and the U.K., as well as Kansas, New Mexico, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Los Angeles, Oregon, Alabama, and Washington, DC.
Sometimes our students come to the program right out of college, and sometimes they’ve had careers in other fields for a number of years, such as journalism, law, education, and science. We aim to bring in as diverse a group of students with as many different life experiences as possible. We think it helps enrich our discussions in and out of the classroom.
If you’d like to chat with some of our students about their experiences in the program, feel free to write to these folks who have volunteered to field your questions.
Jess Kibler is a second-year student in the Nonfiction Writing Program and the program’s current student ambassador. After graduating from Oregon State University, she worked as a bookseller at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, and a freelance copy editor and proofreader for Tin House, Bitch Media, and Longform. Her writing has been published by Catapult and Bitch Media, and she currently writes about music, queerness, and growing up in the Pacific Northwest.
Tony Andrews is a second-year student in the Nonfiction Writing Program. He is a graduate of Amherst College, where he won the Film and Media Studies Award for his honors thesis, a documentary film that, informed by the NWP, he now recognizes as a video “essay” about the little-known but die-hard surfing subculture in Rhode Island—the random little state from which he hails. In the intervening years between Amherst and Iowa, Tony lived in a pantry in an Australian beachside bungalow for a year of surfing and writing before resigning himself to the “real world” of alienating and unsatisfying work in corporate marketing and public relations in New York City. Those experiences have shaped his aesthetic, which deploys the personal essay as a vehicle for exploring the contradictions of contemporary life and imagining better possible futures. He writes about seeking, wandering, and dreaming of alternative ways of living. Tony is a Peer Advisor for the university’s General Education Literature program, co-Editor of the Nonfiction Writing Program’s magazine for essay criticism (The Essay Review), and an Editorial Assistant for both the Iowa Review and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His writing has been published in The Intertia.
Darius Stewart, who comes to Iowa City from Knoxville, TN, graduated from the NWP in 2020. In 2020-2021 he will serve as the Provost's Postgraduate Visiting Writer in nonfiction at the University of Iowa. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his M.F.A. as a Michener Fellow in poetry. He has authored three poetry chapbooks; the third, The Ghost the Night Becomes, was the 2013 winner of the Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. Darius was an Editor of The Essay Review (2017-2018) and served as a Program Associate and chair of the textbook committee in the English Department’s GEL Program. Inspired by NWP faculty member Inara Verzemnieks and Kiese Laymon (2017 Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor), Darius now approaches nonfiction writing with a “resurrectionist’s” methodology that he hopes will observe the physical and psychic traumas of addiction with a prose style that is spiritually resonant. Aside from the EPB, you can find him living, working, or watching HGTV from a shoe box (an efficiency apartment) in south Iowa City with his dog, Fry.