Dina Peone is a third-year graduate student in the Nonfiction Writing Program who is working on a memoir about sleeping in a room on fire. During her first year in the Program, she wrote an award-winning proposal to visit the Westchester County Medical Center Burn Unit, of which she has no memory but wherein she spent fifty days of her sixteenth year. During her second year in the Program, she received a Writer-in-Residence award for her proposal to ride along on emergency calls with the Iowa City Fire Department in search of narrative resolution and a redefinition of “bravery.” The essay that resulted from her immersion with the ICFD is featured in the spring ’18 issue of Iowa Alumni Magazine. In the fall of her third year in the Program, she received a Herodotus Award for travel research on OMSI’s attempt to resurrect Pompeii with artifacts, 4-D theater, and excavated plaster body casts depicting victims of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The resulting work from her trip to OMSI is one-part cultural criticism, one-part lyrical meditation on the ironic connection between ash and preservation, and one-part personal reflection on the loss of relics to fire. Also in the fall of her third year in the Program, Dina presented excerpts from her memoir-in-progress at the Prairie Lights Reading Series with the International Writing Program. She holds a BA in Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an AA in Liberal Arts: Humanities and Social Sciences from SUNY Ulster. In May ’18 she will earn her Master’s in English.
In her three years of teaching experience, Dina has taught creative writing to high school and college students between the East Coast and the West. She has received fellowships to teach high school students visiting from The Buckley School in California, high school students across the state of Iowa, and international PhD students in Marketing as part of the AMA-Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium. Dina was elected by the Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program to design and teach a 4-hour master class at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY. The UI Council on Teaching awarded Dina an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for her two years of work in the Rhetoric Department. She earned a competitive position as a peer mentor for incoming TAs in the Rhetoric Department’s Professional Development Program. Dina currently teaches The Art and Craft of Personal Writing and she conducts a weekly writing workshop in the UI Writing Center, where she also works as a tutor.
For four consecutive semesters, Dina co-hosted the Speakeasy Reading Series: a public showcase of student works in the NWP. In 2016, Dina introduced the legendary rock critic Greil Marcus for his reading at the Englert Theater. Dina is the founding editor of The Cliffhanger, a pocket-sized anthology of fragments based out of Sarah Lawrence College. She is the recipient of the Lucy Grealy Prize for Poetry, the Gail Godwin Honorary Award for Writers, the Allan and Whitney Blake Manings Scholarship for Creative Writing, and the Ron Marquette Writer’s Scholarship. Since entering the Program, Dina has edited nonfiction for The Iowa Review and The Essay Review. She recently began volunteering at the UI Hospitals and Clinics Burn Unit as a “SOAR” (Survivor Offering Assistance in Recovery). She hopes to continue her career as a teacher of writing while she publishes long-form nonfiction and poetry.