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Foreword – Christopher Merrill (United States)
The Writer in an Age of Anxiety – Karim Alrawi (Canada/UK/Egypt)
The School of Blended Love – Said El Haji (Morocco/Netherlands)
To What Do I Belong? – Alisa Ganieva (Russia)
The Burden of Belonging – Harris Khalique (Pakistan)
Between Authenticities – Birgül Oğuz (Turkey)
Being Female in Nigeria: Where Do I Belong? – Ukamaka Olisakwe (Nigeria)
In the Rooms of Monticello – Kiki Petrosino (United States)
Belonging: To a Future – Patrícia Portela (Portugal)
Defining Moments That Led to an Undefined Person – Mabrouck Rachedi (Algeria/France)
Refuse/Refuge: Be Longing Eleni Sikelianos (United States)


To what do I belong? Family, friends, region, tribe, religious denomination, ethnic groups, class, gender, race, work, neighborhood, country, political parties--in our daily lives we navigate between different markers, adjusting our speech patterns and behavior to the demands of each encounter, narrating to ourselves stories about how and why we come to occupy a particular place in the scheme of things. Poets and writers, playwrights and filmmakers, all specialize in translating these private narratives into public discourse. What surfaces in their imagination is designed to reach broad audiences, and these stories can then shape the very ways in which societies view themselves.

In a period of tumultuous change such as the present, a group of distinguished IWP alumni met in May of 2017 in Tangier (Morocco) to address the question: to what do I belong? And, can new ways of telling counter the eruption of extremism created in part by the inadequacy of prevailing narratives of belonging and inclusion?



Publication Date



International Writing Program, The University of Iowa


Iowa City

Total Pages

69 pages


Edited by Nataša Ďurovičová.

Individual essays are available here.


Copyright © 2018 the authors

To What Do I Belong?: Traversing Differences, Bridging Narratives