The world-renowned Iowa Writer’s Workshop has chosen a new director. Just last week former director Frank Conroy died of cancer in Iowa City. He’d announced in August that he was stepping down from the job, and a search has been underway since then for someone to lead the program. One of the program’s acting directors, Marilyn Robinson, says the new director is no stranger to the Writer’s Workshop.Lan Samantha Chang was one of the four finalists, and had been a student in program. Robinson says Chang was one of her own students, and since leaving the program has not only been a professor she’s come back to occasionally teach as visiting faculty at the Writer’s Workshop. Robinson says Chang’s writing is refined and elegant, reflecting the integration of her Chinese heritage with her American upbringing. Chang grew up here in the Midwest, in Wisconsin where she was the daughter of parents who’d come here to study, so she has a rich background of being intermediate between two cultures, a strategic situation for a writer. Lan Samantha Chang’s first book, “Hunger: A Novella and Stories,” received a number of prizes, and her novel “Inheritance” was published last year. Robinson says she’s confident Chang won’t have to forgo her writing to be an academic bureaucrat. They try to hire writers on the basis of their writing, so the program tries to create an environment in which they can also keep on writing, something Robinson says it important. Chang’s main task, the responsibility of all staff at the workshop, is “to provide a nurturing setting for young developing writers,” and Robinson says she’s confident she’ll do that well. Chang was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and currently teaches creative writing at Harvard. She’ll take over duties as director of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in January.
You are here: / / U-of-I’s Writer’s Workshop has new director