Dina Nayeri has been named the seventh recipient of the Paul Engle Prize, presented
by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization.
The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of
literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the
day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.
Nayeri will receive the prize, which includes a one-of-a-kind work of art and $10,000, during a special ceremony as part
of the Iowa City Book Festival on October 4. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Coralville Public Library, and is free and
open to the public. Afterwards join us for a reception, sponsored by the Coralville Public Library Foundation.
Nayeri is a novelist, essayist and activist who has written extensively about the life and challenges of refugees. She has
published two novels. Her debut,
A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, was released in 2013 and translated to 14 foreign languages. Her second novel,
Refuge, was released in 2017 and was a
New York Times editor’s choice. Her acclaimed essay “The Ungrateful Refugee,” was published in
as a Long Read in 2017 and was anthologized in
The Displaced, a collection edited by Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Than Nguyen.
She holds a BA from Princeton, an MBA and Master of Education, both from Harvard, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop,
where she was a Truman Capote Fellow and Teaching Writing Fellow. She lives in London.
The Paul Engle Prize is made possible through the generous support of the
City of Coralville, which is home to 11 permanent sculptures with artistic and literary ties to Iowa.