July 30, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

How Iowa flattened literature: CIA and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

1 min read

With CIA help, writers were enlisted to battle both Communism and eggheaded abstraction. The damage to writing lingers: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Did the CIA fund creative writing in America? The idea seems like the invention of a creative writer. Yet once upon a time (1967, to be exact), Paul Engle, director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, received money from the Farfield Foundation to support international writing at the University of Iowa. The Farfield Foundation was not really a foundation; it was a CIA front that supported cultural operations, mostly in Europe, through an organization called the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

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