Creative Faculty & Students

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Luis Muñoz


Born in Granada, Spain. He has degrees in Hispanic Philology and Romance Philology, and a PhD in Spanish Literature. In his hometown he directed the University of Granada’s Aula de Literatura (1992-2000), as well as the poetry magazine Hélice, from its founding until its closure (1992-2002). Between 2001 and 2012 he worked in Madrid as an advisor to the Residencia de Estudiantes. In 1994 he edited the anthology El lugar de la poesía (The Place of Poetry) and he has translated, among other titles, El cuaderno del viejo (The Notebook of the Old Man) by Giuseppe Ungaretti (Pre-Textos, 2000). In 2008 he was curator of the exhibition Gallo. Interior de la una revista (Gallo. Interior of a magazine) about the publication edited in 1928 by Federico García Lorca. His most recent books are Vecindad (Vicinity, Visor, 2018) and Querido silencio (Dear Silence, Tusquets, 2006). His poetic work until 2005 is gathered in the volume Limpiar pescado. Poesía reunida (Cleaning Fish. Collected Poems). He has published the books Septiembre (September), Manzanas amarillas (Yellow Apples), El apetito (The Appetite), and Correspondencias (Correspondences). He has received, among others, the Ciudad de Córdoba, Generación del 27, Ojo Crítico, and El Público awards.

Casa de América
Casa de América

Horacio Castellanos Moya


Writer and a journalist from El Salvador. For two decades he worked as editor of news agencies, magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Guatemala and his own country. As a fiction writer, he was granted residencies in a program supported by the Frankfurt International Book Fair (2004-2006) and in the City of Asylum program in Pittsburgh (2006-2008). He has also taught in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he was guest researcher at the University of Tokyo with a fellowship granted by the Japan Foundation. He has published eleven novels, five short story collections, two essay books, and a diary. His novels have been translated into twelve languages; five of them (Senselessness, The She-Devil in the mirror, Dance with Snakes, Revulsion, and Tyrant memory) are available in English. He was awarded the Manuel Rojas Iberoamerican Prize for Fiction 2014, by the Government of Chile.

Foto por Lisbeth Salas

Ana Merino


Full Professor of Hispanic Studies and 2016 Collegiate Scholar. In 2009 Merino left her position at Dartmouth College to create the Spanish M.F.A. program at the University of Iowa, she was its director since her foundation in March 2011 until December 2018. Between 2001-2011 she was a Member of the ICAF (International Comic Arts Forum Executive Committee; and between 2004 and 2014 Directors Board Member at The Center for Cartoon Studies:

She has published nine books of poems: Preparativos para un viaje (winner of the Adonais Prize in 1994), Los días gemelos (1997), La voz de los relojes (2000), Juegos de niños (winner of the Fray Luis de León Prize in 2003/translated into English and published by Harbor Mountain Press in 2012), Compañera de celda (2006) (translated into English and published by Harbor Mountain Press in 2007), Hagamos caso al tigre (2010), Curación (Accésit Jaime Gil de Biedma Prize, 2010), El viaje del vikingo soñador (2015) and Los buenos propósitos (2015). She is also the author of a youth novel: El hombre de los dos corazones (2009), a children album: Martina y los piojos (2017) and four plays: Amor muy frágil (2013), staged and travelled to several theaters in Switzerland on 2012 and 2013, and Las decepciones (2014), La redención (2016) staged last year at theater B at UI and Salvemos al elefante (2017). A selection of her poetry was translated into German by teamart Verlag Zurich in 2009. Her poems have appeared in more than thirty anthologies, some translated into Portuguese, Slovenian, French, Dutch, Bulgarian, or Italian. Merino has also written fiction, and extensive criticism on comics and graphic novels. She has two academic books El cómic hispánico (2003) and Diez ensayos para pensar el comic (2017), and a monograph on Chris Ware (2006). Merino has won the Diario de Avisos prize for her short articles on comics for the literary magazine Leer. She has collaborated with opinion articles for El País and has won an Accésit of the Carmen de Burgos Award for one of her journalistic pieces. She has curated four comic book expositions. She has been invited as visiting Professor to the University of San Gallen (Fall 2012) and to The University of Zurich (Spring 2019). She has received the Premio Nadal 2020 with her book El mapa de los afectos.

In the summer of 2010 Merino created The Spanish Creative Literacy Project (SCLP) as an outreach project through the Spanish MFA and the undergraduate Spanish Creative Writing initiative at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.  The SCLP office is located in 123-G PH.


Recent Visiting Professor


Eduardo Halfon

Guatemalan writer. He moved to the United States at the age of ten, went to school in South Florida, studied industrial engineering at North Carolina State University, and then returned to Guatemala to teach literature for eight years at Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Named one of the best young Latin American writers by the Hay Festival of Bogotá, he is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Roger Caillois Prize, José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel, and Guatemalan National Prize in Literature. He is the author of fourteen books published in Spanish and three novels published in English: Mourning, winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award and the International Latino Book Award, finalist for the Kirkus Prize and Balcones Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize; Monastery, longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award; and The Polish Boxer, a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and finalist for the International Latino Book Award. Halfon frequently travels to Guatemala and was a visiting professor in creative writing at the University of Iowa in 2018.


Current Students



Christian De León


Cuban poet. Before arriving to the Midwest, he completed his undergraduate studies at Yale University, majoring in Spanish and specializing on Cuban avant-garde literature under the guidance of critic Aníbal González. His poetry resides at the convergence between his identity as an immigrant and as a queer person of color stranded between two coasts, Florida’s and Havana’s.


Juan Díaz Ortiz


Colombian writer born in Bogotá. Received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and his Masters and Doctoral degree in Literature, from Universidad Javeriana and Universidad de los Andes. He is presently working on his first collection of short stories.


Leticia Fernández-Fontecha


Spanish writer and historian born in Madrid. She is the author of La piel o el cuerpo (Pre-textos, 2018) which won the XXXII Unicaja Poetry Prize and the editor of ¡Y todavía dibujan! (La uÑa Rota, 2019). Her articles have appeared in English and Spanish within various co-authored books and in journals such as El Mundo, ABC Cultural, and Ahora.

Young man with long, tied black hair looking at the camera with a faint smile. He is wearing a red shirt a dark blue denim jacket and black pants that are almost not noticeable on the picture. He is standing in front of a gray wall.

Byron Sandoval


Salvadoran writer. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His focus is in the encounter of culture with technology. He is currently working on a collection of short stories that highlights the conversion of the Salvadoran vernacular with the cosmopolitan view of the city.

A young woman is wearing a pink sweater and is smiling, but looking not to the camera but to another place on her front. Her left hand is on her temple and on the background there is a wall with cups attached to it that contain pencils and pens.

Mariana Tejeda


Mexican stage manager born in Ciudad de México. Mariana started her writer career at seventeen at the Writer's School in Mexico City, where she got some of her short stories published in compilations and magazines. Then she chickened out and exiled herself in the Theater. After over a decade hidden backstage, Mariana is finally putting down the headset to come out as a writer (again), and Iowa seems like the perfect location to do so.


Yamila Transtenvot


Argentinian playwright born in Buenos Aires. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of Buenos Aires. Her first play Trágico o la guerra was selected for the Residency CASA 2017. She produced and co-directed it, opened on April 2018. Trágico o la guerra was also chosen to participate in the V EDIE (Encuentro de Dramatugia Internacional Emergente) organized by CLT (Corredor Latinoamericano de Teatro). She published several articles on theater in different online media. She selected and prologued Territorixs (Tipas Móviles Editora). She is interested in working between genres.

Young woman with short hair and glasses looking at the camera and smiling. She is wearing a black mexican dress and behind her there is a small lake with blue water, some rocks, bushes and part of a building.

Lupita Zavaleta Vega


Mexican writer born in Oaxaca. She studied Creative Writing and Literature at Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. During 2019, she was part of the International Writing Program's Women's Creative Mentorship Project, with Karen Villeda as her mentor for a fiction project. Her work has been published on the Mexican magazines Este país and Tierra adentro. Currently, she is working in a collection of short stories inspired by her hometown.


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