Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Hualing Nieh Engle Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1932-1967
Creator: Engle, Hualing Nieh (1925-)
Extent: 3.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0903
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Associate director and director of the International Writing Program. These papers consist of the manuscript for Literature of the Hundred Flowers and writings by Hualing Nieh Engle and about Hualing and Paul Engle.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Hualing Engle retains copyright.

Acquisition: These materials were transferred to the University Archives from Hualing Nieh Engle in September 1977. Additional materials were received in 2010.

Preferred Citation: Hualing Nieh Engle Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Hualing Nieh Engle was born on January 11, 1925, in Hupei, central China. She took her B.A. degree in foreign literature in 1948 from National Central University, Nanking China. She served as associate professor at the National Taiwan University, where she established their creative writing workshop.
Hualing fled Peking as Communists took control from the Nationalist government. Her father was killed during the political turmoil and Hualing continually moved to stay ahead of the advancing troops. In 1949 she lived in Taipei, Taiwan, where she taught fiction writing at National Taiwan University. In Taipei, she was also editor of the periodical Free China Fortnightly, a position which put her in contact with authors. In 1964, she met Paul Engle, director of the State University of Iowa Graduate Writers' Workshop, who visited Taiwan on a Rockefeller Grant. Engle persuaded her to study at SUI for one year. Hualing remained at SUI, received her MFA degree in 1966, and married Paul Engle in 1971. She was appointed professor of Chinese literature in July 1971.
The Iowa program is today the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 1967, Hualing and Paul established the International Writing Program. Together they traveled Europe in search of fledgling writers to enroll. For their work on this program, the Engles were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1976. When Paul retired in July 1977, Hualing's title changed from associate director to director of the International Writing Program. She served concurrently as associate professor of Chinese literature until her retirement in 1988. Paul Engle died in 1991.
Hualing Nieh Engle is the author of novels, essays and short stories written in Chinese, English, Portuguese, Italian, and French.

The first series of these papers are the writings of Chinese authors, which are included in Literature of the Hundred Flowers, a book published by Hualing Nieh Engle in 1981. These poems, articles, and editorial pieces are typed in the English language. The majority of these manuscripts are dated, with the authors identified. A number of these manuscripts were published in Chinese journals and newspapers during the 1950s and 1960s and those publication titles are included in the box list. During the 1950s and 1960s, Hualing Nieh was living in Taipei, Taiwan, teaching fiction writing at National Taiwan University and serving as editor of the periodical Free China Fortnightly. Some of the titles that appear in the box list were used by several authors and these writings were presumably written for Hualing's courses.

In a description of Literature of the Hundred Flowers, Hualing wrote:

"For a brief period in the 1950s Chinese writers had a freedom of expression enjoyed by writers in no other Communist countries in the twentieth century. This is the first anthology in English (or in Chinese) of actual texts published during the dramatic period from May 1956 to early June 1957. The great bulk are prohibited in China and unavailable in the USA. They are an unknown literature, these short stories, fables, poems and articles, for they have never been collected before."

Series II is comprised of an addendum given the University in 2010, made up of items written by Hualing and iterms written about her and her husband. All of the items in Series II are in Chinese.
University of Iowa Libraries East Asian Collection (
Papers of Paul Engle (MsC 514)
Records of the Iowa Writer's Workshop (RG 06.12.08)
Records of the International Writing Program (RG 06.12.09)
Andrews, Clarence. "Iowa Literary History, 1971-1991."Writing at Iowa." Books at Iowa 60 (April 1994): 7-12 Iowa. Books at Iowa 60 (April 1994): 7-12
Rogers, Earl M. "Fiction with an Iowa City Setting: An Updated Checklist." Books at Iowa 55 (November 1991): 37-72, notes.
Weber, Richard B."Paul Engle: A Checklist." Books at Iowa 5 (November 1966): 11-25, 29-37, illus.

Browse by Series:
The detailed description has not been entered into the repository.
To view the content list, please follow this link.

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.