Solr Search

Cue points: 

Tom Sleigh, Cara Blue-Adams, and Alia Malek

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
StumbleUpon icon icon
Pinterest icon

From October 13, 2018. Cara Blue Adams will be in conversation with authors Alia Malek and Tom Sleighabout their new books, both of which explore topics of immigration, the refugee crisis in Syria, the challenges of reporting, and writing to inform and to offer honest and sensitive depictions of people’s lives. Journalist Alia Malek was born in Baltimore but her roots are in Syria. When Hafez al-Assad came into power in 1970, her grandmother’s apartment was taken, and the loss prompted Malek’s parents to move to the US. In 2011, she returned to Damascus and reclaimed the apartment. She then spent two years writing anonymously for several news outlets on Syrian politics and culture—she also chronicled the lives of the people living in her building. The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria is about the Syrians—Muslims, Christians, Jews, Armenians, and Kurds—whose stories she came to know intimately. Malek weaves these narratives with her own, as well as with intelligent analysis of history and politics, to create a masterful portrait of Syria and its people.  Tom Sleigh, perhaps best known for his poetry, has done extensive work as a journalist in Africa and in the Middle Eastern region once called Mesopotamia. In his new collection of essays, The Land between Two Rivers, Sleigh recounts stories from people living under military occupation, in famine, and in war. These essays are serious reflections on what it means to write about the lives of others in such extreme conditions, though his writing is often laced with humor and self-deprecation. The New York Times Book Review wrote: “In Sleigh’s hands . . . moments of ongoingness mix something of the daily with something of the miraculous. . . . Like21[Walt] Whitman, Sleigh here plays with what the observer’s notebook can become. He embeds lines of poetry in journalistic essays like a rogue reporter; conversely, he’ll forge a sonnet or rhymed tercets out of reported language.”Alia Malek is a journalist and former civil rights lawyer. She is the author of A Country Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives and editor of Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices. Her latest book is The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria. Born in Baltimore to Syrian immigrant parents, she began her legal career as a trial attorney at the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. She then moved to and reported from Damascus, Syria. Her reporting from Syria earned her the Marie Colvin Award in November 2013. She returned to the US for the launch of Al Jazeera America, where she was senior writer. After her departure, she was a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute and in residence at the MacDowell Colony and honored with the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities.Tom Sleigh is the author of ten books of poetry, including Army Cats, winner of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Space Walk which won the Kingsley Tufts Award. In 2018, Sleigh published a collection of essays on refugees in the Middle East and Africa, The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing In An Age Of Refugees, and a companion poetry collection, House of Fact, House of Ruin. Widely anthologized, his poems and prose appear in the New Yorker, Village Voice, and other literary magazines, as well as The Best of the Best American Poetry, The Best American Poetry, Best American Travel Writing, and The Pushcart Anthology. He is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program at Hunter College and lives in Brooklyn. Cara Blue Adams is a fiction writer. Her stories have appeared in Narrative, The Kenyon Review, Epoch, The Missouri Review, The Mississippi Review, and The Sun. She is the recipient of The Missouri Review William Peden Prize and The Kenyon Review Short Fiction Prize, judged by Alice Hoffman, and she was named one of Narrative’s “15 Below 30.” Her awards include a New York State Council on the Arts Artist-in-Residence Exchange Grant and scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Cara grew up in Vermont. She lives in Brooklyn and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Seton Hall University.

Production Date: 
Saturday, October 13, 2018 - 11:00

Shows In This Series