When I heard about the 'overview effect' on NPR a few days ago, it all made sense. Astronauts describe this as the feeling that overcomes them when they see the earth from afar. But the thing about the overview effect is that its lasting. It's a feeling akin to the one I first got as a nineteen-year-old traveling to Europe for the first time and looking back at the US from across the ocean wondering why I couldn't find a single cafe in the city of Philadelphia, why my suburban life lacked the powerful aesthetic of a beautiful Roman plaza, why old buildings were not renovated in the city where I lived, instead of being torn down and replaced with mall-like structures.
It was the late 70's and cafe culture didn't yet exist in the US. Starbucks--despite how ubiquitous now--was a distant dream. It's the feeling that overcame me while I was researching then writing How Fast Can You Run.
Before I met Michael, the person on whom my book is based, in 2008 I was teaching college writing courses in my little bubble. But once I met Michael and learned about his experiences fleeing war in Sudan, living in a series of refugee camps for ten years and finally receiving political asylum in the US, my thinking was never again the same. My world widened so much that I could not longer teach, could no longer write apart from the view I was now seeing.
Attending this year's Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Washington D.C. next week? Harvard Square Editions is excited to be presenting migrant novel author, Harriet Levin Millan, in conversation with authors Fabienne Joshaphat and Dina Elenbogen in a panel entitled, “When Writers Move In and Out of Their Countries and Genres,”
Friday, February 10th at 9 AM
in the Liberty Salon L, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level 4
What happens when poets delve into fiction and expand not only the borders of genre but their physical and emotional terrain? What explorations do they conduct in their attempt to resist limitations and cross cultural divides? The three panelists have among them written books set in Israel, South Sudan and Haiti. Come hear these practicing writers talk about what they have learned in their journey to overcome ascribed attitudes and identities.
HSE’s How Fast Can You Run
will be for sale on the Politics and Prose Book Fair table or reserve your copy here
, and don’t forget to sign up for How Fast Can You Run’s
Charter for Compassion Global Read that will take place on
Feb. 22 at 12 noon: for free registration, click here