I have the pleasure of working with five amazing women through the Center for Creative Writing, which I now direct, and one of them is prose writer and journalist Jennifer Steil. I’ve had her memoir The Woman Who Fell from the Sky on my bedside table for a while now and committed to reading it when I arranged for Jennifer to give a reading at the college where I work.
See, Jennifer was planning to fly in to attend a retreat I was hosting for all my Center teachers. But she currently lives in London and, well…Is there anything else you want me to do, if I’m already making the trip? she asked me when the retreat was in its planning stages.
Writers need work. I knew her memoir was about editing a newspaper in a war-torn country, so she and I collaborated on a pitch to have her read and talk about peacebuilding through art, peace efforts in Yemen, and her experiences witnessing peace and conflict as a Westerner in a Muslim city in 2006, for which she would earn an honorarium from my department at the college (peace studies).
Jennifer flew in last week in the middle of a Stacia hurricane. Continue reading