Archive for March, 2010

25 March, 2010


feb09-071Okay, so I have to confess that I didn’t make up that title. I got that from CREDO a while back when the GOP was shouting about reforming Wall Street and it now graces the back of my vehicle. As is quoted on the CREDO website, Republicans like Bachmann and Beck are only the tip of a vast iceberg of ignorance. Like so:

Bachmann: “Not all cultures are equal. Not all values are equal.”
Beck: “This president has exposed himself, I think, as a guy…who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or white culture.”

Was that before or after his white mother and grandparents raised him Mr. Beck? And, Ms. Bachmann, we know all cultures aren’t created equal. Take a look at this one which beats the one we live in on the most pressing domestic issue of our time. Maybe you should visit but that would require a passport and a willingness to expand the mind; sadly, not likely.

Are Republicans simply people given to villainy? Are they individuals who have been completely stripped of any consideration for their fellow human beings? How is it possible that a human being, any human being anywhere, can actually say to themselves, I am doing fine, I see that you are not, but that’s cool with me. My posterior is padded, my ducks are in a row, and all I’m going to do for my country is grill vast slabs of meat on the 4th of July, fly those stars and stripes (or a lone star), and shout phrases like kick some butt, bring it on, and the N word and call it a life worth living?

I spent almost the entirety of Tuesday shuttling between hospitals and various doctors’ offices. I was sitting in the waiting room of the radiology unit at Lankenau Hospital when the TV above – not set to Fox, thank heavens – played the scene of the President signing the $938 billion health care reform bill into law. It is neither a case of the government taking over health care nor a giant overhaul destined to be entirely inclusive, but it is a significant move toward the egalitarian society (i.e. giving the same political, economic, social and civil rights to everybody as well as removing economic inequalities between citizens), that a democracy is supposed to guarantee. An elderly lady walked in and stated that she was very happy to see this day. Yet every other person in that hospital, suited, well appointed with their various and sundry needs – wheelchairs, walkers etc. – complained bitterly. “We are going to be paying for this,” spat a corpulent man tanned to a certain level of alien, “our taxes. And they won’t let the banks lend money to students anymore. Only the government.”

Here’s what that particular gripe is about: The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, folded into the health care legislation as a means of passing two of the largest pieces of the democratic agenda, would cut out the middle man from federal student loan programs and give students the chance to borrow directly from the federal government instead of from banks. The bill, now law, would expand the Pell grand program for low-income students. Read more here to find out the details as well as the ways in which the benefit extends to kids in your individual congressional district and how much money it saves the government – er, that would be us, the taxpayers.

I wanted to say something, but I did not, choosing instead to watch the proceedings on TV and comforting myself by handing the old lady my business card – for what purpose, I do not know; just to express solidarity. What I should have said is this: “I’m so glad you brought up that bit about our taxes paying for all this. Because I was so much happier when our taxes were being used to murder over 100,000 Iraqis, while sending a civilization back to the stone ages, kill 4,384 American soldiers and maim 31,716 others (we have exact official figures for the American dead and wounded but the estimates are higher), in a war that continues to rise above $713,822,438,777 (please click the link to watch the numbers), used for scare-mongering tactics designed to depress the national psyche, protect the perpetrators of schemes to swindle ordinary Americans, such as Enron, sell off the matter of protecting against the inevitable excesses of war to private contractors, incarcerate people without charging them at Guantanamo, torture others in Abu Ghraib, and, by the way, not do anything for the people who suffered from Hurricane Katrina, not build the 9/11 memorials to the dead in NY, not make college accessible for more students, and certainly not help the sick get better or the healthy stay that way. Yeah, man. Wasn’t that the ride???” And you know I’m not mentioning half a hundred other things that defined one of the most depressing eras in recent American history.

The day continued in much the same way. I used to think that doctors were the good guys, that they were merely caught in the vice between lawsuits and insurance companies and that, if only they were given the chance, they would gladly provide health care to the suffering masses. But I was wrong. Every doctor complained that they did not need “government takeover of health care.” Having done some research, it seems there are some physicians who do support the President’s reforms, but clearly none of the specialists I saw in my Philadelphia suburb belong to that group. I confess that this became a day during which I reverted to my “I’m not from here” safe corner from which vantage I could safely ridicule the level of ignorance apparent among even the most highly educated professionals in America. But that’s not the truth of it. This is not about knowing the facts, it is about class and race. After all, the janitor at St. Joseph’s University’s Maguire campus gym could speak eloquently and knowledgeably about the issue, about all the bits and pieces and fixers and amendments that most others seemed to miss. People who care, find out. People who don’t, don’t. You are either an orifice located 2/3 of the way down your body, or you are not.

I was heartened to read about and watch the clip posted by Catholics United on their effort to counter the negativity and asinine, disrespectful, derogatory, threatening, muck-slinging garbage spouting from the mouths of various so-called tea-partiers. (Listen, I’ve drunk tea all my life. The tea you drink probably comes from my country and you ain’t worth the dregs that are left after the pot has been brewed several times over. And yes, I know this has to do with Boston and so forth, but I couldn’t resist.) But what really lifted my spirits was listening to NPR’s program, Coming of Age that afternoon, as I sat in my driveway between hospital visits. The story was about Gladys Farmer and I’ll post a clip below:

“Gladys Flamer likes to drive her Cadillac in Coatesville, PA. Nothing unusual about that, except that she’s 103 years old and she uses her car to help people with no transportation. Flamer has had many jobs; from serving as a domestic for wealthy families, to becoming a nurse at age 59. She’s worked in a steel mill and owned a beauty shop. The centenarian retired from the work world when she reached 90, but has not stopped serving her community. She’s active on City Council, with her church and in her neighborhood.”

A friend of Gladys’ sang these lines as she talked, claiming it to be the song that best described her: “If I can help somebody, as I pass along / Then my living shall not be in vain.” That’s a woman among woman, a human being among human beings. That’s somebody who actually gives a damn. Which reminds me that, on the way to my third doctors’ visit of the day, I listened to an old interview with Margaret Moth, who died at the age of 59 of cancer. It was a re-run of an interview conducted when the documentary “Fearless: The Margaret Moth Story” was released, and while she was in hospice care in Minnesota. During the interview, host Robin Young says to Moth (who had suffered terrible injuries while covering the war in Sarajevo and faced all manner of life-threatening circumstances during her career), “you seem so accepting.” This is Margaret’s response (I paraphrase):

“Well I feel we all die. I just feel that it is irrelevant as to when you die, since you are going to die anyway. And I think it is more important how you live your life. I strive as much as I can, for each part of every day, every hour of every day that I am alive. I’ve never been afraid of dying. I’d just had the hope that I die with as much dignity as I have lived.”

Her friend, Stefano Kotsonis states that Margaret was one of those people who did not need an “awakening” on her deathbed. She was always awake.

Margaret Moth and Gladys Farmer, two remarkable people from opposite ends of the professional spectrum and yet united by that thing that separates the human being with compassion from the gluttonous barbarian dressed up in human skin. It doesn’t matter, in the end, whether we gather together on our various holy days and sing hymns that speak of faith and charity, of brothers and sisters, of god. What matters is how you conduct your life, and of what worth that living has been to the world. Going against extending health care coverage to not all but at the very least, 32 million more of your fellow citizens puts you in the negative column. I don’t expect the GOP – or others who aren’t affiliated with that party but still are against doing what is right – to be ashamed of themselves. I expect good, ordinary people who aren’t afraid – like Gladys, like Margaret, like the janitor at St. Joe’s – to “get up stand up” and see things through.

20 March, 2010

Healthcare in America as it is in Sri Lanka

starry-nightI was born in a country usually described by those subscribing to the dominant paradigm of development as being poor and developing. Year after year, beginning from first grade, in our classrooms both public and private (we have a national curriculum), we learned mathematics, reading and writing, but also world history. We studied world civilizations, cultures, economic foundations, imports, exports and religions. We learned of most things as facts, only questioning choices – within political systems, for instance – when we reached the senior classes. There was, however, one thing that it would never have occurred to a Sri Lankan student to ask: Do American have the same access to health care that we do here?

In order to ask such a question, Sri Lankans would have to be suffering the same deprivations that Americans suffer today. They would also have to take it as a given that health care is something that is not commonly provided to all but, rather, reserved for a few. In the absence of those realities, no Sri Lankan child could conceive of a society where people are routinely denied medical care, where children remain un-vaccinated, and where the elderly perish because they cannot afford to visit a doctor. They would have to imagine a milieu where parents must decide between food and medicines, between dead-end employment with health care v. fulfilling work without health insurance, and between taking care of a sick parent and going into debt, or setting those parents adrift and saving for their children’s future. Indeed, they would have to conjure up a way of living that was routinely, relentlessly, psychotically preoccupied with the dread scepter of sickness rather than the much more joyful activity of the conduct of life.

Sri Lankans cannot do that. While I have joined this American life where all of the above have become my reality, every single one of my countrymen in Sri Lanka continues to enjoy first-class medical treatment in hospitals which provide it to them entirely free. Should a Sri Lankan not wish to avail themselves of free medical care, they have the option to visit a multitude of private hospitals. The same caliber of physicians serves at both. After a free education, Sri Lankan doctors are required to serve in public hospitals. They are also free to engage in private practice so long as that fundamental requirement – giving back to the country what it has given to you – is met. The decision of a patient to go to one or the other depends upon the patient’s idiosyncrasies; I have wealthy friends who have preferred to give birth in a shared dorm in a public hospital rather than in a private room at a fee-charging medical facility, my father vacillates between one or the other.

Yes, it is not perfect. Last time I checked, they do not have the capacity in Sri Lanka to separate twins sharing hearts or lungs. They do not have the Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), they do not have Memorial Sloan-Kettering. What they do have are the kinds of services, including advanced care services, which are pertinent and ought to be accessible to 99.9% of human beings. And what they do have is a society where should a particularly specialized form of medical care unavailable in the country be required by one of its members, citizens will routinely donate the funds necessary to send that patient overseas. It’s a lot cheaper to chip in the equivalent of about $5 to help a fellow-citizen about once a year than to live as we live (and die), now, here in America.

We are here today on the brink of a vote on making health care substantially more compassionate than it is currently is in America. It is a day that dawns with one of the last independent hold-outs from the left, Dennis Kucinich, deciding to make possible what is possible rather than wait for what will forever be denied. It is a day that alters the fate of three close neighbors, all of whom are professionals with doctorates and halves of two-income families in one of the wealthiest suburbs in America, who are trying to make ends meet without health insurance. They aren’t poor people, they have jobs; nonetheless, they cannot afford health care in this country. What then of the millions of others struggling with neither wealth nor employment? Which reminds me of a few words spoken on January 20th, 2009, in Washington DC by a new President:

“For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.”

This will, hopefully, be the end of that darkest hour for Americans. It is an hour that has lasted for more than five decades. Surely it is time for the leaders of this country to recognize their obligation to their fellow citizens. Surely one of the wealthiest nations in the world can finally do for its people what one of its poorest has done throughout its history.

11 March, 2010

Friends in High Places

2006-08-28-020It’s been a while since I’ve been able to talk books. Many things got in the way including travel home to Sri Lanka for the Galle International Literary Festival and to London for the book launch there as well as the more personal difficulties of coping with the various blows of life which I’ve written about before on this blog. The roller coasts on some days, lifts and dumps me on others, sometimes on the hour!

But despite distraction and misfortune, there is one thing that always lifts my spirits, and that is the work, well done, of my fellow writers and friends. It’s been a terrific week for a slate of terrific Bread Loaf writers, so I’m going to dedicate this post to highlighting them. There is Danielle Trussoni, whose book Angelology (Viking, March, 2010) was reviewed in the NYT Book Review on March 3rd by Susann Cokal, (author of Mirabilis and Breath and Bones.) You can read the full review – and it is so well written you should! – but here are the closing lines:

“Sensual and intellectual, “Angelology” is a terrifically clever thriller — more Eco than Brown, without the cloudy sentimentalism of New Age encomiums or Catholic treatises. It makes no apologies for its devices, and none are necessary. How else would it be possible to bring together the angels of the Bible and Apocrypha, the myth of Orpheus, Bulgarian geography, medieval monastics, the Rockefellers, ­Nazis, nuns and musicology? And how splendid that it has happened.”

Danielle’s first book was a memoir, Falling Through the Earth, about her father who spent time as a “tunnel rat,” i.e. searching below ground level for guerrillas during the Vietnam war. That was the one from which she read when I first heard her at Bread Loaf and she was amazing then.

Eugene Cross (my fellow staffer, friend and “baby-bro,” BG), has a story, ‘430,’ out in Freight Stories as well as in Story Quarterly. Here are the opening lines:

“Route 430, a weathered run of highway, twisted through Clymer County like a dark river. Roddy Daniels knew its turns by heart. This was in western New York, where the state made its border with Pennsylvania in a sharp right angle. Roddy had lived here his whole life. Sometimes at night he would drive 430 and close his eyes for short stretches and let the road lead him.”

But that is not all for BG. He also won the 2009 Dzanc Prize which is given to a writer of literary fiction to further their work-in-progress while also being involved in their communities. BG will be setting up and running a series of creative workshops for refugees from Nepal, Sudan and Bhutan, in Erie, Pennsylvania. If you scroll all the way down on this post titled The Lush Life of Bread Loaf, you can actually listen to BG read from his story, ‘Hunters,’ which appeared in Hobart.

Tiphanie Yanique, who shared a few years of work with me at Bread Loaf all of which included blood, sweat and tears as well as writing, has her collection of short stories coming out this month. How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Greywolf Press, March, 2010), has been described by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (author of Sister of my Heart and The Palace of Illusions), thus: “In these powerful, poetic stories set in landscapes real and imagined, Tiphanie Yanique explores beautifully race, family, and the complicated movements of the heart.” You can read the title story here, but here are the opening lines – it also happened to have won the Boston Review Prize in 2006:

“The nuns said that it was pardonable because of depression and stress. But these are words used when we want to forgive a crime but know we cannot. Babalao Chuck said that young Lazaro was covered in his mother’s blood and body. Her red sari redder. The gun in the volunteer’s hands. Five shots in a young mother’s back leaves little room for sympathy. The volunteers at the leper colony were Trinidadian doctors and British journalists and criminals forfeiting time in jail for time among lepers and sometimes smooth-faced men who carried tiny Bibles in their pockets. No one ever told me which kind killed Lazaro’s mother.”

Dolen Perkin-Valdez who pledged a first $100 to an effort by two other writers (Mary Akers and Sara C. Harwell) and myself to establish a writing colony for mothers, had her first novel, Wench, (Amistad, January, 2010) come out to some pretty great reviews including a spot on NPR, a space she shares with another Bread Loaf former-waiter, Reginald Dwayne Betts, author of A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (Penguin/Avery, 2009), and Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, forthcoming 2010). Dwayne’s essay in the Washington Post begins this way:

“When I was 16, I pleaded guilty to carjacking a man in a mall parking lot. In 30 minutes, everything can change; that’s what I learned from a wild night with a pistol.

Two years later, in July 1998, I was staring onto an empty tier from a cell in solitary confinement. Already serving a nine-year prison term, I had wound up in the hole, too. This meant I was more than wrong. It also meant that I was the last person many would believe deserved what education an open book could offer. “

James Arthur sold his first collection of poetry to Copper Canyon Press. You can get a taste of James’ work with the poem ‘The Death of the Painter’ here in the New Yorker. Meanwhile, the indefatigable Ted Conover, a non-fiction writer among non-fiction writers, had his latest book, The Routes of Man, appear with a terrific review in the NYT. Here’s one reason why, as explained in the NYT review by Vollmann:

“I especially recommend the book’s horrifying fourth chapter, “A War You Can Commute To,” which deals with the Israeli occupation’s interdiction and interruption of Palestinian travel, the retaliatory menaces to which Israeli checkpoint soldiers are subjected and their retaliations in turn upon Palestinian homes. I wish I had the space to consider Conover’s observations, and his reactions to them, with the complexity they deserve. Instead, I will have to settle for quoting from the caption of his aerial photograph of the 60 Road, which carries settlers between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, shooting straight and very high above the S-curves of the local road for Palestinians passing between its pillars: “In much of the West Bank, separate roads carry Israelis and Palestinians. . . . A series of concrete panels on the highway’s left side, near the top, serves to protect Israeli vehicles from projectiles.”

As I read this book, I grew increasingly impressed not only with Conover’s bravery and hardihood, which he underplays, but, more important, with that quality one associates with Steinbeck: heart. Here is a man who cares about people everywhere, not merely that convenient abstraction, humanity, but people in particular — not to mention this American toad and that Peruvian sloth.”

C. Dale Young, physician, poet, editor, blogger, friend, had his story, ‘The Affliction,’ published in Guernica, one of my favorite places to linger online. Danzy Senna (Caucasia, Symptomatic, and the memoir Where Did You Sleep Last Night?), joined Porochista Khakpour to jaw about ‘Race and Other Flammable Topics’ in this month’s issue of Poets & Writers where, also, the incredibly talented (and multi-degreed), Jennifer de Leon wrote about the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) conference.

And, also in Poets & Writers, were two of my favorite Bread Loaf poets, Robin Ekiss (a former Stegnar Fellow and a recipient of the Rona Jaffe Award ), and Kiki Petrosino (Fort Red Border from Sarabande Books), profiled in the annual Debut Poets issue. To top it all, Greywolf Press, a gem among independent publishers, announced today that the poet D. A. Powell won the prestigious $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his latest collection, Chronic. That’s the second consecutive year that a Greywolf author has won the award. Talking of awards, the brilliant Justin Torres won a $50,000 United States Artists Award. For a taste of Justin, check out this piece in Granta, ‘Lessons.’ I’m posting the opening lines to this story which I heard him read his waiter year at Bread Loaf.

“We wanted more. We knocked the butt ends of our forks against the table, tapped our spoons against our empty bowls; we were hungry. We wanted more volume, more riots. We turned up the knob on the TV until our ears ached with the shouts of angry men. We wanted more music on the radio; we wanted beats, we wanted rock. We wanted muscles on our skinny arms. We had bird bones, hollow and light, and we wanted more density, more weight. We were six snatching hands, six stomping feet; we were brothers, boys, three little kings locked in a feud for more.”

In April I will be reading at Sunday Salon in NYC with Dwayne Betts and three other Bread Loafers including Charles Rice Gonzalez, whose novel Chulito will be out next month – watch for a post on that – and Emily Raboteau (The Professor’s Daughter), and Nina Swamidoss McConigley whose collection of short stories will be out soon.

Also in April, in Colorado,Women in Letters & Literary Arts (WILLA), will go live at the Denver Press Club during AWP, where I will be reading with many of the women mentioned here as well as fellow Loafers, Jennine Capo Crucet (How to Leave Hialeah), Antonya Nelson (Nothing Right, Female Trouble, etc.), Cheryl Strayed (Torch), Kara Candito (Taste of Cherry), and Mary Akers (One Life to Give and Women Up on Blocks).

As I was winding this up I got an email from my agent informing me that she had just sold the rights to my book in Mainland China; an interesting development just as the book comes out in Complex Chinese next month in Taiwan, and as I prepare to head to China myself with the Iowa International Writing Program. As a way of encapsulating what the highs and lows of our lives measure, here is Robin Ekiss’ poem, ‘The Past Is Another Country,’ which first appeared in the New England Review:

The Past is Another Country

I am no longer in love with the sand
that makes the pearl, or anything

grainy that hardens its beauty
by passing through pain.

Bone revisits the porous soil
and presses itself into coal.

Whole colonies of canaries
refuse to return from that mine.

Is there anything yellower
than their dark shaft of regret?

The past is another country,
all its cities are forbidden,

their borders closed to you
on every side, while here God

has many mansions, all too small
to live in. When I inherit his palace,

I’ll take my moat everywhere,
making difficult any crossing.

Addendum: This just in. And it beats everything that has pleased me today. Josh Weil (Rachel, Libby, you guys remember the wild reading and jam after with him at Borders/Rosemont), just won the The American Academy of Arts & Letters Sue Kaufman Prize in First Fiction for the best work of first fiction (novel or short stories) published in 2009 for his collection of novellas, The New Valley. And that’s the wrap.

5 March, 2010


Haters – slang, defines those who have nothing positive to say about anything or anybody, and feel somebody else owes them everything and, if they don’t give them everything, they deserve to be hated. They are people mad at the world but probably simply mad at themselves, as pointed out here, or people who are envious of the work done by other people or their accomplishments as pointed out by others, or even people who “see your glory but don’t know your story.”

As some of you may know, I am involved in a community effort to support the Lower Merion School District (LMSD). Apart from the ipetition that I co-sponsored with two friends, I have also written about this issue both on and for the Main Line Times. What is strange, however, is how many of the aforementioned haters have come out of the woodwork to rant and rave and decry this very apolitical and simple effort whose goal, already met, is that of gathering a significant number of parents together (771 at last count), who support the idea that we are partners with the officials and teachers in our schools, in raising and educating our kids.

Which made me think about the assumptions people make about one another. I’ve been accosted by innumerable “haters” during these past two weeks, one of the most bizarre and misinformed groups being the one which labels our ipetition in support of the Lower Merion School District (LMSD), as being the brainchild of those who supported the Unified Slate which was a term used to define our previous school board which chose to vote as a bipartisan unified group in order to secure the best for our schools. It’s called consensus, but apparently consensus does not wash with the haters in our hood.

So here’s a little tidbit just for those people who apparently cannot see beyond their own little universe colored in hues which apparently block sunlight and/or any light that might illuminate life for them: The other two women who joined me in creating this petition are also people like me, with full lives, who played no part in the acrimony surrounding the process of redistricting or the issues brought up by any of the warring factions. We neither supported nor opposed the Unified Slate. If these wing nuts actually read the accompanying blog they might have found out how this petition got started. Sometimes, people just have a good thought and go ahead and do it. Sometimes, people just don’t have an agenda. Sometimes, it really is what it is. Then again, when a person is engaged in nefarious activities, they find it extremely difficult to imagine that other people aren’t also doing the same. Well, here’s a word from the horse’s mouth: we don’t have any secret agenda, plans for political gain, fame or anything else you can think of. We are just people who wanted to express our support for the LMSD and were willing to be just three people saying so publicly if that was how it was going to be. Mercifully, most other people in this district appear to be relatively sane.

It always amazes me how vitriolic and stupid people can get when the underlying basis for their very existence – as a group, as an organization, as individuals – is unadulterated malice. Perhaps it is crazy of me to expect otherwise, but I do. I simply cannot imagine that such ignorance and idiocy can take root and flourish inside the minds of human beings. And yet, the evidence is all around – it can and it does. What does not surprise me, however, is that such people never have the guts to come out in the open. They are like the KKK, hiding behind masks, in their case, pseudonyms, taking their pot shots at their neighbors. Here are a few gems I’ve come across: Politeia, teadrinker, Stepford Wives, tea-for-two, Give Me A Break, Wynnewoodie, Haverford, Keep The Change, Ever Heard of the Bill of Rights and, a personal favorite, Get A Clue Ru.

On the one hand I have been accused of being everything from an “affluent entitled” Main Line parent, and a “Main Line frau,” to being someone who shares her politics with Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Yes, it is laughable, but it is also sad. If this is the type of thinking that goes on in the heads of the so-called educated minority in America, is it any wonder we are where we find ourselves? If the raison d’être for a group is just to hate somebody else, spout negative hogwash and dismantle the reputations of educators who have given their lives to their careers, is it any wonder that American students lag behind nearly everybody else on the planet? If the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night is to spew your hatred as far as you can make it go, what, exactly, are you teaching your children?

And, by the way, I may not have any glory, but do, please, get my story before you decide to bust out your sabers. Otherwise, it just makes you look even worse than you are.

Addendum: Both “Politeia” and “Wynnewoodie” left comments on this post using their pseudonyms. I responded directly to both as follows:

“Are you willing to post this comment that you left on my blog under your own legal name? While I respect the opinion you have stated – and certainly feel it adds to a civilized conversation – I have no respect for people who don’t have the integrity to exhibit the sort of transparency they are demanding from their institutions. We may yet discover that our intentions are not that dissimilar, but we can’t get there from here when I am out in the open and you are in hiding.

Needless to say, I am still waiting. Funny thing, though. Apparently this whole initiative was a way for me to publicize my book. I’ll let the BBC know.

The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.