This event is free with first come, first served seating.
Helen Benedict, award-winning British-American professor of journalism at Columbia University, teams up with Syrian writer and refugee, Eyad Awwadawnan, to present the stories of five refugees who have endured long and dangerous journeys from the Middle East and Africa to Greece.
Hasan, Asmahan, Evans, Mursal and Calvin each tell their story, tracing the trajectory of their lives from homes and families in Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Cameroon to the brutal refugee camps, where they are trapped in a strange and hostile world.
These are compelling, first-person stories of resilience, suffering and hope, told in a depth rarely seen in non-fiction, partly because one of the authors is a refugee himself, and partly because both authors spent years getting to know the interviewees and winning their trust. The women and men in this book tell their stories in their own words, retaining control and dignity, while revealing intimate and heartfelt scenes from their lives.
Helen Benedict is a recipient of the 2021 PEN Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History and the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism. She is the author of 13 books, including the award-winning The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, and a play The Lonely Soldier Monologues. Her writing inspired both a class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of people sexually assaulted in the military and the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Invisible War. She is a novelist and Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, New York. For more information, visit www.helenbenedict.com.
Benedict will be in conversation with Jacki Lyden. Lyden was an award-winning journalist for NPR for over thirty years. In 1997, Jacki published Daughter of the Queen of Sheba, a critically-acclaimed memoir which chronicles her life growing up in the presence of her mother’s profound mental illness. The memoir, which The New York Times described as “vivid, original, lyrical,” was immediately optioned by Wind Dancer Films for Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow. Jacki is at work on a new memoir, Tell Me Something Good, which frames how life can change in a moment. She is a 2017-2018 recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism, and won the Grand Prize from the National Mental Health Foundation for a series on the incarceration of the mentally ill in Montana.