Dear All, I’m delighted to announce that I won the Chattahoochee Review‘s Lamar York Prize in Nonfiction for a piece called “Coyote,” which grows out of my experience calling Chumash Aikido Sensei Tautahcho Muhuawit one of my father figures.  Knowing him has been a miracle, and so is knowing that my writing about him will be featured in such a renowned publication as the Chattahoochee Review. Meanwhile, I’ve been to AWP 2013 earlier [...]

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§845 · March 18, 2013 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


I’m thrilled to announce that I was solicited by editrix maven Charlotte Austin to participate in The Better Bombshell, a cutting-edge anthology about femininity and power alongside the likes of Rick Bass, Craig Childs, Roxane Gay and Jody Joldersma!  I’ve been paired with Jody, a phenomenal artist, and the art she made in response to my writing makes me feel seen and heard in a way I never have before.  The essay, about [...]

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§806 · November 1, 2012 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


Dear Ones, Wonderful news!  The Survival Girls won a contract with the UNHCR to perform an original piece of theater all over Nairobi.  The girls created a new piece about female genital mutilation, and received a budget for production.  I could not be more proud for them and humbled by their brilliance. I had a wonderful summer shadowing doctors in the jungles of Bolivia as I took notes for a long form nonfiction piece [...]

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§799 · October 10, 2012 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


here, at the USAID Frontiers in Development website.  It is called, of course, “The Survival Girls”. The essay is part of a larger publication including 30 essays, alongside writing by Bill Gates and Secretary Clinton.  The individual links to all of the essays can be found here.  (I get to be next to Paul Collier!) Almost a year to the day after The Survival Girls came up with their name, Secretary Hillary [...]

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§744 · May 25, 2012 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


Dear Ones, The Survival Girls are on the radio!  I have an interview up in a five-minute segment about the Survival Girls for WFIU, and samples of the girls singing are intermingled with the talking.  I still cry when I hear them sing.  They came up with that song in two days, and came up with the harmony on the spot in a dirty compound in a Nairobi slum. No recording device, no musical [...]

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§657 · April 4, 2012 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


Well, guys, here’s an official photo of me.  It goes along with the press release Indiana University’s Communications department published today about my receipt of the Herman Wells Graduate Fellowship, the “largest and most prestigious award” granted by the Graduate School to “students who demonstrate the qualities for which Chancellor Wells was renowned: leadership abilities, academic excellence, character, social consciousness, and generosity of spirit.” There isn’t a more encouraging thing out there than the [...]

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§623 · March 13, 2012 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


A word about…words. Specifically, the heavily saddening and angering words occupying headlines and constellations of hashtags in the twitterverse over the past few days: World Food Day, International Day to Eradicate Poverty, famine, refugees, the Horn of Africa, crisis. “Awareness” and “Activism” seem like heavy words these days, full of either rage or depression. But awareness is not just grief and statistics, which too often lead to an immobilizing depression of their own. So, a [...]

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§538 · November 28, 2011 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


Dear Ones, A great many exciting things have happened this fall! Not only did my nomination of Tumen Ulzei Bayunmend, an exiled dissident writer from China’s Inner Mongolia, secure him a prestigious Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammett Grant, but I was just informed that “Odette”, my nonfiction piece about meeting a refugee sex worker in Nairobi, has been nominated for the AWP Intro Journal Award. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it makes its [...]

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§532 · November 6, 2011 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


Dear Ones, In a departure from my last Huffington Post piece, which dealt with teen suicide in sleepy Bloomington, my newest one deals with the incredible resilience and forward momentum I encountered in the young female Congolese refugees who constitute the Survival Girls, a theater group I mobilized this summer in a slum of Nairobi, Kenya. There’s a lot of thinking to be done about youth empowerment today and the ways it affects [...]

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§497 · October 10, 2011 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·


…is up here. Jon Stewart’s visit to IU, Snooki, suicide, and teaching composition are all involved. Needless to say, it covers some ground! Grateful to know my newest batch of students, grateful for social critics, and continually grateful for the freedom to express my views on it all. Hope you enjoy it.

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§492 · October 5, 2011 · Uncategorized · (No comments) ·