Thursday, March 25, 2010

Writer's Block: Beth Alvarado and Colleagues

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 5:26 PM

UA lecturer Beth Alvarado and several UA alumni have been published in Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk and Hope.

Rutgers University Press

$23.95, 224 pages

edited by Luke and Jennifer Reynolds

Contributions from 46 authors, including UA alumni Sherwin Bitsu, Robert Boswell, Ann Cummins and Peter Turchi.

Summary (from Rutgers University Press):

Life’s changes. They happen every day. Some large, some small. A few are very personal. Others impact the world. Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk, and Hope includes original and inspiring essays that celebrate the glories gained from taking risks, breaking down barriers, and overcoming any obstacles.

Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, a gallery of O.Henry award recipients, and many best-selling authors come together to share personal and compelling challenges and experiences. From contemplations on past drug use to reflections on gun control, social justice, passion and its sacrifices, and adventures such as skydiving, mountain climbing, and golfing, the topics vary greatly. This kaleidoscopic anthology is a commentary on the lives of prominent literary artists and ordinary citizens who have made simple, yet powerful choices that provoked change in one’s self and for humanity—much the same way that Luke and Jennifer Reynolds do by building this invaluable collection for readers and the world of human rights.

Not too long ago, as struggling graduate students, Luke and Jennifer Reynolds conceived this uniquely themed volume as a way to raise funds to support ending the genocide in Darfur. Some people carry signs, others make speeches, many take action. What is most special about this book is that it extends beyond words and ideas, into a tangible effort to effect change. To this end, all royalties from the sales of Dedicated to the People of Darfur: Writings on Fear, Risk, and Hope will benefit The Save Darfur Coalition, an organization that seeks to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.

Author Comments (from UANews/La Monica Everett-Haynes).

"Some of the stories are directly related to genocide and political oppression, but a lot of them are about the quiet risks people take in order to speak out," said Alvarado, a UA alumna who also earned a degree from Stanford University's writing program.

For her contribution, Alvarado opted to write about the risk writers take in creating characters that loosely mimic others in their lives — one she said is a necessary risk.

The essay, "Life Drawings," opens recounting a story about the daughter of famed author Bernard Malamud, who became upset while reading one of her father's stories. In it, she came upon what appeared to be a description of her toes.

"For 20 years, that stuck with me: ‘Why did that hurt her feelings?' That's where the essay starts," she said. "We are told that whenever you write, begin with what you know. Anytime you write something, you risk revealing something about yourself."

And that's a good thing, Alvarado added.

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