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Saturday, October 28 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Fiction: Strangers in a Strange Land

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Migration between cultures, countries, and continents has for centuries defined individual life stories and shaped the narratives of human history. Climate change and environmental disasters, genocide and civil war, and political debates and policies have brought renewed attention to real-life stories of migration; in this session, three fiction writers will share work that vividly captures the struggles of rootlessness and the desire for home. Leading off the session will be a presentation by architect, engineer, artist, and Twitter phenom Jonny Sun, whose graphic novel Everyone’s an Aliebn When Ur an Aliebn Too follows the adventures of a gentle alien among the animal and plant life of Earth. Joining Sun in conversation are novelists Hala Alyan and Lisa Ko. Alyan is a psychologist and acclaimed poet whose debut novel, Salt Houses, traces the legacy of displacement through the stories of a single Palestinian family in exile since the Six-Day War. Ko, whose debut novel The Leavers won the PEN/Bellwether Prize for socially engaged fiction and is a finalist for the National Book Award, also delves into issues of identity, reinvention, and instability in her story of a mother and son separated by heart-wrenching circumstances. This all-too-relevant session will be hosted by WBUR’s Simón Rios, a newsroom reporter who has covered immigration, business, and the environment.

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Simón Rios

Simón Rios is a newsroom reporter at WBUR. Before WBUR, Rios worked for two years at the Standard-Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he covered business and immigration. A graduate of Emerson College, Rios worked as a carpenter, a cab driver, and a musician before freelancing as a reporter in New Hampshire and landing at the Standard-Times. He has been awarded three first place awards from the New England Newspaper and Press... Read More →

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Hala Alyan

Hala Alyan is a clinical psychologist, poet, and novelist who has garnered praise and awards for her work. Alyan is Palestinian American and has lived in Kuwait, Lebanon, Texas, Maine, and New York. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. Alyan has published three volumes of poetry: Atrium (2012), Four Cities (2015), and Hijra (2016). Atrium was awarded the 2013 Arab American Book Award in Poetry and Hijra won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. Her newest book is her debut novel, Salt Houses, which is about a displaced Palestinian family. The Los Angeles Book Review... Read More →
avatar for Lisa Ko

Lisa Ko

Lisa Ko’s debut novel, The Leavers, had the rare honor of entering the world with accolades already to its name. In 2016 the manuscript for the book won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. The award is given to unpublished authors and often includes a book contract. Ko received, and missed, a phone call from author Barbara Kingsolver to tell her that... Read More →
avatar for Jonny Sun

Jonny Sun

Jonny (or Jomny) Sun is a not-so-regular polymath, an engineer, architect, playwright, and author who became famous as a spelling-challenged alien on Twitter. Or, more accurately, an aliebn. After earning his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Toronto, he pursued his... Read More →

Saturday October 28, 2017 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Old South Church Sanctuary 645 Boylston Street, Boston, MA