How do we understand those who are different from ourselves, particularly when these are people we may have never met? Maine authors of both fiction and non-fiction can help us bridge cultural divides. Today, we speak with journalist and Telling Room cofounder, Sara Corbett, who writes the true story of Amanda Lindhout, another journalist who was held in captivity for more than a year by Somali extremists in the book, A House in the Sky. We also spend time with Eleanor Morse who explores her own experience with South African apartheid in the novel, White Dog Fell from the Sky.
Sara Corbett has worked as a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 2001, writing about everything from the plight of Sudanese refugees in the U.S., to child-trafficking in Cambodia, and the life and times of world’s best 12-year-old baseball pitcher. Her work has also appeared in Elle, Outside, O: The Oprah Magazine, Esquire, New York, Mother Jones, Travel and Leisure, The Times of London, and National Geographic, as well as in numerous anthologies. Her reporting on the impact of industrial chemicals on an American family earned her a “Front Page” award from the Newswoman’s Club of New York, and she was nominated for National Magazine Award for feature writing for her story on Carl Jung’s secret “Red Book.” She is the author of Venus to the Hoop and A House in the Sky. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband—writer Michael Paterniti—and their children, and is the co-founder of The Telling Room, a nonprofit writing and storytelling center that works with more than 2,000 young writers per year.
Eleanor Morse has written three novels. Her first, Chopin’s Garden, was published in 2006. An Unexpected Forest, her second, won the 2008 Independent Book Publisher’s Award (IPPY) for best regional fiction (Northeast region) and the 2008 Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance for best published fiction. White Dog Fell from the Sky, her third novel, was published by Penguin Books in January, 2013 in the U.S. and in April, 2013 in the U.K. It was a Publishers Weekly ‘pick of the week’, and the audio book version received an AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award. She received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Yale University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College. She lives on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland, Maine.