Allison Coffelt's MAPS ARE LINES WE DRAW
Join us as Allison Coffelt reads from and discusses her book MAPS ARE LINES WE DRAW: A Road Trip Through Haiti!
After a decade of dreaming, Allison Coffelt arrived in Haiti, ready--she thought--"to learn how much she didn't know" about the Caribbean nation. Traveling the highways with Dr. Jean Gardy Marius, founder of the public health organization OSAPO, she embarked on a life-changing journey that would weave Haiti's proud, tumultuous history and present reality into her life forever.
Maps Are Lines We Draw explores the culture and natural beauty of the island as well as its discomfiting realities: the threat well-intentioned aid organizations can present to the local economy; the privilege that determines who gets to travel between a "here" and a distant "there" which is foreign and other; and the challenge of doing short-term good without creating long-lasting harm.
Praise for Maps Are Lines We Draw
"The complexities of foreign aid may have found no better nesting place than Haiti. Fortunately, with Maps Are Lines We Draw, we have a guide to inform us in the diverse troubles that surround the island like the Caribbean itself."
—The Los Angeles Review of Books
“Coffelt avoids the ‘Haiti narrative’ trap and instead takes us on a reflective and intellectual road trip. She’s a natural at the fragmented essay form that builds and builds on small observations, all linked, all talking to each other. How lucky we are that Coffelt knew how to listen to all these whispers and collect them into this startling first book. Pick up this book if you’ve never read anything about Haiti or if you’ve read everything about Haiti: Maps Are Lines We Draw forges a new path.”
—Jen Hirt, author of Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees
“Reflections that are steeped in humility like Ms. Coffelt’s are rare and should be required reading for people pursuing short-term work in countries like Haiti.”
—Joia Mukherjee, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University
“With her striking debut, Allison Coffelt weaves an eloquent collage of history and place, politics and policy, inquiry and knowledge. The lines that mark the boundaries between here and there are removed to reveal a complex Haiti, then redrawn to assemble an even more complex notion of aid. In these pages, Coffelt’s steady gaze and sharp intellect guide and inform without faltering. There is a magnitude here, a rare ability to articulate a global empathy despite privileged origins, a stripping of the ego in order to embody the other. I’m certain her words will help us re-envision the world and reassess our individual positions in it for years to come.”
—Angela Palm, author of Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here
Allison Coffelt lives and writes in Columbia, Missouri. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hippocampus, Oxford Public Health Magazine, the Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. She was a finalist in the 2015 Crab Orchard Review Literary Nonfiction Prize and the winner of the 2015 University of Missouri Essay Prize. She currently works as the director of education and outreach for the annual True/False Film Fest and hosts the True/False podcast.
Friday, October 19, 2018 - 6:00pm
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104