A former Middle East correspondent will discuss her novel that centers on a young man planning a violent act in New York City and the helplessness of those who know him at California Lutheran University.
Masha Hamilton will give a free presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, in Samuelson Chapel on the Thousand Oaks campus.
The Washington Post called Hamilton’s book “31 Hours” one of the best novels of 2009, and independent booksellers named it an Indie Choice. In it, a man is on a devastatingly confused path, pondering the violent action he has been instructed to take. His mother, who hasn’t heard from him in weeks, senses that he is in danger. His girlfriend also can’t reach him. His absence from the lives of loved ones initiates a cascade of events.
Hamilton began her career as a journalist in Maine, Indiana and New York City before the Associated Press sent her to the Middle East, where she was news editor for five years including the period of the first Palestinian intifada. She then moved to Moscow, where she worked for five years during the collapse of communism, reporting for the Los Angeles Times and NBC-Mutual Radio and writing a monthly column. She also reported from Kenya in 2006 and from Afghanistan in 2004 and 2008. She spent 16 months serving as the director of communications and public diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.
The Brooklyn resident has written four other novels. Published in 2001, “Staircase of a Thousand Steps” was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. The Library Journal named her 2004 book, “The Distance Between Us,” one of the best books of the year. “The Camel Bookmobile” was published in 2007, and her most recent book, “What Changes Everything,” was released in 2013.
Hamilton won the 2010 Women’s National Book Association Award for her meritorious work in the world of books beyond her duties as an author. She founded two world literacy projects. She started the Camel Book Drive in 2007 to supply a camel-borne library in northeastern Kenya and the Afghan Women’s
Writing Project in 2009 to foster creative exchange between female Afghan writers and female American authors and teachers. She is currently communications director for Concern Worldwide.
Many of Cal Lutheran’s incoming students read “31 Hours” as part of the university’s First-Year Experience program.
Samuelson Chapel is located at 165 Chapel Lane. The First-Year Experience program is sponsoring the free event. For more information, contact senior lecturer Kapp Johnson at [email protected].