TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A LONDON PUBLISHING CONSULTANT
It was cooler than the day before. The stifling heat that had been building up over the weekend had dissipated. The mountains looked beautiful, green and lush — so unlike the white blanket they wore in the ski season. Mark and I were coming to the end of our trip in the Haute Savoie region of France. We were due to return home from the classic French ski resort of Morzine via Geneva airport in the morning. I had cajoled him into booking the paragliding flight with promises of how exhilarating it would be — a great end to the holiday. Our friends we were staying with had booked the flights and arranged a discount for us. They could fit us in before lunch, but that would be the last flight for the day as the weather was turning.
So it was settled. I would fly in tandem with Bruno, a great muscular chunk of a man with a twinkle in his eye and a wicked sense of humour. I had no idea how important this would be as we snaked up the mountain road towards the take-off site.
“Come on baby! Where are you?” cried Bruno again and again. We had launched into the air with a gentle jog, but now he seemed to be working hard — much too hard — to keep us from going into the side of the mountain. Still he kept up his cheerful refrain, flirting with the wind and laughing at the mountains. Mark and his instructor were further up the valley, skirting from side to side trying to catch the elusive thermals that Bruno was calling out to.
“We not go to other valley today I think,” Bruno finally conceded. “I land us down there, OK Sue?” He indicated across to a field at the side of the road. “Make sure you keep legs up. That is good Sue, keep legs up, up, up. Yes, good. OK, here we go, ready, legs up Sue, legs up…”
We hit the ground too hard and too fast. I felt my spine contract like an accordion. That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it? But we were down, that was the main thing.
“Merde, merde, merde,” Bruno’s swearing finally pricked my consciousness.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine Bruno. Honestly, it’s just a bit of back ache; please don’t feel bad.” But the swearing continued.
Bruno had managed to detach me from the kit so I rolled over on to all fours to arch like a cat. Dozens of muscles I’d never been aware of before were all screaming at me in pain like an angry mob. Damn. I’d sprained my back. I’d probably need a couple of days off work. That was inconvenient. We were writing business reports and planning for the Christmas promotions. Some of our biggest books were coming out and I still needed to recruit another marketing manager. I’d have to try and do some work at home.
“Sue — NON! Sue, no, no, no; do not move. Lie on the ground.” Bruno stopped swearing to shout at me. “Lay still; rescue, they will come, take you to le docteur.”
“What good advice,” I thought at the time. Quite possibly, it saved my legs.
I could feel my fingers and toes so there was no point in panicking. My back was in agony and yet I was calm — it was only a few sprained muscles after all. I was more worried about not getting back to work on time. I was in charge of UK sales and marketing for a publisher in London. We’d had a tough year. Sales had been hit by a retail slowdown and workloads were unbearable due to staff shortages. The financial year had just finished with some year on year growth, but way off the challenging targets we had been set. I needed to get back and put the hours in. There was too much to do to be able to take any more time off.
It’s amazing the details that I can still recall as these thoughts raced through my head. The cool mountain air washing over my face like a soothing face cloth. The colour and length of the grass, fully recovered from the two metres of snow that would have melted a couple of months before. I remember wondering where my sunglasses were, probably somewhere on the ground nearby. I must remember to ask Bruno to pick them up for me.
I started to draw up a mental list: call Ed at work and let him know I might need a couple of days off; speak to mum and dad to let them know all was fine and the holiday had been great; start writing that business plan once I got back to our house; chase the recruitment consultants for the latest batch of resumes.
When the mountain rescue arrived, it was a team of French firemen. Well versed in the retrieval of hapless tourists stuck up a mountain, they set to work on securing me to a wraparound red mattress that seemed to be filled with polystyrene balls. Of course the neck brace was just a precautionary measure, but it was put to good use as we made our way down what I now realised was steep mountainside.
Mark arrived to look with horror upon the scene of his girlfriend, six firemen, neck brace, and rescue equipment and — although I was blissfully unaware of this at the time — Bruno with a bone sticking out of his right leg. That explained the swearing.
“Don’t worry, I’m fine, honestly.” I cheerily said to Mark. “Just sprained my back that’s all. There’re just taking me for a checkup at the doctors.” The power of the body’s natural endorphins is quite remarkable.
Six hours on a trolley in accident and later in emergency, the reality kicked in. I had broken my back. Shit. They weren’t joking. The stone-dead face of the consultant reaffirmed what we thought he was trying to say. Even the lack of any fluent English speaker to translate from the French couldn’t obscure the meaning of his halting words. If I didn’t have an operation to put rods in to support my spine, I could lose the use of my legs on the journey home.
I looked at Mark, my rock, who hadn’t left my side since they let him through to wait in ER with me. “Whatever it takes, we’ve got to do what he says.” His words somehow cheered me, calming the knot of emotion rising in my chest.
I can’t begin to imagine what he went through during my five hours in the operating theatre. He tracked my moods during the following days in the clinic overlooking Lake Geneva. Whether it was a light squeeze of the hand or a small token — my favourite French crisps brought in from the local Carrefour supermarket — while he was still at the clinic I could cope.
Mark returned home with a piece of my sanity. Phone calls became more frantic; I couldn’t cope with any news of the attempts to repatriate me. I could not deal with detail. I made a couple of feeble attempts to call work. Always with the same result: me feeling helpless, work reassuring me that it was all fine. I felt I was slipping away. From what? Well, I wasn’t really sure.
Friday, July 30th came. The weather was sultry and hot. Lying in bed was unbearable. I was ready to return home.
The joy of arriving back home was almost overwhelming. Now I could get on with things, now I could get back to normal. My friends, Mark, my family, work. “Funny,” I said to Mark one day, “I’m not as concerned about work as I thought I would be.”
Things had changed.
Two months at home wrapped up in proverbial cotton wool and the very real white plastic corsaire (“an exclusive piece of French medical couture…” I used to call it) made me stop and shed all the anxieties and adrenalin of my last twelve years at work. Gone was the rushing about to get to work, a meeting, the sales conference, or that book launch. There were no more resources to allocate, projects to coordinate, or budgets to control.
I grew physically stronger and the change in me became more apparent. When I was off sick, I had little routines that got me through the day: wake up, wash, put clothes on, strap on the back brace, breakfast, then rest. Taking a walk down the road to the shops had become the highlight of my day. There I had seen other people going about their mundane, domestic business and had realised that this was an alternative to work: a life without deals to seal, targets to hit, staff to manage.
As I had browsed in our local bookshop I rediscovered the joy of deciding what I wanted to read, rather than how many of our books were stocked. When I had returned home to sleep, walking up the tree lined street, flashes of sunlight peeking through the leaves, I felt contentment with just living locally and enjoying the simple things in life… and I felt a growing dread at going back to the office.
“So are you looking forward to going back to work?” my neighbour asked me.
“Of course, I’m actually going a little bit stir crazy now.” I replied. This was of course true. Well, almost. A growing part of me was revelling in my peaceful existence. But then a part of me was fighting to get back in the game. With every week that passed, I felt more confused and out of touch. With every week that passed I became stronger, didn’t I?
“I’m afraid the consultant can’t see you until he has your patient number.”
I took a deep breath and spoke slowly, “I understand, but I have been waiting eight weeks for an appointment and have not had any specialist medical attention since returning to the UK. Is it not possible to get an appointment without the number?”
“I’m sorry, but he is on holiday for another week and I cannot help you until I speak to him. Goodbye.” The phone went dead. This was the fourth time I’d called the hospital. I was supposed to go back to work in one week’s time and had not seen a specialist since the day the plane landed. “So much for the National Health Service,” I thought bleakly.
Why couldn’t they see me? Why was I left on my own? I’d gone from having twenty-four hour health care in France to well, nothing in London. My dreamlike state of recuperation was slowly fragmenting. In one week I would return to work. In one week I was supposed to get on a train. In one week I would return to normal — ping! Here she is: girl wonder. All pinned together and ready to go!
But I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t do it. And why wouldn’t someone help me?
I managed to get another doctor’s note. I’d started to suffer really bad mood swings. Dark clouds would gather above my head. I would sit at the kitchen table, head in hands, crying, utterly at a loss to describe how I felt. Mark looked on, as helpless as he’d been on the side of the mountain.
The idea of going back to work filled me with this stomach-churning fear of the unknown. This was crazy. I’d worked there for three and a half years. I loved my job. It defined who I was. I would often gaze out of the window, with a view of the city and Tower Bridge in the distance, and reflect on how this was it, my dream job, UK sales and marketing director for a central London publishing house. We had some really great young talent working there. Banks of open-plan desks gave a real buzz to the atmosphere. Shelves along the back wall held copies of recently published books: jazz, music, philosophy, religion. Books I wanted to read. The smell of fresh ink would linger in the air from boxes of catalogues just in from the printers, ready to mail out. The hours were long, but the job was challenging and I felt I could really make a difference.
Walking back into the office was a surreal moment. This place where I’d spent many long hours looked so familiar and yet I felt like the new kid walking into a classroom mid-term. Heads were raised and smiles were exchanged when I walked in. I went to my desk, squatted by a temp of two months, to shakily stake a claim to my world again.
My boss took me for lunch and listened sympathetically as I recounted the horror of the flight back on the air ambulance. He laughed with me over my back brace — it looked ridiculous and was not designed for eating out. He reassured me that everyone had done a great job covering the workload while I was off and that it could continue for as long as I needed them to be flexible. I felt like I was floating overhead, far away, watching it all unfold. I was talking and saying all these words, but what did they mean anymore?
“You should think about how you want to work and what you can do,” Ed casually dropped into the conversation. Bang! I was back at the table all tensed up. I felt so disjointed from work that my paranoia was at fever pitch. Why was he asking me that?
“I was thinking we could change things around if we think it would help,” he continued.
Help what? And who were “we”? What was the subtext here and why was he asking me on my first day back if I wanted to change jobs? I laughed it off and asked for time to think about it, but it was the final betrayal that cut a swathe through my unravelling mind.
I’d lost the drive, the focus and the will to work. I didn’t get it. I looked around and saw all these people — colleagues whom I admired, respected, and enjoyed working with — they just looked like apparitions now. Tormented by huge targets and impossible schedules. I began to realise I needed to address my now apparent work/life unbalance. I thought I had achieved it (but who am I kidding, I was a workaholic).
They tried to be as supportive as they could with flexible hours and working from home, the usual concessions for the seriously ill.
Things had to change. I couldn’t maintain it anymore. I possessed neither the stamina nor the desire to live the life of a top publishing executive. I hankered after a more idyllic existence of working at home: popping to the shops at lunchtime, meeting friends for coffee, and a portfolio of varied projects. Whether this would prove true would remain to be seen, but I felt I had to try and shake off this feeling that I was slowly sinking into a very dark place.
My family and friends encouraged me to make the change. They had all suffered after the accident and were glad I was well. Anything to help me get over the mental shock would make them happy too. Or perhaps they were sick of the over-analysis of every mood swing, dark thought, or conversation I had. My sister had set up a consultancy and she said I could do some freelance work for her. That was it. I had a way out.
So I did it. I left work.
And that is when things got really interesting.
In 2006, Joy E. Stocke founded Wild River Review with Kimberly Nagy, an outgrowth of the literary magazine, The Bucks County Writer, of which Stocke was Editor in Chief. In 2009, as their editorial practice grew, Stocke and Nagy founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC.
With more than twenty-five years experience as a writer and journalist, Stocke works with many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
In addition, Stocke has shepherded numerous writers into print. She has interviewed Nobel Prize winners Orhan Pamuk and Muhammud Yunus, Pulitzer Prizewinner Paul Muldoon, Paul Holdengraber, host of LIVE from the NYPL; Roshi Joan Halifax, founder of Upaya Zen Center; anthropologist and expert on end of life care, Mary Catherine Bateson; Ivonne Baki, President of the Andean Parliament; and Templeton Prizewinner Freeman Dyson among others.
In 2006, along with Nagy, Stocke interviewed scientists and artists including former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Dean of Faculty, David P. Dobkin for the documentary Quark Park, chronicling the creation of an award-winning park built on a vacant lot in the heart of Princeton, New Jersey; a park that united art, science and community.
She is president of the Board of Directors at the Cabo Pulmo Learning Center, Cabo Pulmo, Baja Sur, Mexico; and is a member of the Turkish Women’s International Network.
In addition, Stocke has written extensively about her travels in Greece and Turkey. Her memoir, Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses & Saints, based on more than ten years of travel through Turkey, co-written with Angie Brenner was published in March 2012. Her cookbook, Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking will be published in March, 2017 by Quarto Books under the Burgess Lea Press imprint . Stocke and Brenner are currently testing recipes for a companion book, which will feature Anatolian-inspired mezes from around the world.
Stocke’s essay “Turkish American Food” appears in the 2nd edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America (OUP, 2013). The volume won both International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) for Beverage/Reference/Technical category, 2014; and the Gourmand Award for the Best Food Book of the Year, 2014.
She is the author of a bi-lingual book of poems, Cave of the Bear, translated into Greek by Lili Bita based on her travels in Western Crete, and is currently researching a book about the only hard-finger coral reef in Mexico on the Baja Sur Peninsula. She has been writing about environmental issues there since 2011.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism from the Agriculture Journalism School where she also received a minor of Food Science, she participated in the Lindisfarne Symposium on The Evolution of Consciousness with cultural philosopher, poet and historian, William Irwin Thompson. In 2009, she became a Lindisfarne Fellow.
Works by Joy E. Stocke in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
COLUMNS – THE MYSTIC PEN
FOOD & DRINK – ANATOLIAN KITCHEN
FREYMAN & PETERSON- Your Life is a Book: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir
LITERATURE – BOOK REVIEWS
LITERATURE – ESSAYS
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
The Euphoria of Ignorance: Being Jewish, Becoming Jewish, The Paradox of Being Carlo Ginzburg
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
Paul Holdengraber – The Afterlife of Conversation
2013 – Three Questions: Festival Director Jakab Orsos talks about Art, Bravery, and Sonia Sotomayor
Critical Minds, Social Revolution: Egyptian Activist Nawal El Saadawi
INTERVIEW – Laszlo Jakab Orsos: Written on Water
Tonight We Rest Here: An Interview with Poet Saadi Youssef
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
On the High Line: Diamonds on the Soles of Our Shoes
Car Bombs on the West Side, Journalists Uptown
New York City – Parade of Illuminations: Behind the Scenes with Festival Director Jakab Orsos
The Pen Cabaret 2008: Bowery Ballroom — Featuring..
Anatolian Days and Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey, Land of Dervishes, Goddesses and Saints
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library Composing a Further Life: with Mary Catherine Bateson
WRR@LARGE: From the Editors – UP THE CREEK
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 1
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 2.5
Up the Creek: Volume 1, Number 3.3
Up the Creek: Number 4.4
Up the Creek: Beautiful Solutions
Up the Creek: Blind Faith, July 2009
Up the Creek: Create Dangerously
Up the Creek: What Price Choice?
Up the Creek: Before and After: September 11, 2001
Up the Creek: Candle in a Long Street
Up the Creek: Crossing Cultures: Transcending History
Up the Creek: Man in the Mirror; A Map of the World
Up the Creek: Stories and the Shape of Time
Up the Creek: The Divine Road To Istanbul
Up the Creek: What It Means to Yearn
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
UNESCO World Heritage Site Under Threat of Mega-Devlopment Sparks International Protests
The Other Side Of Abu Ghraib — Part One: The Detainees’ Quest For Justice
The Other Side of Abu Ghraib – Part Two: The Yoga Teacher Goes to Istanbul
WRR@LARGE – WILD ENVIRONMENT
WRR@LARGE – WILD FINANCE
WRR@LARGE – SLOW WEB
WRR@LARGE – WRR BOOKS
In 2006, Kimberly Nagy founded Wild River Review with Joy E. Stocke; and in 2009, they founded Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC. With more than twenty years in the field of publishing, Nagy specializes in market outreach and digital media strategies as well as crafting timeless articles and interviews. She edits many of the writers who appear in the pages of Wild River Review, as well as clients from around the world.
Kimberly Nagy is a poet, professional writer, and dedicated reader who has interviewed a number of leading thinkers, including Academy-Award winning filmmaker, Pamela Tanner Boll, MacArthur Genius Award-winning Edwidge Danticat, historian James McPherson, playwright Emily Mann, biologist and novelist, Sunetra Gupta and philosopher Alain de Botton.
Nagy is an author, editor and professional storyteller. She received her BA in history at Rider University where she was influenced by professors who stressed works of literature alongside dates and historical facts–as well as the importance of including the perspectives of women and minorities in the historical record. During a period in which she fell in love with writing and research, Nagy wrote an award-winning paper about the suppression of free speech during World War I, and which featured early 20th century feminist and civil rights leader, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn.
Nagy continued her graduate studies at University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she studied with Dr. Karen Kupperman, an expert in early contact between Native Americans and the first European settlers. Nagy wrote her Masters thesis, focusing on the work of the first woman to be accepted into the Connecticut Historical Society as well as literary descriptions of Native Americans in Connecticut during the 19th century. Nagy has extensive background and interest in anthropological, oral history and cultural research.
After graduate school, Nagy applied her academic expertise to a career in publishing, in which she worked for two of the world’s foremost publishers—Princeton University Press and W.W. Norton—as well as at Thomson, Institutional Investor Magazine, Routledge UK, and Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.
Kimberly Nagy in this Edition
AIRMAIL – LETTERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
AIRMAIL – VOICE FROM SYRIA
ARTS – ART
ARTS – FILM REVIEWS
ARTS – MUSIC
ARTS – PHOTOGRAPHY
The Triple Goddess Trials: Fire in the Head: Brigit’s Mysterious Spark
The Triple Goddess Trials: Introduction
The Triple Goddess Trials – Meeting Virginia Woolf at the Strand
The Triple Goddess Trials: Me and Medusa
The Triple Goddess Trials: Aphrodite and the Lightbulb Factory
The Triple Goddess Trials: Goddess of Milk and Honey
The Triple Goddess Trials: Kali’s Ancient Love Song
ASHLEY – Renee Ashley: A Voice Answering a Voice
BELLI – Giocanda Belli – The Page is My Home
BOLL – Pamela Tanner Boll: Dangerous Women: An Interview with Academy Award Winner Pamela Tanner Boll
DANTICAT – Create Dangerously- A Conversation with Edwidge Danticat
CHARBONNEAU – A Cruise Along the Inside Track: With Le Mobile’s Sound Recording Legend Guy Charbonneau
de BOTTON – The Art of Connection: A Conversation with Alain de Botton
GUPTA – Suneptra Gupta – The Elements of Style: The Novelist and Biologist Discusses Metaphor and Science
HANDAL – Nathalie Handal – Love and Strange Horses
KHWAJA – Waqas Khwaja: What a Difference a Word Makes
MAURO: New World Monkeys: An Interview with Nancy Mauro
MORGANSing, Live, & Love Like You Mean It: An Interview with Bertha Morgan
MOSS – Practical Mystic–Robert Moss: On Book Families, Jung and How Dreams Can Save Your Soul
OGLINE – BEN FRANKLIN.COM: Author & Illustrator Tim Ogline explains why Ben Franklin would be a technology evangelist today
OLSEN – Greg Olsen – Reaching for the Stars: Scientist, Entrepreneur and Space Traveler
PALYA – Beata Palya – The Secret World of Songs
SCHIMMEL – Moonlight Science: A Conversation with Molecular Biologist and Entrepreneur, Paul Schimmel
SHORS – Journey into the Male & Female Brain: An Interview with Tracey Shors
von MOLTKE and SIMMS – Dorothy von Moltke and Cliff Simms: Why Independent Bookstores Matter, Part I
WARD – On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part One, and
On the Rocks: Global Warming and the Rock and Fossil Record – An Interview with Peter Ward, Part Two
WILKES – Labor of Love: An Interview With Architect Kevin Wilkes
LITERATURE – MEMOIR
LITERATURE – POETRY
LIVE FROM THE NYPL
Fountain of Curiosity: Paul Holdengraber on Attention, Tension and Stretching the Limits of Conversation at the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library at 100: From the Stacks to the Streets
Paul Holdengraber: The Afterlife of Conversation
That Email Changed My Life: Rolex Arts Initiative. Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Tracy K. Smith Celebrates Rolex Arts Initiative
First Editions / Second Thoughts — Defending Writers: PEN and Christie’s Raise One Million Dollars to Support Freedom of Expression
ON AFRICA: May 4 to May 10 — Behind the Scenes with Director Jakab Orsos: Co-curated by Award-Winning Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Page is My Home: Giaconda Belli – Nicaraguan Poet, Writer and Public Intellectual
Georgian Writer David Dephy’s Second Skin
The Power of Conversation: David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer – The Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture
NEW FROM WILD RIVER BOOKS – Brief Eulogies at Roadside Shrines
Daring Collaborations: Rolex and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library
Wild River Books Announces the Stoutsburg Cemetery Project: The Untold Stories of an African American Burial Ground in New Jersey
Wild River Books: Surprise Encounters by Scott McVay
Wild River Review and Minerva’s Bed & Breakfast Presents – “BITTER” Writing in a Weekend: How to Write About the Things We Can’t Change
ALLEN – Quarks, Parks, and Science in Everyday Life: Filmmaker Chris Allen’s Documentary Where Art Meets Science in a Vacant Lot
HOLT – Rush Holt: An Interview with Rush Holt
MANN – Boundless Theater: An Interview with Emily Mann
Keeping Time: A Conversation with Historian James McPherson
VOICE FROM SYRIA
WRR at LARGE – WILD ENVIRONMENT
Cool Chick is an inspired force of literary nature — a lifelong writer who is dedicated to the wild river school of writing.
Educated at Wild River Community College, later attending Wild River University, Cool Chick is working on her PhD in changing the world – one story at a time.
Type designer, librarian, and systems engineer, Saad D. Abulhab, was born in 1958 in Sacramento, California, and grew up in Iraq. Residing in the US since 1979, he is currently Director of Technology of the Newman Library of Baruch College, the City University of New York. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University, and a Master of Science in Library and Information Sciences from Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. Involved since 1992 in the field of Arabetic computing and typography, he is most noted for his non-traditional type designs and the Mutamathil type style which was awarded a US Utility Patent in 2003. Designed more that 16 fonts families since 1998 and wrote several articles in the field of Arabetic typography and scripts.
ALL ARTICLES BY SAAD ABULHAB:
Opal Palmer Adisa, Ph. D, diverse and multi-genre, is an exceptional talent, nurtured on cane-sap and the oceanic breeze of the Caribbean. Writer of both poetry and prose, playwright/director, professor, educator and cultural activist, Adisa has lectured and read her work throughout the United States, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Germany, Spain, France, England and Prague, and has performed in Italy and Bosnia. An award-winning poet and prose writer, Adisa has sixteen titles to her credit, including the novel, It Begins With Tears (1997), that Rick Ayers proclaimed as one of the most motivational works for young adults.
She has been a resident artist in internationally acclaimed residencies such as Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assis, Italy), El Gounda (Egypt), Sacatar Institute (Brazil) and McColl Center, (North Carolina) and Headlines Center for the Arts (California, USA). Opal Palmer Adisa’s work has been reviewed by Ishmael Reed, Al Young, and Alice Walker (Color Purple), who described her work as “solid, visceral, important stories written with integrity and love.”
Following in the tradition of the African “griot” Opal Palmer Adisa, an accomplished storyteller, commands the mastery and extraordinary talent of storytelling, exemplary of her predecessors. Through her imaginative characterizations of people, places and things, she is able to transport her listeners to the very wonderlands she creates.
A gifted diversity trainer, literary critic, and proud mother of three accomplished children, Opal is the former parenting editor and host of KPFA Radio Parenting show in Berkley, California. Columnist for The Graduate Parent for the “Healthy You,” website and wrote a bi-monthly poetry column for The Daily News, St. Thomas. Adisa has published hundreds of articles on different aspects of parenting, writing and poetry and is currently completing a book on effective parenting.
A Distinguished professor of creative writing and literature in the MFA program at California College of the Arts, where she teaches in the Fall. She has been a visiting professor at several universities including, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of the Virgin Islands. Her poetry, stories, essays and articles on a wide range of subjects have been collected in over 400 journals, anthologies and other publications, including Essence Magazine. She has also conducted workshops in elementary through high school, museums, churches and community centers, as well as in prison and juvenile centers.
Opal Palmer Adisa is a vivacious, motivational speaker who will enthrall and mesmerize you with her words.
Phyllis Carol Agins’ fiction includes two novels: Suisan and Never the Same River Twice, as well as numerous short stories, published in Kalliope, Paragraph, and Lilith Magazine (Fall ‘06), among other journals. Her children’s book, Sophie’s Name, has been in print since 1990, and she also co-authored One God, Sixteen Houses, an architectural study. For many years, she served on the board of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and taught writing at Penn State Abington. Lately, she divides her time between Fairmont Park and the Mediterranean coast. She has completed a comic novel about young widowhood and is polishing a literary mystery centering on the Shakespeare authorship question. Her next book will follow a Jewish family as they leave Algeria to make a new life in France and America.
Angela Ajayi spent over ten years in publishing, mainly as a book editor, until she became a freelance writer. She holds a BA from Calvin College and an MA from Columbia University. Her essays and author interviews have appeared in the Star Tribune and Afroeuropa: Journal of Afro-European Studies. She currently writes book reviews for The Common Online. Her first short story, “Galina,” will be published by Fifth Wednesday Journal this fall. She likes to think she defies easy categorization, identifying through birth and citizenship as a Nigerian-Ukrainian-American writer. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter.
All Articles by Angela Ajayi
Drawing on the Universal in Africa (English Version): An Interview with Marguerite Abouet
Drawing on the Universal in Africa (French Version): An Interview with Marguerite Abouet
Kenya’s Unrest: An Interview with the Kenyan Poet Mukoma Wa Ngugi
PEN WORLD VOICES
Everything Is Complicated: An Interview With Nadia Kalman
On Reading and Writing in the Future and Now – Blogs, Twitter, and the Kindle
Literature, Life and Death: On the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture by Umberto Eco
In Spite of the Gun: Remembering Ken Saro-wiwa, Nigerian Writer and Activist
WRR@LARGE – WILD COVERAGE
Bill Alexander is a published fiction writer for Venture Magazine, Spectrum Magazine, and Drumbeat Magazine. As an intern for Wild River Review, he contributes to the column Wild Table, sharing his thoughts and insights on food and culture. Born and raised in New Jersey and a New Orleanian at heart, Bill is an avid storyteller and devoted writer who believes strongly in originality over faddism.
Works by Bill Alexander
Chris Allen became interested in filmmaking during High School, and has pursued it ever since. He studied Bhakti Yoga (which he still practices) in Chicago before receiving a degree in Film and Television from New York University. After raising three children and producing videos in corporate America, Allen started his own film company, Open Sky Cinema, writing and producing documentaries. They include “The Delaware and Raritan Canal,” “Lost Princeton,” “A Warm and Loving Look — The Poetry of Stephen Kalinich,” and “Open Sky.”
In his documentary, “Quark Park,” Allen filmed and interviewed dozens of scientists, artists, sculptors, landscape architects, and architects in collaboration with Quark Park’s creators Peter Soderman, Kevin Wilkes; and with the Wild River Review.
Works by Chris Allen
Renée Ashley is the author of five volumes of poetry: Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea (Subito Book Prize); Basic Heart (winner of the 2008 X.J.Kennedy Poetry Prize); The Revisionist’s Dream; The Various Reasons of Light; and Salt (Brittingham Prize in Poetry, University of Wisconsin Press), as well as a novel, Someplace Like This, and two chapbooks, The Museum of Lost Wings and The Verbs of Desiring. Ashley teaches poetry in the low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing and across the genres in the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators. She has received fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts in both poetry and prose and a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A portion of her poem, “First Book of the Moon,” is included in a permanent installation in Penn Station, Manhattan, by the artist Larry Kirkland. She has served as Assistant Poetry Coordinator for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and, for seven years, as Poetry Editor of The Literary Review. Her new collection, The View from the Body, was published by Black Lawrence Press in March 2016.