The London Magazine, April-May 2013
My story, "Will Wonders Never Cease?" appears in this issue. John Walker, former editor at The Observer Magazine, writes: "You're in very good company -- past contributors include Auden, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Larkin, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, Nadine Gordimer and William Trevor. I've still got on my shelves some anthologies of contributors' work that the magazine published in the 1960s. If memory serves, the present-day London Magazine was founded by John Lehmann in the 1950s. The first one began in 1732 but I think stopped publication in the 1790s. There was a nineteenth century London Magazine, but that too ceased publication, I think, when its editor was killed in a duel with someone from a rival magazine -- they took literature very seriously in those days!"
"I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated."
This is the original 2003 cover of "Another Day in Paradise," with a photograph by James Nachtwey, the courageous combat photographer--the fifth unofficial member of South Africa's Bang Bang Club--who was injured in Iraq. The photo was taken in Afghanistan.
"Another Day in Paradise" has had "legs" as they say in the news business. It is still in print in the US and the EU, and will soon be published for a second time in China using the "simple" alphabet. It has also been translated into Korean.
The book was "platformed" early with an offer by John le Carré to write the foreword. He had been deeply engaged in humanitarian issues for many years. By chance, when I was in Geneva visiting the International Red Cross training center, I'd met someone who knew someone who knew his agent. I sent along the book proposal and within three days had a commitment from le Carré's agent. I was thrilled when he--the agent-- turned up at the book launch in London. Le Carré had sent along an emissary of goodwill.
Building an anthology of viable stories is no easy task and the project took almost two years. Aid workers are everywhere and they cannot be reached easily, much less take the time to reflect and write. Still, they are serious and devoted in their work, studious as well as playful. One aid worker took pride in all he was able to read in his tent every night, by flashlight, and had the New York Review of Books delivered by UN pouch, months late, eagerly awaited. And, to my great surprise, everyone kept journals and wrote long emails home. This raw material gave me a place to start on most of the stories. Several contributors wanted to draft their own which I then helped them develop in much the same way as I mentor students in my workshops. But there was a difference, of course: I was mostly working long distance. As editor and compiler, I also got to travel some though I drew the line at turning up in war zones. Altogether, a life changing book for me.
Order the ebook of "Another Day in Paradise; International Humanitarian Workers Tell Their Stories."