Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I have some happy news to report.

I've been chosen as the University of Calgary's 2009-2010 Writer-in-Residence. My residency begins in August 2009 - which is perfect, as I should be done the bulk of my traveling for this 'walls' project by then - and will last for ten months. I will be responsible for helping new writers with their own work, but the bulk of my time will be spent writing. Writing, writing, writing. The university generously provides me with an office and a salary for this purpose.

It is a wonderful gift, and I am humbled by it.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Hello all.

I am home now where I will stay until the beginning of July when I begin a month-long residency at the Banff Centre of the Arts. I will use my time in the 'Literary Journalism' program to turn my scrawled notes from the Western Sahara into a legible first chapter of the Walls book.

My next research trip for this project will begin in October. I will head to the Indian sub-continent to investigate the walls that seperate India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Iran. I hope to also visit the Farghana Valley in Central Asia and see the wall along the Uzbekistan-Kyrgystan border. It will be an exciting trip, and I am most anxious to return to Iran, a country I got to know and love while writing my last book.

So, until the fall, I will be updating my blog only once in a while, and from environs decidedly less exotic than northern Africa. In the meantime, a recently published story about my honeymoon in Georgia can be found here: