In this edition of the Middle Chamber Books and Music Podcast, we speak with Harriet Levin Millan, a creative writing professor at Drexel University, whose first novel, How Fast Can You Run. A novel based on the life of Michael Majok Kuch, will be published October 28 by Harvard Square Editions. Millan is one of the local authors being showcased at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill on Tuesday, September 13 from 6 p.m. to [7:30] p.m. No tickets are needed for the local author showcase.
At 7:30 p.m., New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner will discuss her new book, a young adult novel. For tickets to Jennifer Weiner, visit katzjcc.org.
How Fast Can you Run is a novel that spans three continents and relates the story of people affected by genocide. This story also includes what happens when its protagonist is resettled in America and faces discrimination. The novel follows five-year-old “Lost Boy” of Sudan Michael Majok Kuch as he gets separated from his mother, escaping their burning village in the middle of the night, to his thousand mile trek, barefoot and naked, across war zones and wilderness, to a series of refugee camps where he lives for the next ten years. In 2000, he, along with approximately 4,000 other unaccompanied minors, is selected for political asylum in the U.S., where he is eager to use America’s resources—internet, telephone and postal services—to continue his search for his mother. His new life in America is not without trauma. He attends high school, and afterwards, a mostly white college, where another student falsely accuses him of sexual assault.
Millan, who holds a MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, is a prizewinning poet and writer. For the past three years, she has brought Drexel undergraduate creative writing students to the PEN center outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a week-long writing trip. She teaches creative writing and directs the Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing in the English Department at Drexel University, and she lives outside Philadelphia with her husband.