We Are All Complicit

I’m not trying to accuse you of anything, but Allie Wittner might be. The first-time playwright of Charlie Boyd had audiences laughing and moved to rapt silence throughout her play, performed in early August as part of the She LA Arts Summer Theater Festival. Wittner, who also stars in the play, crafted a tragicomedy with a story lineContinue reading “We Are All Complicit”

Life in Limbo

Jayadevi’s home in Puzhal camp is small, as are the homes of many Sri Lankan Tamil refugees across the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It measures 100 square feet and is constructed from cement roofing sheets.  Like many others of her generation, Jayadevi, 50, fled Sri Lanka under duress during the civil war. HerContinue reading “Life in Limbo”

DISCOVERY KID: Longing for Pig Hearts, Stories, and the “Right” Kind of Knowledge

My siblings stand “at attention,” and salute me before I dole out their chores on individual, handwritten lists. We each have an alias printed on laminated name tags. We go on bike rides. I instruct them to form a line behind me, oldest to youngest, and then circle around to ride behind my littlest sister.Continue reading “DISCOVERY KID: Longing for Pig Hearts, Stories, and the “Right” Kind of Knowledge”

The Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Who Found Her Voice When She Lost Her Clothes

By Sarah Hoenicke for Narratively Shelbie Dimond drops her high-waisted jeans, shirt, bra, and thong into a pile beside her camera kit. She looks over Hollywood’s rooftops from a large patio. Strangers amble out of the house, smoking cigarettes or chasing their dogs. “Um, can you get naked?” she asks Kevin, who’s given her access toContinue reading “The Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Who Found Her Voice When She Lost Her Clothes”

Interrogating Whiteness: reading Austin Channing Brown’s “I’m Still Here”

By Sarah Hoenicke for Anomaly Michael Brown was killed just weeks before I began my junior year at a private college in Oakland, California. “Police brutality” wasn’t a phrase I’d considered within an American context. My parents homeschooled my eight siblings and me. Our access to TV, the internet, music, movies, and people outside our church’sContinue reading “Interrogating Whiteness: reading Austin Channing Brown’s “I’m Still Here””

Black Infants in the East Bay Are Experiencing Higher Negative Health Outcomes

Written by Sarah Hoenicke, with videos and additional reporting by Sarah Cahlan, and photos by Drew Costley While she was carrying her third child, Tanisha Fuller had to convince her hospital caretakers that something was really wrong. It was 2003, she was six months pregnant, and she was unsure of what was happening to her.Continue reading “Black Infants in the East Bay Are Experiencing Higher Negative Health Outcomes”

A Time to Mourn

By Sarah Hoenicke for Anomaly This month, my plan was to write about two new books, both by white men with the first name John. I wouldn’t usually choose titles with such homogeneity. When I select books, it’s because I think they’ll add to who I am by exposing me to who I am not, andContinue reading “A Time to Mourn”

A Gentle Visit

By Sarah Hoenicke for Anomaly “The visit was a liniment,” writes poet Alberto Ríos in “Coffee in the Afternoon.” A balm for the nerves of two people living in the world, A balm in the tenor of its language, which spoke through our hands In the small lifting of our cups and our cakes to ourContinue reading “A Gentle Visit”

An American Weakness

By Sarah Hoenicke for Anomaly In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, Julia Fierro writes: “Weakness or, to be more specific, showing or admitting to weakness, seemed both un-Italian and un-American.” Fierro is writing here about the impact of Zoloft on her life, and more specifically, her writing career. Before Zoloft, her anxiety andContinue reading “An American Weakness”

Micro-Review: Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas’s Don’t Come Back

By Sarah Hoenicke for Gulf Coast Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas’s series of essays, Don’t Come Back, is an exploration of belonging and of the ways memory and imagination interact to create history. Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas reminds readers that we can still write creation narratives, as she does in four of the essays. There are still stories untold, and originalContinue reading “Micro-Review: Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas’s Don’t Come Back”

The Many Homelands of the Mind

By Sarah Hoenicke for the Punch Two literary journals, in their recent issues, put together interesting perspectives on home and belonging Home. Homestead. Homemade. Homegrown. Homeland. Homesick. At home. To home in on—clearly, the concept of home invades much of our thinking, and so, too, our language. Home signifies interior; to be away from it,Continue reading “The Many Homelands of the Mind”

Playwright-Performer Sarah Jones (And Company) Talk Trump’s First 100 Days

By Sarah Hoenicke for BUST.com Playwright-performer Sarah Jones “plays with the spaces between” questions about self-creation for her one-woman shows, Surface Transit (2000), Tony award-winning Bridge & Tunnel (2004, produced by Meryl Streep), and Sell/Buy/Date (2016). Jones slips seamlessly into character during her shows, donning their props and accents: elderly Jewish Lorraine; soft-spoken Lakota Gary;Continue reading “Playwright-Performer Sarah Jones (And Company) Talk Trump’s First 100 Days”

On American War, Omar El Akkad’s Tale of the Second American Civil War

By Sarah Hoenicke for Gulf Coast Omar El Akkad’s fiction debut, American War (April, Knopf), envisions a second American Civil War, waged 2074 to 2093, again between South and North. The effects of global climate change have induced a mass-move inland as the coasts are lost to rising seas and frequent, massively destructive storms. The SouthernersContinue reading “On American War, Omar El Akkad’s Tale of the Second American Civil War”

Theoretically Personal

By Sarah Hoenicke for BOMB Resisting confession in Yiyun Li’s Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life “For years I have had the belief that all my questions will be answered by the books I am reading,” Yiyun Li writes in her latest effort, Dear Friend, from My Life I Write toContinue reading “Theoretically Personal”

The joys of a novel: Jade Chang interviewed by Sarah Hoenicke

By Sarah Hoenicke for the Columbia Journal “Sometimes just living your life in a way that is completely unapologetic is a rebellion.” Jade Chang’s debut novel, The Wangs vs. the World, is an extraordinarily balanced first book.  Often, debuts lack perfect continuity—containing lapses into portions of the story that the author needed to know, butContinue reading “The joys of a novel: Jade Chang interviewed by Sarah Hoenicke”

Anuk Arudpragasam: Within the Bounds of the Body

Anuk Arudpragasam’s debut novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, takes place over a single day near the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. The novel’s protagonist, Dinesh, has been pushed, with fellow beleaguered citizens, to the coast. When we meet him, he is living in a camp, helping tend to the wounded and bury the dead, his existence overwhelmed by the needs of those around him.

Book Review: The Expense of a View by Polly Buckingham

By Sarah Hoenicke for the Masters Review Our current political conversation often revolves around the financial disparities rampant in American culture. Polly Buckingham’s recent story collection, The Expense of a View, hones in on the lives most impacted by the inequalities this gaping imbalance engenders. Buckingham tells the stories of the system’s most vulnerable—the ill, theContinue reading “Book Review: The Expense of a View by Polly Buckingham”

When the Hurlyburly’s Done: Roy Scranton’s “War Porn”

By Sarah Hoenicke, for the Los Angeles Review of Books WAR PORN, Roy Scranton’s fiction debut, is not a comfortable book. Scranton’s experimental and interesting prose is meant to disturb the entrenched thought patterns of his readers. He defies the American cultural tenet that our military is lawful, moral, and organized, depicting it instead as itContinue reading “When the Hurlyburly’s Done: Roy Scranton’s “War Porn””

Finding New Voices: An interview with John Freeman

by Sarah Hoenicke, for Necessary Fiction John Freeman’s writing and criticism have appeared in many publications across the world. He served as Editor-in-Chief at Granta and was president of the National Book Critics Circle. His most recent project is Freeman’s, a themed biannual literary anthology-meets-journal. The second issue, Freeman’s: Family, is available now. Freeman’s main aimContinue reading “Finding New Voices: An interview with John Freeman”