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2018 Authors Luncheon
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Photo Credit: Ben Droz
Mohammed Al Samawi
The Fox Hunt: A Refugee's Memoir of Coming to America
Published by Harper Collins

Mohammed Al Samawi was born in 1986 in Yemen. In his midtwenties, he became involved in interfaith groups promoting dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. In 2015, during the Yemeni Civil War, his life was at risk. He fled from Aden to the United States with the help of his cell phone and a small group of online interfaith activists who engineered his harrowing escape. Since his entry to the United States, he has worked for several NGOs that promote peace and religious tolerance. The Fox Hunt is his story. 

The Fox Hunt tells one young man’s unforgettable story of war, unlikely friendship, and his harrowing escape from Yemen's brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media by a small group of interfaith activists in the West. Born in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen, to a pair of middle-class doctors, Mohammed Al Samawi was a devout Muslim raised to think of Christians and Jews as his enemy. But when Mohammed was twenty-three, he secretly received a copy of the Bible, and what he read cast doubt on everything he’d previously believed. After connecting with Jews and Christians on social media, and at various international interfaith conferences, Mohammed became an activist, making it his mission to promote dialogue and cooperation in Yemen. Then came the death threats: first on Facebook, then through terrifying anonymous phone calls. To protect himself and his family, Mohammed fled to the southern port city of Aden. The story of an improbable escape as riveting as the best page-turning thrillers, The Fox Hunt reminds us that goodness and decency can triumph in the darkest circumstances. 

Photo Credit: Marcus Branch

Diane Guerrero
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
Published by Macmillan

Diane Guerrero is an actress on the hit shows Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. She was fourteen years old when her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. She has written about her family in the Los Angeles Times and in her memoir In the Country We Love, and she is an advocate for immigration reform. Guerrero volunteers with the nonprofit Immigrant Legal Resource Center, as well as with Mi Familia Vota, an organization that promotes civic involvement. She was also named an Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by the White House during the Obama Administration.

Diane Guerrero was just fourteen years old on the day her parents were detained and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family. In the Country We Love is the moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with bestselling author Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families like Guerrero’s and on a system that repeatedly fails them.

Photo Credit: Todd Gray
Jessica Bruder
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty First Century
Published by W.W. Norton

Jessica Bruder is an award-winning journalist whose work focuses on subcultures and the dark corners of the economy. She teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism and is the author of Burning Book.


From the beet fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon's CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads. Nomadland tells a revelatory tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy, none which foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, it celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive, but have not given up hope.


Bradley Thornton
Glimmer of Hope

Published by Penguin Random House

Bradley Thornton is a 2016 graduate from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and is currently attending the University of Central Florida studying theatre, film, and communications. He has always had a passion for storytelling but was lacking a purpose until his hometown experienced the unspeakable tragedy on February 14th. Now, inspired and guided by the passion of his closest friends, he continues to balance anti-violence activism work with arts education and hopes to one day combine his passions.

Glimmer of Hope is the official, definitive book from The March for Our Lives founders. Glimmer of Hope tells the story of how a group of teenagers raced to channel their rage and sorrow into action, and went on to create one of the largest youth-led movements in global history. 100% of the authors’ proceeds will benefit the March for Our Lives Foundation and the ongoing fight for gun violence prevention in the United States. The full list of contributors, in alphabetical order, are: Adam Alhanti, Dylan Baierlein, John Barnitt, Alfonso Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Jaclyn Corin, Matt Deitsch, Ryan Deitsch, Sam Deitsch, Brendan Duff, Emma González, Chris Grady, David Hogg, Lauren Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Jammal Lemy, Charlie Mirsky, Kyrah Simon, Delaney Tarr, Bradley Thornton, Kevin Trejos, Naomi Wadler, Sofie Whitney, Daniel Williams, and Alex Wind.

Tom Rinaldi
The Red Bandanna: A life. A choice. A legacy.
Published by Penguin Random House

Tom Rinaldi has been a national correspondent at ESPN since 2002. Among other honors, he has won fifteen national Sports Emmy Awards and six national Edward R. Murrow Awards. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in New Jersey, with his wife, Dianne, their son, Jack, and daughter, Tessa.

Journalist Tom Rinaldi tells the story of real-life hero Welles Crowther, a young man who worked in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and sacrificed his own life to save countless others. After carrying an injured woman on his back, down nearly twenty flights of stairs, he turned around. “I’m going back up,” was all he said. The survivors didn’t know his name, but despite the smoke and panic, one of them remembered a single detail clearly: the man was wearing a red bandanna—a gift from Welles’s father from when he was a child, which he carried in his back pocket every day. The Red Bandanna is about a fearless choice, about a crucible of terror and the indomitable spirit to answer it. Examining one decision in the gravest situation, it celebrates the difference one life can make.



This event is sponsored by:
Penguin Random House
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