The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

Best of 2011: Books for, by and about expats

One of our Random Nomads in November, Aaron Ausland, had this to say about those of us who venture across borders:

Travel to a new place for three weeks and you can write a book, travel for three months and you can write an article, travel for three years and you’ll likely have nothing to say.

While that may be true, I’m afraid it hasn’t stopped many of us who’ve spent large chunks of our lives gallivanting around the globe trying out life in different countries, from taking up the pen.

As with any other group, some are born writers (and thrive on new surroundings), while others have become writers (attempting to make sense of their adventures), while still others have had writing thrust upon them (responding to invitations to share their experiences).

At the Displaced Nation, we revere people who publish books, fiction or non, that in some way assist those of us who are (or have been) engaged in overseas travel and residency. We feature — and do giveaways of — their works. And, for established writers with a global following, we’ve created a unique “category” called the Displaced Hall of Fame.

In this spirit — and in the December tradition of looking back at the past year’s highlights — I present the following (admittedly incomplete) list of books for, by, and about expats that were published in 2011, in these five sections (click on the title to go to each section):

  1. NOVELS ABOUT EXPATS
  2. NOVELS ABOUT “HOME”
  3. EXPAT MEMOIRS
  4. SELF-HELP, CROSS-CULTURAL & OTHER NONFICTION WORKS
  5. INSPIRATIONAL ANTHOLOGIES

A few more points to note:

  • Books in each category are arranged from most to least recent.
  • I’ve mixed indie books with those by conventional publishers (it suits our site’s somewhat irreverent tone).
  • To qualify for the list, authors must have been expats for at least six months at some point.

* * *

NOVELS ABOUT EXPATS

Three Questions: Because a quarter-life crisis needs answers (CreateSpace, October 2011)
Author: Meagan Adele Lopez
Genre: Women’s fiction
Synposis: A love story based loosely on the author’s own romance with a lad from Bristol, the action traverses continents through letters and features a quarter-life crisis, a road trip to Vegas, and two crazy BFFs.
Expat credentials: An American, Lopez lived as an expat in the UK for a while (she is now back in Chicago).
How we heard about it: Melissa of Smitten by Britain was a fan of Lopez’s blog (originally titled The Lady Who Lunches). The pair met her London in the summer of 2010, when Lopez was still living in England. Recently, Melissa has been supporting Lopez’s attempt to gain sponsorship for turning the novel into a screenplay.

Sunshine Soup: Nourishing the Global Soul (Summertime, October 2011)
Author: Jo Parfitt
Genre: Women’s fiction
Synopsis: Six expat women from the UK, US, Thailand, Ireland, Norway and Holland converge in Dubai in 2008. The action centers on a Brit, who is on her first posting, and an American, who is on her 25th. The Brit learns the ropes and settles in, while the American woman’s world begins to crumble.
Expat credentials: A prolific author, publisher and pioneer in addressing the issues of accompanying spouses and aspiring expat writers worldwide, Parfitt has been an expat for nearly a quarter of a century. Born British, she now lives in the Hague.
How we heard about it: We noticed a couple of interviews with Parfitt — one by expat coach Meg Fitzgerald and another by Expat Women.

The Beautiful One Has Come: Stories (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, July 2011)
Author: Suzanne Kamata
Genre: Cross-cultural romance
Synopsis: Twelve short stories reveal the pains and the pleasures experienced by expat women, most of whom live in Japan.
Expat credentials: Kamata is an American who has lived in Japan for 20 years.
How we heard about it: Kamata and her book were featured on Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s Writerhead Wednesday in July of this year.

Hidden in Paris (Carpenter Hill Publishing, April 2011)
Author: Corine Gantz
Genre: Women’s fiction
Synopsis: Three strangers — all American women — have reached the point of terminal discomfort with their lives so run away to Paris to begin anew.
Expat credentials: Gantz is a French expat living near Los Angeles. She is getting her own back by writing about American expats in Paris.
How we heard about it: We are long-time fans of Gantz’s blog, Hidden in France — in fact, we promoted one of her posts (about falling into her swimming pool) with the launch of TDN in April. We also interviewed her about her first novel as part of our “gothic tales” theme this past May.

Exiled (Quartet Books, April 2011)
Author: Shireen Jilla
Genre: Psychological thriller
Synopsis: The wife of an ambitious British diplomat, whose first posting brings them to New York, looks forward to escaping from Kent and leading the high-profile life of a successful expat — only to find her world being threatened by dark psychological forces on a par with those depicted in Rosemary’s Baby.
Expat credentials: A Third Culture Kid (she is half English, half Persian, and grew up in Germany, Holland and England), Jilla has also been an expat in Paris, Rome, and New York.
How we heard about it: TDN writer ML Awanohara read a review of Jilla’s novel by Kate Saunders in the Sunday Times. She approached Jilla in May about having an exchange with our readers about the gothic themes in her novel, in line with our site’s own delvings into the gothic aspects of expat life. Our readers loved her!

NOVELS ABOUT “HOME”

Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain Series)
Author: Kristen Ashley
Genre: Romance
Synopsis: Ex-con hero, wrongly imprisoned, gets mixed up with unlucky heroine, who will stop at nothing to help him get revenge.
Expat credentials: Born in Gary, Indiana, Ashley grew up in Brownburg and then moved to Denver, where she lived for 12 years. She now lives with her husband in a small seaside town in Britain’s West Country, where she has produced more than twenty books featuring rock-chick, Rocky Mountain, and other all-American heroines.
How we heard about it: Ashley is the friend of an old schoolfriend of TDN writer Kate Allison, who invited her to do a guest post for us on Britain’s (lack of) Royal Wedding preparations  for our Royal Wedding coverage.

Queen by Right: A Novel (Touchstone, May 2011)
Author: Anne Easter Smith
Genre: Historical romance
Synopsis: This is the fictional story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and said to be one of the most intelligent and courageous women in English history.
Expat credentials: The daughter of an English army colonel, Easter Smith spent her childhood in England, Germany and Egypt. She came to New York City at age 24, and as she puts it:

Many years, two marriages, two children and five cross-country moves later I’m very definitely a permanent resident of the U.S. — but my love for English history remains.

(She now lives in Plattsburgh, New York.)
How we heard about it: Easter Smith and her book were featured on Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s Writerhead Wednesday in October.

Dance Lessons (Syracuse University Press, March 2011)
Author: Áine Greaney
Genre: Irish Studies, Women’s Fiction
Synopsis: The action centers on a woman of French-Canadian background who marries an Irish emigrant who is working illegally in a bar in Boston. After his death by drowning, she visits Ireland for the first time and finds out what a shattered man he actually was.
Expat credentials: She may be a resident of Boston’s North Shore, but Greaney continues to identify herself as an Irish writer (County Mayo).
How we heard about it: Greaney and her book were featured on Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s Writerhead Wednesday in October.

Pentecost: A Thriller (The Creative Penn, January 2011)
Author: Joanna Penn
Genre: Thriller
Synopsis: The Keepers of the stones from Jesus’s tomb — which enabled the Apostles to perform miracles — are being murdered. The stones have been stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world. An Oxford University psychologist spearheads a search for them in a race against time…
Expat credentials: English by birth, Penn grew up as a third-culture-kid and at the time of producing her first novel, was living in Australia.
How we heard about it: We are avid followers of Penn’s blog, The Creative Penn. Several months ago, TDN writer ML Awanohara deconstructed Penn’s post about what “home” means for writers for what it might teach expats and others who struggle with this issue as well. For Penn, home means some sort of spiritual kinship, which she has with two places: Oxford, where she went to university and near where her father now lives, and Jerusalem, which she’s visited at least ten times because she loves it there so much. Not surprisingly, she chose to set much of the action for her debut novel in these two cities.

EXPAT MEMOIRS

Perking the Pansies: Jack and Liam move to Turkey (Summertime Publishing, December 2011)
Author: Jack Scott
Synopsis: Dissatisfied with suburban life and middle management, Scott and his civil partner, Liam, abandon the sanctuary of liberal London for an uncertain future in Bodrum, Turkey. The book is based on Scott’s irreverent blog of the same name, which after its launch in 2010, quickly became one of the most popular English language blogs in Turkey.
How it came to our attention: Scott was featured as one of our Random Nomads in May of this year and since then, has done us the favor of commenting on and liking several of our posts. **Kate Allison will be reviewing his book for our site on Wednesday.**

Ramblings of a Deluded Soul (CreateSpace, September 2011)
Author: Jake Barton
Synopsis: In his inimitable style, the British-born Barton strings together snippets from new novels and try-outs with reminiscences and, for the first time, insight into his own remarkable experiences as a traveler and expat in Europe (he once owned a small French vineyard and had another job he’s not supposed to talk about). NOTE: Barton’s first novel, Burn, Baby, Burn, burned its way into the Top Ten of the Amazon All Books list.
How it came to our attention: Barton is an online acquaintance of TDN writer Kate Allison. We celebrated him in the early days of our blog for his insights on foreign-language learning in Spain.

A Tight Wide-open Space: Finding Love in a Muslim Land (Delridge Press, August 2011)
Author: Matt Krause
Synopsis: A Californian who is now a Seattle-ite recounts how he became an Istanbullu, all for the love of a beautiful Turkish woman he met on a airplane. The year is 2003, and he can still hear the echoes of 9/11 as well as being acutely conscious of America’s engagement in two wars in Muslim countries. Eventually, he comes to love his new home more deeply than he might have expected.
How we heard about it: Linda Janssen, who writes the blog Adventures in Expatland, interviewed Krause about his book in October.

Planting Dandelions: Field Notes from a Semi-Domesticated Life (Penguin, April 2011)
Author: Kyran Pittman
Synopsis: A native of Newfoundland (her father was a well-known Newfoundler poet), Pittman writes about co-parenting with her charming Southern U.S. hubbie (they have three rambunctious boys); keeping the fiscal wolf from the door of their home in Little Rock, Arkansas; and honoring her marriage vows despite her refusal to give up her party-girl persona.
How we heard about it: Pittman came to our notice when she was a guest on Kelly Ryan Keegan‘s Bibliochat in late September.

Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing (Harper, March 2011)
Author: Alan Paul
Synopsis: Paul tells the story of trailing his journalist-wife to China and unwittingly becoming a rock star. His Chinese American blues rock band, called Woodie Alan, even earned the title of Beijing’s best band.
How we heard about it: We were early fans of Alan Paul’s back in the days of his Wall Street Journal online column, “The Expat Life.” Also, Paul and his book were featured on Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s Writerhead Wednesday this past April.

The Foremost Good Fortune (Knopf, February 2011)
Author: Susan Conley
Synopsis: Conley, her husband, and their two young sons say good-bye to their friends, family, and house in Maine for a two-year stint in a high-rise apartment in Beijing. All goes well until Conley learns she has cancer. She goes home to Boston for treatment and then returns to Beijing, again as a foreigner — to her own body as well.
How we heard about it: Conley and her book were featured on Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s Writerhead Wednesday in early October.

SELF-HELP, CROSS-CULTURAL AND OTHER NONFICTION WORKS

The Globalisation of Love (Summertime, November 2011)
Author: Wendy Williams
Genre: Relationships, self-help, humor
Synopsis: Williams interviews multicultural, interfaith and biracial partners from all over the world on what it feels like to “marry out” of one’s culture, religion and/or race. She also talks to experts on the topic and coins a term for it: “GloLo.”
Expat credentials: From a British-Ukrainian-Canadian family, Williams has been married to an Austrian for 13 years and lives in Vienna.
How we heard about it: TDN writer ML Awanohara listened to Jo Parfitt’s interview with Williams on her Writers Abroad show (Women’s International Network) and was attracted to the ideas of a book that treats this topic with humor. **TDN writer Anthony Windram will review the book for our site tomorrow (Tuesday).**

Modern Arab Women — The New Generation of the United Arab Emirates (Molden Verlag, November 2011)
Author: Judith Hornok
Genre: Women’s studies
Synopsis: The book consists of 20 chapters, each a stand-alone interview with an Emirati woman from disciplines as varied as business, film, medicine and politics. The women talk to Hornok about their careers, philosophies of life and plans for the future. The book, which is published in German and English, aims to dispel some of the Western myths surrounding Arab women.
Expat credentials: While not quite an expat, Hornok has been moving between the UAE and her home in Vienna, Austria, for eight years.
How we heard about it: TDN writer ML Awanohara read an article on the book in The National (UAE English-language publication) and became intrigued.

Expat Women: Confessions — 50 Answers to Your Real-life Questions about Living Abroad (Expat Women Enterprises Pty Ltd ATF Expat Women Trust, May 2011)
Authors: Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth (foreword by Robin Pascoe)
Genre: Women’s self-help, family, relationships
Synopsis: Experienced expats share wisdom and tips on topics that most expat women face, such as the trauma of leaving family back home, the challenges of transitioning quickly, intercultural relationships, parenting bilingual children and work-life balance. They also tackle more difficult issues such as expat infidelity, divorce, alcoholism and reverse culture shock. The book is based on the “confessions” page of Expat Women, the largest global Web site helping women living overseas.
Expat credentials: Andrea Martins is the director and co-founder of Expat Women. An Australian who has spent many years abroad, she began dreaming of connecting expat women worldwide when an expat in Mexico City. Victoria Hepworth is a New Zealander who has lived in Japan, China, Russia, Sweden, India and is currently living in Dubai, UAE. She is a trained psychologist who specializes in expat issues.
How we heard about it: Andrea Martins announced the publication of the book to much fanfare on Twitter and in other social media venues. It has been widely reviewed on expat blogs.

Marriage in Translation: Foreign Wife, Japanese Husband (CultureWave Press, April 2011)
Author: Wendy Nelson Tokunaga
Genre: Relationships, self-help
Synopsis: Tokunaga conducts a series of candid conversations with 14 Western women about the challenges in making cross-cultural marriages work both inside and outside Japan. She quizzes them about the frustrations, as well as the joys, of adapting to a different culture within married life.
Expat credentials: Born in San Francisco, Tokunaga has spent numerous years studying, living, working and playing in Japan. She is the author of two Japan-related novels, published by St. Martins Griffin. Oh, and did we mention her Japanese “surfer-dude” husband?
How we heard about it: Sometimes one tweet is all it takes! (We follow Wendy Tokunaga on Twitter.)

A Modern Fairytale: William, Kate and Three Generations of Royal Love (Hyperion/ABC Video Book, April 2011)
Author: Jane Green
Genre: Romance, royalty
Synopsis: In this video book for ABC News, produced just in time for the Royal Wedding in March, best-selling chick-lit novelist Jane Green follows the stories of three generations of royal love from their meeting up to and after their respective wedding days. She concludes that Kate and William have a much better chance than William’s parents of enjoying a relationship on their own terms.
Expat credentials: Born in London, Green worked as a feature writer for The Daily Express before trying her hand at writing novels. She now lives in Westport, Connecticut, with her second husband and their blended family.
How we heard about it: One of us noticed that Jane Green had been tapped to provide coverage of the Royal Wedding for ABC News. We then invited her to talk about her e-book and engage with our readers in a debate on whether women should still aspire to be “princesses” in the 21st century — a post that received a record number of comments.

INSPIRATIONAL ANTHOLOGIES

Turning Points: 25 inspiring stories from women entrepreneurs who have turned their careers and their lives around (Summertime Publishing, November 2011)
Editor: Kate Cobb
Synopsis: In this collection of stories from women all over the world, the focus is on the moments, or short passages of time, when a woman was facing something challenging and came out the other side smiling.
Expat credentials: Cobb is a British woman living in France, and about a third of the contributors — including Jo Parfitt and Linda Janssen — are expats who now run their own businesses.
How we heard about it: Linda Janssen promoted the book on her blog, Adventures in Expatland.

Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories (Still Waters Publishing, October 2011)
Compiler: Cheryl Shireman
Synopsis: 25 indie novelists share personal stories in hopes of inspiring other women to live the life they were meant to live. (All proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research.)
Expat credentials: Close to half of these indie authors are expats or have done significant overseas travel. To take a few examples: After living in Portland, Oregon, for most of her life, Shéa MacLeod now makes her home in an Edwardian town house in London just a stone’s throw from the local cemetery. Linda Welch was born in a country cottage in England, but then married a dashing young American airman, left her homeland, raised a family, and now lives in the mountains of Utah. Julia Crane is from the United States but recently moved to Dubai with her huband and family (her personal story concerns the adjustment process).
How we heard about it: Again, sometimes all it takes it a tweet (we picked up one of Linda Welch’s).

* * *

Questions: Have you read any of the above works and if so, what did you think of them? And can you suggest other works to add to the list? My colleagues and I look forward to reading your comments below!

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s post, a review of The Globalisation of Love, by Wendy Williams, and for Wednesday’s post, a review of Perking the Pansies, by Jack Scott.

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to subscribe to The Displaced Dispatch, a weekly round up of posts from The Displaced Nation, plus some extras such as seasonal recipes and occasional book giveaways. Sign up for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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36 responses to “Best of 2011: Books for, by and about expats

  1. linda@adventuresinexpatland.com December 13, 2011 at 1:20 am

    The Displaced Nation deserves a big thank you for putting together such a varied and intriguing 2011 book list for expats/internationals/displaced nationalists. That you would include Turning Points (a labor of love for me and others) and Matt Krause’s A Tight Wide-open Space from my site is an honor and wonderful bonus. Thank you so much!

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Thank you, Linda. I consider it a bonus that we found out about a couple of these titles via your blog, Adventures in Expatland.

      Thank you also for pointing out that this list isn’t merely for expats, narrowly defined, but for a group that includes people who would self-define as “internationalists” or “displaced nationalists.” In fact, that’s the reason we chose the title “displaced nation” for our site — because we aren’t all expats here (I’m technically a “repat”), and of the group who are expats, not all choose to describe themselves in that way.

      Clearly, the vocabulary for how we talk about the international life is still under development. But with the help of authors such as those featured above, including your good self, we should be inching a little closer!🙂

  2. Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane December 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Fantastic! I’m forever looking for books to read about expat life, or set in foreign countries, so this is a great list. Thank you. I have a few other titles that I sent you already.

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Hi, Karen! By the time I published this post yesterday (I missed our 1:00 p.m. deadline because I’d misjudged how long it would take to convert my notes into the above format), I was exhausted, while also knowing that the list is by no means exhaustive… Still, even an incomplete list provides some idea of the range of publications out there by expat or otherwise “displaced” authors. If I say so myself, I find the spectrum rather fascinating: yet more evidence of life’s rich tapestry!

      My work on my 12 nomads begins from today. I just now took a look at yours and see that I have some additions to make to the above list. Thanks for those suggestions, and for your words of support on this exercise. I deeply appreciate!!!

  3. Suzanne Kamata December 13, 2011 at 2:47 am

    I’m thrilled! Thank you for including my book!! And also for the recommendations. Looks like my TBR pile will be growing.

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

      But of course. As a former expat in Tokyo, I am drawn to (not to say envious of) your work! And I loved seeing you featured on Writerhead. Isn’t Kristin wonderful? She has done so much to promote expat and other “displaced” authors, I feel she deserves a year-end gift of some kind!!! (Don’t they usually give hams in Japan? But I’m not so sure she would appreciate that…?)

  4. Alexandra December 13, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Oddly enough I haven’t read any of these, despite being an expat – and working for an expat publisher in Italy!

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      @Alexandra
      I take your point that the list is very Anglo-American in focus, as is The Displaced Nation leadership (though we do sometimes feature Asia as I used to live in Japan). At least we are conscious of our limits and always looking for ways to broaden our scope. Speaking of which, perhaps we could collaborate with you next time we put together such a list?

  5. Tony James Slater December 13, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Um, is it terribly bad form to suggest one of my own? My feet rarely touch the ground in my native land (and when they do, they get soggy because it’s England). My first book came out this June, it’s all about my misadventures in Ecuador whilst volunteering in a wildlife refuge, and it’s good for a chuckle – or so they tell me!
    It’s called ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ (because she did. Luckily I wasn’t wearing them at the time, or the book would have been called ‘That Bear Ate My Ass’ and I’d have been writing it in hospital.)
    Here’s a link to it on Amazon, should you feel the urge to point and laugh:
    http://www.amazon.com/Pants-Adventures-Idiot-Abroad-ebook/dp/B0057P6FNO/
    I’m pretty sure I can’t qualify for a ‘best of’ list on my own recommendation, but think about this: where else does the author get head-butted in the balls by a wild boar? Doesn’t happen every day… or if it does, I’m reading the wrong books!
    Tony

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      @Tony
      We have no problem at all with self-promotion. This is the displaced nation, remember? How on earth would we ever know about each other’s accomplishments if it weren’t for social media and forums like this, since we’re all so scattered? (Not to mention scatty tho that’s another story.) Conventional media can only cover so much…

      In fact, our knowledge of several of the works on the above list came from tweets by their authors or contributors.

      Moving on to That Bear Ate My Pants!: I think I can speak for my colleagues in asserting we’re sorry to have missed this (mis)adventure yarn. And it’s a jolly good thing you weren’t wearing the trousers (or did you mean “pants”?) at the time, though that might have been more dramatic?

      Your book further suggests a potential new area of expat books — by those who volunteer overseas. We covered the topic of global philanthropy and voluntourism last month, so it would have been appropriate to include. Next time!

      p.s. You appear to share TDN’s self-deprecating sense of humor — perhaps a guest post might be in order some day?

      • Tony James Slater December 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

        Hi ML!
        Thanks for replying! I’d love to do a guest post for TDN at any point that’s good for you folks – there’s usually something bizarre and amusing happening around me, or to me, or in me (best not to ask about that one). I only once tried to describe my humour as you did, but I said ‘self depreciating’ by mistake – and no-one’s placed any value on it since. Still, I love to write and I love to promote volunteering (which is a polite way of saying I don’t shut up about the stuff).

        I’m rather new to Tweeting and all that, having made the schoolboy error of actually writing my book first, and then trying to tell people about it – the net result being I’m all mouth and very little social media trousers (I think they’d just about fit Action Man).

        Regardless, it would be great to hear from you if you fancy a guest post – send me an email with your commandments (‘Thou shall not swear’, etc) and we’ll sort something out.

        DISCLAIMER: I do sometimes say silly things. In fact, I am pretty silly all over.

        Thanks again!
        Tony

  6. Mary Jane Cryan December 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Great list. Why not check http://www.englishwritersinitaly.com for a roundup of writers living and working -some of us for half a century – in Italy.

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you, Mary-Jane! As mentioned to Alexandra above, we’d like to broaden our focus. I for one (who am half Italian in background) would be as pleased as pasta if that meant looking to Italy for works by expats. (50 years in that part of the world: how lucky can you get?!)

      p.s. Hmmm… I wonder if one of us will need to do a follow-up post listing some of the many books that have been left out?

  7. Andrea Martins December 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Awesome list! Brings back great memories from the year that’s almost past. Thanks for including our book, and congrats to all the other authors as well (many of you, I know personally!). Can’t wait to see what will come to print in 2012. Best wishes, Andrea. x

    • ML Awanohara December 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks, Andrea. Of all the books above, yours had the most online reviews and I never found a single negative comment, even from those who said they were prepared not to find it so interesting (because they thought they knew it all). That’s quite an achievement, I must say. Congrats!!!

      And like you, I’m already getting excited what 2012 might bring.

      To all the expat, and other displaced, writers out there — don’t give up; you have a ready audience in people like us!🙂

  8. Kristin Bair O'Keeffe December 14, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Kudos to the Displaced Nation team for putting together such a terrific list! Thx for the Writerhead shout-out!

    • ML Awanohara December 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      Well, the list wouldn’t be nearly so terrific or unique or all the other things people have called it were it not for your input via Writerhead. As I mentioned to Suzanne Kamata above, I think you deserve some sort of year-end gift for all you’ve done for expat writing since your return to the United States. (If this were Japan, it would be a large ham!)

  9. donna morang December 14, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Thank you for such a useful and fantastic collection of writers.

    I have read “Indie Chicks” and hope everyone supports this fantastic group of writers. The only problem with this book is: you will want to buy each and every one of their books. Marvelous writers, and so uniquely individual, each story is a new adventure.

    I’m sorry that you have missed my book, “Big Backpack, Little World.” The stories of teaching and traveling of an older woman.I’ve been an expat since 2000, and still trucking. Yes, it’s on Amazon.

    • ML Awanohara December 14, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks, Donna. And it’s useful to have that ringing endorsement of Indie Chicks — but for that fact that it might mean having to buy 26 books!

      I just now took a look at your book on Amazon and am sorry we missed it, too. I just love the last sentence in the book description:

      This book is NOT about a woman going in search of herself, or looking for a better life. She already knows that life is beautiful, and she lives it to the fullest.

      You go, girl! I’ll talk to my colleagues about featuring you on The Displaced Nation in some way, perhaps in the new year…

      • donna morang December 14, 2011 at 9:19 pm

        ML, you are ever so kind. Gracias! I do think it can be a kick-start for anyone fearful of beginning a new life, or jumping into a first time travel adventure. Hey, if I can do it at my age, anyone can.

  10. Jack Scott December 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you so much for including my book, Perking the Pansies – Jack and Liam move to Turkey, in your Best of 2011 Expat Books. I’m truly honoured and a bit humbled to be included in such quality company. I can’t wait for the review!

  11. Russell Ward December 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Great List, ML. Looking forward to catching up with some of these expats through their excellent writing.

  12. meagan adele lopez (@TheLadyLunches) December 15, 2011 at 12:33 am

    I just got back from traveling and saw this post. Thank you for including me in your list! Very honored, and I hope everyone enjoys! I look forward to taking a look at the others – I’ve always enjoyed Jo Parfitt’s writing.

    For that link to the campaign turning the book into a screenplay, it’s here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/meaganadele/meagan-adele-lopez-debut-novel-three-questions – only 9 days left!!!

    • ML Awanohara December 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      @ Meagan
      Thanks for supplying that link. It would be so cool if you could turn your novel into a screenplay. Have you noticed that there aren’t many films about people like us — ie, people coping with the challenges of the international life? Is that because such topics do not interest the average film goer? With so many people traveling these days, I find it hard to believe… Keep up the good fight, and I hope you find some deep-pocketed supporters very soon!!!

      • meagan adele lopez (@TheLadyLunches) December 16, 2011 at 7:43 am

        Thanks so much ML! Yes, I agree – there aren’t that many films regarding that exact thing. I know I’ll be back in England in the next couple of years – we plan on moving back once we start a family, and I would like to be able to do just that. You have a great website, and keep on trucking!

  13. meagan adele lopez (@TheLadyLunches) December 15, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Also, there are more reviews on the Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/Three-Questions-ebook/dp/B005L910LS for “Three Questions” – trying to work out with Amazon how to move them onto the other page!

    Thanks again!

  14. Aine Greaney December 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks so much for including my novel, DANCE LESSONS. I’m chuffed. The ex-pat experience and that process of re-inventing ourselves and our past lives was, in fact, my inspiration for the story. Loved reading about the other writers, too.

    Also proud to have been discovered via my interview at Writerhead.

    • ML Awanohara December 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

      @Aine
      What a fascinating premise for a novel: to look at the expat experience for what it says about our past selves — the ones from which we are trying to escape. Most of us are so wrapped up in trying to accommodate the demands of our new life that we don’t think of turning the clock back to the starting point. Maybe it’s just too painful or feels regressive? But when you think about it, we’re far more expert on where we’ve come from than on the places to which we’ve escaped.

      I recall Corine Gantz making a similar point when we interviewed her on her first novel, Hidden in Paris, which, too, is featured in the above list. I’ll see if I can get her to “come in.”

  15. Corine Gantz December 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you for mentioning my novel :))) Goodness gracious so many exciting books to read!

    • ML Awanohara December 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      @ Corine
      Yes, of course — I was just now mentioning the interview we did with you about your novel back in the spring. You know, there was something you said then that I still think about:

      People often fantasize that “elsewhere” — particularly Paris because of the attached notion of romance — will solve their problems, or at least make the problems go away for a while. Well, we long-term expats know better. Moving to another country brings great logistical changes to one’s life, which can distract you into thinking you’ve left your pathos behind, when, in fact, you’ve brought it along in your suitcase. Wherever you go, you bring your own personal gothic tale with you.

      This is a premise shared by Aine’s novel as well — except she moves backwards whereas you take your characters forwards. Is that the effect of living near LA for so long?!🙂

      • Jack Scott December 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

        It’s a common theme I’ve recognised in a number of people we’re met. There is a sense that it’s possible to deposit an inconvenient past at check in. If only it were that simple. We can run anyway from anything except ourselves.

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