Paula Huntley, "The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo" Podcast: Journeys Interview Segment 1 of 4
A Dick Staub interview (2004). Segment 1. In our most recent podcast we talked about Halo and Games as interactive storytelling. Now we turn to a real life story no less compelling, but not nearly as well known. In the spring of 1999 the world watched as 850,000 ethnic Albanians poured over the borders of Kosovo, bringing with them horrific stories of rape, massacre and ethnic cleansing. A year later, Paula Huntley's husband signed on with the American Bar Association to help build a modern legal system in the rubble of Kosovo, and she reluctantly agreed to leave their California home to accompany him. Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntley was an "unintentional book" by a woman who "unintentionally ended up in Kosovo" and built a bridge between her and students learning English as a second language through master storyteller Ernest Hemingway. The book is drawn from her personal journals and was never intended to be published as a book, yet it describes in rich, compelling detail her own experiences in Kosovo, the lives of the young Kosovar students she came to know and love, and the remarkable book club they created together. Paula describes her purpose in the introduction ot the book and it is eerily timely today. "It is also my hope that more of us Americans will become involved with the rest of the world. We need to learn about other people, learn what they think of us, try to understand, even if we don't agree with, their points of view. Everywhere in the world, I believe, from our own backyards to the middle of the Balkans, there exist people whose needs, and whose generous responsive hearts, offer even the most ordinary Americans, like me, the opportunity to serve, to connect, to expand our capacity for love."
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