A green light to greatness.®


Wish you were here

My eyes were drawn to a reconstituted card catalogue crammed full of colorful postcards from all over the world – souvenirs of another place, another time. The musty smell of old papers hung in the air as I sorted through the postcards: brightly colored images of well-manicured topiaries, animals, beaches, caverns, cathedrals, restaurants and motels. My enchantment with postcards grew out of my yen for travel. I’m not a travel junkie (can’t afford the habit), not yet anyway. But I wouldn’t mind becoming one.

Clean on the other side

Boo's first book, 2012’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, won the National Book Award for nonfiction. The book also won nonfiction prizes from PEN, the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, the New York Public Library and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Self control

While she imagined Blackout to be read by women in their 30s and 40s, she’s received a lot of feedback from young women in their 20s as well. Another surprising audience has been young men, as well as those in their 30s and 40s who have had their lives slowly destroyed by alcohol. Another project she’s working on will be an extension of Blackout, focusing on the concept of binging, especially regarding drinking on college campuses.

Coming home

Journalist and author of five critically-acclaimed books, he has enjoyed a 20-year career as a writer with steady work, an accomplishment in itself. Winner of an Emmy and a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for his haunting accounts of military life in the Korengal Valley, Junger is a respected documentary filmmaker.

Infield: The enduring frisson of Michael Graff

Keeping his eyes on the road, Michael breaks the silence, “Look, I’m gonna show you who I am. And you write whatever you want. Don’t hold back. This is my life, this is who I am.” I nod, he nods. There are long stretches when neither of us is talking, when we just sit there like two old men watching baseball on TV. No chatter, no nerves as he guides his truck along.

Making the cut

I catch my breath and orient myself on the bustling street in Little Havana, spotting Ball & Chain’s sign. I stroll inside, lively Latin music greeting my ears. It looks like something out of a 1930’s movie set, with black and white photographs lining the dark green painted walls, the whole place under an amber glow. And there, inside this iconic bar, sits ESPN senior writer and Mississippi native Wright Thompson, daiquiri in hand.

It’s not easy to say goodbye

But Venezuela can’t live much longer with so much pain; it doesn’t want to cry anymore, it doesn’t want to miss anymore. My land just wants reconciliation. Almost five years ago I decided to leave – to leave everything that made me who I am, to leave everything I knew – for an uncertain future. It is not easy to say goodbye. It is not easy to stay either. It is not easy to be absent. It is not easy, neither in Venezuela nor abroad.

Jason Fagone’s suspicious hour

I’d been ordering food and drink for an hour just to keep him at the table, and there was nothing left. But I had seen it coming. After landing in Philly, I texted him, told him I’d like to get as much time as possible for the profile. Let’s get some lunch, he replied. Get the leg in the door — the whole damn leg in the door. It was Monday, and my next flight wasn’t until Friday morning, so I had three full days to travel around Maryland.

What are the most powerful words ever written?

Ask a writer to tell a story, and they won’t shut up. Ask a writer to identify the most powerful words ever written, and you get crickets. “You want me to do what?” was the general sentiment received when I innocently posed the question to some of the nation’s most prolific literary professionals — all Mayborn conference alumni — it should be noted.