Posts tagged booknews

Notes

Liv la nan figi

Go see the book’s new Facebook page, which you can like, and where you can like other things. And who knows? The things might like you back.

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http://facebook.com/TheBigTruckThatWentBy

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Gwo Machin

With publication approaching in January, people have been asking me about the title: What exactly was The Big Truck That Went By?

It refers to three things: Haiti’s weak state before the earthquake (when even basic utilities had to be delivered by truck), the massive international response, and the quake itself. There is more about those ideas, and what connects them, in the introduction.

But credit must go where credit is due. I first heard the phrase in its full Kreyòl flower, ”gwo machin ki pase,” nine days after the earthquake, from a carpenter named Ancelot Jean. The father of six had lost his home and shop in Marché Salomon, and the eight members of his family were setting up a new home at the edge of the Champ de Mars plaza, under an electric lime green vendor’s umbrella, from the cell phone company Voilà.

At that point Haitians had mostly been referring to the disaster indirectly, or as “the event.” I asked Jean if he had heard any names for the earthquake. He answered:

"Only God can give what happened a name. But sometimes we call it ‘the big truck that went by.’ The big truck of death."

I heard many others use those phrases in the days that followed. Other names for the earthquake would soon arise—including the onomatopoeia that stuck, goudou goudou—but that image of the truck going by has resonated with me the most ever since.

You can read the original AP article about Jean’s family here.

Or pre-order the book here, here, or even here.

(Photo: Detail of painting by Maxan Jean Louis, 2010)

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Pre-order now! Click above. (If, you know, you want to.)

Pre-order now! Click above. (If, you know, you want to.)

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From left, 2012 Lukas Prize prize winners Daniel J. Sharfstein, Jonathan M. Katz, and Sophia Rosenfeld. Jonathan Alter, right, is chairman of the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Committee. Photo by Lisa Abitbol. 
Here’s the story.
(via @NiemanReports)

From left, 2012 Lukas Prize prize winners Daniel J. Sharfstein, Jonathan M. Katz, and Sophia Rosenfeld. Jonathan Alter, right, is chairman of the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Committee. Photo by Lisa Abitbol. 

Here’s the story.

(via @NiemanReports)

1 Notes

Big Book Deals (belated): Big Truck shoutout in @PublishersWkly

Big Book Deals (belated): Big Truck shoutout in @PublishersWkly

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Book news: "Big Truck" wins big (early) prize

I’m honored to tumbl that The Big Truck That Went By has been named the winner of the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard (link above). It’s a very cool and unique prize given while a book is still a pile of notes and rambling scenes, with the aim of giving the author the money and time needed to finish it. I’m very thankful to the judges. It’s a heck of a vote of confidence and one I’ll strive to live up to.

Here’s what the judges had to say:

“The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster” (Palgrave Macmillan) by Jonathan M. Katz won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. The prize is given to aid the completion of a significant work of nonfiction. The judges said: “Katz is a great storyteller who enmeshes the reader in a lively web of history, incident, and examples of humanity pushing through disaster, hard luck, iniquity, and triumph to muck it up all over again.” 

The finalist was Susan Southard for “Nagasaki” (Viking Penguin), which looks like it will be awesome.

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Yo.

Welcome to the new tumblr for my upcoming book about Haiti, the earthquake and what’s happened since. You can stay tuned for updates about the book’s progress. You can use the comment fields, email and other buttons to share your own ideas, experiences and reflections. Or, hell, why not do both? Like it says above, stick around and share your thoughts. Na pale.