Words in Transit: Stories of Immigrants (Paperback)

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Words in Transit: Stories of Immigrants Cover Image
By Ilan Stavans (Editor)
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Staff Reviews

We often hear mention of immigrants and refugees in the news, but we don’t often hear their voices or their stories. This book shares the oral histories of twenty-eight immigrants and refugees to western New England, many living in the Pioneer Valley. Some heartbreaking stories portray harrowing escapes from either war torn countries or desperate economic conditions. Others describe the pain and confusion of being an outsider. All give us important insight into the lives of immigrants and refugees. The proceeds from this book go to scholarships for immigrant students at Holyoke Community College.

— From Joan's Picks


The Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts is home to immigrants and refugees from around the globe, and their presence revitalizes the region and redefines its culture. Their journeys have involved fear, uprootedness, and isolation as well as perseverance, creativity, and hope. Words in Transit collects the personal stories of nearly thirty people who have made this area their new home. These stories were recorded by New England Public Radio in collaboration with the Copeland Colloquium at Amherst College and produced by Tema Silk and Cathleen O'Keefe under the direction of John Voci.

Gathered together in a beautifully designed book that showcases Beth Reynolds's photographic portraits of each immigrant, these oral histories illuminate the many paths leading to the Pioneer Valley and demonstrate the shared experience among those seeking a new life in a foreign land. Storytellers include a massage therapist from Ireland, a Fulbright scholar from Palestine, a health educator from Taiwan, a literature professor from Spain, and a yoga teacher from Romania. Other participants hail from far-flung places including Haiti, Jamaica, El Salvador, Cote d'Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, Bhutan, Laos, Syria, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Congo, Slovenia, Iraq, and Ukraine. Introduced by the renowned scholar of translation and global literature Ilan Stavans, these stories testify to the resilience, bravery, and hopefulness of western New England emigres. Proceeds from this book go to scholarships for immigrants at Holyoke Community College.

About the Author

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.Beth Reynolds is a photographer, an educator, and the owner of Base Camp Photo in Greenfield, Massachusetts.Collected, recorded, and edited by Cathleen O'Keefe, Tema Silk, and John Voci for New England Public Radio.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781625342195
ISBN-10: 1625342195
Publisher: New England Public Radio
Publication Date: August 11th, 2016
Pages: 224
Language: English