‘This book celebrates human resilience and the capacity for hope, serving as a powerful call for tolerance.’ – Observer
‘Heartfelt, eye-opening, timely, essential.’ – Christy Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
Helen Benedict, award-winning British-American professor of journalism at Columbia University, teams up with Syrian writer and refugee, Eyad Awwadawnan, to present the stories of five refugees who have endured long and dangerous journeys from the Middle East and Africa to Greece.
Hasan, Asmahan, Evans, Mursal and Calvin each tell their story, tracing the trajectory of their lives from homes and families in Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Cameroon to the brutal refugee camps, where they are trapped in a strange and hostile world.
These are compelling, first-person stories of resilience, suffering and hope, told in a depth rarely seen in non-fiction, partly because one of the authors is a refugee himself, and partly because both authors spent years getting to know the interviewees and winning their trust. The women and men in this book tell their stories in their own words, retaining control and dignity, while revealing intimate and heartfelt scenes from their lives.
‘This gut-wrenching collection forcefully documents a humanitarian crisis through the stories of five refugees in asylum purgatory in Greece, where they come to feel they are “nothing but creatures made to eat, sleep and submit’ – New York Times
‘This book celebrates human resilience and the capacity for hope, serving as a powerful call for tolerance‘ – Lucy Popescu, Observer
‘Heartfelt, eye-opening, timely, essential: these stories remind us of the plight of refugees, people just like us, who are desperate to build new lives for themselves and their loved ones’ – Christy Lefteri, bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
‘Simple, powerful stories told in refugees’ own voices. I couldn’t stop reading, hand to mouth, my chest tightening. A vital collaboration between two sharply observant writers who know how to get out of the way.’ – Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
‘Harrowing, heartbreaking and deeply humane, Map of Hope and Sorrow amplifies the dreams and struggles of refugees who fled oppression only to find themselves trapped in another kind of cage. Their voices echoed in my brain long after the final page‘ – Jessica Bruder, author of Nomadland
‘This is a treasure-trove of story, of heart, of humanity’s failures and achievements‘ – Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Latehomecomer
‘Map of Hope and Sorrow is not only urgent, it is riveting. Benedict and Awwadawnan’s rare journalistic relationship allows them to partner with the people most affected by Western refugee policies and bring five intimate depictions to us with urgency, integrity, compassion, and even humor. These unflinching portraits of a pressing crisis remind us that we are never talking about borders or laws or news stories, but real people’ – Jessica Goudeau, author of After the Last Border
‘This meticulously reported, beautifully written book, is timely and important. People who had generations of memories of family life in peaceful streets or country villages, bucolic farms or sprawling olive groves fled their homes in the face of unspeakable violence, only to find themselves trapped on the cusp of Europe with no way to move forward or back. [It is] a story at once compelling, poetic and necessary‘ – Masha Hamilton, former US Embassy envoy to Afghanistan and author of What Changes Everything and 31 Hours
‘These heartfelt stories reveal the resilience of the human spirit as well as how the world has turned a blind eye to the suffering of not only Syrians, but other refugees, too’ – Fawaz Gerges, author of ISIS: A History
‘As an eyewitness to the current global refugee crisis, I salute Helen and Eyad for capturing so astutely the desperation, hunger, and homelessness faced by the displaced. These stories of refugees in Greece tell a wider story of those forced to flee conflict around the world. A captivating and informative read‘ – Hala Gorani, Host of CNN’s Hala Gorani Tonight
Helen Benedict (Author)
Helen Benedict is a recipient of the 2021 PEN Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History and the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism. She is the author of 13 books, including the award-winning The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women at War Serving in Iraq, and the novel Wolf Season. Her writing inspired both a class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of people sexually assaulted in the military and the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Invisible War. She is a Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, New York.
Eyad Awwadawnan (Author)
Eyad Awwadawnan, formerly a law student from Damascus, Syria, is a writer and poet currently living as an asylum-seeker in Reykjavik, Iceland. During his four years in Greece, he worked as a cultural mediator, translator and interpreter for various NGOs.