In the midst of the world’s refugee crisis, storytelling conveys the colour, joy and tragedy of individual lives affected by migration. Matthew Condon meets three writers to discuss their critically acclaimed books that speak to the physical and psychological borders that govern our lives. Francisco Cantú’s The Line Becomes a River chronicles his time patrolling the US–Mexico border. Sofija Stefanovic’s Miss Ex-Yugoslavia details her childhood spent between Belgrade and Melbourne. Kapka Kassabova’s Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe examines the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece.
Francisco Cantú (International)
Francisco Cantú served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2017 Whiting Award. His writing and translations have been featured in Best American Essays, Harper's, n+1, Orion, and Guernica, as well as on This American Life. He lives in Tucson.
Kapka Kassabova (International)
Kapka Kassabova was born in Bulgaria, emigrated with her family to New Zealand in the 1990s, and since 2005 has lived in Scotland. Her book, Border, is a portrait of one of Europe's most hidden regions and a psycho-geographic study of how borders shape human lives. It won the Edward Stanford Travel Book of the Year, Saltire Book of the Year and has been shortlisted for the Baillie-Gifford Prize and the American National Book Critics Circle Awards. Her earlier books of narrative non-fiction are Street Without a Name, a coming-of-age memoir, and Twelve Minutes of Love, a journey through Argentine tango.
Sofija Stefanovic (Australian)
Sofija Stefanovic is a Serbian-Australian writer and storyteller based in New York. She is the author of Miss Ex-Yugoslavia, a funny and dark memoir about immigration and life as a perpetual fish out of water. Sofija hosts the popular literary salon Women of Letters New York, and This Alien Nation—a celebration of immigration. She’s a regular storyteller with The Moth, and has written for The New York Times, The Guardian and Elle, among others.
Matthew Condon (Australian)
Matthew Condon is an award-winning journalist and author. He has published 10 works of fiction and most recently a bestselling trilogy about police and political corruption in Queensland - Three Crooked Kings, Jacks and Jokers and All Fall Down. He lives in Brisbane.