Reaching Mithymna
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Reaching Mithymna:

Among the Volunteers & Refugees On Lesvos

Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers & Refugees On Lesvos, a memoir published by Biblioasis, in Canada Sept 15, in the USA Nov. 24, 2020

• Finalist for the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
• A Globe & Mail Best Book, 2020
• A Best nonfiction book of 2020
• A Maclean's pick: "20 Books You Need to Read This Winter"
• A NYT New & Noteworthy book

“We know Steven Heighton as an award-winning poet and novelist. With Reaching Mithymna, he emerges as an indelible nonfiction writer. Combining his poetic sensibilities and storytelling skills with a documentarian’s eye, he has created a wrenching narrative from the front lines of the Syrian refugee crisis… Reaching Mithymna is a heart-rending story of humanity and sacrifice by a writer who put his own life on hold in a desperate and often futile attempt to help shipwrecked strangers find a safe and secure future for themselves and their children.”
—Jury Citation, Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Reaching Mithymna is a stunning book, by turns heartbreaking and affirming, fundamentally human in its depth and scope. That it ends on a note balancing hope with loss, optimism with pain, is characteristic of its grace and power.”
—Robert Wiersema, Quill and Quire (starred review)

“Searing… the kind of book you won't forget.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A heartbreaking but urgent tale.”
Globe and Mail (Top 100 Books of 2020)

“Heighton’s harrowing and moving book about his time in Greece, with its rich array of characters and finely expressed understanding of the pain of exile, wrenches our gaze back to the refugees and refuses to let go. . . An eloquent depiction of . . . a seemingly endless crisis.”
—Brian Bethune, Macleans

“The volunteer’s memoir Reaching Mithymna leaves searing impressions of the Syrian refugee crisis with its unembroidered facts and experiences.”
—Susan Waggoner, Foreword Reviews

“Insightful and compelling.”
—Deborah Dundas, Toronto Star

“Through his example in Reaching Mithymna, Steven Heighton offers us an alternative to armchair activism and outrage. Yes, with guts and compassion, we can step out of our safe, comfortable rooms and make a contribution to the alleviation of suffering. There is a way—-regardless of our age, language, status, or abilities—-to enter global conflicts responsibly. Heighton relays the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis with the insight of first-hand experience and the ethics of a conscientious witness. His unforgettable portraits of volunteers and refugees remind us that politics are inextricable from human lives.”
—Ian Williams

“Deeply personal and tender, Steven Heighton’s Reaching Mithymna never shies away from the self-critique that comes with being a witness to unfathomable human tragedy. There’s a uniquely fragile quality to Heighton’s beautiful narrative prose, one that only comes from an understanding of loss, uprootedness and exile, of what it means to reach out to that which remains elusive. Heighton gives voice to a multitude of colourful yet tragic characters faced with impossible dilemmas and their own shortcomings.”
—Yara El-Ghadban

“Steven Heighton’s extraordinary book is driven by two inseparable desires: to learn, and to help. First is the writerly needing to know exactly how people manage in a particular time and place. Best go there and find out. Being there you may help. Learning, you will help better. And writing about it later, about the whole mix of those suffering and those seeking to alleviate that suffering, continues the learning because making sentences is a continued thinking, a trying to make sense. What this book teaches in its writing and in its publication is that mutual aid is the condition of our survival.”
—David Constantine