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We are very pleased to have Katja Meier, who will share the inevitable joys, challenges and mishaps that ensue when a Swiss expat is put in charge of a refugee home in a Tuscan hilltop town. This event will be moderated by Georgette Jupe "Girl in Florence"
She is the author of "Across the Big Blue Sea: Good Intentions and Hard Lessons in an Italian Refugee Home". Published in 2017, the thought-provoking memoir about a refugee shelter in Tuscany sheds light on the joys and challenges encountered by somebody who tried to make a difference during the current 'refugee crisis'.
As a Swiss citizen and writer who has spent most her adult life abroad, Katja is a commentator on topics pertaining to migration in Italy and Europe (see e.g. her letter in the New Yorker or the panel at the Stampa Estera in Rome).
Her book presentations and lectures are great starting points to discuss preconceptions linked to migration, identity, human trafficking and sex work.
Katja lives with her family in a little-known valley in the praised Tuscan countryside and is currently working on the screenplay for the film adaptation of "Across the Big Blue Sea" (rights have been acquired by Berlin-based Equality Film).
Thursday, May 31st
Location: Palazzo San Niccolò, Via San Niccolò 79
Endorsements for "Across the Big Blue Sea":
"Perfectly done, with so much humor and outrage both, Across the Big Blue Sea says more than most anything I've read about the 'refugee crisis' and how the system is set up to fail, even the best-intentioned and most well-meaning (without shying away from the fact that plenty of people involved are neither)."
- Lauren Collins, The New Yorker staff writer and author of When in French
"In this era of ugly nativism and xenophobia ascendant, Katja Meier's warm and often funny book is a tonic of goodwill. The important lessons about herself and the world that she learns are a timely reminder of why the great religions, and all the best traditions of human civilization, oblige those of us with roofs over our heads and food to eat, to shelter and feed the stranger."
- Nina Burleigh, Newsweek national politics correspondent, and NYT bestselling author of The Fatal Gift of Beauty
"Absolutely essential reading. Across the Big Blue Sea attends, with humor and humility, to one of the critical questions of our time: how to respect the humanity and dignity of those born in nation-states whose policies and politics compromise both. This is not a tale of victims and villains, nor of saints and heroes, but of women—Italian, Swiss, Nigerian—seeking to make their world a place worth calling home."
- Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go