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Families and Dictators


Sabina Murray
The Human Zoo

Sabina Murray is the author of five novels and two story collections, including The Caprices, which won the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her stories are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan is Dead II. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, Radcliffe Institute, and Massachusetts Cultural Council. Murray has written on Sebald for the Writers Chronicle, Wordsworth for the Paris Review blog; on time theory and historical fiction for LitHub; on Duterte and the Philippines for VICE; on Spam (the meat) for The New York Times, and she has published gothic fiction in Medium.  Her book, Valiant Gentlemen, was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016. Her new book, The Human Zoo, is set in Duterte’s Philippines.

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Dariel Suarez
The Playwright’s House

Dariel Suarez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. In 1997, at age fourteen, he immigrated to the United States with his family during the island’s economic crisis known as The Special Period. He is the author of a new novel, The Playwright’s House and the story collection A Kind of Solitude, winner of the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, the International Latino Book Award for Best Collection of Short Stories, and a MassBook Award “Must Read.” 

Dariel is an inaugural City of Boston Artist Fellow and the Education Director at GrubStreet, the country’s largest independent creative writing center. He’s currently at work on a second novel about the effects of human trafficking, migration, and the broken promises of the American dream through the lens of a multicultural family. Dariel earned his MFA in Fiction at Boston University and resides in the Boston area with his wife and daughter.

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Dariel Suarez’s book, The Playwright’s House, tells the story of a happily married, successful young Cuban attorney whose estranged brother Victor appears with news that their father—famed theater director Felipe Blanco—has been detained for what he suspects are political reasons, Serguey’s privileged life is suddenly shaken. A return to his childhood home in Havana’s decaying suburbs—a place filled with art, politics, and the remnants of a dissolving family—reconnects Serguey with his troubled past.

 In Sabina Murray’s book, The Human Zoo, Filipino-American Christina “Ting” Klein has just travelled from New York to Manila to begin research for a biography of Timicheg, an indigenous Filipino brought to America at the start of 20th century to be exhibited as part of a "human zoo." It has been a year since Ting’s last visit, and one year since Procopio “Copo” Gumboc swept the elections in an upset and took power as president. As days pass, Ting witnesses modern Filipino society languishing under Gumboc’s terrifying reign. Ting cannot extricate herself from the increasingly repressive regime, and soon finds herself personally confronted by the horrifying realities of Gumboc’s power.


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