Host Ken Jones talks with Hannah Lillith Assadi and Achy Obejas, contributors to the story anthology Take Us To A Better Place, published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. You can download a free copy of the ebook at https://www.rwjf.org/fiction.
Hannah Lillith Assadi received her MFA in fiction from the Columbia University School of the Arts. Her first novel Sonora received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was a finalist for the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. In 2018, she was named a National Book Foundation “5 under 35” honoree. Her second novel The Stars Are Not Yet Bells is forthcoming from Riverhead. Hannah was raised in Arizona, the setting for her story in the collection, and now lives in Brooklyn.
Achy Obejas is the author of The Tower of the Antilles which was a 2018 PEN/Faulkner finalist. She has written four other books of fiction, edited two anthologies, and translated more than 15 books, including works by Junot Díaz, Wendy Guerra, and Rita Indiana. She’s a recipient of a Ford Fellowship for USA Artists and a National Endowment grant for poetry. Achy was born in Havana, Cuba, and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
In the foreword to Take Us To A Better Place, Roxane Gay writes: “In this anthology, writers imagine what a culture of health might look like. They imagine the dire consequences for humanity if we don’t start building a true, widely accessible culture of health… They imagine how we might all thrive if we all had the inalienable right to participate in a culture of health, that was actively supported economically, societally, politically.”
Photo of Hannah Lillith Assadi by Ulysse Payet and photo of Achy Obejas by Kaloian.