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Writing On The Edge: Great Contemporary Writers on the Front Line of Crisis by Tom Craig

Writing On The Edge: Great Contemporary Writers on The Front Line of Crisis

By Tom Craig, Edited by Dan Crowe

Published in association with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres

Rizzoli, New York, 2010

Tom Craig, a documentary photographer, wanted to do something more than just take pictures.  He wanted people to tell the stories behind the pictures.  He invited authors to join him on trips to some of the most dangerous places in the world, and they said yes.

Things were elemental.  I knew it was cold in Armenia when the piss in our toilets froze, and I knew it was hot in Chad when the donkey next to me dropped dead like a cartoon cutout.  I knew I was frightened when I wanted my mum, and I knew I was doing the right thing when I overheard a girl on a bus in London crying as she described one of our stories in The Sunday Times Magazine. I learned that war was pointless, and that bad water kills nearly everyone, and if that didn’t get you the mosquitoes did.  I learned things about myself I could never have understood without the hardship and death I witnessed, or the instances of human fortitude and kindness I observed.  This is where hope comes in.  From the introduction by Tom Craig.

Some very fine writers  joined him on journeys to medical outposts set up by Medecins Sans Frontieres, in places far out on the borders of human existence.  Places like Burudi, Palestine, Cambodia and Congo.  People like Martin Amis, Tracy Chevalier, Hari Kunzru and Ali Smith.  They took these journeys and wrote about what they experienced.   These essays, along with Craig’s photographs, are gathered in this collection.

I picked this up off the “new book” shelf in my library,  not really knowing about it but intrigued by the names listed on the cover.  The essays are astounding, the photos are beautiful and disturbing.  Sometimes I just need something to help me get out of my own little bubble.  This book does that.

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