Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Live Online Event
7:30pm–8:30pm

Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos

with Steven Heighton
Hosted by Rhonda Douglas

Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos

with Steven Heighton
Hosted by Rhonda Douglas
28
Monday
Sep
7:30pm
Steven Heighton - Photo by Mark Raynes Roberts

In the fall of 2015, Steven Heighton—winner of the Governor General’s Award for Poetry and four gold National Magazine Awards—made an overnight decision to travel to the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece and enlist as a volunteer. He arrived on the isle of Lesvos with a duffel bag and a dubious grasp of Greek, his mother’s native tongue, and worked on the landing beaches and in OXY—a jerrybuilt, ad hoc transit camp providing simple meals, dry clothes, and a brief rest to refugees after their crossing from Turkey. In a town deserted by the tourists that had been its lifeblood, Heighton—alongside the exhausted locals and under-equipped international aid workers—found himself thrown into emergency roles for which he was woefully unqualified.

 

From the brief reprieves of volunteer-refugee soccer matches to the riots of Camp Moria, Reaching Mithymna is a firsthand account of the crisis and an engaged exploration of the borders that divide us and the ties that bind.

 

A limited number of signed books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.

 

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