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Ru Freeman
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Ru Freeman was born into a family of writers and many boys in Colombo, Sri Lanka. After a year of informal study at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, she arrived in the United States with a Parker ink pen and a box of Staedler pencils to attend Bates College in Maine. She completed her Masters in Labor Relations at the University of Colombo, and worked in the field of American and international humanitarian assistance and workers’ rights. Her political writing has appeared in English and in translation. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, Story Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, WriteCorner Press, Kaduwa and elsewhere and has been nominated for the Best New American Voices anthologies in 2006 and 2008. Her debut novel, A Disobedient Girl, will also be published in Dutch, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese and Hebrew and will be available in Audio from Tantor Media. She calls both Sri Lanka and America home and writes about the people and countries underneath her skin.

Entries by Ru Freeman

Courting Demons: Jen Percy's Quest to Understand War and Exorcism

(0) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 3:15 PM

On March 19, 2003, at exactly 9.34 EST (5.34 a.m. on March 20th, in Baghdad time), George W. Bush launched his invasion of Iraq without a declaration of war. The war came to be known by many names, "Operation Iraqi Liberation," "Operation Iraqi Freedom," "Operation Telic" (UK), and "Operation Falconer"...

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Talking With Roger Reeves: A Pawn, a Poet, a King

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 2:22 PM

When the behemoth of all writers conferences, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), begins this week, Roger Reeves will be everywhere, discussing hip-hop poetry on Friday and debut-collections on Saturday. He will also be at a multitude of off-site events including the Bat City Review's

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PEN International: Mobilizing Writers to Defend Free Speech

(2) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 7:08 PM

Writers are people armed with words, and PEN is an organization, with centers around the world, which boasts of a 91 year history of using those words to give a voice to writers whose lives have been threatened or lost because of what they wanted to say or...

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13 Bests of AWP 2013

(9) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 5:34 PM

The behemoth has gone home, dragging its entrails - disguised as a purple velvet coat - behind it. Boston has waved goodbye to the AWP conference best described by Steve Almond, in his piece for The New Republic, as "the vast roving capital of American literary...

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Dear Natalie Gyte: I Hope You Dance

(1) Comments | Posted February 17, 2013 | 6:00 PM

I began to write this as a comment to a post by a dear friend and activist on Facebook, but decided to use this space instead. The link was to an article on Huffington Post, "Why I Won't Support One Billion Rising," by Natalie Gyte from the Women's...

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The Time Is Now: State by State Referendum on Gun Control

(1) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 9:15 AM

Donna Denner, an elementary school art teacher from Danbury, whose classroom was locked down after the shooting, is quoted as having asked if the rest of us in the country was responding as she was: "Are they going about their regular activities? Is it just another news story...

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Reginald Dwayne Betts: Reflections From a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellow

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 12:36 PM

Upon announcing the 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships, Poetry editor Christian Wiman said, "The history of Poetry is filled with some of the best-known names in American poetry; my guess is that these young poets will be among those we'll be talking about in the years to come."...

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Cheryl Strayed: 'Wild' and Beautiful

(3) Comments | Posted July 11, 2012 | 6:46 PM

Cheryl Strayed did not set out to discover herself with a $200,000 book advance and an inner compass set to taste, meditate and indulge. She turned her back on a world of experiences that had left her bereft and began to walk, in solitude, to learn how to survive alone....

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On Forgiveness: Natalie Serber's 'Shout Her Lovely Name'

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2012 | 3:12 PM

The narrator in the final story in Natalie Serber's collection, Shout Her Lovely Name (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June, 2012) describes her contrary opinion regarding a book (set in Afghanistan, hint hint), selected by her suburban book club. She says she found "the novel's perfectly balanced shape...

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Ted Conover: On Traveling and Being Free Behind Bars

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2012 | 1:53 PM

Eight years after Ted Conover's book, Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing (Random House, 2000), came out, a Pew report found that 1 in 100 Americans were behind bars. Although the overall prison population has declined in each of the last three years under...

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Poetry for the 99 Percent

(0) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 5:53 PM

Temperatures warmed and the Occupiers went back to the streets in April, which also happened to be National Poetry Month. The month usually dawns with the usual list of celebrations by the usual list of suspects: events scheduled by the Poetry Foundation, the Academy of American...

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Tayari Jones Knows Why She Sings

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 3:37 PM

May 8th was a big day for Tayari Jones. That is when her third novel, Silver Sparrow (Algonquin, 2011), which deals with the two families created by a single man, came out in paperback. To kick-off the whirlwind of reading and speaking engagements, her publisher has...

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Chang-rae Lee on War, Alienation, and the Power of Reading

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2012 | 1:36 PM

We won't know the winner of this year's Man Asian Literary Prize, until Thursday evening, March 15th, when the name will be announced at a ceremony in Hong Kong, so here's the next best thing: an interview with one of the judges, Pulitzer Prize-nominated fiction writer,

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Notes From AWP 2012

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2012 | 12:12 PM

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Annual Conference in any year is an unwieldy, slippery beast that grows tentacles and Gorgon heads before ones eyes. You arrive intending to do X, Y and Z and you end up discovering an alphabet in Chinese characters. You dress...

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Eugene Cross: Stories for Our Time

(0) Comments | Posted February 29, 2012 | 1:10 PM

The standard MO for new writers is to generate a collection of short stories before walking off into the sunset to produce the follow-up novel. The shelf-life of these "career-starter" works is usually brief; the short-fiction, unless resuscitated by other writers in workshops, dies its natural death only to be...

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Tomás Q. Morín: On Finding His Voice and Winning the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize

(2) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 11:00 AM

As a rule, poets have neither agents nor big contracts. Their art is seldom put to the test that most writers of fiction endure: will it sell? Untethered by such considerations, it seems, they are free to be true to their particular aesthetic, focussing on writing good poetry rather than...

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A Voice for Palestine Is a Voice for Israel

(10) Comments | Posted September 22, 2011 | 3:30 PM

Mamilla cemetery, located just inside West Jerusalem, contains the remains of several prominent Islamic leaders, including those who fought alongside Saladin, who retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders. It is visited also by the descendants of the less illustrious, like Mohammed al-Dejani, whose great-grandfather is buried there. The Israeli...

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Justin Torres: Give Us More

(3) Comments | Posted August 31, 2011 | 1:44 PM

We can all recite famous first lines. "Call me Ismael" (Melville, Moby-Dick), "A screaming comes across the sky." (Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow), "Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins," (Nabokov, Lolita), "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,"...

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A Few Peas Short of a Full Pod: Hillary Clinton & Tamil Nadu's Jayalalitha

(78) Comments | Posted August 22, 2011 | 2:20 PM

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake recently told the Indian Express that the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Chief Minister for Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha, occurred "in the context of this recent film, the Channel 4 documentary that's...

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I'm With Meghan Cox Gurdon

(24) Comments | Posted June 21, 2011 | 4:27 PM

As the parent of three avid readers, I agree with Meghan Cox Gurdon's point that what is considered "banning" in the book trade is known in the parenting world as doing our job. In a piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, she writes:

It is...
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