Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel
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Here is an excerpt from an essay I wrote for the debut issue of Panorama.
Read the entire piece here.

CAUTION
Cheri Laverne Dalton is wanted for her alleged involvement in the Brinks Armoured Car robbery which occurred on October 21, 1981, in Nanuet, New York. The robbery resulted in the loss of $1.6 million. Two police officers and one security guard were killed, and one police officer and two guards were wounded. On November 17, 1982, a federal grand jury operating in the Southern District of New York returned a superseding indictment charging Dalton with Violations of RICO Statute; Interference with Interstate Commerce by Robbery; Obstruction of Justice; Armed Bank Robbery; Bank Robbery Killings; and Aiding and Abetting.

It’s hard for me to square the FBI narrative with the woman sitting next to me at the bar, in her cute black kicks and jeans with rhinestone pockets, calling me “babygirl” and sipping white rum. It is now May 2016, my sixth trip to Cuba. I am back in Havana to run a new programme, the Cuba Writers Program, which I have launched with my friend Tim. I’d contacted Nehanda to see if she would meet us and share her story. “Done deal,” she wrote back. “I just need one dollar for transport.”

I’ve been thinking about Nehanda a lot this year. The recent loosening of restrictions on US-Cuban relations raises the question of her extradition. Would the US government, in exchange for new policies that benefitted the Cuban people, start applying pressure on the Cuban government to return Nehanda, and other political exiles, to the States? I don’t think Cuba would do that, but no one ever knows what Cuba will do until Cuba does it. (Just ask a Cuban.) But certainly, the media in the US and Cuba has thrown it out there. How far would Cuba go to protect those it had granted political asylum as La Revolución makes way for more permissive capitalism, and reopens a relationship with Fidel’s arch enemy, the United States? [Read on].

Cuba Writers Program at the Cornelia Street Cafe

The Cuba Writers Program at the Cornelia Street Cafe

Standing room only at the Cornelia Street Cafe, with six readers from the 2016 Cuba Writers Program. Halfway through, my friend Lisa turned to me and said incredulously, “These are all students from the Cuba program? But they are all professional writers!” Indeed, we had an amazing group of writers this year, and it was amazing to hear some of the work they produced in and about Cuba. Dates for the 2017 program announced in September!
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New York Appearances

New York Appearances

I have a couple of upcoming appearances in New York. I’ll be reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe on August 22 and on a panel at the Center for Fiction on December 1. I always love a reason to jump on Amtrak and head south.
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Jones’s Story Collection Continues to Win Awards

Jones’s Story Collection Continues to Win Awards

Thank you, Emerson, for this article on the Emerson College homepage today!
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JONES’S STORY COLLECTION CONTINUES TO WIN AWARDS

Alden Jones, senior affiliated faculty in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, was awarded the Lascaux Book Prize for her short story collection, Unaccompanied Minors, the third prize the book has won.

“The stories in Unaccompanied Minors are my ‘babies’—the stories I wrote over the course of over almost fifteen years that I consider my personal favorites,” Jones said. “It’s thrilling to win an award that celebrates these stories.”

The Lascaux Book Prize, which comes with $1,000 and a bronze medallion, is awarded by The Lascaux Review, which “provides a showcase for emerging and established writers and artists,” according to its website.

Since its publication two years ago, Unaccompanied Minors has won a New American Fiction Prize and an Independent Publisher Book Award, and was a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and a Lambda Literary Award.

“The lifecycle of a book is usually very short,” Jones said. “You expect a burst of attention and sales right around the time of the publication date. For Unaccompanied Minors to receive public recognition…two years after its publication is unexpected and exciting.”

Unaccompanied Minors is Jones’s second book. The Blind Masseuse: A Traveler’s Memoir from Costa Rica to Cambodia, published in 2013, won the Independent Publisher Book Award in Travel Essays, an IndieFab Award in Travel Essays, and was named a Publisher’s Weekly Top 10 Travel Book and a Huffington Post Best Book of the Year. It also was a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.

Earlier this year, Jones was awarded the Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching from Emerson College.

Come to Harvard Book Store, March 2

Come to Harvard Book Store, March 2

I’ll be in conversation with Garth Greenwell and Idra Novey tonight at the Harvard Book Store. We’ll be talking about their two brilliant novels, What Belongs to You and Ways to Disappear. We promise to entertain.
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Unaccompanied Minors on Story366

Unaccompanied Minors on Story366
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Heartfelt thanks to Michael Czyzniejewski for posting these thoughts on “Shelter” and Unaccompanied Minors on Story366:

Today’s story, “Shelter,” comes from Jones’ debut collection, Unaccompanied Minors, from New American Press and the incredible duo of Okla Elliott and Dave Bowen…Alden Jones is one of the talented authors published by New American Press, her stories fast-paced, human, and a reminder of why minors are designated as such, in the eyes of the law, but emotionally, too. Jones is able to depict not only the mistakes that result from youth and inexperience, but how these characters arrive at these mistakes. It’s not as easy of an answer as we’d like to imagine. If we all think back to being that age, weren’t we just a bad break, or a bad choice or two, or one time getting caught, away from some serious shit?

Complete review at Story366