Masha Hamilton is the author of four acclaimed novels, most recently 31 Hours, which The Washington Post called one of the best novels of 2009, and independent bookstores named an Indie Next choice. She also founded two world literacy projects, the Camel Book Drive and the Afghan Women's Writing Project.
She is the winner of the 2010 Women's National Book Association award, presented "to a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and allied arts, and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation."
She began her career as a full-time journalist, working in Maine, Indiana, and New York City before being sent by the Associated Press to the Middle East where she was news editor for five years, including the period of the first intefadeh. She then moved to Moscow where she worked for five years during the collapse of Communism, reporting for the Los Angeles Times and NBC-Mutual Radio and writing a monthly column, "Postcards from Moscow." She also reported from Kenya in 2006, and from Afghanistan in 2004 and 2008.
A Brown University graduate, Hamilton has been awarded fiction fellowships from Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. She has taught for Gotham Writers Workshop and the 92nd Street Y in New York City and at a number of writers' workshops around the country. She has also taught in Afghanistan at Kabul University.
Masha Hamilton is the Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Praise for THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Masha Hamilton
A LIBRARY JOURNAL BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2004
"A great story....Will get you thinking and break your heart."--iVillage.com
"Emotionally ferocious . . . an affecting, viscerally charged work that offers no easy moral answers. A foreign correspondent's facade of emotional invincibility is shattered by the death of a colleague in journalist Hamilton's sharply etched, emotionally ferocious second novel (after Staircase of a Thousand Steps).--Publisher's Weekly, STARRED review
"The plotting is flawless. The pacing is just right ... Hamilton is an accomplished stylist
Hamilton knows the geographic beauty and the unending blood feuds of the Middle East. She knows it as a journalist (for The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times), she knows it as a resident - the sights, sounds, smells of life and death seem to fill her every pore."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Powerful portrayal of religious warfare . . . The Distance Between Us dramatizes difficult issues about what draws reporters - and readers - to stories of violence. What does it cost to become the kind of person who "can step over bloody ground for a quote"?"--The Christian Science Monitor
"Compelling tale of reprisal and endurance with a rich cast of characters. Caddie Blair is a war correspondent in the Middle East whose life is tragically changed in a single second."
--Library Journal, STARRED review
"Hamilton not only captures the conflicted feelings of journalists but also the conflicted feelings of those living in the middle of the violence. All sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are presented fairly. Punchy dialogue and prose style turn this introspective look at violence and loss into a page-turner."
"In The Distance Between Us, Masha Hamilton's searing novel set amid the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Caddie is a journalist drawn to explosive violence like a moth to a flamethrower. She keeps getting singed from the heat, but it cauterizes her flayed emotions."--San Diego Union-Tribune
"Hamilton's novel is a compelling look at the emotional challenges and psychological extremes of covering a war with a shifting front line, as well as a convincing story of love and self-discovery . . . A former war correspondent in the Middle East and Moscow, Hamilton writes with the passion of someone who has witnessed firsthand the religious and cultural complexities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In an era when the richness of the Middle East is so often diluted by our American sensibilities, The Distance Between Us is not only compelling and fast-paced, but timely and enlightening as well."
--Rocky Mountain News
"I approached this novel, written by a veteran Middle East reporter and set in Israel during the intifada, with some trepidation, expecting yet another critique of Israel's moral stance. But Masha Hamilton's The Distance Between Us does not take sides. Her subject is grief and the desire for revenge, as experienced by a journalist whose colleague is killed."--Jerusalem Post
"Extremely well written and compelling....THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US drops us right into the battle zone and forces us to look straight at the inhumanity and simultaneously the hidden personal side..."
--The Bloomsbury Review
"Hamilton, who has worked as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Russia and Afghanistan, writes convincingly about the emotional challenges of reporting from a place rife with violence. Her terse, no-nonsense prose propels the novel like a thriller, but the undercurrent of moral tension gives it weight."--The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Praise for THE CAMEL BOOKMOBILE by Masha Hamilton
"Hamilton's portrayal of nomadic culture is lovingly and colorfully told. It's a painterly glimpse into a world that few Westerners will ever see."--USA Today
"Rich and evocative prose that skillfully exposes the stark realities of poverty and charity in today's Africa. Highly recommended for any fiction collection."
--Library Journal, STARRED review
"A poignant, ennobling, and buoyant tale of risks and rewards, surrender and sacrifice."
--Booklist, STARRED review
"Vibrates with the life and landscape of Africa...peopled with characters readers can't help but care about deeply."--BookPage
"Hamilton makes us see how much is really at stake in a poverty-stricken place where every possession carries the weight of significance. A larger conflict wouldn't do justice to the notion of honor as lived by these people; it extends all the way down to the smallest stack of books."--New York Times
"This captivating story about a determined chick with a big heart will touch you deeply."
Praise for 31 HOURS by Masha Hamilton
A WASHINGTON POST BEST MYSTERY/THRILLER OF 2009
"Hamilton has used both her considerable empathy as a writer and her experience in the Middle East to create an intimate portrait of 21-year-old Jonas Meitzner. It's not easy to like him for what he intends to do, much less admire him, but Hamilton makes us aware of his humanity...Sensitive, lonely and full of the anger and doubt many young people feel, Jonas seems in Hamilton's hands not a stranger, not an impenetrable figure of dread whose behavior is beyond our understanding, but the ordinary, fragile child of ordinary, fragile people. You don't exactly want to look at the story of what happens to Jonas, but Hamilton has made it very hard to tear your gaze away."--The Washington Post
"Riveting.... a potent psychological analysis on the true meaning of loyalty -- to friends, family members and country -- and what any of us, given the chance, would to do to uphold it."--The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Highly readable...keeps us engaged most with the desire to answer the standard thriller question: Can the killer be stopped?...Hamilton arrays her characters smartly, then points them toward the subway...Women, in particular, will inhale this book."--Cleveland Plain Dealer
"One of the best novels I've read this year."--Carol Fitzgerald, founder, BookReporter.com
"How much can we ever know the ones we truly love? So asks Masha Hamilton in her riveting new novel, 31 HOURS. It kept me up all night, and left me in tears."
--Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Sleep Toward Heaven, Love Stories In This Town
"You don't just read this gut-wrenching book; you become part of it in a deep, primal way. Hamilton's story is so real and so raw, it takes over your thoughts and feelings and never lets go. We need to start a global book club and make this its first selection."
--Lois Alter Mark, StyleSubstanceSoul.com
"Masha Hamilton uncovers the complex humanity behind the horror of terrorism. Read it for the exquisite craft, but also for the entry into a world that's often splashed in the headlines, but seldom so brilliantly revealed."--Caroline Leavitt, author of Girls in Trouble and Coming Back to Me
"Equal parts thriller and poetry, Masha Hamilton's 31 Hours had me turning pages late into the night and thinking about its startling conclusion long after I'd read the last page. In compelling readers to reconsider how we think about terrorism, this beautiful novel will provoke understanding, and perhaps even inspire us toward much-needed change."--Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters
In this new novel by Hamilton (31 Hours), who currently works at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and founded the Afghan Women's Writing Project, a seemingly disconnected series of narratives cohere around the theme of America's experience in Afghanistan. When a refugee aid worker named Todd is kidnapped for ransom, his wife and daughter back home in Brooklyn struggle with trust-in the FBI and in each other. Stela, a Russian immigrant who owns a bookstore in Cleveland, has lost one son in Afghanistan; her other son, now a Brooklyn street artist, refuses to communicate with her. Mandy, a nurse, travels to Afghanistan ostensibly to bring medical supplies but in fact to find a connection with her embittered son, a veteran who is a double amputee. Amin, formerly an aide to a deposed Afghani president (whose fictionalized letters from prison lend the novel its historical perspective), is determined to negotiate Todd's release. VERDICT Hamilton's descriptions are vivid, especially when portraying the tension and uncertainty that families of political prisoners endure. Fans of topical fiction will appreciate this knowledgeable and nuanced view of the Afghan war.-Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.