A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home
By Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary
From rediscovering an ancestral village in China to experiencing the realities of American life as a Nigerian, the search for belonging crosses borders and generations. Selected from the archives of Catapult magazine, the essays in A Map Is Only One Story highlight the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric, as twenty writers share provocative personal stories of existing between languages and cultures.
Victoria Blanco relates how those with family in both El Paso and Ciudad Ju rez experience life on the border. Nina Li Coomes recalls the heroines of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and what they taught her about her bicultural identity. Nur Nasreen Ibrahim details her grandfather's crossing of the India-Pakistan border sixty years after Partition. Krystal A. Sital writes of how undocumented status in the United States can impact love and relationships. Porochista Khakpour describes the challenges in writing (and rewriting) Iranian America. Through the power of personal narratives, as told by both emerging and established writers, A Map Is Only One Story offers a new definition of home in the twenty-first century.
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About the AuthorNicole Chung has written for the New York Times, GQ, Longreads, BuzzFeed, Hazlitt, and Shondaland, among other publications. She is Catapult magazine's editor in chief and the former managing editor of The Toast. All You Can Ever Know is her first book. Follow her on Twitter at @nicole_soojung.
Mensah Demary is a founding editor of Catapult magazine and editor at large of Catapult books.
Praise for A Map Is Only One Story
Electric Literature, 1 of 56 Books by Women & Nonbinary Writers of Color to Read This Year
One of The Millions's Most Anticipated Books of the Year
She the People, 1 of 70 Books by Women Authors to Look Out for This Year
"How do we define home? The 20 voices in this essay collection seek to articulate what it feels like to live between cultures. From stories about being undocumented in the U.S. to living on the border with Mexico, these personal narratives delve into the challenges--and power--that we derive from our connections to place." --Annabel Gutterman, Time, 1 of 11 New Books You Should Read This Month
"This powerful first anthology from Catapult magazine features twenty writers sharing their stories of migration, family and what home means to them." --Ms.
"The literary world has seen an explosion of crossing narratives lately; it is easy to forget about the increasingly nuanced, complicated, and human ways that immigrant lives unfold after arrival. This collection contributes to the burgeoning canon of works set beyond the crossing. The essays move like ink in water, dispersing in infinite directions to illuminate psychologies, family dynamics, steamy affairs, vibrant foods, politicized accents, and particular kinds of losses. Most powerful of all is its subtle work of demonstrating that violent immigration policies implicate everyone in a country, immigrant and citizen alike . . . A standout collection that adds new dimension and depth to the lived experiences of immigrants long after they settle in a new community." --Library Journal (starred review)
"Fierce and diverse, these essays tell personal stories that humanize immigration in unique, necessary ways. A provocatively intelligent collection." --Kirkus Reviews
"This collection is a vital corrective to discussions of global migration that fail to acknowledge the humanity of migrants themselves." -Publishers Weekly
"In A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home, the first anthology of writing from Catapult magazine, editors Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary gather essays that offer 'a new definition of home in the twenty-first century.' Victoria Blanco, Porochista Khakpour, Niina Pollari, Nadia Owusu, and others upend expected narratives of the immigrant experience." --Poets & Writers
"Each narrative draws readers close, offering sight lines into private lives and conflicts. The talented writers gathered here offer wide-ranging perspectives essential for our current environment." --Booklist
"A collection of 20 essays on immigrant and immigration experiences, A Map Is Only One Story will move you with its global depictions of life across borders." --K. W. Colyard, Bustle, 1 of 18 New Books About the Immigrant Experience
At Catapult, Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary have worked to publish voices from all over the world on the human geography that defies political borders and how immigration policy takes shape in the everyday lives of individuals. A Map Is Only One Story draws from that work, presenting pieces from 20 writers that weave reporting with personal stories of immigration and identity." --Corinne Segal, Literary Hub, One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year
"In this stunning collection, the debut anthology from Catapult magazine, each writer invites you alongside them as they contend with unnatural borders and their devastating consequences, which hide in plain sight in our daily lives in America. Without the necessity of an outside voice to translate their experiences for the public, the writers let their stories be complex, but even that word seems to do a disservice to their work. Refusing clean narratives, these stories dig deep and entangle themselves in ways that, once you walk through the mist of otherness that words like 'immigrant' and 'undocumented' inspire, you will find are deeply human, deeply relatable, and merely circumstantial . . . These writers prove that the idea of the faceless, voiceless brown mass is the biggest lie yet." --Frances Nguyen, Electric Literature
"The essays in A Map Is Only One Story highlight the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric, as twenty writers share provocative personal stories of existing between languages and cultures. Through the power of personal narratives, as told by both emerging and established writers, A Map Is Only One Story offers a new definition of home in the twenty-first century." --The Rumpus
"This collection of essays from both new and established writers is necessary reading in 2020, examining through myriad lenses what it means to 'belong.'" --Frannie Jackson, Paste, 1 of the 10 Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of the Year
"We all know what it is like to be new somewhere, to be seen as an outsider, and to feel the strong pull back to the familiar--whether you are the new hire in an office, have started your freshman year at an out-of-state school, or moved to a new state to be closer to your grandchildren. For people who leave their country, however, the change is endlessly more complicated, as they find themselves living in a culture with different unspoken norms, possibly learning a new language, and separated from the tight social networks they left behind. And while every week we hear about new changes in our government's immigration policy, we don't hear enough from the people who have made this life-changing journey. Edited by Catapult editor in chief Nicole Chung and founding editor Mensah Demary, this first anthology of writing from the wonderful online magazine Catapult gatherers 'stories of migration and what it means to exist between languages and cultures.' The editors have collected a rich range of authors sharing their stories from Somalia and Portland, Nigeria and Utah, Iran and Los Angeles, India and Pakistan, Ghana and Italy. And while you can find all of those places on a map--identify their borders and cities, trace the rivers that run through them and the mountain ranges that divide them--you cannot find there what it means to move as a human between them. As Jamila Osman says in her essay here: 'A map is only one story. It is not the most important story. The most important story is the one a people tell about themselves.'" --Blyth Meier, Porchlight
"Twenty writers from Catapult magazine cross borders and straddle cultures as they provocatively, vulnerably examine 'immigration, family, and the meaning of home.'" --Terry Hong, Shelf Awareness
"The search for belonging can be endless, especially when it crosses borders. In the anthology, A Map Is Only One Story, 20 writers share their experiences of migration and discuss what it means to exist between cultures. Edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary--the editors of US literary magazine, Catapult--A Map Is Only One Story features contributions from a number of emerging and established writers. From the Nigerian experience in America and life on the US/Mexico border, to bicultural role models and the challenges of writing as an Iranian American, this anthology exemplifies the power of personal narratives." --Brit Dawson, Dazed
"A great essay collection is more than the sum of its parts, and A Map Is Only One Story is a great essay collection. Pulled together from Catapult magazine's trove of writing, A Map Is Only One Story coalesces around its central theme--migration and the meaning of home--while also providing an expansive field of view . . . These essays surprise, perplex, delight, and challenge." --Steve Haruch, Musing
"A vast, astute collection exploring questions of identity and belonging. A Map Is Only One Story is about margins, ideas of home, migration, and the violence of borders, but it's also so capacious that it's impossible to summarize. Candid and devastating." --R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries
"Moving and intimate. These disparate voices come into their power when they reach beyond the broken self toward something greater--love, kindness, family--even as homes are lost, pride shattered, identities remade." --Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee
"A Map Is Only One Story has a kaleidoscopic effect, breaking our image of the world with fixed borders and identities to create something new again and again. In this anthology, finding home is more than just a search for a place, but for a way to exist. Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking." --Akil Kumarasamy, author of Half Gods
Praise for Catapult
"It's tricky to pinpoint, exactly, what Catapult means to me. A publisher is only ever defined by the people who run it, and working with some of the industry's kindest folks--and its most thoughtful folks--who are nonetheless among its most incisive, can do a funny thing to a writer: it shows you some of the many ways to be. As a storyteller, sure. But also as a person. Mainly as a person. And maybe that's what sets Catapult apart and what will continue to set them apart: they champion people, in their messy, glorious, unending multitudes." --Bryan Washington, author of Lot: Stories
"I'm both an avid reader of Catapult, as well as a published author via Catapult. The editors there 'get it' and apply their skills with meticulous craft and unfettered heart. And it shows in the writing I read in the magazine and in their books; I walk away learning something I never expected to learn but realized I needed to learn each and every time. Catapult what a sanctuary for writers and readers." --Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, author of Tell Me Everything You Don't Remember
"In the stories it chooses to uplift, Catapult is changing the game, both for its writers and for the literary world we inhabit." --John Paul Brammer, author of Hola Papi