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 Juárez 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.
Contributors: Lauren Alwan, Cinelle Barnes, Victoria Blanco, Jennifer S. Cheng, Nina Li Coomes, Bix Gabriel, Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, Deepti Kapoor, Porochista Khakpour, Soraya Membreno, Kamna Muddagouni, Jamila Osman, Nadia Owusu, Niina Pollari, Krystal A. Sital, Natalia Sylvester, Sharine Taylor, Kenechi Uzor, Steph Wong Ken, and Shing Yin Khor
PRAISE FOR A MAP IS ONLY ONE STORY
“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
“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
“This collection is a vital corrective to discussions of global migration that fail to acknowledge the humanity of migrants themselves.” —Publishers Weekly
“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.” —TIME
“In A Map Is Only One Story, 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
“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.” —Literary Hub
“This collection of essays from both new and established writers is necessary reading in 2020, examining through myriad lenses what it means to ‘belong.'” —Paste Magazine
“In this stunning collection . . . 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 . . . 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.” —Electric Literature
“This powerful first anthology from Catapult magazine features twenty writers sharing their stories of migration, family and what home means to them.” —Ms. Magazine
“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.” —Bustle
“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
“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
PRAISE FOR CATAPULT MAGAZINE
“It’s tricky to pinpoint, exactly, what Catapult means for 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
“Writing for Catapult changed the way I saw my craft, and how I saw myself as a writer. I’d never written for a publication that I would call ‘literary,’ and as a queer person of color, I considered the notion of ever inhabiting that word to be a lofty goal. But that’s the magic of Catapult: in the process of being edited and published there, I saw my narratives in a new light, as worthwhile gems waiting to be polished. My first longform essay for Catapult, about La Llorona and my Chicano family’s history, remains one of the pieces I’m proudest of in my career. It wouldn’t have been possible without Catapult’s dedication to publishing challenging, bold works that defy easy categorization, opting for complexity and rogue prose over standard fare. In the stories it chooses to uplift, Catapult is changing the game, both for its writers and for the literary world we inhabit. I’m as eager to contribute again as I am to read what they put out next.” —John Paul Brammer, author of ¡Hola Papi!
“As writers, our careers are dependent on gatekeepers who decide what and whose writing is published and read. As writers, also, we ultimately decide to whom we submit our writing and where we will find the best support and audience for our work. Which places make us feel seen? Which publishers are highlighting unique voices? Which publishers are moving the needle on changing the landscape of writing? Which publishers are finding and supporting uninhibited, high-quality, riveting writing that screams of tenderness and heart? For me, that place is Catapult. 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