Tom Bissell is the author of Chasing the Sea, God Lives in St. Petersburg, The Father of All Things and Why Video Games Matter. A recipient of the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Bay de Noc Community College Alumnus of the Year Award, he teaches fiction writing at Portland State University and lives in Portland, Oregon.
This biography was last updated on 07/06/2011.
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A Conversation with Tom Bissell
In 1996, Tom Bissell went to Uzbekistan as a naive Peace Corps volunteer. Though he lasted only a few months before illness and personal crisis forced him home, Bissell found himself entranced by this remote land. Five years later he returned to explore the shrinking Aral Sea, destroyed by Soviet irrigation policies. Joining up with an exuberant translator named Rustam, Bissell slipped more than once through the clutches of the Uzbek police as he makes his often wild way to the devastated sea.
In his memoir, Chasing the Sea (2003), Bissell combines the story of his travels with a beguiling chronicle of Uzbekistan's striking culture and long history of violent subjugation by despots from Jenghiz Khan to Joseph Stalin. Alternately amusing and sobering, this is a gripping portrait of a fascinating place, and the debut of a singularly gifted young writer.
In January 2005 he published a collection of short stories, God Lives In St Petersburg, about Americans colliding with remote and often perilous parts of Central Asia, such as Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
This interview was conducted shortly after the publication of Chasing The Sea, and before the publication of ...
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