Paula Huntley is a native of Arkansas. She received a BA in History from Lindenwood College and an MA in History from Southern Methodist University. In her early career she taught history in high school and college. For several years she helped develop and promote environmental, historic preservation and arts programs in Arkansas. Since moving to California she has provided marketing consultation services to a variety of magazines and national fund-raising organizations.
She is the author of The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo, the book that was originally a journal and "accidently" turned into a book. In the novel she tells the stories of her students, the Kosova Albanians. The stories tell of their life under Milosevic's apartheid during the 90s - a period when Kosova's Albanians were stripped of jobs, education, basic human rights. And the stories tell how my students and other Kosovars survived the horrendous brutalities and ethnic cleansing of 1998-99.
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Paula Huntley discusses her journey to Kosovo, Balkan politics, fear, hope, writing, her students, and the book club that brought them together.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a very small town in Arkansas, called Pocahontas. I did my undergraduate work at Lindenwood, which was then a women's college in St. Charles, Missouri. I got married right after college, moved to Dallas, got a master's in history at Southern Methodist University, and had my son, Paul, there. Eventually I moved back to Arkansas and got divorced. Later, I married Ed.
How did the two of you meet?
I met Ed on a blind date in Little Rock. It was the only blind date I'd ever gone on. Ed was living in Bolinas, California, at the time. Every year he visited some neighbors down the street, and every year, they fixed Ed up with a different woman. I was Ms.1979! Two months later, I quit my job, gave away everything I owned except my son, and moved to Bolinas to be with Ed.
Two decades later, what made you and Ed decide to go to Kosovo?
Going to Kosovo was Ed's idea. He really wanted to do somethingeven a little somethingto help in the Balkans. When he told me he wanted to take a leave of absence to go to Kosovo I was...
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