The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo
by Paula Huntley


In August, 2010, Ed's Kosovar legal assistant, Jehona, and her family visited us at our new home in Durango Colorado. We took them to see the San Juan Mountains around Durango and the red rock splendors of southeast Utah.

Ed surrounded by our Kosovar friends at Arches National Park.



"Paula is a mesmerizing speaker."

"In my many years of coordinating the lecture series sponsored by our college, I have rarely witnessed an event that had such a profound impact upon our students."

"Paula's stories, and her warm connection with her audience, inspired all of us, and encouraged us to make our own connections with people in the 'hard, sad places of the world'."


Granit 2, Besart, Granit 1 Prishtina, spring 2002

Drita, at the University of Prishtina, Spring, 2002

Leutrim and Paula, in the classroom, Spring, 2000

Ed and Blerta, one of his legal assistants, a native of Albania

LEONARD WINS MBA AT COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

On December 15, 2012, Leonard Dalipi, one of the 'stars' of my book, graduated from Colorado State University at Ft. Collins with an MBA degree. Leonard's academic record was exemplery. He had received a full fellowship from the Kovovo American Education Fund to obtain his graduate degree in the U.S. Celebrating with Leonard on his big day were his wife, Dafina, and his sister, Nora. Leonard and Dafina have now returned to their home in Prishtina Kosovo to begin new careers.


2011 and 2012 were big years for Leonard Dalipi. He was awarded a full fellowship for graduate studies from the Kosovo American Education Fund (KAEF) and was accepted for study for his MBA at the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise program at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Leonard's MBA will allow him to make a significant contribution to his country's economy.

KAEF's fellowship program "offers graduate fellowships at American universities to talented Kosovars who demonstrate a strong commitment to the economic development of their country." Leonard won this prestigious, merit-based fellowship in competition with many other talented young Kosovars.

AND . . . Leonard married his sweetheart, Dafina, on May 11 in Prishtina. Dafina is, quite simply, a gem. She is beautiful, bright, well-educated and sweet. And Leonard, as I wrote in my book, is "a treasure". I am so happy for them and for their families.

This photo of them, taken right after the wedding ceremony, says it all.

Leonard and his wife, Dafina Bekaj, at their wedding

Shqiponja, Granit 2's wife, and daughter Bora 2012

Granit 2 (Granit Gashi) with daughter Bora, 2012. Granit and family now live in Texas.

Bora Gashi, Granit and Shqiponja Gashi's daughter, 2012,

Nora (Leonard's little sister), Ed and Paula in Durango, Colorado. Nora and Paula recently spoke at the Durango, Colorado, AAUW Book and Author Luncheon.

The First Meeting of the Hemingway Book Club of Kosova. November, 2000.

ABOUT MY WEBSITE


Thank you for visiting my website. Here you'll get information about my "accidental" book, The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo, and will see photographs of some of the wonderful Kosovar Albanians my husband, Ed Villmoare, and I met when we lived in Kosova, as volunteers, after the war.

For updates on how some of my students are doing today, go to the page, "Students Now".

For reviews of my book, go to "Praise for The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo".

If you would like to order books, I encourage you to go to your local independent bookstore. The American Association of Independent Booksellers has supported my book, and many of its booksellers personally recommend the book to their customers. I am grateful for that support.

Since my book was first published I've been invited to speak at colleges and universities, at conventions and community organizations, all over the U.S. The generosity I've encountered everywhere has amazed and inspired me. Donations have poured in to support the education of young Kosovars, including many of my students. Church groups have traveled to Kosova and other developing nations to help rebuild villages and lives. Americans young and old have joined the Peace Corps and other international volunteer organizations. And families have opened their homes to Kosovar exchange students.

This generous response has meant far more to me than the book sales and good reviews. From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone who has responded in this way.

It is my hope that The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo can play some role, even if small, in introducing Americans to the remarkable people of this new nation.

And, as I said in the introduction to my book, "It is also my hope that more of us Americans will become involved with the rest of the world. We need to learn about other people, learn what they think of us, try to understand, even if we don't agree with, their points of view. Everywhere in the world, I believe, from our own backyards to the middle of the Balkans, there exist people whose needs, and whose generous responsive hearts, offer even the most ordinary Americans, like me, the opportunity to serve, to connect, to expand our capacity for love."

Thank you for visiting my website, and for your interest in Kosova.

Paula Huntley



From the publisher:

In the spring of 1999 the world watched as 850,000 ethnic Albanians poured over the borders of Kosovo, bringing with them horrific stories of rape, massacre and ethnic cleansing. A year later, Paula Huntley's husband signed on with the American Bar Association to help build a modern legal system in the rubble of Kosovo, and she reluctantly agreed to leave their California home to accompany him. Not sure how she could be of any service in a country that had suffered so much, Huntley found a position teaching English as a second language to a group of Kosovo Albanians. In this extraordinary journal -- all the more powerful because it was never intended to be published as a book - Huntley describes in rich, compelling detail her own experiences in Kosovo, the lives of the young Kosovar students she came to know and love, and the remarkable book club they created together.


December 30, 2010
IN MEMORIUM

I was shocked and saddened, along with so many others, to learn of the death of Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke. Ambassador Holbrooke was a great public servant, serving not only his own country, but also the war-ravaged countries of the Balkans during the 1990's. Because he knew and understood the Balkans so well, his words of praise for my book meant more to me than any other. His death was a great loss to our country and to peace-loving people throughout the world. He will be greatly missed.
Paula Huntley

Kosovo - 'Newborn' as an independent country in February 2008. I took this photo in front of the sports stadium in Prishtina in June, 2009. Thousands of happy Kosovar Albanians signed their names to the 'NEWBORN' sculpture.
NEWBORN

FROM THE CRITICS

"[Huntley's] memoir is poignant, thoughtful, and humble -- and exactly the kind of story Americans need to hear right now."
Brad Newsham, The San Francisco Chronicle

"Gripping, heartbreaking reading . . . .The interweaving of Hemingway's story, the students' narratives of terror and Huntley's own tales of discovery make for a book that is stirring and nearly impossible to put down."
Lev Raphael, Ft. Worth Star Telegram

"Paula Huntley's surprisingly affecting memoir arrives at an opportune moment; it reminds us
not merely that Kosovo exists but also of the importance of that Bush-Rovian bogeyman, nation-building . . . Nation-building requires not merely, not even primarily the commitment of government resources; it also requires brave ordinary Americans like Paula Huntley -- and one hopes, like some of her readers, who will perhaps be inspired by her stories -- to leave the comforts of home and see the world unmediated through television cameras or journalists' eyes."
Jon Fasman, The Washington Post Book World

"This unpretentious record is an all too rare thing --a memoir of the heart about a forsaken part of the world that blazed into headlines, grabbed its bloody fifteen minutes of fame, and then promptly fell off the West's radar screen once again . . . Huntley offers no solutions, no analysis. But what does light this book is her persistent faith in the power of connectedness, of nurturing the human spirit, of the obligations that we, as human beings, have to one another."
Sara Terry, Hope Magazine

"Although she never intended for her journal to be published, its beautiful, soul-searching passages deserve to be embraced by the world."
Booklist

"[Huntley] has ensured that anyone who reads her book will truly know and remember this forsaken Balkan land."
Daphne Uviller, Newsday

"This moving, painful and ultimately uplifting memoir began as a series of e-mails to friends at home, and the entries retain the casual, heartfelt wisdom of someone writing off the top of her head. Huntley is all the things a reader would want in a guide to a foreign land: at times, angry, at times frustrated with politics, at times funny, but always homing in on the most telling, human experiences."
Jill Wolfson, San Jose Mercury News

"This heartbreaking but uplifting book holds out hope, as it presents a clear-eyed landscape of horrors."
Providence Journal

"[The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo] is an emotional tribute, a love affair with a people. Huntley's ability to examine her own ignorance, doubts and failings is admirable, and her perception of the Kosovars' current challenges as they strive toward recovery and independence is astute. Despite the painful subject, her writing offers pure enjoyment in its elegance and depth."
Pacific Sun

[Huntley's journal] is a glowing testament to why people in far-off countries about which we know little, and too often care even less, still admire, respect, and even love Americans."
Michael Kenney, Boston Globe

Paula (3rd from left) with staff of The Cambridge School, Prishtina, spring, 2002.

Edona, Granit 2 and Luan at the going-away party for "Teacher" - Spring, 2001

"Sometimes a small story tells a far larger one. Such is the case with The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo. Paula Huntley shows us the common humanity that can heal even the most terrible wounds."
- Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

Published by Tarcher/Penguin.

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