9th Ave: Helen Benedict with Katherine Seligman

Monday, May 6, 2024 - 7:00pm

This event will be held at our 1231 9th Ave location in the Inner Sunset. 

Join us on Monday, May 6 at 7pm PT when Helen Benedict joins us for the release of her novel, The Good Deed, with Katherine Seligman at 9th Ave

Masks Encouraged for In-Person Attendance
Or watch online at the link below

Praise for The Good Deed
"Written with immense sensitivity and depth of knowledge and understanding, The Good Deed is an essential read of our times. It is captivating, revealing and insightful. It is vividly and beautifully written, taking us to the heart of these women’s experiences, their external and internal journeys, showing us the reality of what it means to be a refugee, the devastation, the loss and trauma, but also strength and resilience. This is a must read! It should be on everybody’s bookshelf. It bought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart."—Christy Lefteri, bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"Revealing the ways racism has been systematically encoded in law and the seemingly Sisyphean task of being granted refuge, Benedict interrogates the constructions of race, nationality, and human-made borders. As the roads of the refugees and Hilma converge, the novel comes to an emotional conclusion, reminding us that hope is still to be found in the most desolate of places... An insightful reminder of our responsibilities to one another, more important now than ever." Kirkus Reviews

"Benedict's true-to-life novel resonates, particularly in the characters' moments of fortitude in the face of brutal experiences of heartbreak and loss." —Leah Strauss, Booklist

About The Good Deed
In The Good Deed, Helen Benedict offers a stark, powerful portrait of women on opposite sides of a refugee camp in Greece: the refugees trapped inside, and the troubled American tourist whose good intentions morph into a dangerous delusion, resulting in a poignant, layered novel on displacement and belonging, love and betrayal, and the jagged space between altruism and egoism.

Set in 2018 against the ironic backdrop of an overcrowded, fetid refugee camp on the beautiful, Homeric island of Samos in Greece, The Good Deed follows the stories of five women: Amina, who is nineteen and has just been released from one of Bashar al-Assad's secret and torture-ridden prisons in Syria; Leila, a Syrian widow with two little sons, who has lost her daughter and granddaughter to smugglers on a Turkish beach; Nafisa, who survived civil war and gang rape in Sudan only to see her entire family murdered, save for one daughter; Farah, Leila's lost daughter; and finally, an American named Hilma, who came from New York to Samos to escape her own dark secret, only to become entangled in conflict with the very people she wishes to help.

Drawing from four years of interviews with refugees on Samos, along with twelve previous years of work on the Iraq War, Benedict has written The Good Deed as a series of lyrical, intensely felt alternating voices, following these women’s everyday lives in the camp, as well each of their backstories—stories of families, love, secrets, violence, war, and flight. When Hilma, the American, unwittingly does a “good deed,” she triggers a crisis that brings her and the refugee women into a conflict that escalates dramatically as each character struggles for what she needs.

In essence, The Good Deed is about the struggle never to lose hope, even in the face of war and the world’s hostility to refugees; the complexities that arise out of trying to help others; the healing power of friendship; and the everlasting bonds between mothers and children.

About Helen Benedict
Helen Benedict
, a professor at Columbia University, is the author of seven previous novels, six books of nonfiction, and a play. Her newest novel, The Good Deed, hailed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist, comes out of the research she conducted for her 2022 nonfiction book, Map of Hope and Sorrow, which earned PEN's Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History in 2021. Benedict's previous novel, Wolf Season, received a starred review in Library Journal, which wrote, “In a book that deserves the widest attention, Benedict ‘follows the war home,’ engaging readers with an insightful story right up until the gut-wrenching conclusion.” Benedict's 2011 novel, Sand Queen, was named a “Best Contemporary War Novel” by Publishers Weekly. A recipient of the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism, and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, she is also the author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq. Her writings inspired a class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of those sexually assaulted in the military and the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Invisible War. Her nonfiction books on sexual assault have been translated into Czech and Hungarian, where they were the first books on the subject ever to be published in those countries. Her books have been translated into seven languages.

About Katherine Seligman
Katherine Seligman is an award-winning journalist and author in San Francisco. She has been a reporter at USA Today, the San Francisco Examiner and a staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine. Her work has been featured on NPR, and in Life, Redbook, The Sun Magazine, the anthology “Fresh Takes,” Best American Essays, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, At the Edge of the Haight, won the PEN/Bellwether Prize.


The Good Deed By Helen Benedict Cover Image
ISBN: 9781636281124
Availability: Click the TITLE to view store availability
Published: Red Hen Press - April 9th, 2024

Set in 2018 against the backdrop of an overcrowded, fetid refugee camp on the beautiful Greek island of Samos, The Good Deed follows the stories of four women living in the camp and an American tourist who comes to Samos to escape her own dark secret.

Map of Hope and Sorrow: Stories of Refugees Trapped in Greece By Helen Benedict, Eyad Awwadawnan Cover Image
Temporarily Unavailable
ISBN: 9781804440018
Published: Footnote Press - October 18th, 2022

The stories of refugees who fled violence or persecution only to become trapped in the worst refugee camps in Europe.

Helen Benedict, award-winning British-American professor of journalism at Columbia University, teams up with Syrian writer and refugee, Eyad Awwadawnan, to present the stories of five refugees who have endured long and dangerous journeys from the Middle East and Afric

At the Edge of the Haight By Katherine Seligman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643752082
Availability: Click the TITLE to view store availability
Published: Algonquin Books - October 19th, 2021

The 10th Winner of the 2019 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, Awarded by Barbara Kingsolver

“What a read this is, right from its startling opening scene. But even more than plot, it’s the richly layered details that drive home a lightning bolt of empathy.

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