BookTalkUNA presents

“The Tenth Parallel:
Dispatches from the Fault Line Between
Christianity and Islam”

Please join us for a book discussion with
journalist and poet ELIZA GRISWOLD


Our BookTalkUNA discussion series
is held in conjunction with the Institute of International Education


Tuesday, November 30, 2010
6 p.m. — Reception
6:30 p.m. — Presentation
7:15 p.m. — Book Signing

Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza, Kaufman Center
New York, NY


The tenth parallel — the line of latitude seven hundred miles north of the equator — is a geographical and ideological front line where Christianity and Islam collide. More than half of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims live along the tenth parallel; so do sixty percent of the world's 2 billion Christians. Here, in the buzzing megacities and swarming jungles of Africa and Asia, is where the two religions meet; their encounter is shaping the future of each faith, and of whole societies as well.

An award-winning investigative journalist and poet, Eliza Griswold has spent the past seven years traveling between the equator and the tenth parallel: in Nigeria, the Sudan, and Somalia, and in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The stories she tells in The Tenth Parallel show us that religious conflicts are also conflicts about land, water, oil, and other natural resources, and that local and tribal issues are often shaped by religious ideas. Above all, she makes clear that, for the people she writes about, one's sense of God is shaped by one's place on earth; along the tenth parallel, faith is geographic and demographic.

An urgent examination of the relationship between faith and worldly power, The Tenth Parallel is an essential work about the conflicts over religion, nationhood and natural resources that will remake the world in the years to come.

Eliza Griswold received a 2010 Rome Prize from The American Academy in Rome. Having won awards for both her non-fiction and her poems, she is currently a fellow at the New America Foundation. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she reports on religion, conflict and human rights. Her first book of poems, Wideawake Field, was published in 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux. Her reportage and poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Harpers, and The New Republic, among many other publications.


Some of the critical accolades the book has received:

"Eliza Griswold is an intrepid and brilliant reporter. She has written a fascinating, nuanced account of Christian-Muslim relations... that puts the arm-chair punditry about 'the clash of civilizations' to shame. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand how religion is actually lived and experienced in Africa and Asia." Frances FitzGerald, author of Vietnam: Spirits of the Earth

"Griswold may be the first to explain how global warming intensifies religious conflict. For as she travels the climactically vulnerable region near 10 degrees latitude, she sees climate change exacerbating tensions dividing Muslims and Christians... Yet Griswold also discovers how the West has helped incubate the region's interfaith hostility. She teases out the threads of a complex fabric of religious doctrine, capitalist economics, ethnic pride, and power politics. Despite the complexities, Griswold retains her hope that authentic faith can yet transcend theological differences and foster peace." Booklist (starred review)

"Griswold's courageous pilgrimage changes the way we think about Christianity and Islam by exploding any simplistic 'clash' narrative. She returns us to the most basic truth of human existence: that the world and its people are interconnected." Archbishop Desmond Tutu

"With a sharp eye and equally sharp wit, Griswold dissects the events and issues that have gripped the region, uncovering their nature through memorable encounters and personalities... The book is a triumph of the human imagination and capacity for intercultural exploration." Lamin Sanneh, author of Whose Religion is Christianity?

"The Tenth Parallel is one of the most important books you will ever read. Eliza Griswold combines the fearlessness of an investigative journalist and the bold vision of a poet to take readers on a perilous journey along the fault line between Islam and Christianity. No one else could have written this book." Reza Aslan, author of No God but God