Harriet Levin Millan is a prize winning poet and writer. Her poetry collection, The Christmas Show, (Beacon Press) was selected for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and The Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She received a MFA from the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop and has written for The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, PEN America, The Smart Set, among other publications. She and her family founded the Reunion Project and along with the participation of Philadelphia-area high school and college students, raised money to reunite several Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan with their mothers living abroad. She teaches creative writing in the English Department at Drexel University and directs the Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing. She lives with her husband outside Philadelphia.
"...the strength here is in Millan's ability to fully inhabit Majok's consciousness; she has crafted a rich tale that authentically portrays-and doesn't exploit-Majok's refugee experience. A deeply felt novel of grace and intelligence." -Kirkus "Generosity and justice prevail in the storytelling . . . an unforgettable individual portrait of all-too-impersonal war. " -The Rumpus "The un-imaginable journey of Sudanese refugee Michael Majok Kuch becomes an epic tale through the telling of Harriet Levin Millan's How Fast Can You Run. Genre bursting, this part memoir, part bildunsroman, part adventure tale, and part heart-felt family reunion avoids the pitfalls of many of its predecessors. Full characterization from Sudan to Philadelphia, exacting detail from beginning to end, clearly visualized African landscapes in all their complexity; there are no broad brushstrokes of civil war, refugee plight and immigration here. A fuller story than How Fast Can You Run cannot have been told of the tragic events of war in Sudan that uproot the young boy from the Dinka plains of Southern Sudan to Kakuma refugee camp to Nairobi and Philadelphia and how he has to fight a different kind of war in America from which he emerges victorious. Epic." -Bill Kahora, Editor, Kwani "...an unforgettable individual portrait of all-too-impersonal war. A book like How Fast Can You Run is an eye-opening experience, awakening empathy for a much wider world." -prickofthespindle.org "In How Fast Can You Run Harriet Levin Millan turns novel-biography into a genre of its own and shows how empathy can turn into a true solidarity. This is a beautiful and crucial story told by two people, one Sudanese with dreams of independence, the other, an American poet who listens to Michael Majok Kuch through her imagination. For Mike in the United States, Halloween with strange fruit hanging triggers PTSD, ethnicity becomes race, soldiers become white police, tragedy there becomes tragedy here and in the end there is only one life for Mike to live. An enduring image for me - a refugee boy blowing up a discarded bloody surgical glove to make a soccer ball, this bio-novel reminds us that the most human of all activities, the one thing that binds us all is finding beauty even in impossible situations." -Mukoma Wa Ngugi, author of Nairobi Heat "Harriet Levin Millan has transformed the story of one "lost boy" into an earthy, grittily told, highly affecting novel. With a poet's piercing eye, attuned ear, and facility for recognizing resonant moments, Ms. Millan has written an emotionally rich-veined, dramatically moving and ultimately triumphant story. I emerged from this ingenious, fast-paced novel with the sensation of having been taken along by its protagonist on a poignant, heart-pounding journey, enlarged, and changed." -Okey Ndibe, author Foreign Gods, Inc. "And an excellent wordsmith can bring everything together in a story line that's completely accessible to newcomers to this history.... Few accounts can adequately capture such experiences, but where nonfiction may falter, How Fast Can You Run proves that an adept writer can step in and use the fiction format to capture the drama, psychology, and tension of civil war from a child's eye (in this case, Michael Majok Kuch)....Because How Fast Can You Run is based on a true saga, the viewpoints and experiences of Kuch come to vivid life and weave a powerful saga of politics, struggle, and survival that's hard to put down. Any reader interested in accounts of the Sudanese war will find this a compelling method of absorbing history at its most meaningful: through the eyes of a young eyewitness who didn't just observe events, but lived through and survived them." -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review