About this project
SIGN ON TO GET A NOVEL ON PRESSING INTERNATIONAL ISSUES DELIVERED TO YOUR DOORSTEP EVERY OTHER MONTH, ALONG WITH THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO CONNECT FACT TO FICTION.
A premium subscription will also include carefully curated, ethically-sourced artisanal goods that will transport you to the world of the novel and let you give back to the place you're reading and learning about.
All subscribers will be invited to a live Q&A with the author and/or translator of the novel along with experts on the issues to deepen your understanding of both the writing process and the world around them.
THE FIRST BOX WILL EXPLORE DRUG TRAFFICKING AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN MEXICO. THE NEXT ONES WILL TAKE YOU INTO THE AFTERMATH OF TERRORISM IN INDIA AND THE RISE OF DICTATORIAL RULE IN SYRIA.
WE'RE SO INUNDATED BY NEWS THAT UNDERSTANDING ANY ONE ISSUE CAN FEEL IMPOSSIBLE.
That’s where books come in. Their pages don’t ping and new chapters don’t mean more pop-ups. Novels have a way of drawing us in not just by compelling plots, but characters that give us a reason to care.
The hope of this venture is to forge an empathy-based understanding of the world by connecting fact to fiction.
CHOOSE BETWEEN A BASIC AND A PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION:
- The 'JUST THE FACTS' subscription will deliver a critically-acclaimed novel from a different corner of the world to your doorstep every other month. You'll also receive real world information and expert analysis in a specially-designed informational “roadmap” that will guide you through real world examples of what the characters face. You’ll also be invited to a live Q&A where you can connect with the author, translator, and experts in a book club-like experience.
- 'THE WHOLE STORY' subscription will provide you with a full multi-sensory reading experience. In addition to a novel, informational “roadmap,” and Q&A, you’ll receive carefully-selected artisanal goods that bring the novel’s cultural landscape to life through everything from recipe cards to temporary tattoos to handmade crafts. A commitment to ethically-sourced items means that you won’t just better understand the communities represented in a novel, but give back to them too.
SCENES FROM THE INFORMATIONAL ROADMAP:
A Mexican reporter’s ear was cut off as a warning to stop reporting on local politics a few weeks ago. Another was shot eight times while leaving her home in March. Earlier this year, Norte, a newspaper in Cuidad Juarez shut down because its editors refused to keep putting their staff in the crosshairs.
More journalists have been killed in Mexico so far in 2017 than any other country. Those working to shed light on crime, corruption, or conflict face grave threats from both drug cartels and government officials.
With such severe threats to those who get the story out, we may never fully understand cycles of violence in Mexico, a country which saw 23,000 homicides last year -- more than any country besides Syria. It’s not enough to get the numbers. Understanding a place means understanding its people and their stories. That’s exactly what THE ALIGNIST and the authors it featured in its subscription service aim to do.
As the former head of PEN Mexico and the current president of PEN International, Jennifer Clement has dedicated herself to ensuring freedom of expression to those whose voices are being muzzled. Prayers for the Stolen is based on her research into hard realities of life in amidst inescapable strife. It’s full of stories that might never have made it out as news reports. Through fiction, Clement’s award-winning novel offers a glimpse into lives that we might never know through facts alone.
All subscribers will receive exclusive access to a live Q&A with the author and/or translator in addition to experts on the socio-political issues described in the novel. The group will address questions and curiosities related to the novel, its themes, and aims. Through these discussions, subscribers can create community around some of the world’s finest literature and hardest issues.
For closer-knit conversations, get some friends together for an ALIGNIST book club. If you tune into the live Q&A together, you'll get all the thrills of a traditional book club, but with all the added perks this subscription offers.
**I'll get shipping addresses for your and your gift recipient after the campaign ends.
THE ALIGNIST is dedicated to connecting current events to literary works to create more meaningful understanding of both.
A multi-platform project has featured articles in various news outlets and interviews with such writers as Richard Blanco, Dunya Mikhail, and Jennifer Clement. THE ALIGNIST also curated a series of photography-based reading events in partnership with the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.
Having established a robust online presence, THE ALIGNIST is eager bring its smart pairings of news and novels, poetry and politics to your doorstep.
There are a whole slew of reasons why some stories don’t make the news. The aim of THE ALIGNIST is to deliver through novels all that goes unreported in the news. You won’t want to miss all that THE ALIGNIST uncovers as it leads subscribers across the world.
THE NEXT LITERARY JOURNEYS WILL BE TO INDIA, SYRIA, SOMALIA, AND SOUTH KOREA -- AND THAT'S IN A YEAR'S TIME.
Stick with THE ALIGNIST, and you’ll begin to understand this complicated world of ours and care about all its corners in a way that's both informed and emphatic.
I'm Beenish Ahmed. I'm a news junkie and book nerd, a reporter and writer.
My work has been featured in some most prominent media outlets in the country including The New Yorker, NPR, VICE, and The Atlantic. I read news stories and research papers to prepare for international reporting trips, but I’ve found that there’s a lot to be gleaned from novels about human side of key issues and the cultural climate in which they exist. This sort of empathy-based understanding is now want to offer you through THE ALIGNIST subscription. I hope you'll support me in this new journey!
Thank you to Jared Lee for producing this video, and to Meghan Dhaliwal and Hasan Dudar for providing footage and photos.
Thanks to Susan and Anisah Hashmi for their drop-of-a-hat support.
Last but not least, much gratitude to Fareed Sajan for helping to develop the concept of this project, manage my nerves, and assist in getting me to this point. It's been a long road!
Risks and challenges
I see this project a magazine that can be experienced in a multi-sensory way. My research abilities will also come in handy when it comes to putting together the "informational roadmaps" and I can leverage the basic business skills I've developed as a full-time freelance journalist for this venture. I’ve already contacted novelists, artists, and craftspeople to feature in upcoming editions of THE ALIGNIST subscription.
As far as graphic design and project management go, I've already tapped into fantastic online resources to these ends. Still, I’ll have to be extra vigilant about ensuring that the customer experience is nothing less than superb as I work out the kinks in my new entrepreneurial role.
The bottom line is that I believe in this venture enough to do everything I can to ensure its success. I hope you'll help to get it off the ground!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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