Creative Writing at The New School

Thanks to the cooperation of the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) and The School of Writing at The New School, as well as the tireless efforts of our students and faculty, we are able to provide interviews with each of the NBCC Awards Finalists for the publishing year 2013.

Raquel Avila, on behalf of the School of Writing at The New School and the NBCC, interviewed Sonali Deraniyagala about her book Wave (Knopf), which is among the final five selections, in the category of Autobiography, for the 2013 NBCC awards.


Wave_SonaliFrom the Publisher: One of The New York Times's 10 Best Books of the Year, a Christian Science Monitor Best Nonfiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Books pick, a People magazine Top 10 pick, a Good Reads Best Book of the Year, and a Kirkus Best Nonfiction Book. In 2004, at a beach resort on the coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala and her family—parents, husband, sons—were swept away by a tsunami. Only Sonali survived to tell their tale. This is her account of the nearly incomprehensible event and its aftermath. “The most powerful and haunting book I have read in years.” —Michael Ondaatje.  “Unforgettable...The most exceptional book about grief I’ve ever read...[Deraniyagala] has fearlessly delivered on memoir’s greatest promise: to tell it like it is, no matter the cost...As unsparing as they come, but also defiantly flooded with light...Extraordinary.” —Cheryl Strayed, The New York Times Book Review.


sonaliSonali Deraniyagala teaches in the Department of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She is currently a visiting research scholar at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, New York, working on issues of economic development, including post-disaster recovery.


rockavilaRaquel Avila has been a critical player in the publishing industry for over fifteen years utilizing her expertise in some of the biggest literary markets in the United States, including San Francisco and New York.  She has written online for Artistpreneur, is a regular contributor for Recruiterpoet, and has recently been profiled by the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce's Women in Business council.  She will receive her MFA in Creative Non-fiction from the New School in 2014.  She is currently working on a memoir, Like the Butterfly or the Crab.

About The Author

Founded in Greenwich Village in 1931, Creative Writing at The New School continues to promote, engender, and shape innovative literature.