Russell Banks: Miami In A Word

Jun 24, 2009

Russell Banks helped found Cities of Refuge for exiled writers. He is the best-selling author of Affliction and Continental Drift, among other novels. On a recent trip to South Florida, he sat down with Under the Sun’s Ruth Morris to discuss efforts to establish Miami as a city of refuge. She also asked him to describe the city in just one word. Click on the player (above) to hear his answer, and why Miami reminds him of Montreal.

How do you describe the place where you live? In her book Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert makes the argument that a single word can tie everyone together in a place, like an identifier. She assigns the word “sex” to Rome and “achieve” to New York. The Vatican is “power.”

Funding for this episode provided by a grant from The Florida Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.