Susan Southard, CLSC Author, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Location Hall of Philosophy

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center; (716) 357-6250

A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived, Susan Southard’s Nagasaki is a gripping narrative of human resilience in the aftermath of one of the most controversial wartime acts in history. 

On Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japan’s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 75,000 were injured.

Published on the 70th anniversary of the bombing, and presented for the CLSC one day after the 72nd anniversary, Nagasaki takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. 

Southard has spent years interviewing hibakusha (“bomb-affected people”) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan.

Southard’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, and Lapham’s Quarterly. She has taught nonfiction seminars at Arizona State University’s Piper Writers Studio and the University of Georgia, was a nonfiction fellow at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and is the founder and artistic director of the Phoenix-based Essential Theatre, now in its 27th season. Nagasaki was a finalist for The Chautauqua Prize 2016 and the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism and Harvard University’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism.