Pamela Olson starts book tour of Palestine memoir in CA

on 21 Comments
Fast Times in Palestine Cover

Our friend Pamela Olson’s book  Fast Times in Palestine (previously self-published) has just been published by Seal Press, and her tour began this week in the Bay Area. Today she’ll be in Corte Madera, Monday in Palo Alto, Tuesday in Berkeley.

Then she’ll travel the west coast, Portland, Seattle, Olympia, before heading inland to Denver, Boulder, Oklahoma City, and then on to several cities on the East Coast.

“I’d love to see some Mondoweiss readers along the way!” she writes. “The book has had an encouraging start, and I hope it can keep going and eventually have an impact on US public opinion–which I believe is so ready for a nudge in a more honest and realistic direction.”

Her full schedule can be found here. Update: Berkeley event tomorrow:  Tuesday, March 19, 8pm UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law, Room 295 (Please enter through the courtyard entrance near the entrance to Simon Hall)

Fast Times in Palestine is a coming-of-age memoir about a Stanford graduate from Oklahoma who lands in Palestine on a backpacking trip, starts doing journalism, and serves as the foreign press coordinator for a Palestinian presidential candidate.

(And here is Olson’s story about moving from self-published to be publisher-published.) 

Below are some of the early reviews:

“Harrowing, funny, vivid, entertaining and deeply humane, Fast Times in Palestine opens a rare window onto Palestinian life. It’s impossible not to be moved on nearly every page.”

Sandy Tolan, author of The Lemon Tree

“I have read much of the writing on this conflict, and no other book has conveyed such an authentic, penetrating, and enchanting sense of the Palestinian people and their long struggle for rights and security.”

Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories

“Pamela Olson leads the reader on an exciting, funny, at times heart-wrenching journey, carefully deciphering complex political and historical issues.”

Ramzy Baroud, author of My Father was a Freedom Fighter

“It’s love in the time of occupation as Pamela Olson takes us on the emotional roller-coaster of her very personal experience of life in Ramallah—and in doing so lays bare the human drama of a people determined to live free.”

Tony Karon, TIME Magazine

“[T]he strength of the narrative lies in Olson’s investigation of the personal and mental effects of oppression and war on herself and her newfound friends, ‘the atmosphere of mute shock expressed only in sidelong glances . . . of knowing something few people knew, and of genuine connection and collective struggle.'”

Kirkus Reviews

“More than a travelogue or a polemic, the book is a coming-of-age story [about] confronting the challenges of living in a state of institutionalized paradox . . . Engaging and easy to read, this is a fascinating memoir.”

Publishers Weekly

Fast Times in Palestine was named a Top Ten Travel Book of 2013 by Publishers Weekly! Go Pamela!

Check out the book’s website.

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21 Responses

  1. Citizen
    March 16, 2013, 11:24 am

    Looks like Pamela will be at Seminole State College in Florida–the only Southern stop? And who knows at which of its four campuses? Those of us regulars here who live in the south would like to know. It’s also a stop easy to miss in her stated itinerary because it’s misleading the way its geographically labeled. Just saying.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 16, 2013, 11:30 am

      citizen, you’re right. i’m planning on seeing pamela today and i will tell her.

    • Pamela Olson
      March 16, 2013, 1:10 pm

      Citizen, it’s actually Seminole State College in Oklahoma — I didn’t realize there was one in Florida, too! I hope to make it to the South, Midwest, and Southwest in the fall. Had to cut the spring tour a bit short because I’m getting married in June (and planning forty events at once is about all I can handle anyway).

      The South Bay launch will be at Books Inc in Mtn. View on Wednesday, and the official Launch Party will be at the Books Inc on Van Ness in San Francisco on Thursday. I’d love to see some of you there!

      • irishmoses
        March 16, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Why no stops in Southern California? I would think it would be a huge market.

      • Pamela Olson
        March 17, 2013, 1:35 pm

        Hi Irish,

        I would have loved to go to LA, and might still — the only problem was a lack of time. I had to choose whether to go north or south after the Bay Area, and I had better contacts in Seattle and Portland.

        Here’s a blog post I wrote about the process of organizing the tour, in case anyone’s interested:

      • irishmoses
        March 18, 2013, 9:51 am

        Hi Pamela,

        Just bought the E-version of your book. I’m writing a novel about the Israel-Palestine conflict (Exodus Betrayed) and its effect on the US and its female president. I need more insight into the day-to-day lives of Palestinians and Palestinian culture. I think your book will be helpful.

        If you can recommend other sources on Palestinian culture, I’d be grateful.

        Good luck on your book tour and please include a stop or two in Southern California (population 23 million vs the Bay Area’s 7 million).

      • Peter in SF
        March 16, 2013, 5:47 pm

        Looking forward to seeing you at UC Berkeley, Pamela, but may I point out that just three days before the event, you still have written “Location TBD”. I’m not here to blame you for anything, but just want to know what website to keep checking to find the location once it’s decided. Is it this one:

      • Pamela Olson
        March 17, 2013, 1:34 pm

        Hi Peter. I am well aware of the TBD on the Berkeley event. There was some miscommunication between the organizers, but they’re working on it. I hope it doesn’t end up being canceled. That would be quite unfortunate, as I could have arranged a talk at a local bookstore instead. Right now we’re aiming for an 8pm talk on the campus somewhere. I will update the schedule on the website you mentioned as soon as humanly possible.

        Either way, the launch party will be just across the bridge in SF on Thursday, and I’d be glad to see you there!

      • Annie Robbins
        March 17, 2013, 1:59 pm

        the launch party will be just across the bridge in SF on Thursday

        what?! how did i miss this? i want to attend.

      • Pamela Olson
        March 17, 2013, 10:47 pm

        Hi Peter,

        At last, we have a time and venue for the Berkeley event. A two-day publicity blitz will follow. Wish us luck. (All other events are going much more smoothly… but these kinds of unfortunate blips do happen.)

        Tuesday, March 19, 8pm
        UC Berkeley
        Boalt Hall School of Law, Room 295
        (Please enter through the courtyard entrance near the entrance to Simon Hall)

        Hope to see you there! And/or in SF! :)

  2. bintbiba
    March 16, 2013, 12:00 pm

    Best wishes and good luck ,Pamela. Looking forward to having your book drop through my door. Already pre ordered on Amazon uk some weeks ago.

  3. MHughes976
    March 16, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Still looking forward to the UK launch!

  4. Kris
    March 16, 2013, 1:35 pm

    I’m reading “Fast Times in Palestine” now, and can highly recommend it. Ms. Olson is a very engaging writer and her book is as compelling and entertaining as a really good novel.

  5. GJB
    March 16, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Congratulations, Pamela, on both the book and your upcoming wedding! Looking forward to your NY book event April 24 at Barnes and Noble.

  6. Blake
    March 16, 2013, 3:45 pm

    I will buy it for the title and cover alone. Stunning

  7. Avi_G.
    March 16, 2013, 5:09 pm

    Congratulations, Pamela.

    I enjoyed reading your book, learned quite a few things from it and highly recommend it.

    Fast Times in Palestine is testament to your thoughtful insights, integrity and humanity.

    Best wishes.

  8. just
    March 16, 2013, 6:32 pm

    Thank you Pamela and Mondoweiss!

    I’ll do my best to get you to tell the truth down South.

  9. dbroncos
    March 16, 2013, 11:42 pm

    Congratulations, Pamela. I look forward to your visit to the Boulder Bookstore. Perhaps I’ll see Kathleen there?

  10. Taxi
    March 17, 2013, 1:25 am

    Bon chance, Pamela, ma petite sh00shoo!

  11. ritzl
    March 17, 2013, 1:58 am

    Congrats on both counts!

    May I suggest Saint Louis and Nashville as stops. STL has an active SJP/PSC community. Nashville, maybe less so, but if you are going to do a stop in the South, it’s on the way to the East Coast, and it’s a college town…

    Best success!

    • Pamela Olson
      March 17, 2013, 6:00 pm

      Thanks, ritzl. My schedule for the spring is already packed, though (and then some). My last book tour event will be May 16 (back in California), and my wedding is on June 1. Trying not to faint just thinking about that… But yeah, STL and Nashville are high on the list for the fall!

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