Gustato spiritu, desipit omnis caro.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.































Kira Salak Home Page

Kira Salak

KIRA SALAK
, Ph.D.

Kira Salak won the PEN Award for journalism for her reporting on the war in Congo, and she has appeared five times in Best American Travel Writing. A National Geographic Emerging Explorer and contributing editor for National Geographic Adventure magazine, she was the first woman to traverse Papua New Guinea and the first person to kayak solo 600 miles to Timbuktu. She is the author of three books--the critically acclaimed work of fiction, The White Mary (published by Henry Holt), and two works of nonfiction: Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea (a New York Times Notable Travel Book) and The Cruelest Journey: Six Hundred Miles to Timbuktu. She has a Ph.D. in English, her fiction appearing in Best New American Voices and other anthologies. Her nonfiction has been published in National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Washington Post, New York Times Magazine, Travel & Leisure, The Week, Best Women's Travel Writing, The Guardian, and elsewhere. Salak has appeared on TV programs like CBS Evening News, ABC's Good Morning America, and CBC's The Hour. She lives with her husband and daughter.

 

See Kira Salak's bio for more information.




~~~~~~~~NOW IN PAPERBACK~~~~~~~~

KIRA SALAK'S NEW NOVEL
THE WHITE MARY
Published by Picador Press

"A gripping debut novel."
Chosen by Publishers Weekly as their Pick-of-the-Week

"There aren't many books that we hand to friends, urging,
'You have to read this.' The White Mary is one of them."
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Riveting."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"With The White Mary, journalist Kira Salak makes a stunning
debut as a novelist. This is a story whose beauty and power
sweeps you along, like the jungle rivers that bear her heroine
into the heart of New Guinea in search of a vanished American."

--Philip Caputo
Kira Salak's "The White Mary"

Marika Vecera, an accomplished war reporter, has dedicated her life to helping the world's oppressed and forgotten. When not on one of her dangerous assignments, she lives in Boston, exploring a new relationship with Seb, a psychologist who offers her glimpses of a better world.

Returning from a harrowing assignment in the Congo where she was kidnapped by rebel soldiers, Marika learns that a man she has always admired from afar, Pulitzer-winning war correspondent Robert Lewis, has committed suicide. Stunned, she abandons her magazine work to write Lewis's biography, settling down with Seb as their intimacy grows. But when Marika finds a curious letter from a missionary claiming to have seen Lewis in the remote jungle of Papua New Guinea, she has to wonder, What if Lewis isn't dead?

Marika soon leaves Seb to embark on her ultimate journey in one of the world's most exotic and unknown lands. Through her eyes we experience the harsh realities of jungle travel, embrace the mythology of native tribes, and receive the special wisdom of Tobo, a witch doctor and sage, as we follow her extraordinary quest to learn the truth about Lewis--and about herself, along the way.




KIRA SALAK'S TV APPEARANCES


VIDEO OF KIRA SALAK


THE CRUELEST JOURNEY: SIX HUNDRED MILES TO TIMBUKTU

Kira Salak became the first person in the world to kayak alone 600 miles on the Niger River of Mali to Timbuktu, retracing the fatal journey of the great Scottish explorer Mungo Park. Enduring tropical storms, hippos, rapids, the unrelenting heat of the Sahara desert, and the mercurial moods of this notorious river, Kira Salak traveled solo through one of the most desolate and dangerous regions in Africa, where little had changed since Mungo Park was taken captive by Moors in 1797.

Dependent on locals for food and shelter each night, Salak stayed in remote mud-hut villages on the banks of the Niger, meeting Dogan sorceresses and tribes who alternately revered and reviled her--so remarkable was the sight of an unaccompanied white woman paddling all the way to Timbuktu. Indeed, on one harrowing stretch she barely escaped with her life from men chasing after her in canoes. Finally, weak with dysentery but triumphant, she arrived in the fabled city of Timbuktu and fulfilled her ultimate goal: buying the freedom of two Bella slave women. This unputdownable story is also a meditation on courage and self-mastery by a young adventuress without equal, whose writing is as thrilling as her life.

"A deeply personal travel memoir, Salak is not merely a traveller, she is an explorer, and her voyage is an expedition of self-discovery. She sets off in ominously stormy weather 206 years to the day after Park did, and shares in cutting detail the encounters of the Niger 'like a mercurial god, meting out punishment and benediction on a whim.' Salak seduces us with an honest audacious story of the splendour and austerity of a journey through a far-off land."

--Kirkus Reviews UK

Kira Salak's "The Cruelest Journey"


FOUR CORNERS: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Salak undertook an epic, solo jungle trek across the remote Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea--often called the last frontier of adventure travel. Traveling by dugout canoe and on foot, experiencing the dangers and wonders of a largely untouched world, she became the first woman to traverse PNG. Salak stayed in villages where cannibalism was still practiced behind the backs of the missionaries, meeting mysterious witch doctors and befriending the leader of the OPM guerrilla movement who fought against the Indonesian occupation of Western New Guinea.

The New York Times Book Review selected Four Corners as a Notable Travel Book of the Year, writing, "Kira Salak is tough, a real-life Lara Croft." Book Magazine called her "the gutsiest--and some say craziest--woman adventurer of our day." Edward Marriott proclaimed Four Corners to be "a travel book that transcends the genre. It is, like all the best travel narratives, a resonant interior journey, and offers wisdom for our times."

Kira Salak's "The White Mary"