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Anna Clark

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Anna Clark is a journalist in Detroit and the author of "The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy." It is the winner of the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism, a Michigan Notable Book, and named one of the year's best books by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New York Public Library, Audible, and others. Her writing has appeared in Elle, the New York Times, Politico, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Next City, among other publications. She has been a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan and a Fulbright fellow in Nairobi, Kenya.

Anna has been a writer-in-residence in Detroit high schools through InsideOut Literary Arts. She's also been a longtime co-leader of an improv t
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Anna Clark Hi Spencer! Thank you back; it means a lot to hear from folks who have been on the ground in Flint. As for knowing where to start the book: it was a c…moreHi Spencer! Thank you back; it means a lot to hear from folks who have been on the ground in Flint. As for knowing where to start the book: it was a combination of trial & error, and instinct. Pastor McCathern was one of my earliest interviews and he made *such* an impression on me, so he opens the book. You meet him as I met him, more or less. Also, most articles I was seeing began with the water switch in April 2014, but that undercut so much of what came before. The pivotal day of the switch appears early in my book too, but I had more space to pan out and show how this manmade water disaster played out amidst the majesty of the Great Lakes. They key questions that fueled the book: How does a city become vulnerable in the first place? What are our choices for where to go next. I tried to take it all step by step, this human story that goes back decades, in Flint and beyond.(less)
Anna Clark I would love to see it translated! But it will be up to my literary agent to make something like that possible. I agree that water is a world issue. W…moreI would love to see it translated! But it will be up to my literary agent to make something like that possible. I agree that water is a world issue. We have a lot to learn from each other.(less)
Average rating: 4.14 · 1,783 ratings · 325 reviews · 3 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Poisoned City: Flint's ...

4.15 avg rating — 1,673 ratings — published 2018 — 6 editions
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A Detroit Anthology

4.14 avg rating — 96 ratings — published 2014 — 5 editions
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Michigan Literary Luminaries

4.14 avg rating — 14 ratings — published 2015 — 3 editions
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The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison
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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
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Compulsively readable. Of special interest to art history geeks. I love how visual and sensory the writing is, which perfectly suits a story where paintings -- tactile, physical objects -- are at the center. I have some nitpicks (including an overuse ...more
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The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
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It'll be a working companion in years to come.
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Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
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“Lead is one toxic legacy in America's cities. Another is segregation, secession, redlining, and rebranding: this is the art and craft of exclusion. We built it into the bones of our cities as surely as we laid lead pipes. The cure is inclusion. Flint's story is a clear call for committing anew to our democratic faith in the common wealth. As the water crisis demonstrates, it is simply not good enough for government officials to say, 'Trust us.' For all the inefficiencies and messiness that comes with democracy, the benefits - transparency, accountability, checks and balances, and the equitable participation of all people - are worth it.”
Anna Clark, The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy

“The Flint water crisis illustrates how the challenges in America's shrinking cities are not a crisis of local leadership - or, at least, not solely that - but a crisis of systems. Paternalism, even if it is well meaning, cannot transcend the political, economic, and social obstacles that relegate places such as Flint to the bottom. The chronic underfunding of American cities imperils the health of citizens. It also stunts their ability to become full participants in a democratic society, and it shatters their trust in the public realm. Communities that are poor and communities of color - and especially those that are both - are hurt worst of all.”
Anna Clark, The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy

“This isn't just Flint's fight. We built all our cities out of lead. We were sure we could make this metal work for us. History revealed a pattern of poisoning, but we were certain that we could contain it, control it. Progress came when we acknowledged how terribly harmful lead is and instituted anti-lead laws that reduced our exposure to one of the world's best-known neurotoxins. But the next great challenge - a tremendously difficult one - is reckoning with the lead that is still in our environment. Individual solutions, from purchasing bottled water and investing in private purification devices, isn't enough. As the nineteenth-century water wars revealed, a community is not safe and certainly will not thrive if only some have access to clean water and others do not. Infrastructure, the ties that literally bind us, one to another, requires our consistent care and attention. At a certain point, 'doing more with less' no longer functions as a mandate. Sometimes less is just less. Public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner put it this way: 'If the history of lead poisoning has taught us anything, it is that the worlds we as a society construct, or at least allow to be built in our name, to a large extent determine how we live and how we die.”
Anna Clark, The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy

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