Maps Are Lines We Draw: A Road Trip Through Haiti

Now available from Lanternfish Press. Order from Lanternfish PressAmazon, or Indiebound.

"Early on in this thoughtful meditation, Coffelt remembers spinning a a globe in her childhood room, allowing myriad representations of home and loss to pass beneath her fingers. Later she muses, 'What is in the remnants?'–a fair question for any human being who longs to come to terms with history and complicity. Carefully research and humbly told, Maps Are Lines We Draw is a trip well worth taking."  

–Joni Tevis, author of The World is On Fire: Scrap, Treasure, and Songs of the Apocalypse.

"With her striking debut, Allison Coffelt weaves an eloquent collage of history and place, politics and policy, inquiry and knowledge. In these pages, Coffelt’s steady gaze and sharp intellect guide and inform without faltering. There is a magnitude here, a rare ability to articulate a global empathy despite privileged origins, a stripping of the ego in order to embody the other. I’m certain her words will help us re-envision the world and reassess our individual positions in it for years to come."

–Angela Palm, author of Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here

“I have read many books on Haiti, but Maps Are Lines We Draw is something different. It is a wonderful book and a remarkable work. I recommend all my friends and colleagues read this book.”

–Marius, Jean Gardy, M.D.; Founder, Organizasyon Sante Popile

"Haiti, Coffelt reminds the reader, is a country founded in righteous rebellion, cut off from modernity by 200 years of the politics of racial and political isolation. ... Her ability to listen to Dr. Gardy and others, to contrast her own place of privilege with their struggles, and to see the impotence of aid as we know it helps this author to respect spirit of strength and resistance rather than to “fall in love” with a helpless people.  Reflections that are steeped in humility like Ms. Coffelt’s are rare and should be required reading for people pursuing short-term work in countries like Haiti."

–Joia Mukherjee, M.D.; Chief Medical Officer, Partners In Health; author of "An Introduction to Global Health Delivery"

"This book begins with another book—one Allison Coffelt read in her youth that sketched the formlines of a country inside her, and inspired the journey this book recounts so vividly. Across this compassionate and beautiful work, our narrator attempts to reconcile the 'nearly irreconcilable' difference between here and there, and it made me wonder: Where in the world might readers of this book end up one day?"

–Ryan Van Meter, author of If You Knew Then What I Know Now


“The Sea is Not Anonymous: On Jeffrey S. Kahn’s Islands of Sovereignty, Los Angeles Review of Books, 2019.

“Slippery Kitsch and Aesthetics of Power,” Contemporary French & Francophone Studies, 2017.

"On Research, Writing, and the 'Rambling Path,'"  Brevity's Nonfiction Blog. 2018. 

"Bodies of Water."  Anchor Magazine. Issue 8. 2017.

"Shedding the Third Tear: Donald Trump's Kitschy World." Los Angeles Review of Books. 2016.

"Inheritance." Hippocampus Magazine. 2016. 

"The Place of Books." Oxford Public Health Magazine. 2016.

"Cotton Frames." The Los Angeles Review.  March 2016.

"Trapped Heat." Crab Orchard Review, Southern Illinois University- Carbondale. January 2015. 

"Inscription." Prick of the Spindle, Volume 6.  2014.

"Interpretations II."  Columbia Art League hosted a collaborative project that paired local writers with artists to interpret one another's work.  I was given a piece by photographer Michael Porter and asked to respond in 100 words or fewer.  Meanwhile, he was given a separate 100 word piece of mine and created a composition.  A book with exhibit prints can be found at the Columbia Art League website. The exhibit premiered in August 2014.

"The Mud Hut." museum of americana, Issue V.  2014.

"Learn to Speak Humanities." Higgs Weldon.  2014.



Missouri Writing Project, University of Missouri. Guest Lecturer. June 2018.

Keynote Speaker & Distinguished Alumnae Award, Truman State University. December 2017.

Sundress Academy for the Arts. Fellow. 2016.

"Cotton Frames." University of Missouri Creative Writing Essay Prize Winner. 2016.

"Packed Light." San Miguel Writer's Workshop Essay Prize Finalist. 2016.

Tin House Writer's Workshop. Summer 2015.

Kenyon Review Writers' Workshop. 2015.

"Trapped Heat." Crab Orchard Review John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize Finalist. 2015.

AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship. Fellow. 2014-2015.

Tinker Mountain Writers' Workshop. Creative Nonfiction Fellow. 2014.