In October 15th, NeWest Press is publishing "South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels" by Meaghan Marie Hackinen (MFA '16). This work of creative non-fiction, which was Hackinen’s Master’s thesis for the her MFA, details a four-month long cycling trip that she took in 2009 with her sister along the famous Pacific Coast Trail. Starting in Terrace, British Columbia, the pair rode down to the Baja Peninsula, Mexico, encountering an eclectic assortment of characters along the way, including kind strangers, California pirate musicians, and a legally blind miner named Umberto.
When Hackinen took the road with her self-described “former childhood rival”, she was in search of an answer to a question she had puzzled over since adolescence: how do you create a satisfying life while balancing risk and adventure? Equally spanning the genres of travel memoir and autobiographical inner journey, her time on road allowed her to explore not only the unforgiving terrain of the Pacific Coast trail, but also her relationship with her family and the nature of women’s travel literature as a genre.
Early reviews of the novel have been glowing, landing it on several "Books to Read this Fall" lists. Candace Savage, Hackinen's mentor in the MFA in Writing program, praised the book as an exhilarating debut. “Everyone says 'Be careful,' but Meaghan Marie Hackinen wants to live large. South Away will fill your lungs with the fresh air of adventure and restore your faith in human goodness,” Savage said.
Pre-orders for the book can be made through the publisher, or pick up a copy in bookstores later this fall.
Congratulations to Meaghan on this achievement and we look forward to seeing more from her in the future!