Letters from the Other Side of Silence Book Launch

English department’s Dr. Joseph Little celebrates the release of his new book.

By: Chloe Steinig

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY- On March 20, Dr. Joseph Little celebrated the release of his new book, Letters From the Other Side of Silence, in Dunleavy Hall. The book is about his mystical experience on Pacaya, an active volcano in Guatemala, and how his experience has impacted him, from volunteering in Vietnam to returning to reality. Dr. Jamie Carr, Dr. Robert St. Hilaire, and Zach Pinti also spoke at the launch about their thoughts on the book.

Little began with an overview of how the book came to be. It took four years to write, and that was due to his struggle as to how to put the experience he had into words. He stopped reading, watching television, and cancelled his Netflix subscription in order to prevent the words of others from mediating his writing experience.

“The problem was that is was beyond language, beyond thought,” Little said. “I was on this mountain and just had this communion with something else and then I’m back in this world of language and thoughts and it immediately seem so crude and imperfect for describing this thing that felt so amazing. The book is essentially a struggle as to how to figure that out, how to live in both worlds.”

All proceeds of the book will be donated to Friendship Village, a home, school, and clinic in Hanoi, Vietnam for people living with disability due to Agent Orange. Little says this was an easy decision for him to make, as he is on the board of the directors for the village and will see first hand how the profits will help others.

“There is such horrific disparity between how we live compared to others in the world. I saw this as a chance to make it all or nothing. It was an easy decision to donate all proceeds to Friendship Village. They really need it. Kids are being born today with disability due to dioxin in Agent Orange that was dropped years ago.”

Little is also very appreciative of how NU has supported him throughout his journey.

“When I got to Vietnam and started volunteering there, I did think to myself about how lucky I am to be at NU because unlike some universities, NU really does value service,” Little said. “They have helped fund me to go there, to volunteer for them, and to fundraise for the Friendship Village.”

Letters from the Other Side of Silence can be purchased here.

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