Running to the Fire

Jul 23, 2015

Tim Bascom, author of the novel "Squatters' Rights" and the essay collection "The Comfort Trap" is out with a new memoir about his time growing up in the 1970's in Ethiopia, "Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopia." (University of Iowa Press)

The streets of Addis Ababa were in turmoil when the 16-year Bascom arrived with his parents straight into Colonel Mengistu's Marxist "Red Terror."  He and his missionary parents arrived from a small town in Kansas.  As Bascom told IPR's Charity Nebbe, "My parents had this strong conviction after a radical conversion in college that they should be going and telling other people about what they believed.  They looked at Asia, but then they were told that Ethiopia needed medical workers."   What Bascom and his family witnessed was the country's ill-fated communist revolution, one that claimed 25 million famine deaths.  Throughout, the teenaged Bascom struggles with his faith and his role  within the conflict as a white American Christian missionary's child.

Bascom told IPR "I felt like we re doing something larger than us; it was important."  Tim Bascom is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and is the Director of Creative Writing at Waldorf College in Forest City, IA.

Tim Bascom of Forest City, IA
Credit Waldorf College