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Stories: Multicultural Literature

Language learning exposes us to new cultures as well as new vocabularies. Our Stories: Multicultural Literature section drops us into worlds different from our own, where culture and language clash, where we explore the joys and frustrations of intercultural communication. Enjoy!

American Model

By Terry Marshall

Imagine studly National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid trolling for South Pacific beauty. He spots this bare-breasted “native gal” posing in a storefront window. She’s gorgeous, and black, with exotic ritual scars on her face that make her the perfect candidate for a cover story. Sly and saucy, Esme Soporo willingly poses before his Hasselblad. Kincaid, however, wants more than photos. His advances endanger them both. Esme’s friends invoke village tradition to protect her and to extract just compensation from the randy photographer.


By Terry Marshall

In isolated Betumo village, the diplomat Cooper cleverly quashes the scandal caused by the young American, Derrick, and his city-bred Pijin teacher, the captivating Esme Soporo. But Esme can be relentless. Now, Cooper finds himself at risk.

By Canoe into my Father's War

By Terry Marshall

Even sixty years later, World War II lives on in the Solomon Islands, both literally – unexploded bombs remain a threat – and in oral tradition. Here, in a world hard to imagine in modern-day America, life remains as before, influenced by history, yet challenged by change. This bit of multicultural literature is a non-fictional essay; Terry Marshall returns to the Solomons to run a Peace Corps training program on an outer island, and reflects on life in a small village, on the country’s past, and prospects for the future.

Big Feast in the Kwaio

By Leslie Woodford

Join Leslie as she recounts her visit to a remote village in the Solomon Islands. Meet an indiginous tribe who still practice Pagan worship, who believe in the power of their ancestors and who prepare a magnificent feast for the opening of their cultural centre.

Soda Springs

By Terry Marshall

Terry's latest novel is a multicultural story set in the 1960s. Rick Sanders is coming of age during the American civil rights movement. He desperately wants to join the African American movement, but he is blind to the prejudice and hatred embedded in his small Colorado town. Will he open his eyes or not?

Elijah’s War

(Coming January)

In this piece of multicultural literature, Lisa, a spirited American teacher on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, has given Elijah a new lease on life, easing the pain of losing his family to a buried World War II bomb. But gossips threaten his position as headmaster, and anger over a new war in Iraq clouds Lisa’s judgment.

First Sale

(Coming March)

Through his 70 years, Alejandro Montoya has seen the old ways die out in the face of unrelenting change in this mountain valley. Now, as a young Anglo developer speeds his way up the mesa toward the Montoya farm with a new offer to buy him out, Alejandro reflects on the past. An ugly incident from his childhood – on Alejandro’s first trip to the Anglo settlement in the valley below – springs back to life and gives him new insight into how he will react to this new offer.


(Coming May)

A scout for the United States Marines, Solomon Islander Jacob Vouza gained fame in World War II when Japanese troops captured him, interrogated him, bayoneted him, slit his throat, and left him for dead. Vouza somehow made his way back to the allied lines with information vital to the American campaign on Guadalcanal. This bit of multicultural literature is a non-fictional essay; Terry Marshall recalls the days 35 years later when, as Peace Corps director in the Solomons, he befriended an aging Vouza and gained a new appreciation for the bonds that World War II created between America and the Solomons.

Six Is Enough

(Coming July)

First, Mr. Stanley-Jones. Then, Derrick, the Peace Corps Volunteer. White men want only sex, not love; and they are oblivious to local customs, Esme Soporo muses. And now comes Derrick’s misdirected proposal that she become his bride and return with him to the United States. Esme has heard many stories of that country, and imagines what life would be like in America. Then, she makes her choice.


(Coming September)

Her mother rejects Marigold’s only suitor, and village life promises a bleak future. Then comes the American RobRoy: lonely, empathetic, a listener. Marigold offers a sacred gift, but RobRoy mistakes lust for love – and her sister for Marigold.

Dreaming of Fiji

(Coming November)

At 66, Grandma Winter joins the Peace Corps and travels to Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands with fond memories of her World War II service as a nurse in those remote islands. Enthusiastic and capable, she finds rejection and disappointment, and a crusty old Brit supervisor impossible to deal with. Christmas in Fiji rejuvenates her, but back in Tarawa, the harassment continues. Loneliness overtakes her. She soldiers on, but becomes her own worst enemy.

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Learn Culture Through Literature

Multicultural "literature can illuminate the connections between past and present and bridge cultures toward a more complicated understanding of the human and literary experiences." Bich Minh Nguyen author of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner

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