Julia Flynn Siler Interviews Lauren Markham about A Map of Future Ruins

Lauren Markham (left) and Julia Flynn Siler at the Mill Valley Library on March 11, 2024.

Lauren Markham’s first book, “The Far Away Brothers,” tells the story of identical twin brothers from El Salvador who fled violence at home to try to build a new life in California. A masterful work of narrative nonfiction, it was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2018 and picked up a California Book Award, among other honors.

Lauren’s latest book is “A Map of Future Ruins” (Riverhead, 2024), which is also about migration. But after years of reporting on the issue, Lauren worried she was telling the same story over and over again. She found herself at a crossroads — questioning the point of immigration journalism itself.

Those doubts led her to write “A Map of Future Ruins,” an open-ended exploration of nostalgia, myth-making around borders and nationhood, and her own Greek roots. It also covers the fire that destroyed the notorious Moria refugee camp on Lesvos in 2020 and how six young Afghan men, based on weak or no evidence, were blamed for the incident.

As Lauren told Julia, at its core her book is about storytelling itself, including journalism, and how the stories we tell determine our future.


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