From New York City to Boise, ID, to Charlotte, NC, Church World Service has kicked off another year of CROP Hunger Walks across the nation, along with a new partnership with author Sharon Ewell Foster, to bring attention to hunger across the globe. Foster has released the CROP Hunger Walk Edition of her award-winning novel, “Abraham’s Well”, and is donating a generous portion of the proceeds to the CROP Hunger Walk initiative. The repackaged novel features a foreword by CWS President and CEO John McCullough.
According to CWS, nationally, there are about 1,300 walks per year, with 116,000 walkers raising almost $12 million. One-quarter of the funds support local efforts. Three-fourths of the money is put to use around the world.
The ecumenical agency, a cooperative of 37 ministry denominations, works to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice. CWS works in 40 countries through community development and food security programs. Funds also support schools, health clinics and agricultural assistance in some of the world’s poorest communities.
The re-release of Foster’s novel is a first of its kind enterprise—both she and CWS hope the partnership will be symbiotic, drawing more attention to relief efforts and world hunger, CROP Hunger Walks and to “Abraham’s Well”, a critically acclaimed novel about The Trail of Tears, the forced migration of Native Americans from the eastern United States to Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma).
Set in 1838, inspired by true events and authentic slave narratives, “Abraham’s Well” is the story of the Black Cherokee—African Americans, both slave and free—who, along with Native people, walked the Trail of Tears. It is the story of their forced migration from the Southeast to Indian Territory, modern day Oklahoma. “We rarely share the stories of people displaced in our own nation. Whether it is displacement at gunpoint, or because of a natural event, like a hurricane or earthquake, people’s lives are upended.”
The novel’s back cover bears a quote by Wilma Mankiller, former Chief of the Cherokee Nation: “It should be remembered that hundreds of people of African ancestry also walked the Trail of Tears with the Cherokee . . . we rarely hear of those black people who also suffered.” Foster and CWS hope hefty sales will benefit CROP Hunger Walk initiatives like ongoing Hurricane Matthew relief in Haiti and increase understanding about the refugee crises happening around the world. “It has been my dream to use my writing to help others,” the author says. “Now that it’s being published as an Indie novel, I can do that.”
Originally published by Bethany House in 2006, Publisher’s Weekly described “Abraham’s Well” as “. . . innovative and intriguing … the rare historical novel that both entertains and educates.” Winner of the Romantic Times 2006 award for Best Inspirational, critic John Mort described the novel in a starred review as “. . .simply told and moving, Foster’s best work since her groundbreaking first novel, ‘Passing by Samaria.’” McCullough calls “Abraham’s Well “, splendid. He writes, “Through the lens of [the novel’s hero], we are given an upfront view of what it is like to be displaced, homeless, and hungry. It is a lens that helps us to reconcile our sense of humanity and inhumanity.”
Foster is a regular contributor to Daily Guideposts and her previous novels include “Passing by Samaria”, a historical novel that earned her the Christy Award (she is the only African American winner). Her most recent two-part novel, “The Resurrection of Nat Turner”, is a Zinn Education Project selection and winner of the Civil War Institute’s 2012 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction.
Marketing efforts for the book include a November library #diversityinbooks push to commemorate Native American History Month, a national bookstore campaign, as well as national radio, TV, and print coverage.
More information about CROP Hunger Walks and Abraham’s Well are available at www.crophungerwalk.org and www.officialsharonewellfoster.com. The novel is available on Amazon.
Page count: 300 pages