Instructor Mieke Eerkens familial memoir, All Ships Follow Me, was recently published by Macmillan. Mieke says of the book, “This book, which has its origins in my thesis for my MFA at the University of Iowa many years ago, recounts my parents’ experiences as children in WWII, my father as an 11-year-old boy separated from his family and sent to work in a men’s labor camp for the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, and my mother as the 5-year-old child of Nazi sympathizers in the Netherlands who was sent to a children’s home after their arrest following the war. As a first generation American who certainly inherited some of their war trauma, I was particularly interested in understanding the origins of this trauma, as well as exposing perspectives of the war that we rarely hear about in the U.S.”

Of her experience teaching in the Writers’ Program, Mieke says, “As an instructor of nonfiction writing, I feel incredibly privileged to provide a space for my students to share what are often quite vulnerable details about their lives and to give them the tools to communicate their narratives in the most effective way possible. I love watching my students evolve over the weeks of a course, not just as individual writers, but as a real community as they respond to each other’s work. It’s remarkable to see how supportive they are of one another, and I enjoy fostering that.”

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