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United States, Peru, Colombia, Chile, human rights, human rights education, refugees
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About Me

Kirk is the author of More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs and America’s War in Colombia and The Monkey’s Paw: New Chronicles from Peru among other works. An essayist and award-winning poet, she has published widely on issues as diverse as the Andes, family life and pop culture. She holds an MFA in Children’s and Young Adult literature from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Kirk teaches human rights at Duke University.

Recent Publications

Books             The Pentaklon Trilogy (in progress)


Peculiar Motion, a poetry collection (Finishing Line Press, 2016)


                        Biography of a Wall (working title), a history of Belfast’s Peace Wall (in                                        progress)


More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs and America’s War in Colombia (New York: PublicAffairs, 2003).


The Shining Path: History of Peru’s Millennial War, by Gustavo Gorriti, with a forward and translated by Robin Kirk (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).


The Monkey’s Paw: New Chronicles from Peru (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997).


The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995). This includes original translations by Robin Kirk. I also co-edit Duke Press’s “World Reader” series, with readers published on Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Alaska, Cuba, Indonesia, the Czech Republic, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica, among others.


Short Story   “The Quiet Company,” Beyond the Nightlight, A Murder of Storytellers,                                        January 2015.


“Sugar Pop,” honorable mention, “Pure Fiction” contest, Chicago Reader,                                      January 2014


“The Dark Army, Moon Magazine, November 2013


“The Quiet Company,” Tomorrow an anthology of Speculative Fiction, Kayelle                            Press, May 2013


Poems             “Cold Harbor, 1997” in Wordgathering, 2010


“The Craters of the Moon” in their buoyant bodies respond: poems of disability                                         (Inglis House Poetry Workshop, 2010)


“Carolina Parrot” winner of the 2010 poetry contest, The Independent (North                                            Carolina), February 24, 2010.


Articles          “Letter from Belfast,” American Scholar, September 2011. Selected for Best American Travel Writing for 2012 (edited by William T. Vollman), October 2012


“The Body in Pain,” Sojourners, June 2011.


“How ‘World of Warcraft’ helped me through my divorce,” Salon, January 2011.


                        “Shaping a better world,” Raleigh News and Observer, January 1, 2011


                        “The best-ever dog,” Oxford American, Issue 69, May 2010.


“Extraordinary rendition and a missing speaker,” (with Christina Cowger), Raleigh News and Observer, March 15, 2010


“Trampling free speech all over the world,” Raleigh News and Observer, April 29, 2007.


                        “Seeking truth in Greensboro,” Charlotte Observer, June 29, 2006.


                        “Murderers I have known,” Glamour essay contest winner, November 2005.


                        “The Lessons of Mapiripán: A response to Lesley Gill,” Transforming Anthropology, Fall 2005


                        “Human Rights as a Contest of Meanings,” Human Rights, Democracy, and Islamic Law (Volume I, Dossier 1) – Fall 2004


“Colombia and the “War” on Terror: Rhetoric and Reality,” The World Today, March 2004.


“Call Colombia’s human rights bluff,” The Observer, February 7, 2004.


“Recorded in Stone: The women of Peru’s Shining Path, revisited,” University of London Institute of Latin American Studies, October 16, 2003.


“Colombia: ‘Checkbook Impunity’ for Murderers,” Los Angeles Times, September 14, 2003.

“Colombia’s Mortal Paradox: Exporting Drugs Means Importing Chaos,” Washington Times, January 26, 2000.


“Sanctioning brutality in Colombia,” Washington Times, August 19, 1999.

“Lori Berenson’s Grim Future: Prison Life For Guerrillas Worsens Under Fujimori,” Pacific News Service, January 16, 1996.


“Dispatches From a Forgotten Front, Peru: Commando-Style Journalism,” Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1991


This is a partial list. In addition, I have also published over a dozen book reviews in the Raleigh News and Observer, from 1998-2005, as well as additional articles. Clips available upon request.


Reports           ‘You’ll Learn Not to Cry’: Colombia’s Child Combatants (coeditor and contributor) (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2003).


A Wrong Turn: The Record of Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office (with Daniel Wilkinson) (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2002).


The ‘Sixth Division’: Military-Paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2001).


FARC Rebel Abuses: Human Rights Watch Letter to Commander Manuel Marulanda (with Joanne Mariner)(New York: Human Rights Watch, 2001).


The Ties that Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2000).


War Without Quarter: Colombia and International Humanitarian Law (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1998).


Colombia’s Killer Networks: The Military-Paramilitary Partnership and the United States (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1996).


The Two Faces of Justice in Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994).


Generation Under Fire: Violence Against Children in Colombia (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994).


State of War: Political Violence and Counterinsurgency in Colombia (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993).


Feeding the Tiger: Colombia’s Internally Displaced People (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Committee for Refugees, 1993).


To Build Anew: An Update on Peru’s Internally Displaced (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Committee for Refugees, 1993).


Anatomy of a Cover-Up: The La Cantuta Case in Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993).


One Year After Fujimori’s Coup (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993).


Untold Terror: Violence Against Women in Peru (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1992).


Stone of Refuge: Haitian Refugees in the Dominican Republic (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Committee for Refugees, 1992).

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