From Our Soundbooth | December 24, 2021

Hello and welcome to Miller Aud-cast, the Missouri Review podcast where we listen to and discuss the finalists for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize. The Aud-cast is here for episode 39, featuring the latest finalist for the 2021 Miller Audio Prize in Audio Documentary, “The Common Memory Project,” from Carolina Hotchandani and a bevy of collaborators and participants.

Carolina Hotchandani is a poet and Goodrich Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, West Branch, and other journals. She received the Rona Jaffe scholarship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 2021 and was a Pushcart nominee in 2017. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and daughter.

Notes on the piece:
The Common Memory Project was collectively created by students from a course I taught at the University of Nebraska-Omaha in the spring of 2021, Trauma in Our Society. In our class, we discussed how the pandemic is a globally traumatic event, yet, ironically, we have experienced this trauma in our small, physically distant bubbles. When we come away from this experience, it is likely that our memories of the pandemic will be as disparate as the cultures of our individual households. How will we emerge from this experience more unified if we have been divided throughout this time? In response to this question, my class contributed to a podcast by interviewing people whose experiences of Covid-19 have contrasted their own. I wove their recordings together, wrote and recorded a voice-over narration, and then my husband, the manager of Siouxland Public Media, produced and honed the podcast. The result is an artifact that begins the daunting project of forging a common memory of this harrowing experience.

Contributors to this project:

Carolina Hotchandani, Goodrich Assistant Professor of English, who instructed the Medical Humanities/English course Trauma in Our Society at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the spring of 2021.

Mark Munger, General Manager of Siouxland Public Media in Sioux City, Iowa.

The students of Trauma in Our Society, a Medical Humanities/English course at the University of Nebraska-Omaha: Christina Beck, Alaina Cornett, Hannah Dubas, Andrew Jantz, Cat Jensen, Nellamor King, Leigha Little, Ayah Nuwwarah, Breanna Potter, Susan Sanchez Medina, Etta Sherman, and Alaina Wallick.

Stay tuned after the piece for a brief discussion of its vitality and reference with managing editor Marc McKee and contest editor Bailey Boyd.

Aud-cast 40 is on its way soon, so BE ALERT. Thanks as always to the Missouri Review contest editor, Bailey Boyd, and to Patricia Miller, for her generous support for the Miller Audio Prize.

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