Camp Nine

Camp Nine cover
  • “A compelling, vivid account of a shameful episode that should not be forgotten.” 

    --Booklist starred review
  • “A finely wrought debut novel…Schiffer immerses readers in the thick bayou air and community tensions.”

    --Publishers Weekly
  • “Both lovely and painful . . .a compelling coming of age tale that exposes the enormous chasm between the privileged and the oppressed.” 

    – Arkansas Review
  • “(Camp Nine) captures the essence of the era.”

    --Houston Press:
  • “Ms. Schiffer is the Harper Lee of this century.”

    --Arkansas Catholic
  • “Beautifully captures a sense of time and place that resonates with authenticity. I love this books and recommend it as a must-read.” 

    --Delphine Hirasuna
    author of The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946
  • “Through the prisms of place, family, race, class, power, and privilege, Vivienne Schiffer skillfully constructs a necessarily complicated portrait of the era into a meaningful mosaic and satisfying story.” 

    --Grif Stockley
    author of Ruled by Race: Black/White Relations in Arkansas from Slavery to the Present

In 1940’s Arkansas, twelve year old Chess Morton lives with her widowed mother in the tiny community of Rook. Her days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a prison camp for Americans of Japanese descent makes Rook the fourth largest city in the entire state – all of it behind barbed wire. Her life becomes intertwined with those of two young prisoners and an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother’s past. As Chess watches the struggles and triumphs of the strangers and sees her mother seek justice for these people who were brought to Arkansas against their will, she uncovers surprising and troubling truths about her family’s painful past.

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While you’re here, please visit this incredible project entitled Rohwer Reconstructed: Interpreting Place Through Experience, created by the Center for Advanced Spatial Technology (“CAST”), a collaboration among the University of Arkansas, the Central Arkansas Library System, Arkansas State University, and others, funded in part through generous grants from the National Park Service. This amazing project has used modern technology to visualize the Rohwer Camp’s site as it appeared in 1944.