Martina Clark's first book, "My Unexpected Life: An International Memoir of Two Pandemics, HIV and COVID-19" hits the shelves on October 5th, 2021. She has written for The Southampton Review, The Manifest-Station, Lowestoft Chronicle, and Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, among others, and in 2014 she won Silver for Funny Travel in the SOLAS Awards for Best Travel Writing. She holds a BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook University. She worked for the United Nations system (including UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the Department of Peace Operations) for two decades and now teaches writing, critical reading, and global politics through the College Now program at LaGuardia Community College for CUNY. She has been living with HIV for more than half her life – 29 years and counting – and survived COVID-19 in 2020.
My Unexpected Life: An International Memoir of Two Pandemics, HIV and COVID-19
At age 28, the doctors told Martina Clark she had HIV and five years to live. With a sense of nothing to lose, she dove into activism. Then, fell into an international career, starting as the first openly HIV-positive person to work for UNAIDS in 1996. A mix of personal memoir, travel, humor and an up-close look at the squishy underbelly of the United Nations, My Unexpected Life follows her personal journey—emotional and physical—interwoven with her professional path. From diagnosis to starting treatment, surviving an abusive marriage and fostering a teenage daughter, Martina’s memoir adds an insider’s view to the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly as pertains to women. Throughout, she draws parallels to the COVID pandemic–including her own long-haul bout with COVID–reflecting on her experiences as she journeys through life with an incurable illness, a well-stamped passport, and a stubborn determination that keeps her alive to bear witness to the human condition in My Unexpected Life.