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Corina Vacco's prize-winning, eco-fierce novel, MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN (Random House, 2013), is coming out soon, and she'd like to invite all of you (and any guests you’d like to bring) to celebrate at the launch party with her. The event is free and will be lots of fun—snacks, drinks, book signing, free t-shirts (while they last), and more—and just by showing up, you’ll be supporting a local debut author, along with the West Coast’s oldest independent book store all in one night!

Vacco wrote the original draft of this book at the foot of an extremely toxic landfill, just so she could feel the fear and breathe the air. In her words, here’s the story of how MY CHEMICAL MOUNTAIN came to be:

"The Coast Guard transferred my husband and me from Miami to Buffalo in 2004. It took time to adjust to the snow and cold, but I ended up falling in love with the area: the Finger Lakes, the Elmwood Art District, Niagara Falls, and a sculpture park in the middle of a forest. I also ended up stumbling upon a real-life toxic town situated near one of the most dangerous landfills in the world. The landfill contained chemical sludge from Love Canal and other environmental disasters, along with radioactive waste left over from the Manhattan Project. It was known these contaminants had leached into nearby groundwater and soil. People who lived nearby had received letters ordering them to stop eating vegetables from their gardens.

"I attended a town meeting where residents confronted the government, demanding that the landfill be cleaned up. I met a teacher who worked at an elementary school adjacent to one of the landfills. I interviewed people, who not realizing the danger, grew up swimming in creek water that changed colors from dyes dumped by a nearby factory. Sadly, government officials declared the area “safe” and no remediation was done.

"Shortly thereafter, my main character Jason’s voice appeared in my mind while I was walking my dog through the city. I’d heard about this happening to other writers, so I knew just what to do—I asked him questions: What is it like living near a landfill? Are you angry about what happened to your father? Why do you swim in the creek when you know it’s contaminated? I listened quietly to what he had to say, then I drove out to the landfills and wrote what felt like a love letter to a cleaner world, an ode to justice for those harmed by rogue polluters.

"My book went on to win the Delacorte Prize for a First YA Novel, and after a 2-year (from contract to publication) wait, I'm really looking forward to the release date. I'd love to celebrate my publication with other East Bay writers, so please join me!

Hope to see you at the party!"
Corina Vacco

You can also read more about the book, browse Sludge News articles from around the country, and find reader-contributed, pollution-inspired stories and artwork from everyday life at

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  • Zenaida G.

    Looks like an easy stroll from Civic Center BART

    June 8, 2013

  • Alon S.

    I have read some of Corina's work (her 2nd book). She is an excellant and passionate writer. I am looking forward to the event.

    June 6, 2013

  • Beth H.

    Scratch the ride request. Darn family plans interfering! :(

    May 15, 2013

  • Beth H.

    Wow! Congratulations! Health permitting, I will be there! I might need a ride.

    May 15, 2013

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