For Book Clubs: Moral Hazards is a great book club selection. It is accessible and excellent for discussion as a novel or for the global political issues that it raises. As the author, I am delighted to participate with clubs in the discussion. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. We can also provide signed copies for the members.
Here's what the Constant Comments book club in Regina had to say about Moral Hazards and the discussion with me:
Tim Martin’s first novel, Moral Hazards, is a MUST READ for book clubs! This political thriller puts the reader in the middle of the economic, political and moral collapse of Somalia. It is here Anik, a Canadian human rights lawyer, seeking recognition for herself and justice for women, gets embroiled in the conflict. Martin’s story, based on his own experience as a Canadian diplomat, lends credibility and clarity to the characters, the situations and the intrigue. Readers will come away with a great appreciation for the power of fiction to raise awareness of real human rights abuses, especially violence against women and the struggle to live a peaceful and safe existence in “a culture of war.”
Tim joined our book club discussion via zoom and enlightened us with his own experiences, including a rather frightening meeting with two warlords. He also read a couple of passages that enhanced our reading. What a gift! There are many issues and characters in this book, so it created many opportunities to talk, debate, listen and express opinions about the novel. The characters are all multi-dimensional – complex, ambitious, and believable. The novel is an eye-opener to the realities of life in war-torn countries and the moral hazards that continue to challenge even those with humanitarian motives.
After reading Moral Hazards and having such an amazing opportunity to discuss the novel with the author, the members of our book club came away not only entertained but enlightened about the panorama of greed and violence that still exists in our world. After this experience, our members will be asking questions of our Canadian military as to how it will protect civilians, especially women and children, when deployed to a crisis in another country. We finished our discussion hoping that Tim Martin’s second novel will soon be on the bookshelves.
Discussion Questions: Here are some suggestions for questions you may want to talk about as a club:
- Did Anik’s experience make her permanently damaged or stronger?
- Does Ibrahim have what it takes to be successful in Al Qaeda or ISIS or the Taliban?
- Did Omar do enough to redeem himself?
- If Anik revealed her plans to you about getting even with Cristiani, what would you advise her?
- Was Cristiani doomed to be complicit with Ibrahim? Where could he have made different choices - and what would have been the costs?
- Do you think the commercial fiction/thriller format is a good way to raise issues of human rights and violence against women?
For Universities: Clarion Reviews calls Moral Hazards "an instructional thriller". In fact, its a great way to introduce students to contemporary human rights, development and conflict issues. I am very interested in working with university professors who are interested. Here is what a professor of international development had to say about a recent presentation:
Tim Martin Presentation to Introduction to International Development Studies, IDS-1100, 1 Oct 2020
A Former Diplomat Reflects on the Challenges of Development in the Context of Conflict
Tim Martin spoke for 75-minutes to my Introduction to IDS, Menno Simons College (part of Canadian Mennonite University and affiliated with the University of Winnipeg) class in October 2020. He spoke about the challenges that states and NGOs face in promoting development in situations of conflict and when the local state has failed. Tim drew on his years of experience in many countries in the global south and focused on the topic of development assistance in Somalia during the 1990s civil war and Canadian assistance to Afghanistan during the NATO-based occupation. Mr. Martin reviewed my course syllabus and identified learning objectives that his talk would connect with. Tim effectively delivered his message to the group of first- and second-year students with a teaching style that is accessible and invitational. Very nicely woven through his presentation were quotations from his novel ‘Moral Hazards.’ I can easily imagine Tim effectively delivering his topic to a senior undergraduate and graduate class. His experiences are vast, his insights deep, and he brings humility to his presentation that will invite engagement from the class. I would invite him back.
Tim Martin’s Presentation to a Conflict Resolution Studies class, CRS-2241 Conflict and Culture, Menno Simons College, Winnipeg, 23 November 2020
A Retired Canadian Diplomat Shares Learnings about Work for Peace with Justice in Conflict-Ridden Situations
For 75 minutes on November 23, 2020, Mr. Tim Martin, a retired Canadian diplomat with experience in many countries, spoke and discussed with students in my Conflict Resolution Studies class at Menno Simons College (part of Canadian Mennonite University and affiliated with the University of Winnipeg).
Drawing on experiences in Israel/Palestine, Argentina, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Ethiopia, Mr. Martin reflected on the challenges of building trust, maintaining integrity, reaching agreements, and attaining justice. He shared a passage from his novel, Moral Hazards, that illustrated the dilemmas diplomats and justice workers sometimes face. The students engaged with him immediately with many questions, which he answered with care and humility.
In preparation, Mr. Martin studied my course syllabus in order to connect with course objectives. His presentations would work well at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The students greatly appreciated the breadth of his experiences, the depth of his insights, and the care with which he spoke. I would gladly invite him again.
John Derksen, PhD
Associate Professor Emeritus
Menno Simons College (a college of Canadian Mennonite University affiliated with University of Winnipeg)
520 Portage Ave.
Winnipeg , MB R3C 0G2