It happened after 9/11. We saw it after the 2004 Tsunami swept through Southeast Asia and in the the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. It occurred following the devastating earthquake last year in Haiti and it’s going on strong now in Japan. It is the near euphoric unity that draws people together in the aftermath of tragedy. In A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster (Viking, August 21, 2009), author Rebecca Solnit describes this phenomenon and why it’s so important to the rebuilding of humanity in the face of disaster.

This week in #litchat we’re discussing books–fiction and nonfiction–which feature disaster scenarios. What expectations are placed on authors to write about global tragedies? How much time must elapse before authors of fiction can use a global tragedy as a backdrop for a novel or short story? Do authors with large public platforms have a responsibility to lead efforts in rebuilding communities struck by disasters? How does an author separate facts from emotions when reporting from disaster sites? Join us this week to tell how you respond to global, large-scale disasters and tragedies.

On Friday, March 25, beginning at 4 p.m. EDT, #litchat is joining the Writers for the Red Cross campaign with a special auction of books and other exciting offerings like a query letter critique by literary agent Jenny Bent; a leather, hand-bound journal by master bookmaker Susan Soleil, and more.