Picnic at the Iron Curtain won a 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist's award. It is also a 2012 Foreword's Book of the Year Award finalist and received an horable mention at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. Welcome to the world of collapsing Communism. It is the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall when people are still willing to risk all to cross the Iron Curtain to the West. In this adventure-packed memoir Susan Viets, a student turned journalist, arrives in Communist Hungary in 1988 and begins reporting for the Guardian, t at all prepared for what lies ahead. She helps East Germans escape to the West at a picnic, moves to the Soviet Union where she battles authorities for accreditation as the first foreign journalist in Ukraine and then watches, amazed, as the entire political system collapses. Lured by new travel opportunities, Viets shops her way across Central Asia, stumbling into a tank attack in Tajikistan and the start of the Tajik civil war. Picnic at the Iron Curtain shows every day people at the centre of dramatic events from Budapest to Bishkek and Cherbyl to Chechnya. It is a memoir that spans a period of momentous historical change from 1988-1998, following through with an eyewitness account of Ukraine's Orange Revolution in 2004.
Susan Viets reported for the Guardian, the Independent, and BBC World. She has also contributed to CBC, Newsweek, USA Today, the Moscow Times and other publications. She lives with her husband in Toronto.