A PLACE CALLED SCHUGARA offers an interesting variety of unusual characters, from frustrated and unhappy Midwesterners to shrewdly enterprising Caribbean natives whose colorful patois is entertaining and delightful. Three of those characters -- a jaded academic from Chicago, a desperate factory owner from Ohio, and an opportunistic insurance investigator from New York -- are drawn to a place that lovingly welcomes the three misfits. None is actively seeking spiritual rebirth as the story begins, and each has his own reason for traveling to the little island, but the serendipitous result for all three is essentially the same: a renewal of life and spiritual wholeness among the inhabitants of a loving community that lives in a place called Schugara.
Joe English was born in Paterson, New Jersey and came of age in Mexico City, Mexico. He was a professor at Triton College for sixteen years, and he founded Oak Park Real Estate in 1984, which provided decent, safe, and affordable housing, primarily in the Austin neighborhood. He has lived for 47 years in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s west side. He still maintains a residence in Austin but now spends much of his time in Sosua, Dominican Republic, founded by Jewish refugees in the late 1930’s. English’s writings have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Chicago Reader and Co-Existence, a literary journal which has featured the works of Henry Miller. His most recent publication, the short story, "Mrs. Padgett's Pearls," was selected by Zimbell House Publishing for the anthology After Effects.