Jan 12 • 49M

When You Have No Country: A Podcast with Axel Kirschner and Levi Vonk, Authors of ‘Border Hacker’

A detailed, intimate, frank (and, be warned, often explicit) conversation with the 'Border Hacker' authors about how they met, why they decided to write a book, and how they are living under threat.

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Appears in this episode

Todd Miller
The Border Chronicle podcast is hosted by Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller. Based in Tucson, Arizona, longtime journalists Melissa and Todd speak with fascinating fronterizos, community leaders, activists, artists and more at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Episode details
Levi Vonk and Axel Kirschner


One of the best books I read in 2022 was the engrossing and page-turning Border Hacker: A Tale of Treachery, Trafficking, and Two Friends on the Run. Some of you probably heard the interview The Border Chronicle did with author and anthropologist Levi Vonk in June.

Although we do encourage you to listen to the previous interview (and to read the book!), please don’t worry if you haven’t. Today’s interview stands on its own two feet. This time we also feature fellow author Axel Kirschner. Axel was born in Guatemala but grew up on Long Island and was deported as an adult. We are proud to say that this is the first interview Axel has done since Border Hacker was published in April.

Immediately after the book’s publication, Axel had to go into hiding because of threats on his life. Levi had to flee Mexico City for similar reasons, which they both explain in detail during the interview. The book, Axel says, is “costing me my life.”

But that’s not all they talk about. They describe how they met in the chaos of a migrant caravan in 2015, and how they developed a deep and enduring friendship. They talk about how they decided to collaborate on a book and why they felt the need to document what they experienced. They talk about how the book has been received, respond to critiques, and discuss the book’s place in the world. Although the conversation is intimate and frank, be warned that there is also often explicit language.

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