To Be Released: August 2013

In Under the Skin, a brutal African dictator is challenged by two young women from different worlds: Maggie Kincaid, born to wealth 24fb76e6-5d62-44ec-96bb-b351047b8df2and privilege in New York, and Nabby Kibugu, born to poverty and obscurity in the African bush. Their unlikely friendship sparks a fiery political drama with the potential to upend the leadership of a country and change the lives of millions.

Maggie is working as an intern for an American company in Uganda when she meets longtime pen pal Nabby. She becomes ensnarled in a clandestine political campaign to elect Nabby as the first female president of Uganda. The women risk everything as they take on a corrupt, abusive government. In a startling move, they decide to enlist the improbable help of a notorious warlord, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether their dangerous gamble will pay off.


Nick Hahn started his career as a writer while a student at the University of Notre Dame. He went on to become President and CEO of New York-based Cotton Incorporated (Cotton, The Fabric of Our Lives). Leaving Cotton in 1997, he formed Hahn International, LTD, an agribusiness-consulting group focused on the third world. For fourteen years, Nick has lived and worked among indigenous peoples from Africa to Latin America. His travel diaries reflect societal tensions often created by internal conflict and political unrest. Under the Skin is his first novel.

Nick is married with four children and four grandchildren. He makes his home in rural eastern Connecticut near Long Island Sound, where he writes and narrates audiobooks.

UNDER THE SKIN, a political novel by Nick Hahn, due 2013

They wheeled him into an elevator, the cardiac operating unit was three floors up. I sat outside, numb from the 24fb76e6-5d62-44ec-96bb-b351047b8df2intensity of the last 24 hours. I’m not religious, but when the chaplain approached me, I broke down. It all started to register. My husband of thirty-three years was dying in a room just steps away, and this man would hold my hands and do what he could to comfort me. How absurd. I didn’t need a priest, I needed a miracle.

The surgeon pushed through the swinging doors, still wearing his cotton scrubs. They were printed in pink and blue flowers. How silly, I thought, what ever happened to pure white? He had magnifying glasses perched on his head over one of those funny  caps. He wore glasses of his own. I guessed him to be about forty five. He looked like he hadn’t shaved in a few days. He walked up to me, pulling off his cap with one hand and holding the magnifying glasses in the other. He was perspiring. Simon had been in the operating room with him for over three hours and those lights are hot.

He stared at me. He was so young and sincere. “Are you Mrs. Kincaid?” he asked. He knew exactly who I was, but he still had to ask. I didn’t answer him, just nodded as the priest moved his chair closer. The flat screen TV was on. Some kid was watching cartoons with her mother. Why was a girl so young on the heart surgery floor? Must be her father, I decided.

Before he said a word, I knew what was coming. “We did all we could for your husband,” Mrs. Kincaid. “He had a massive myocardial infarction. The damage was extensive. We couldn’t save him. I’m sorry.”

Christ, why the fuck couldn’t he just say he was dead? Why did they have to use such professional sounding medical terms? I know you’re a doctor, you don’t need to impress me. A simple, “He had a heart attack. We lost him on the operating table. You have our deepest sympathy,” would have sufficed. I was feeling more angry than sad. I had lost my husband. In spite of his faults, and there were many, I loved him. I would miss him terribly. He was only 62; we still had so much to live for. I sucked in a deep breath, looked at this pathetic young doctor, and broke down uncontrollably.

UNDER THE SKIN, a political drama by Nick Hahn

24fb76e6-5d62-44ec-96bb-b351047b8df2“Do you want to be there, Simon?”
“In the operating room during delivery.”
“I’m not very good with blood, Max. Do I have to be there? Doubt that I could add value to the occasion.”

“You’re too funny, Simon. This is not a business deal. This is the birth of your first child. You added value that night in Cleveland three weeks before our wedding. You do remember, don’t you?”

Simon grinned. He took my hands and assured me he’d be there. He was certain the doctor couldn’t do it without him.

Margaret Katherine Kincaid entered this world at 11:00 am Friday, January 15, 1978, at Lenox Hill Hospital on East 77th Street. From the moment she was born, Maggie would have the proper address.

The Cesarean was flawless, with Simon the perfect spectator. He kept his mouth shut for once, and stared in awed silence. He had wanted a boy, of course, but his disappointment was mitigated by the magic of the moment. He coughed nervously, rubbed his eyes, and smiled. “Congratulations, Max,” he whispered, “she’s beautiful, just like her Mother.”

Ten days later at 2:46 am, another child entered the world. She was born on a straw mat in a mud hut near the Ugandan/Sudanese border in East Africa. Her father, Erastus Kibugu, was also disappointed. He, too, wanted a boy.  After seeing her in the midwife’s arms, he smiled and named her Nabulungi. It means ‘beautiful’ in Swahili.

Who Is Nick Hahn (part-2)

NYC Marathon 1979
NYC Marathon 1979

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.’” 

― Hugh MacLeod,

Julie Hahn 1979

Like most young men of my era, we  served our time in the military. I was US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. It was after Korea but before Vietnam. I was fortunate.  Before embarking on basic training, I fell in love, married the most beautiful woman in the world, and conceived our first son. Followed in short order by two more sons and an amazing daughter. Yes, I gave up my crayons!!

In the late 60’s I began a successful business career in textiles, moved to New York from my home in Cleveland, Ohio, and became President and CEO of NY based Cotton Incorporated. During my watch, Ogilvy & Mather NY created and I approved the now iconic “Cotton The Fabric of Our Lives” advertising campaign and tagline sung by the late Richie Havens.

I left Cotton in the late 90’s and founded Hahn International, Ltd, a third world economic development consultancy. I began the most exciting and satisfying period of my career.

For the past 13 years, I have lived and worked in economically and socially depressed countries. Some of these, like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda, are suffering from internal conflict, posing serious challenges to expat professionals like myself.

One of the men I worked with in Lahore Pakistan, Dr. Warren Weinstein, PHD, is a brilliant Harvard economist. He was kidnapped 18 months ago, 3 days before his scheduled return to the US. He is still missing, in the hands of the Taliban. The Taliban paid a ransom to the criminal gang that snatched him, a common occurrence  in Pakistan and Afganistan.

During long weeks and months on these assignments, I began to write. I kept journals in every country. That was when I got my crayons back, one color at a time.

UNDER THE SKIN takes place in East Africa, a region in which I lived and worked for 6 mos. The novel is an exciting tale of  political intrigue, global relationships, romance, and corruption. The book is finished and in final editing.

I’ll continue to peal the skins from this character, aka Nick Hahn, as I sharpen my crayons!

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Will we ever forget him in Capote, Charlie Wilson’s War, or on stage in Death Of A Salesman?

He’s a gifted actor with the all too common defense against excess celebrity. It’s hard to put yourself out there for all of the world to see, chew and critique. In Hoffman’s case it was public adulation and praise for his work.

Easing the tension in a cloud of alcohol or drugs seems an easy answer. As Mr Hoffman discovered, it’s the wrong answer.

“To have the beginning of a truly great story, you need to have a character you’re completely and utterly obsessed with. Without obsession, to the point of a maddening addiction, there’s no point to continue. ” ― Jennifer Salaiz

Hoffman was obsessed with his characters and it showed in his riveting work. Hopefully rehab has put him on the road to recovery and a realization that “loving himself” is  the cure. We all have  demons. How we deal with them makes the difference between being good and being brilliant. Hoffman is brilliant.