The bestselling biography of Deng Adut - Sudanese child soldier, refugee, Australian lawyer, and man of hope.
Deng Adut was six years old when war came to his village in South Sudan. Taken from his mother, he was conscripted into the Sudan People's Liberation Army. He was taught to use an AK-47 then sent into battle.
Shot in the back, dealing with illness and the relentless brutality of war, Deng's future was bleak. A child soldier must kill or be killed. But, after five years, he was rescued by his brother John and smuggled into a Kenyan refugee camp. With the support of the UN and help from an Australian couple, Deng and John became the third Sudanese family resettled in Australia.
Despite physical injuries and ongoing mental trauma, Deng seized the chance he'd been given. Deng taught himself to read and, in 2005, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University.
Songs of a War Boy is the inspirational story of a young man who has overcome unthinkable adversity to become a lawyer, refugee advocate and NSW Australian of the Year. Deng's memoir is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to those fleeing war, persecution and pain.
In our oft overheated conversation about migrants, Songs of a War Boy seriously challenges our notions of what it means to be Australian. It's much less about genetic heritage than the fact that we are welcoming and free and live by the rule of law. Here, there's an immense pride in a citizenship that most of us take for granted. - Sydney Morning Herald
Whether or not Australia deserves the praise and faith vested in us by Adut, he certainly makes one want to strive to live up to his vision of the nation he now so proudly calls home. - ArtsHub
Ben Mckelvey is a freelance writer and editor from Sydney who has filed for Good Weekend, GQ, Voyeur, Rolling Stone, The Bulletin, Cosmo, Cleo and the Age and West Australian newspapers. Ben's previous gigs have included editing Sports&Style and Juice magazines, and working at the Sydney Morning Herald as a Senior Feature Writer. He has been embedded with the ADF in East Timor and Iraq, and has worked independently in Iran and Afghanistan.