We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Reading Sudan

About three years ago, I started combing book lists for books about Ethiopia. My search expanded geographically, and I read a lot of stuff about Sudan, probably because there’s so much great writing coming out of Sudan–which is probably because of all the terrible things happening there.

In an earlier post, i recommended What Is the What by Dave Eggers. Of the four Lost Boys narratives I’ve read, this is the best, because a talented writer and editor, Eggers, took Valentino Deng’s powerful story and combined it with his own writing talents. When I read What Is the What, I was already familiar with the basic plotline of Deng’s story, which is similar to other Lost Boys’ works, but the story still captured my attention completely. None of these stories are easy reading–a friend of mine had a hard time with What Is the What because it’s really such terrible thing that happened to these young kids–but they are incredibly compelling.

If you’d like to read more accounts of young refugees from Sudan, here are some other great books:

God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir by John Bul Dau
They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan by Benson Deng, Alphonsion Deng, and Benjamin Ajak

I’ve also read some more current Sudanese memoirs. Some people don’t know that slavery still exists in the world, including in modern day Sudan. The word is getting out, in part because of the writing and speaking of the following two authors, whose books I recommend:

Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer
Escape from Slavery: The True Story of My Ten Years in Captivity and My Journey to Freedom in American by Francis Bok

It’s incredible the injustices these two endured including, in Nazer’s case, being enslaved in London after the family who kept her moved there.

All of these books relate directly to the tragedies happening daily in Sudan, so reading them is a good way to learn also about the current situation there.

So, that brings you all up to date, pretty much, on some great books I read before I started the Africa Reading Challenge. There is more to come. Let’s hope it’s soon.


12 June 2008 - Posted by | africa, books


  1. “God Grew Tired of Us” is also a movie now!

    Comment by your sister | 13 June 2008

  2. I started a similar reading goal when i moved to Kenya two years ago. Here are a few titles you might find interesting:

    God’s Bits of Wood – Sembene Ousmane
    Emma’s War – Deborah Scroggins
    Where We Have Hope – Andrew Meldrum
    House of Stone – Christina Lamb
    A Long Way Gone- Ishmael Beah

    Comment by Typ0 | 14 June 2008

  3. TypO, thanks for the recommendations – very helpful!

    Comment by Ms. Four | 15 June 2008

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