- Category: TOW 2010
Aher Arop Bol was born in a Dinka village in the Bahr el Ghazal region of the Sudan in 1983. He grew up in various refugee camps, after an attack during the Southern Sudanese Civil War separated him from his parents at the age of four. Displaced, Bol took refuge in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
With a love for words and learning, he initially learnt how to read and write from carving letters in dust. At the age of seventeen, Bol began writing his debut novel, The Lost Boy, an epic quest for survival, education, family and meaning which has, since its publication last year received international acclaim.
In The Lost Boy, Bol takes the reader with him as he, a child, flees war, and fights for survival with other ‘lost boys’ or jijamers – “those who break the bush”. The book later accounts how Bol’s odyssey culminates in him returning to his home village in 2003 and being unexpectedly reunited with his parents.
Of this glowing tale of endurance, Jane Rosenthal of the Mail and Guardian writes: “This is a gripping read, not only for the high drama of Bol's survival but also because he holds the disrupted story together with dignity and passion.”
The Lost Boy has been exceedingly well-received and its publisher, Kwela Books, has been overwhelmed by requests for foreign, translation, film and television rights.
Bol is currently residing in South Africa and studying for his LLB degree at UNISA. He runs a spaza shop in Pretoria, the income from which goes towards his university fees and to the support of his two younger brothers in Uganda.
The Lost Boy, Kwela Books, 2009