In this very special episode of Love to Read Local Radio with Fremantle Press, Yuot A. Alaak shares his refugee experience and talks about the importance of sharing real and nuanced African stories with Rebecca Higgie
For Yuot A. Alaak, stories were a way of distracting himself from the fear of enemy attack, starvation and hardship, and to keep hope alive. In this episode, Yuot discusses his City of Fremantle Hungerford Award shortlisted memoir, Father of the Lost Boys, which tells the story of his family, especially his father, Mecak Ajang Alaak who, on a four-year journey, led 20,000 lost boys to safety during the Second Sudanese Civil War.
Yuot discusses the power of storytelling, and its importance in African society. He says it’s crucial that real and nuanced stories about Africa are shared – stories that depict the beauty of the continent and the hospitality of its people, rather than the frequently imagined ‘dark continent’ of Western representation.
This episode is produced by Fremantle Press for Love to Read Local. To listen to more episodes, subscribe to the Fremantle Press Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
About Love to Read Local by Writing WA
Love to Read Local is a statewide, online celebration of Western Australian stories, books and writers. While we remain at a social distance in the physical world, let’s get socially closer in the digital world. Visit the Love to Read Local website to connect with other readers, tell us which local books you love to read and perhaps inspire others to read those books too!
About this week’s guest Yuot A. Alaak and host Rebecca Higgie
Yuot A. Alaak is an emerging Western Australian writer whose short story ‘The Lost Girl of Pajomba’ was anthologised by Margaret River Press in Ways of Being Here. He was also a panelist at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival and his memoir Father of the Lost Boys was shortlisted for the 2018 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award. Yuot is a former child refugee from South Sudan, part of the globally known ‘Lost Boys of Sudan’. He lives in Perth with his family where he works as a mining professional, having attained degrees in the geosciences and engineering. When not writing or working away from home, Yuot loves to relax with family and friends over a barbecue.
Books by Yuot A. Alaak
Father of the Lost Boys (Fremantle Press)
Rebecca Higgie is a writer from Perth. Her whole life has been spent in the company of books, with careers in libraries and universities. Formerly an academic at Curtin University and Brunel University London, she has published research on satire and politics. She has worked in the stacks of the State Library of Western Australia and fostered childhood literacy as the Library Officer at Guildford Primary, WA’s oldest public school. Her creative work combines whimsy and play with extensive research and critical insights. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications such as Westerly, Stories of Perth and Visible Ink. Her novel The History of Mischief won the 2019 Fogarty Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript.
Books by Rebecca Higgie
The History of Mischief (Fremantle Press)
Love to Read Local recommendations and books discussed
Return Ticket by Jon Doust (Fremantle Press)
No! Never! by Libby Hathorn and Lisa Hathorn-Jarman, illustrated by Mel Pearce (Hachette)
Music: ‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from the Meat Lunch EP: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.
Producer: Claire Miller
Mastered and edited by: Aidan d’Adhemar
Sponsor: This show was made possible with a grant from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund