Eight of South Sudan’s authors contributed to this collection, likely the first compilation of that country’s literature published in America.
Country Focus: South Sudan
There Is a Country: New Fiction from the New Nation of South Sudan
Edited by Nyuol Lueth Tong; Stories by Edward Eremugo Luka, Victor Lugala, Nyuol Lueth Tong, Taban Lo Liyong, David L. Lukudu, John Oryem, Samuel Garang Akau, and Arif Gamal
Published by McSweeney’s, 2013.
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Time period: Various
Notes: The son of a Dinka chief, Nyuol Lueth Tong fled war-torn Sudan with his mother and siblings when he was five years old. He earned a scholarship to Duke University, and has started a nonprofit called SELFSudan that partners with villages to build schools in South Sudan.
World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)
Kudos to Tong and McSweeney’s for corralling these literary efforts from the world’s newest nation. I was thrilled to read these voices and enjoyed Tong’s Introduction.
Quote from “Port Sudan Journal” by Victor Lugala:
Nyuol Lueth Tong, Editor
I was twenty-five years old. Out of college. Out of work. I was broke, living rough, and trying to explore the world. That black rucksack contained my few belongings: a pair of blue jeans, a brown T-shirt, flip flops, three worn-out pairs of boxer shorts, a toothbrush, a comb, five novels, a pencil, and my diary. The diary had been a birthday present from my Ugandan friend, given to me before I’d left home. It was as if he knew that one day I would be far away, wandering without a destination in mind.
Behind me I had buried my past. In front of me was an abstract painting that I was to decipher while I was still stupid enough and strong enough to do it. I was in Port Sudan looking for my uncle.
At just shy of three years old, South Sudan is short on authors and literary works. Tong recommends the following titles by and about survivors of Sudan’s civil war: