How Fast Can You Run

  • From the Publisher
May 3, 2016

When One Book, One Philadel­phia asked author and Drex­el Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Har­ri­et Levin Mil­lan to choose ten of her under­grad­u­ate cre­ative writ­ing stu­dents to inter­view ten South Sudanese refugees for a spe­cial One Book writ­ing project, she met Michael Majok Kuch, who became the sub­ject of her nov­el. How Fast Can You Run is the inspir­ing true sto­ry of a young sur­vivor whose vil­lage in South Sudan was torched in the mid­dle of the sep­a­rat­ing him from his moth­er at five years old.

After trekking a thou­sand miles through war zones and wilder­ness, Michael rotat­ed through a series of refugee camps for ten years until he was select­ed for polit­i­cal asy­lum in the Unit­ed States in 2001. Michael con­tin­ued to search for his moth­er upon his arrival, both on his own and with the help of sev­er­al aid agen­cies, to no avail. His new life pre­sent­ed its own series of chal­lenges, includ­ing a sex­u­al assault accu­sa­tion that put him on sus­pen­sion from his col­lege while await­ing tri­al. Put on a poten­tial depor­tee list, Michael was afraid to con­tact his moth­er once her where­abouts were dis­cov­ered until he was exon­er­at­ed in court. Thanks to a fundrais­ing cam­paign spon­sored by a high school teacher and her son, Michael was reunit­ed with his moth­er in Aus­tralia 22 years after their har­row­ing separation.

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