2021 - Shortlisted
Father of the Lost Boys is a moving memoir that recounts the author’s childhood in South Sudan during the civil war and his family’s resettlement in Australia as refugees. An unsentimental, well-written and gripping account, it serves as both testimony and story. Although a harrowing story, it is told with humour and without fear or apology, and Alaak’s clear-eyed style is one of the book’s great achievements. This is not a story of elsewhere, it is a document of contemporary Australian life, one that dignifies through careful attention the lived experiences of an often-maligned community, Sudanese Australians. It is an important contribution to the literature of refugees in Australia.