A Cambridge Park author has turned his experiences growing up in a refugee camp into a coming-of-age novel, demonstrating the immense power hope can have in the face of war.
Born in South Sudan, Majok Tulba was forced to seek refuge after his village was attacked by the Sudanese government army after it was presumed they were supporting the rebels.
“I got separated from my family and I didn’t know whether I would survive,” he said.
“I thought the noise of the guns would be the last sound I ever heard.”
Escaping to a nearby camp with only his brother left, Mr Tulba spent the next seven years growing up in the refuge before moving to Sydney in 2001 to live with his uncle.
“One way that I passed the time in the camp was to gather up the younger children and sit under a tree, where I would tell the tales of our village,” he said.
“I was also intrigued by one man who had been taught by missionaries before the war who would translate the English instructions from the aid workers for us.
“He had a book of stories and I was astounded to learn that stories could be written down for people to read and enjoy on their own. I was determined that one day I would be a book storyteller.”
Now, after being named the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Novelist of the Year in 2013 for his first novel, Beneath the Darkening Sky, Mr Tulba is set to release his second novel, When Elephants Fight.
Coloured with Mr Tulba’s experience in the camp, the book is set to be released on July 2. It follows the journey of Juba, a boy of the Denka Tribe.
“I’m thrilled to share Juba’s story with my readers. His journey has my heart and soul in the pages,” Mr Tulba said.
Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.