Color photograph of writer and activist Ishmael Beah.

Ishmael Beah

Ishmael Beah published his memoir, A Long Way Gone, at the age of twenty-six in 2007. After losing his parents and brothers in the civil war in Sierra Leone, he was recruited into the government’s army as a boy soldier and given some basic training, an AK-47, and various drugs, among them a mixture of cocaine and gunpowder called “brown brown.” Beah was rescued by UNICEF fieldworkers, eventually immigrating to the U.S. and graduating from Oberlin College. His first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, was published in 2014.

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