Benson Deng

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Benson Deng
Bornc. 1984
Bahr el Ghazal, Sudan
OccupationAuthor
NationalityAmerican
Period2001–present
GenreNon-fiction, historical, autobiographical
Notable worksThey Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys of Sudan
Website
theypouredfirebooks.com

Benson Deng is a South Sudanese-born American writer and one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He is best known as the co-author of the book They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky (2005), written with his brother Alephonsion Deng, cousin Benjamin Ajak, and Judy A. Bernstein.

When Benson was a seven-years-old member of the Dinka tribe, Sudanese National Islamic militants attacked his village of Juol, Sudan, and he fled with his brother and cousin at the age of five. Wearing only his underwear he, along with thousands of other boys, traveled a thousand miles across Sudan to Ethiopia on foot, without parents, facing crocodiles, yellow fever, chronic hunger and thirst, and militants along the way. Refugee camps which he arrived at like Panyido were already crowded, and contained 50,000 people or more.

In Ethiopia, he learned the English alphabet by writing with his finger in the sand, using limited materials from the UN. He was forced out of Ethiopia when militants attacked the camp that he was staying at very near the border, at the River Gilo. Benson next arrived in Natinga, a rebel army camp. Promised that he would be arriving in a safe camp with education, he was disappointed to see that he was instead led to do manual labor, and fight for the rebel cause. He escaped after his relatives left the camp, in a group of 12 boys. Seeing that people had died while resting in shade after a long trek, he left his resting group and marched alone to safety. He reached Kenya, met his family, and began his education again, but he was soon struck with a serious skin illness. This disease, called River Blindness, made it impossible for him to sit and attend class. So for five years he taught himself English. Lying on his stomach in his hut, he would copy essentials of grammar and vocabulary into his hand-written composition book.

Deng arrived to America on August 9, 2001 and began work at a grocery store. Today he runs the computer digital photography system at Waste Management Corporation in El Cajon, California.

Once in America, his brother and cousin began writing about their experiences. Joni Evans, VP of William Morris, sold their book to Public Affairs. Released on June 13, 2005, it was entitled: They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan.

Awards[edit]

The two titles Deng has co-written have been the recipient of numerous awards.

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys of Sudan:

Disturbed in Their Nests

  • 2018 Nautilus Gold Award winner, in the category of Multicultural and Indigenous Books[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Christopher Awards Past Winners". The Christopher Awards. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "The best books of 2005, brought to you by our extraordinarily diverse band of reviewers". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "American Library Association "Many Voices" Honoree" (PDF). American Library Association. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Exodus of the Lost Boys of Sudan". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "The June 2005 Book Sense Picks and Notables Preview". American Booksellers Association. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ ""Days of Dialogue/Peacemaker Awards" Set for March 20-24, 2006". Business Wire. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Summer 2006 Book Sense Paperback Picks". American Booksellers Association. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan". Booklist Online: Book Reviews from the American Library Association. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "ALEPHONSION AND BENSON DENG WITH JUDY BERNSTEIN - "THEY POURED FIRE ON US FROM THE SKY". Warwicks Books. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "2018 NAUTILUS GRAND & GOLD WINNERS". Nautilus Book Awards. Retrieved 28 March 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]