For immediate release | September 10, 2013

Ishmael Beah at 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Arthur Curley Memorial Lecturer

CHICAGO - ALA Midwinter attendees can hear the inspiring human rights advocate and bestselling author Ishmael Beah at the 2014 Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture from 4 - 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25. Beah’s first book, "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier," has been published in more than 30 languages and helped shine an international spotlight on his story and thus on critical issues related to children and war.

At the age of 12, Beah fled attacking rebels in Sierra Leone. By 13, he had been picked up by the government army and, though gentle by nature, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. His first book is seen as a tale of redemption and hope. Beah crosses over to fiction in his forthcoming novel, "Radiance of Tomorrow" (January 2014, Macmillan), which is already garnering rave reviews.

Ishmael Beah was born in 1980 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Vespertine Press, LIT, Parabola and numerous academic journals. He is a UNICEF ambassador and advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Advisory Committee; an advisory board member at the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; visiting senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights at Rutgers University; co-founder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW) and president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations and many panels on the effects of war on children. Time magazine named ​"A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" as No. 3 on its list of the top 10 nonfiction books of 2007.

Beah’s appearance is sponsored by Macmillan.

The Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture series commemorates Arthur Curley’s lifelong dedication to the principles of intellectual freedom and free public access to information. A champion of the arts and of the library’s role as a center that can transform the community, Curley was director of the Boston Public Library and served as ALA president. Past speakers include Al Gore, Neil Gaiman, Jamal Joseph, Richard Rhodes and Lisa Genova.

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Bundle registration for ALA Midwinter Meeting/Housing and Annual Conference is open through Sept.30, 2013. Early bird registration for Midwinter Meeting and housing opens Oct. 1, 2013.

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Amy McGuigan

Conference Manager

American Library Association

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