Join Mawenzi House and the Toronto International Festival of Authors in celebrating the release of Nur Abdi’s The Somali Camel Boy through Toronto Lit Up!
Ali belongs to a camel-herding family of the Sudi clan, in a Somali society riven by ancient clan rivalries. When members of the rival Duki clan kill his father and steal his herd, Ali walks all the way to the capital town to start a new life. The ruling government, however, is dominated by the Duki; its actions are murderous, its rulings arbitrary, and its target the Sudi clan. For the crime of yawning—thus acting out the Great Leader’s nickname, “Big Mouth”—Ali is arrested, imprisoned, brutally beaten, and tortured. He manages to flee to Toronto, where he is assisted by two members of his clan. Celebrating his new freedom, his family now with him, this self-willed but simple camel boy is still obsessed with one mission: to avenge the murder of his father by killing a Duki. Any Duki.
Tragic, yet hilarious at times, as the camel boy negotiates the ways of his new life, this novel provides a rare insight into the complexities and conflicts of our world.
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Nur Abdi grew up in the territory now known as Somaliland. In the 1980s, when a civil war was raging in Somalia, he sought refuge in Canada and became a citizen in 1994. Opposing the repressive government ruling Somalia at the time, Abdi wrote articles in newspapers and magazines. He lives in Toronto. This is his first novel.