Ishmael Beah

Ishmael Beah’s newest novel Little Family launched virtually at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., USA on April 28, 2020. The Sierra Leonean was streaming from Los Angeles.

Ishmael Beah is an author and human rights activist who rose to fame because of his New York Times-bestselling memoir, A Long Way Gone. He took a shift from memoir to fiction when his debut novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, was published in January 2014. The author this year confirmed the move to fiction with his new novel, published by Penguin Random House, Little Family. Its blurb goes thus;

A powerful novel about young people living at the margins of society, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together.

Hidden away from a harsh outside world, five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country’s tumultuous past. Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise. Clever Khoudiemata manoeuvres to keep the younger kids—athletic, pragmatic Ndevui, thoughtful Kpindi, and especially their newest member, Namsa—safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the “beautiful people”—the fortunate sons and daughters of the elite—the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resist.

A profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we’re dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.

The book was first introduced to the world at the Afrolit Sans Frontieres virtual literary festival that ended on April 27. With the African audience getting a sneak peek of this new publication, it was the time for the official world launch at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., USA. He was moderated by Reza Aslan a scholar of religious studies, television host, and author, most recently, of God: A Human History.

Reza Aslan with Ishmael Beah
Reza Aslan with Ishmael Beah

Over the one hour of the launch, Beah spoke about his philosophy of books as medicine, how he chose the names of his characters, how he found Kung-Fu movies helped his writing process, the importance of his new novel at this time of crisis, and lots more. You can watch that whole session from the following webpage.

You can also get the book from the Penguin Random House website here.