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Heart-wrenching story of a young refugee’s experiences in an Irish Direct Provision centre
Stirring, honest and deeply compassionate, Jane Mitchell’s Run for Your Life tells the powerful story of an endearing, relatable refugee as it reveals the realities of Irish Direct Provision centres. Run for profit, the centres were, as the author explains, “designed as a short-term emergency measure to provide for the basic needs of people who are awaiting decisions on their applications for international protection. Instead, it has lasted more than 21 years”. This novel is a pertinent, personal, beautifully-crafted account of a girl’s experiences of this system.
Azari and her mother have fled to Ireland to escape the unimaginable brutality of her father and uncle. On arrival, they’re terrified when they’re brought to the authorities’ attention: “My only constant is my mother, and I am hers. We cling to each other like two people drowning.” Azari’s mother is struggling more visibly — she can’t read and won’t speak to men, so Azari translates, talks to officials, fills out complex forms, and handles crucial interviews as they’re shunted through the system, sharing rooms with strangers, uncertain of their futures.
The finely-woven narrative slips between the present and Azari’s earlier life, to a time of hope: “When I was seven years old…the famous runner Jinani Azad won gold for my country in the summer Olympic Games…I wanted to be the next Jinani Azad. I wanted my village to celebrate my achievements as a famous woman”. But, like her older sister whose tragic story compelled Azari and her mother to leave, Azari’s father forced her to abandon school (and running) to work in a factory when her periods begin.
In Ireland, the welcoming book club she’s invited to join and the friend she makes through running contrast with the racism of some locals, among them Azari’s school peers. But, after hostilities reach a terrifying crescendo, beams of hope and humanity glint through the darkness. Run for Your Life comes hugely recommended for young readers interested in world affairs and social issues, both for reading at leisure and in the classroom.
“… Showing the fragile yet resilient humanity at the heart of refugee journeys ... Run For Your Life is a book which should make us all reflect on how we in more peaceful, prosperous and safe countries receive those seeking protection.” Immigrant Council Of Ireland
Run For Your Life is about a young girl named Azari arriving in Ireland, seeking safety and refuge from the violence in her home country. In many ways, it complements and extends Mitchell!s earlier titles Chalkline, about child soldiers in Kashmir; and the international bestseller of more than 100,000 copies, A Dangerous Crossing, which is about a family fleeing the war in Syria. The author is also collaborating with Fighting Words Ireland to run writing workshops for young asylum seekers to coincide with the publication of the book.
Azari's life has been split in two and the halves are as different as lemons and mangoes. Running links the two parts of her life: sometimes when she runs it is because she wants to, because she feels strong and free. But sometimes it is because she has no other choice.
When Azari and her mother flee for their lives to Ireland they are put in a Direct Provision Centre. They must share a room with a stranger, eat food they don't know the name of and answer intrusive questions from authorities. Azari's life has secrets; she must tell them so she can stop running and live a life where she can make her own decisions.
Praise for A Dangerous Crossing;
‘Not only is [Mitchell's] story told with compassion and understanding, it is also a timely and vital read. Deserving of a place on every school reading list.’ – Booktrust
‘A great introduction into learning about a highly relevant humanitarian refugee crisis.’ — Booklist
|Publication date:||7th April 2022|
|Suitable for:||11+ readers, 13+ readers, 9+ readers|
|Genres:||Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Sporting Stories|
Jane Mitchell lives in Dublin and works with children with physical disabilities. Her Amnesty International- endorsed novel A Dangerous Crossing, about a Syrian family fleeing the war, has sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide. Jane spent time volunteering at the refugee camp in Calais to research the book. Chalkline, about child soldiers in Kashmir, won the Children's Choice Award at the 2010 CBI Awards. Jane's favourite hobbies are travelling to other countries, and playing the flute and piano. She is a keen sportswoman who swims and runs marathons.More About Jane Mitchell
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