Author Event Naomi Benaron, "Running the Rift"
Author Naomi Benaron
"Running the Rift"
Tuesday, October 9 @ 6:00 p.m.
Running the Rift follows Jean Patrick Nkuba, a gifted Rwandan boy, from the day he knows that running will be his life to the moment he must run to save his life, a ten-year span in which his country is undone by the Hutu-Tutsi tensions. Born a Tutsi, he is thrust into a world where it’s impossible to stay apolitical—where the man who used to sell you gifts for your family now spews hatred, where the girl who flirted with you in the lunchroom refuses to look at you, where your Hutu coach is secretly training the very soldiers who will hunt down your family. Yet in an environment increasingly restrictive for the Tutsi, he holds fast to his dream of becoming Rwanda’s first Olympic medal contender in track, a feat he believes might deliver him and his people from this violence. When the killing begins, Jean Patrick is forced to flee, leaving behind the woman, the family, and the country he loves. Finding them again is the race of his life
“This is truly fearless writing: ambitious, beautiful, unapologetically passionate. Culturally rich and completely engrossing.” —Barbara Kingsolver
“In Naomi Benaron’s Running the Rift, a novel full of unspeakable strife but also joy, humor, and love, ‘hope always [chases] close on the heels of despair,’ thanks to a writer who knows when to keep a steady pace and when to explode into an all-out sprint.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“[An] audacious and compelling first novel . . . It’s a brave writer who takes a subject as historically complex and gravid with emotion as this one as the background to her first novel, and Benaron has to be loudly applauded for her bravura and heartfelt attempt to encapsulate and document this corner of 20th-century bestiality . . . It is an authentic and richly textured portrait of African life . . . Benaron does not spare us any of the abominations, but her denouement is surprisingly redemptive—not to say romantic.”—Washington Post
“Novelist Benaron, with her fusion of research and firsthand observation of Rwandan society, knows how to tie the reader in knots as she develops Patrick's life-affirming story.”—NPR’s “All Things Considered”
NAOMI BENARON holds an MFA from Antioch University and an MS from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She is also an Ironman triathlete. She teaches for UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, mentors for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, and has worked extensively with genocide survivor groups in Rwanda. For more information, visit www.naomibenaron.com.