Nominated by:

Cape Town Central Library, South Africa

Publisher of nominated edition:

Oneworld Publications, UK

Running the Rift

Naomi Benaron      

2014 Longlist

Jean Patrick Nkuba dreams of becoming the first Rwandan to run in the Olympics. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi and his kind are not supposed to win. When the president’s assassination plummets the country into sudden and bloody chaos – Hutu against Tutsi, neighbour against neighbour – Jean Patrick is left without protection and without any choice. Now he must run: from his home, from his family, from the woman he loves. Finding them again will be the race of his life. Evoking the raw beauty of Rwanda and the tragedy of its recent past, Running the Rift is a truly stunning novel of a people’s trauma, of lives lost, and of loves salvaged.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Naomi Benaron holds an MFA from Antioch University and an MS in earth sciences from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. 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. She has won the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction and the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. She is also an Ironman triathelete.

Librarian’s Comments

Running the Rift is beautifully written and captivates the reader with its portrayal of the lush Rwandan landscape. It is in this serene setting that Jean Patrick runs. It is also in this setting that recent atrocities took place, where violent clashes lead to the senseless loss of lives. The author shows that, even in the face of barbarism, the protagonist is able to remain generous and forgiving; that dreams, kindness and generosity can shine through even in the bitterest conditions. This audacious book deserves to be read.

Related Entries