Author of book about survivor of Sudanese civil war speaking at local schools, book store

Posted 11 October 2022 at 8:44 am

Provided images: Keely Hutton, right, co-wrote “Don’t Look Back: A Memoir of War, Survival, and My Journey from Sudan to America,” a critically-acclaimed memoir. The book was cowritten with Achut Deng, a survivor of the Second Sudanese Civil War.

Press Release, Author’s Note

MEDINA – Rochester author Keely Hutton will visit Author’s Note in Medina today at 7 p.m. to read from and discuss “Don’t Look Back: A Memoir of War, Survival, and My Journey from Sudan to America.”

This critically-acclaimed memoir was cowritten by Hutton and Achut Deng, a survivor of the Second Sudanese Civil War. Achut Deng spent ten years, from age 6 to age 16, at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

The memoir, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Books, releases to the public on Oct. 11. During the day, Hutton will present her new title to students at Lyndonville High School, Royalton-Hartland High School and Albion High School. She has already visited students at Medina Junior/Senior High School.

For ten years, Achut Deng survived at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya after her family was ripped apart by the Second Sudanese Civil War. But Achut wanted to do more than merely survive. She wanted to live.

The 22-year civil war essentially orphaned over 20,000 children and drove them from their villages in southern Sudan. Some of these children walked over a thousand miles, through dangerous war zones and across unforgiving deserts. They are often referred to as The Lost Boys. But there were girls, too. Achut Deng was one of them.

Achut Deng was born in South Sudan and came to America as a refugee when she was 16. She is now an American citizen and works in human resources at a meat-packing plant in South Dakota, where she also resides. She is the mother of three sons.

Keely Hutton is a children’s book author and former English teacher. She worked closely with Ricky Richard Anywar to tell his story in her debut novel, “Soldier Boy.” Booklist named it one of the top ten first novels in 2017 and one of the top ten historical novels for youth in 2018. Her second novel – “Secret Soldiers” – was a 2020 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year and 2020 Children’s Book Council Notable Social Studies Book for Young People. Keely lives in Rochester with her husband, two sons, and adorable dog, Maximus.

This evening’s event at Author’s Note is free and open to the public. For those unable to attend, signed books can be ordered at Please contact Author’s Note for more information at (585) 798-3642.