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Friday, 09 October 2015 (3071327)
Author who wasin Libya tells the stories of refugees
by Tom Martin

A CROSBY author who penned a book about the aftermath of the first Libyan Civil War has given a talk about his experience working in the country and speaking to refugees.

Rory O'Keeffe, a former Holy Family High School pupil, spent time in Libya and Tunisia before writing about the individual stories of the people he spoke to during his stay.

He worked in a refugee camp and interacted with local families. In doing so he found out about how they were forced to cope and survive the 2011 conflict.

Rory was at Waterloo-based Write Blend on Monday, October 12 to give a talk about his book, entitled ‘Toss of a Coin: Voices from a Modern Crisis'.

The author is a former co-editor of the Everton FC fanzine 'Gwladys Sings the Blues from 1994-97', and went on to become a journalist at a local newspaper.

He left the UK in 2011 to work in Tunisia and Libya following the first Libyan Civil War to work in communications for international aid organisations in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa.

He then penned his book and is now planning to voice his opinion in a number of talks on the international refugee crisis.

Rory said: “In ‘Toss of a Coin' refugees from across Africa and the Middle East tell their own stories in their own words.

”What they left in their homelands, the perilous journey to Libya and beyond, the Arab Spring, the Libyan Civil war, the causes of each and what they led to.

“I went out to Tunisia about two weeks before the end of the Libyan Civil War and then afterwards travelled across Libya. I wasn't particularly intending to write a book about it but I spoke to so many people and heard their life stories.

”Many people were double refugees, they had escaped from Somalia or Eritrea and made it to Libya where they either wanted to get a boat or to settle. The they had to escape the war in Libya.

“I don't know if some of the people survived but I really thought their stories deserved to be told.”


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