Arts and Culture

South Sudanese author of the Trifles publishes a second novel


Calgary, AB, Canada – South Sudanese author of Trifles, Kuir ë Garang, has just published a second novel, Pipers and the First Phase. From refugee to poet, author and publisher, Kuir has become a fearless literary mind. He engages readers in not only the daily horrors of the African child in the constant state of fear and trauma of war, but also, on the philosophical reasons underlying the perception of the outside eyes on the African child. He also indulges the reader in tense, witty dialogues and plots that unnerve yet inform the reader.

With a strong background in philosophy, Kuir ë Garang writes unconventionally, poetically and philosophically, however, he puts that combination into enjoyable and witty dialogues and engaging plot that keep the readers wanting more and hooked to the end.

In The Pipers, Kuir presents the socio-economic, socio-political, orchestrated economic dependency and the non-African perception of the ‘African Person’ in a manner few readers do find in the contemporary fiction.  Anyone who reads this novel will find him or herself both challenged and provoked into critical thinking.

Political blackmail and greed, Capital Opportunism and Racial Assumptions in and about Africa will engage the reader from the first sentence of the book. The average reader will see, through the eyes of Little Michael and Christopher Fox, what it means to be a poor-and-taken-for-granted human being. The wealthy readers will see, through Isaac Burns, why their wealth acquisition might drive some people into destitution without them directly knowing; or through callous indifference.


Kuir ë Garang is also the author of Trifles (novel) and Carcass Valley (Poetry).  Kuir lived as a refugee in Ethiopia and Kenya before settling in Canada. He holds a degree in Philosophy from McGill University in Montreal.

Title:  The Pipers and the First Phase

Publication Date:  Aug 31 2012

Publisher:  The Nile Press

ISBN/EAN13:  0991678907 / 9780991678907

Page Count:  444

Binding Type:   Trade Paper

Trim Size: 6" x 9"

Language:  English

Color:  Black and White

Related Categories:  Fiction / Political


For more information about the The Pipers and the First Phase: visit or

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Reliving multiculturalism in Canada from a South Sudanese immigrant perspective: A book review

 “You can only know the best of people if you come close to them.” - Adut, one of the main characters in the book.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada  - Do you wonder why your children choose the kinds of friends they choose? Do you wonder why they are sometimes defiant? Do you think your children go too far in relating to children or people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds? If you wonder, you may be interested in reading Trifles, a fiction novel about parenting in a multicultural society. The book was written and published in 2010 by Kuir e Garang, a South Sudanese Canadian author, poet and musician.

45998Trifles features two main characters: Adut, 10, and Angelina, 10, that Kuir describes as having a friendship which defies “sanity, reality.” Angelina is a daughter of European Canadians, Oliver and Jacqueline. Adut’s parents are South Sudanese Canadians, Ayen and Kuot. (Ayen came to Canada as a widow after her husband was killed by Khartoum Security Forces in the Sudan. In Canada, she got into a relationship with Kuot, one of a group of young South Sudanese sent to Cuba in the 1980s, and had baby Adut before they got separated).

 Angelina is epitomized by her parents as a “beloved defiance” and “sweet trouble,” who “needs taming.” Kuir describes her as a “bad chick to nestle for a daughter in North America.” Her defiance is shown “in her wordings, her dressing, the arrangement of furniture in her room, and more so, in the colors of everything she owned.”

A father of a four year old daughter himself, Kuir has a knack for portraying arrogant and know-it-all parenting attitude as shown when Oliver condescendingly tells his daughter off:

“It depends on who makes you the face, Angelina. There are things we can be wrong about, but there are things we get right without our having to think about them. It is what you have to know. This is life and it is a matter of time before you scream: daddy, you were right.”

This was in reference to Angelina’s emphasis on the importance of knowing people first instead of stereotyping them. Ayen, on the other hand, believes her children were not good because they see “the world differently, radically, and fearlessly.”

It is common in most societies that older generations do not often approve of the ways of the younger generation. But sometimes, some members of older generation think forward. As a reader, you will find some elements of such thinking too in Trifles, which you may also relate with.

Kuir treats his readers to a riveting taste of parenting in multicultural Canada from a standpoint of someone who has worked as an in-school settlement worker in Calgary dealing with immigrant parents and their kids. Having experienced life as an immigrant in Canada myself, I personally connect with most of what Kuir has written in Trifles. Sometimes I have thought multiculturalism exists in theory because in real sense, it is supposed to be discussed on our dinner tables and instilled in our children so that they grow up to be responsible adults who cannot only understand and respect but also become friends with people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. A European Canadian friend of mine told me one time that his mom swore to kill herself if he brought home a non-European Canadian girlfriend. I told him the same that I was advised when I moved to Canada to marry only from my own community. Although Canada is well known for embracing multiculturalism, it is still very common for people from similar backgrounds to relate to each other. Anyone who goes beyond this comfort zone and be friends with people from different racial backgrounds can sometimes be branded by peers as a “loser.” Kuir has portrayed this through Angelina, who has been branded by her European Canadian peers as a loser for being friends with Adut, a daughter of black immigrant parents from South Sudan.

Kuir relives these experiences in Trifles in a way no other author has done before. A graduate of McGill University in Montreal, Canada with a philosophy degree, Kuir has blended in thoughtful philosophical ingredients with practical life experience in multicultural Canada. Trifles is a great book for people who want to understand and improve the concept of multiculturalism in this ethnically and racially diverse world. It is part real life experience, part philosophy, part literature and part daily life of an ordinary family in a multicultural setting. It is well written in simple English with some philosophical taste to it.

I believe anyone who will not read it will miss out in understanding how difficult it is to raise kids not only in multicultural Canada but also in multicultural societies worldwide. Kuir is as effective in communicating his experience in living and raising children in multicultural Canada. He mixes western view with an African perspective in a typical multicultural fashion. In this way, we see Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela being symbolically mentioned. Even John Garang, an iconic South Sudanese liberation leader, who may be less known to most Canadian readers than Mandela and King, is also featured in the book.

I think Kuir wants his readers to learn that multiculturalism isn’t only about the food we eat or the clothes we wear. It is more about how we understand and relate to each other as Adut says: “you can only know the best of people if you come close to them.” I also think Kuir wants his readers to learn that parenting in a multicultural society is about teaching our children to learn from each other’s way of doing things by embracing and accepting each other’s culture as shown by Angelina and Adut.

Although it is set in Canada, lessons in Trifles can be applicable in any given society as we now live in an ethnically and racially diverse world. Most of us are parents, uncles and aunts. Grab it, get entertained and learn one or two about the challenges and the thrill of raising children in our ethnically and racially diverse world!

Kuir has also published Carcass Valley, a poetry anthology, and has written five manuscripts waiting for publication.

Nhial Tiitmamer has a background in Sustainable Energy, Environmental Studies and English Literature from Universities of Alberta and Calgary in Canada. He can be reached through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



 In Trifles, author Kuir ë Garang shows us parenting from a perspective that many who are born in North America may not consider: multiculturalism. That is, parents who want the best for their children in their new country, and who seek to embrace new traditions, but who also struggle with keeping alive the established traditions of their homeland. This is difficult for parents who have emigrated and are raising their children here. As for the children, it can seem quite overwhelming, as they are born into a multicultural society and must strive to fit in, while on the other hand, their parents find it important to teach them the ways of their homeland.45998

Consider the main character of the book, Angelina, and her family: Father Oliver and Mother Jacqueline. We see early on that Angelina is a child who is prone to speaking her mind and asking things that we, as adults, may consider odd or downright uncomfortable. In fact, Angelina, it seems, speaks as one much older than her tender years. This, of course, has her father trying to understand exactly why she is this way.

What makes this book unique is that we are made to feel a part of the family from the opening chapter. It deftly weaves the family’s history around a present day narrative. Authentically written, the reader feels as though he/she is actually there, whether it is at the breakfast table, with Angelina being tutored, or even in conversation with Angelina and her tutors. The author’s style is very relaxed and successfully draws the reader into the story, and while there are several larger issues at play (school troubles, police involvement, sudden illness), the story is grounded with the more mundane side of things, such as a family breakfast for instance.

This allows the reader to identify with the family, as everyone has had these experiences. Finally, Trifles is written in such a way that anyone can pick it up and immediately be drawn into the story—anticipating each subsequent scene.


Kuir ë Garang is also the author of poetry book, Carcass Valley, and the upcoming poetry book, Despotic Exegesis. For more information about the author and his books, visit
















BOOK REVIEW: Presenting strong family values with sound philosophical and multicultural edge

TriflesTrifles (Novel) by Kuir ë Garang

Publish America

pp. 390


    When I first got Trifles, I did not intend to read the entire book. Instead, I wanted to scan through it quickly and get back to my hectic schedule. That was not to be however, because the moment I read the Introduction, I was tempted to read Chapter One, then Chapter Two, then Chapter Three, etc. This was so because the flow of ideas in the book is so vivid, fascinating and inspiring that one is compelled to read it through to the very end. But it is not just how well written it is or the use of creative literary techniques in it that makes the book so captivating. Indeed Trifles is unique for a number of reasons.

First, the intimate interactions between the two families – one white and another black — beautifully and realistically portray the true values of modern Canada as a multicultural society. In this vein, the level of mutual trust, wisdom and authentic display of both faltering and resilient human attributes represented by the two families, with such a polarity of racial and cultural backgrounds, find striking similarities in a reader’s daily experience and human dispositions. Furthermore, their common adoration for Mandela, King and Ghandi as well as Kennedy indisputably demonstrates that even though we may look different or follow different creeds, our common human aspirations, and desires for ideal models of perfection, are congruently similar.

Second, the book brings out the Author’s great family values, profound intellect and personal weltanschauung as well as his academic orientation: his deep-seated philosophical thought, scientific knowledge and poetic sentiments. Yet these ideas are written in so ordinary a language that even anyone without any backgrounds in these areas will find the book utterly irresistible.

Lastly, the author’s choice of females as main characters, women that outshine their male counterparts in wisdom and intellect at every single encounter, is one that clearly strikes a chord with a reader. The wealth of intelligence shown by Adut and Angelina, as opposed to that of their elder brothers, Chol and Jimmy, for instance, notwithstanding their ages, is a theme that resonates resoundingly with the contemporary environment in which women are no longer passive recipients of the “goodwill” of their male counterparts. Instead, Trifles appropriately shows women as active participants in the process of shaping the destiny of their societies.

In general, not only is Trifles a good read, in fact those who deeply believe in the significance of decent families will consider Trifles as an immortal family Moral Code.

*Reviewed by Santino Mabek Dau. Mr. Dau is a Law student in University of Ottawa. For more about the book, visit

Lost boys of Sudan fill in the blanks of their past

lost_boys_of_sudanPHOENIX — It has been 10 years since Malek Deng and thousands of other young men known as the Lost Boys of Sudan left war behind for new lives in the United States. But a new digital archive of their refugee records is taking Mr. Deng and the others back to the harrowing days of their youth.lbr-med

Sitting in a community center in Phoenix, where thousands of Sudanese refugees have resettled, Mr. Deng recently examined documents about his war-torn childhood that he had never seen. They were based on an interview that field workers with the Swedish branch of Save the Children International conducted with him in 1989 at a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He was just a scared boy of about 14 at the time.

The papers said he was born in a village called Thur Kuol in the Bahr al-Gazal region of southwestern Sudan. The documents listed Mr. Deng’s relatives and recounted how he tended cattle before civil war drove him from his family. He had explained to the interviewers that he fled with other Lost Boys to avoid being kidnapped by soldiers from northern Sudan.

“It’s amazing to see,” said an emotional Mr. Deng, now a medical technician in his mid-30s who lives in Phoenix. “It’s proof of my past. In my head, I knew what I went through. I can tell people verbally, but now I have some records to prove it.”

Attached to the eight pages of interview notes is a grainy photo of a young Mr. Deng at the Pinyudo refugee camp in Ethiopia, which was one stop on his long journey to a new life in the United States. It is his only photograph from that traumatic time.

“Back then, I was just living day to day,” Mr. Deng said. “I got malaria. I had diarrhea. I missed my family. I didn’t want to be suffering so much.”

The records from this childhood were nearly destroyed. But an American researcher, Kirk Felsman, recovered them in 2004 from a warehouse in Ethiopia. Eventually, the documents were scanned and turned over in digital form to the AZ Lost Boys Center in Phoenix, where about 600 of the Lost Boys now live. A group of volunteers worked to organize the documents in a way that makes them easy to search.

These personal war histories can now be ordered at a Web site ( that has received thousands of hits from countries around the world. Requests for the records have come in by the hundreds in recent weeks.

Reading them is not easy for those involved.

“When I read it, it brings me back to that time,” said one of the Lost Boys, Diing Arok, who works as a traffic engineer and is in his early 30s, his exact birthday unknown. “I can still see the faces of the relatives I listed. I listed that I had had measles, and I remember how awful I felt.”

His records list exhaustion, injury, hunger and thirst as some of the challenges he faced on his long trek from his village.

Such reminders, although difficult, are a healthy part of addressing the trauma that has haunted the Lost Boys, say those who work with them.lost-boys

“They like to keep their stories inside,” said Brenda Felldin, a board member at the AZ Lost Boys Center. “It is therapeutic for them to see their personal histories written down.”

Ann Wheat, founder of the center, added: “For these guys to recover, to heal and to make it in this new, bewildering country, they have to confront the past and also embrace their cultures. Healing comes not from ignoring the trauma, but also looking back at it and shedding tears.”

She and Ms. Felldin mentioned another potential benefit for the Lost Boys: reconnecting with their relatives. Although they have often been labeled as war orphans, some Lost Boys have been able to find their families since the fighting ended under the terms of a 2005 peace agreement, and others hope to do so now that people are rebuilding the region.

Even those whose relatives were among the staggering number who died in the war hope to return to the country one day, to see where they came from and, in some cases, to help the destitute region recover. In January, a referendum is scheduled in southern Sudan to decide whether it should secede and declare independence. Phoenix will be among the handful of voting sites in the United States for Sudanese refugees who want a say in their country’s future.

In the meantime, they are remembering their pasts.

“This photo is all I have of my childhood,” Kuol Awan, executive director of the AZ Lost Boys Center and a refugee himself, said as he gazed at a snapshot taken when he was about 15. “I can show this to my grandchildren one day when I tell them stories about my life.”