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May 4, 2012

Loung Ung

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome author, lecturer, and human rights activist LOUNG UNG for a discussion of her new memoir, Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing, and Double Happiness.


Concluding the trilogy that started with her bestselling memoir, First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung illuminates her struggle to reconcile with her past while moving forward toward happiness. When readers first met Ung in First They Killed My Father, she was a young, innocent child in Cambodia. But forced by the Khmer Rouge into the life of a child soldier, she soon found herself locked in a desperate struggle for survival in Cambodia's notorious killing fields. In Lucky Child, her life took a turn. As a refugee in Vermont, she grappled with post-traumatic stress, cultural assimilation roadblocks, and the abandonment of her sister in Cambodia. 

Now, Lulu in the Sky tells the next chapter in Ung's life, revealing her daily struggle to keep darkness and depression at bay while she attends college and falls in love with Mark Priemer, a Midwestern archetype of American optimism. Lulu in the Sky is the story of Ung's tentative steps into love, activism, and marriage—a journey that takes her to a Cambodian village to reconnect with her mother's spirit, to a vocation focused on healing the landscape of her birth, and to the patience and unconditional support of a very special man.

About Author(s)

Loung Ung was 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge stormed into her native city of Phnom Penh. Four years later, in one of the bloodiest episodes of the 20th century, some two million Cambodians – out of a population of seven million – had died at the hands of the infamous Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime. Among the genocide victims were both Loung’s parents, two sisters, and 20 other relatives.  As an author, lecturer, and activist, she has dedicated 20 years to promoting equality, human rights, and justice in her native land and worldwide. 

Her memoir, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, was a national bestseller and recipient of the 2001 Asian/Pacific American Librarians’ Association award for Excellence in Adult Non-fiction Literature. Her second book, Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind, was published by HarperCollins in 2005. Both titles are widely used in high schools, colleges, and community reading programs. She has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, London Sunday Times, Glamour, and more. Loung has also appeared on numerous televisions and radio shows, including CNN International, Talk of the Nation, Weekend Edition, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and The Today Show.