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A.J. Walkley

A.J. Walkley Updated July 01, 2013



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CHOICE received the Barnes and Noble Rising Star Award in 2009.

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A.J. Walkley
A.J. Walkley

Author Details

Pen Name
A.J. Walkley
Where I Live
Vuto is only 17 when her third child dies, mere days after birth.

Malawian tradition prevents men from considering a child their own until it’s lived for two weeks. Frustrated at not being able to speak to her husband, Solomon, about all three of the children she’s had to bury alone, Vuto forces him to acknowledge the dead baby. Her rejection of tradition causes Solomon and the village elders to banish Vuto from the only home she’s ever known.

Vuto seeks refuge in the hut of U.S. Peace Corps volunteer Samantha Brennan, where Solomon discovers his wife has not left as she was told, leading him to attack both women. Disregarding her oath to remain uninvolved in village politics, Samantha interjects herself into the center of the conflict, defending Vuto and killing Solomon in the process.

The women go on the run from Vuto’s village and the Peace Corps, encountering physical, ethical and cultural struggles along the way.

Vuto was inspired by A.J. Walkley’s experience in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2007.


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