Wednesday 17th April 2024
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Prisoner #1056 by Canadian Tamil Roy Ratnavel

Roy Ratnavel’s incredible journey begins when he was 17, taken by government soldiers to a prison camp for no reason other than guilty of being Tamil.

He was tortured for two months, until he was able to get word out to a family friend-a colonel in the Sri Lankan army. ‘Uncle’ Fernando was able to rescue Ratnavel from the camp and return the bruised, bloodied boy to his family.

Ratnavel’s father understood that there was no future for his son in Sri Lanka. He sought refuge for his son in Canada. When the consular immigration officer asked for proof that the boy faced danger in his homeland, Roy simply lifted his shirt to show the man his raw scars.

It wasn’t long before Ratnavel was on a plane. His father was shot two days later. To repay the debt he owed to his hero of a father, Ratnavel was determined to find the bright future that had been envisioned for him. He went to night school, worked three jobs at a time, and lived in tiny apartments with four roommates.

He persevered, and he hustled. He accepted no charity, even from relatives, but he made the most of the opportunities set in his path and the mentorship offered by those Canadians who recognized his work ethic.

Prisoner #1056 is not only a hugely moving immigrant success story and a searing account of overcoming unimaginable injustice and trauma-it is a passionate narrative of determination, and of finding a way to thrive in the darkest of circumstances.

Roy is in the UK this September to launch the book and share his story of pain, resilience and success.

Click here for event details.