NEVER FALL DOWN: A talk with Khmer Rouge survivor Arn Chorn-Pond and author Patricia McCormick
April 16, 1975: Arn Chorn is an 11-year-old boy living in a Cambodia ravaged by civil war.
April 17, 1975: The country falls to the Khmer Rouge's genocidal rule, thus beginning young Arn's fight to survive almost four years of the Killing Fields, playing music for his captors and playing child soldier to the regime.
Today, Arn Chorn-Pond is an internationally known peace activist whose story is told in Never Fall Down, the acclaimed young adult novel by journalist-turned-novelist Patricia McCormick. These guests visited the The Crawford Family Forum on Tuesday, April 16, for a moderated conversation where we talked about how the book came to be, what factors influenced its form and approach, and what impact sharing this story -- with and for people of all ages -- has had four decades after bloodshed in Cambodia first began.
*Never Fall Down is meant for mature readers (14 and up), and contains adult content, language, and violence. Discussion may include graphic descriptions.
Arn Chorn-Pond is founder of Cambodia Living Arts, an organization working to preserve Cambodia's traditional music, which would have been lost with genocide victims. As an activist, he has traveled the world with Bruce Springteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and others promoting peace through music. He is the recipient of the Reebok Human Rights and the Anne Frank Awards.
Patricia McCormick is a two-time National Book Award finalist and author of five critically-acclaimed novels including Sold, an account of sexual trafficking, which is being produced as a feature film. Her work has been named to the New York Times’ Notable Books list, Publishers Weekly’s Best Books list, NPR’s Best Books list and itunes Best Books lists.
Elaine Cha, KPCC’s associate forum producer