A Family's Struggle Through the Sri Lankan Conflict
In the tradition of Maus, Persepolis, Palestine and The Breadwinner, Vanni is a graphic novel documenting the human side of the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the 'Tamil Tigers'. Told from the perspective of a single family, it takes readers through the otherwise unimaginable struggles, horrors, and life-changing decisions families and individuals are forced to make when caught up in someone else's war.
Set in Vanni, the northern region of Sri Lanka that was devastated by the civil war, this graphic novel follows the Ramachandran family as they flee their home after the 2004 tsunami and move from one displacement camp to the next, seeking an ever-elusive safe haven and struggling to keep each other alive. Inspired by Benjamin Dix's experience in working in Sri Lanka for the United Nations during the war, Vanni draws on more than four years of meticulous research, official reports, and first-hand interviews with refugees. It depicts heroic acts of kindness and horrific acts of violence, memorializing the experiences of the Tamil civilians against the forces that seek to erase their memory.
Elegantly drawn by Lindsay Pollock, this exceptionally moving graphic novel portrays the personal experiences of modern warfare, the process of forced migration and the struggles of seeking asylum in Europe.
Benjamin Dix is senior fellow at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, as well as the founder and director of the nonprofit PositiveNegatives, which produces literary comics that explore complex social and humanitarian issues.
Lindsay Pollock is senior artist at PositiveNegatives. His work has appeared on the BBC, Channel 4 and in multiple languages across Europe, Asia and Africa.