WHEN law graduate Rusty Young was backpacking through South America, fate drew him to Bolivia.
There, the trajectory of his comfortable future in Sydney was altered forever following a visit to the notorious San Pedro Prison where he met and befriended the charismatic drug smuggler Thomas McFadden.
Young remained in Bolivia to write McFadden’s story – a book that became the worldwide best seller Marching Powder.
Young comes to Mandurah this week as part of the City of Mandurah’s Writers at the Library program.
The two moved to Colombia where they taught English and when McFadden returned to the UK, Young’s love of the culture and challenges of Colombia kept him there for seven years where he was exposed to the best and worst the country had to offer.
Once he settled into the manic life of Colombia, Young met an array of people including Special Forces soldiers, snipers, undercover intelligence agents and members of two vicious terrorist organisations.
Through his interactions with them, he became aware of the plight of child soldiers and after hearing their stories, felt compelled to write Colombiano in order to highlight the shocking use of children as young as eight as soldiers in Colombia’s civil war.
His dedication to the cause was not without consequences; he had to move 11 times while in Bogota and drove a bullet proof car.
Not only a riveting coming-of-age novel, Colombiano is also an insight into the dark side of Colombia and an example of the redeeming power of love.
WHAT: Author Rusty Young.
WHERE: Mandurah Library.
WHEN: Thursday, August 10,1-2pm.
Bookings necessary on 9550 3650, light lunch included.