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Shoba. The Journey of a Refugee (Shoba Itinéraire d’un réfugié)



Original Language: French | 128 pp. | August 2017

2 Seas Represents: World rights excl. French.


Life before Dheepan

In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and Tamil populations are trying to live together side by side. In 1972, a new government comes into power and gives all the rights to the Sinhalese. Civil war ravages the country. Like thousands of young Tamils, Anthonythasan, nicknamed ‘Shoba’, leaves his family to take up arms and join the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). But he is quickly disillusioned. The militants are trapped in a spiral of violence, taking civilians hostage. But can you leave the militants and return to a normal life? Persecuted by his former comrades, Shoba resigns himself to exile.

From the shores of Velanai Island to the city of Paris, via the streets of Hong Kong and the prisons of Bangkok, this book recounts the journey of a Sri Lankan refugee, simultaneously in love with his country and in search of a safe haven.


  • An inside story: an unembellished first-hand report of his enrolment in the LTTE, experience of people smuggling and the obstacles he overcame to survive;
  • A little-known subject: the Sri Lankan Civil War and its impact on freedom;
  • Preface by the President of the High Commissioner for Refugees;
  • Presented online and to teachers for school reading list;
  • A celebrity author: played the leading role in Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan (Palme d’or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival).

Antonythasan Jesuthasan is a Tamil writer and actor, born in Sri Lanka in 1967. He played the leading role in Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan (Palme d’or at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival).

Clémentine Baron is a journalist and author. She edited the story collection Les oiseaux migrateurs : témoignages de migrants (Migratory birds: migrants’ stories, L’Harmattan, 2017).