Cover image for Vanni: A Family’s Struggle through the Sri Lankan Conflict Research and story by Benjamin Dix and Script and illustration by Lindsay Pollock

Vanni

A Family’s Struggle through the Sri Lankan Conflict

Research and story by Benjamin Dix, Script and illustration by Lindsay Pollock

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Was: $19.95 Now: $13.97 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08497-8

240 pages
8.75" × 8.75"
259 color illustrations
2019
Co-published with New Internationalist

Graphic Medicine

Vanni

A Family’s Struggle through the Sri Lankan Conflict

Research and story by Benjamin Dix, Script and illustration by Lindsay Pollock

“The full story of the 2009 war in Sri Lanka has largely been ignored by the global press and international society. This graphic novel is telling the story to a new audience and simultaneously telling it in new ways to the few that already knew it. This Vanni story needs to be heard in order to avoid it happening again.”

 

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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 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.

“The full story of the 2009 war in Sri Lanka has largely been ignored by the global press and international society. This graphic novel is telling the story to a new audience and simultaneously telling it in new ways to the few that already knew it. This Vanni story needs to be heard in order to avoid it happening again.”
“In following the triumphs and travails of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, Dix and Pollock communicate their message with harrowing clarity: war extends far beyond the boundaries of the battlefield.”
“The story of the 2009 war in Sri Lanka in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were brazenly and brutally killed, is rapidly being buried by powerful countries with strategic and business interests in the region. This book seeks to unbury those terrible, sordid secrets and place them in clear view for the world to see.”
“If you don’t know much about the hardships in Sri Lanka, this is an amazing primer in that the history imparted [is] not separated from personal tolls it took on those swept up in it. Altogether, Vanni is an immensely impressive, and utterly heartbreaking achievement.”
“The pictures and the narrative are so graphic that readers will not be able to forget what they have seen and read. That, of course, is Dix’s aim, and he has succeeded.”

Dr. Benjamin Dix is Senior Fellow at SOAS, 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.