Born in South Sudan, Emmanuel Jal was the victim of extreme violence and trauma during the civil war. Trying to escape to Ethiopia, Jal, along with many other children, was recruited to fight as a child soldier. Having borne witness to atrocities committed against his family and community, Jal remembers the desire for revenge that captured his young heart. 

Jal was eventually rescued by young British aid worker Emma McCune, who smuggled him into Kenya. Now successful recording artist, Jal's new book My Life is Art: 11 Pillars for a Positive and Purposeful Life is our Welldoing Book of the Month for December. 

Part memoir, part self-help, the book covers the practices and philosophies that have helped Jal on his own journey of recovery from the trauma that left him deeply scarred. "I didn't know what trauma was until I came to Kenya. When you're in a survival state, when there's constantly something that wants to take your life – your body has no time to process it, as you run from one place to another. So when I came to Kenya, I would have flashbacks in the day, and nightmares in the night."

Jal called his book My Life is Art to encourage himself – and others – to see their life as a work in process, where you can take ownership over your narrative despite the hardships that you may have endured, and become a force for good in the world. "My privilege now, is my experience. If someone told you there's a pill you can swallow, and every negative thing you've ever experienced can be wiped from your memory – you wouldn't take it, because that's your wisdom."

Watch our interview with Emmanuel Jal here:

Emmanuel Jal is the author of My Life is Art, our Welldoing Book of the Month for December

See our previous Book of the Month winners here