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Time & Date



42 King Street
Newtown, NSW 2042


Come along and hear Rusty Young discuss his experiences in South America, his time in Colombia and a cause close to his heart, presented by Better Read Than Dead.

When Rusty Young was backpacking through South America, fate drew him to Bolivia and the notorious San Pedro Prison where he met and befriended the charismatic drug-smuggler Thomas McFadden. He remained in Bolivia to write Thomas’ story – a book that became the worldwide bestseller Marching Powder. After its publication he moved to Colombia where he was exposed to the very best and very worst the country had to offer.

Of Rusty’s seven years living in Colombia, four were spent working for the US government in counter-terrorism. He was part of a team that trained local police, military and SWAT teams in kidnapping response and hostage rescue. At the time, Colombia had an average of 8 kidnappings a day. It was a role fraught with danger and Rusty moved house 11 times, drove a bulletproof vehicle and kept his true work completely secret.

Rusty’s job brought him into contact with an array of people: special forces soldiers, snipers, undercover intelligence agents and members of two vicious terrorist organisations – the FARC and Autodefensas. Through his interactions with them he became aware of the plight of child soldiers. After interviewing many of these children and hearing their stories, he felt compelled to write Colombiano, in order to highlight the shocking use of children as young as 8 as soliders in Colombia's civil war.

Colombiano is Rusty's first novel, and is an epic tale of rural villages held to ransom, of jungle drug labs, cocaine supermarkets, witch doctors and buried millions, of innocent teenage love, barbaric torture and meticulously planned revenge.

Superbly told and by turns gripping, poignant and darkly comic, Colombiano is the remarkable story of a boy whose moral descent becomes a metaphor for the corruption of an entire nation. Both blockbuster thriller and electrifying coming-of-age story, Rusty Young’s powerful novel is also a meditation on the redeeming power of love.


Bookings Essential

Tickets are $5, or $32.99 for entry and a copy of Colombiano.


Colombiano Rusty Young

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