Ishmael Beah

Most Popular
23, 1980
Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone
Birth Sign
23, 1980 (age 40)
Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone


Famous for his autobiographical work A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, this writer and activist is also notable for his novel Radiance of Tomorrow.

Before Fame

At 13 he was forced into military service during the Sierra Leone Civil War of the early 1990s. With the aid of UNICEF, he escaped the terrible situation and relocated to New York City, where he graduated from the U.N. International School.


He earned a political science degree from Oberlin College in Ohio.

Family Life

He spent his childhood years in Mogbwemo, Bonthe District, Sierra Leone, and later lived in the United States with his foster parent, Laura Simms. He married Priscillia Kounkou in 2013.

Associated With

On a 2007 episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he discussed his harrowing experiences as a child soldier and his readjustment to civilian life.