When Jewher Ilham’s father, Ilham Tohti, was detained at the Beijing airport in February 2013 on charges of “separatism,” Jewher had two choices: she could stay in China or fly to America alone. Jewher boarded the plane for Indiana and began a new life apart from her family and was half a world away when her father was sentenced to life in prison. Through a series of interviews with novelist Adam Braver and scholar Ashley Barton, Jewher recounted her father’s nightmare and her own transition from student to eloquent advocate for the Uyghur people. The resulting book, Jewher Ilham: A Uyghur’s Fight to Free Her Father, is an intimate, exclusive portrait that U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown calls “proof that Jewher and her people will not be silenced.”
“Jewher Ilham’s book is many things: a coming of age story about a young woman whose father knows she likes to dance, but doesn’t know how good she is at it; a recent arrival to the United States finding her way at a large university; a great cook and hostess; a loyal daughter and sister. But one enduring image from this book—of the empty seat next to her on a flight out of China that should have been occupied by her father, Ilham Tohti—isn’t just reminiscent of the empty seat for Liu Xiaobo at the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. It is a powerful reminder of the lengths Beijing will go to to silence critics through baseless charges and torment of their families, and of her and others’ thoughtful, peaceful determination to fight back against repression.” —Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch
Adam Braver is the author of five novels, most recently Misfit. His books have been translated into several languages worldwide. Braver’s short works and essays have appeared in numerous magazines. He is writer-in-residence at Roger Williams University, and also teaches at the NY State Summer Writers Institute.Ashley Barton worked as a member of the Advocacy Seminars as an undergraduate at Roger Williams University. Her advocacy work, particularly on the Ilham Tohti case, led to her being honored as a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow, a national award recognizing student leaders from undergraduate programs who create lasting change in their local and international communities. Ashley is currently in her first year of law school at Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Prior to serving in the United States Senate, Sherrod Brown served as a United States Representative for the 13th District, Ohio’s Secretary of State, a member of the Ohio General Assembly, and has taught in Ohio’s public schools and at The Ohio State University. An Eagle Scout, Brown is a native of Mansfield, Ohio, where he spent summers working on his family’s farm. He is married to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz. They reside in Cleveland, Ohio, and have three daughters, a son, both a daughter and son-in-law, two grandsons, and a granddaughter.