'Poetically written, absorbing, harrowing' The Times
'The raw and emotional account of an optician whose family fishing trip suddenly placed him amid the human tragedy of hundreds of drowning migrants is a story that needed to be told' Fiona Wilson, The Times
'An important book ... I cried all the way through' Tracy Chevalier
From an award-winning BBC journalist, this moving book turns the testimony of an accidental hero into a timeless story about human fellowship and the awakening of courage and conscience.
'I can hardly begin to describe to you what I saw as our boat approached the source of that terrible noise. I hardly want to. You won't understand because you weren't there. You can't understand. You see, I thought I'd heard seagulls screeching. Seagulls fighting over a lucky catch. Birds. Just birds.'
Emma-Jane Kirby has reported extensively on the reality of mass migration today. In The Optician of Lampedusa she brings to life the moving testimony of an ordinary man whose late summer boat trip off a Sicilian island unexpectedly turns into a tragic rescue mission.
Emma-Jane Kirby is a broadcast journalist who has reported extensively on international affairs, from Brussels to Afghanistan. She won the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents for her report 'The Optician of Lampedusa', on which this book is based.