Jessica Yu with Julie Hébert

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Jessica Yu
in conversation with Julie Hébert

discussing her book,
Garden of the Lost and Abandoned:
The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves

Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404

This event is part of our Newer Voices Series.
General Admission tickets are complimentary, but we encourage you to support these newer authors and purchase their books.

 RSVP HERE  for free tickets to this event  
>>> Pre-purchasing the book includes a Reserved Seat ($27+tax)
Purchase book/Reserved Seat 
* a book signing follows the talk

In Garden of the Lost and Abandoned, Jessica Yu turns her keen filmmaker’s eye on the story of Gladys Kalibbala, a Ugandan “orphan sleuth,” who writes the Lost and Abandoned column for Uganda’s largest newspaper in an effort to reunite castaway children with their estranged families. 

Jessica Yu is a prolific filmmaker known for both her scripted and nonfiction work, which includes the Academy Award-winning short Breathing Lessons. Jessica also directs episodic TV including Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood, and most recently 13 Reasons Why. Her documentaries have focused on art, social justice, and the environment.

Julie Hébert is a writer/director of theater, film and television. Her plays have twice been honored with the PEN Award for Drama. Hébert adapted her play Ruby’s Bucket of Blood for Showtime with Angela Bassett, and her film Female Perversions, with Tilda Swinton, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at SunDance. Her 9/11 documentary, In Their Own Words, co-directed with John Wells, was honored with the George Foster Peabody Award. Hébert has written and directed for several highly regarded television series including The West Wing, ER, and American Crime. Currently, she is developing a series with Universal and working on a new play. Hébert is also the Executive Director and creative force behind Look What SHE Did!, a non- profit organization creating video interviews promoting untold stories of amazing women.

In Uganda, millions of children lack parental support, and thousands roam the streets adrift—their plight often neglected. The problem by most lights is overwhelming: at least 5,000 children live on the streets of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. Some forget the names of their villages. The youngest may not know the names of their parents. Moved by the harrowing stories of these “lost” children, Gladys Kalibbala—part journalist, part detective, part “foot soldier”—devotes the little money and time she has to her “Lost and Abandoned” column for Uganda’s largest newspaper, which features a heartrending profile of a lost child every week. While her means are humble, the indefatigable Gladys forges her own path and immerses herself in the complicated, occasionally risky circumstances she finds herself in to help these wayward children. Independently, she has sought hundreds of cases and achieved miraculous family reunions.

Jessica Yu chronicles Gladys’ journey as she travels to far-flung towns to bear the weight of these children’s tragic past and ultimately improve their lives for the better. Yu delivers an acutely observed story of this hardnosed and warmhearted woman, the children she helps, and the twists of fate they experience together. The subplot of Gladys’s garden—her precarious dream of providing a home and livelihood for her vulnerable charges—adds fascinating depth. Garden of the Lost and Abandoned chronicles one woman’s altruism, both ordinary and extraordinary, in a way that is impossible to forget, and impossible not to take to heart.