College selects another memoir by Loung Ung ’93 for book award program

'Lulu in the Sky' -- last title in acclaimed alumna's biographical trilogy -- tells of her years studying at Saint MIchael's and beyond

March 24, 2021
Staff report

Loung UngSaint Michael’s College has selected another biographical novel from award-winning author and human rights activist Loung Ung to serve as the SMC Book Award for Academic Achievement and Social Conscience. Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing and Double Happiness will be awarded to high school juniors throughout the United States and internationally who exhibit strong academic success and community service involvement.

Lulu in the Sky is the third installment of Ung’s biographical trilogy and details her experience as a student at Saint Michael’s in the early 1990s and her post-graduate adulthood. She captures the emotional struggles of reconciling the horrors she experienced as an orphaned child soldier during the Khmer Rouge genocide. The novel is a follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, which was the SMC Book Award selection for many years, and her second novel, Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister she Left Behind.

As a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, Ung chronicles her difficult assimilation to life as a young refugee in Vermont and later at Saint Michael’s, and her path from darkness, anger and depression to the redemptive power of love and an empowering call to activism. With the selection of Lulu in the Sky, Saint Michael’s hopes to inspire high school recipients with its core values of peace, social and racial justice, and service to others.

A 1993 Saint Michael’s College graduate, Ung has served as a national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World, and is a world-renowned and widely-sought human rights activist and lecturer. With her dear friend, actor Angelina Jolie, Ung co-wrote the screenplay for First They Killed My Father, a 2017 Netflix feature film based on her devastating memoir.

Lulu cover

Ung has generously given back to her alma mater in many ways since her days as a student, and has spoken at numerous campus community events, including as the first alumni author and host of an upcoming SMC Reads book club event this May. The College awarded her an honorary degree in 2017.

For more information on the Saint Michael’s College Book Award, please visit: Recipients of the renewable, four-year Book Award scholarship are eligible for $16,000 to full tuition. For more on Loung Ung, please visit:

Follow us on social.