SUNY Canton Living Writers Series Hosts Keely Hutton Sept. 25


An author who has written a critically acclaimed novel about the Ugandan civil war will visit SUNY Canton this month as part of the popular Living Writers Series.

Keely Hutton will speak at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25 in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center’s Kingston Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

She is the author of the 2017 book “Soldier Boy,” which is based on the life of Ricky Richard Anywar, who at age fourteen was forced to fight in the guerilla army of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Years after escaping, Ricky founded the charity Friends of Orphans and has dedicated his life to assisting in the rehabilitation of other child soldiers.

"Keely Hutton has written a tremendously powerful novel about Ricky’s experience as a child soldier,” said SUNY Canton Associate Professor Phil K. LaMarche, who created the series. “In the midst of a wartime nightmare, we see young men and women struggling to maintain the faintest shreds of kindness, compassion and dignity. The book is simultaneously horrifying and heartwarming as it shows both the best and worst of human behavior. It is also an insightful lesson on how we can help individuals recover from tragedy and trauma."

Hutton, a Canton native, is a former eighth grade English teacher and recipient of the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop scholarship at Chautauqua. Since 2012, she has been working closely with Ricky to tell his story. “Soldier Boy” is a 2017 Booklist “Editors’ Choice” and was selected by the International Literacy Association as a “Notable Fiction of 2017.”

Ricky is a recipient of the Harriet Tubman Freedom Award and previously visited SUNY Canton in 2008 to tell his story of childhood slavery and discuss his charity work.

Hutton is the first of three guest speakers who will visit the college this fall. Bestselling author Mary Karr will appear Oct. 30 and writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah will be the final speaker Nov. 28. For more details, visit

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.