While the Sun Is Above Us

by Melanie Schnell

April 2012
6 x 9 paper 240 pages
CDN $21.95 | US $21.95

Buy While The Sun Is Above Us now

Also available as an ebook:
Kobo • Kindle • iBooks • All Lit Up
Google Play • Nook • Broadview

Winner of the Regina Book Award and the Saskatchewan First Book Award
Finalist for the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award and Fiction Award

It is too difficult to release this war from our blood, when it long ago shaped who we are, how we live, how we move, how we breathe. Blood has filled this earth up; it has made God angry. We must be forgiven or nothing will change.

While the Sun Is Above Us takes readers deep into the extraordinary world of Sudan through the intertwined narratives of two women. In the midst of a bloody civil war, Adut is brutally captured and held as a slave for eight years. Sandra, fleeing her life in Canada, travels to South Sudan as an aid worker but soon finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a violent local conflict. When chance brings Adut and Sandra together in a brief but profound moment, their lives change forever.

In captivating prose, Melanie Schnell offers imaginative insight into the lives of innocents in a land at war, rendering horrific experiences with exquisite clarity. While the Sun Is Above Us explores the immense power of the imagination, the human desire for connection, and the endurance of hope.

“Schnell’s prose is transparent and true, and her voice is haunting, full of emotional clout. Hers are characters made of flesh and blood—they are brave, vulnerable, strong and, ultimately, alive with hope.”—Lisa Moore

 “An urgent and powerful story about two women speaking to each other across every imaginable divide. This is a story that needs to be told!”—Buffy Cram, author of Radio Belly


Download a Reading Guide and glossary for this book!



Interview with SOHL Connection (Saskatchewan Organization for Heritage Languages), June 11, 2013.

While the Sun Is Above Us, by Melanie Schnell,” Proto Libro, March 18, 2013.

Lampman’s Melanie Schnell receives high praise for debut novel While the Sun Is Above Us, shortlisted for four Saskatchewan Book Awards,” Estevan Mercury, March 6, 2013.

While the Sun Is Above Us by Melanie Schnell,” Giraffe Days, February 27, 2013.

“February Book Reviews,” Global Television (Regina), February 5, 2013.

“While the Sun Is Above Us: Melanie Schnell,” Pages and Patches, February 5, 2013.

“Author captures Sudanese conflict in debut novel,” QC, January 16, 2013.

“Reaching Out: Debut novel sheds new light on African war,” Prairie Books Now, Summer 2012.

While the Sun Is Above Us,” Prairie Fire Review of Books, 2012.

“Schnell offers a glimpse into Sudan,” Sask Lifestyles, August 31, 2012.

“Lampman native explores Sudan in new novel,” Estevan Mercury, August 20, 2012.

While the Sun Is Above Us by Melanie Schnell,” The Winnipeg Review, August 8, 2012.

Author’s London connection to Sudan helped bring her first novel to life,” London Community News, July 24, 2012.

Melanie Schnell on Volunteering During the Second Sudanese Civil War,” The 49th Shelf, July 24, 2012.

Sudan’s ‘friendliness’ reminds local author of Saskatchewan,” Metro, July 16, 2012.

While the Sun Is Above Us, by Melanie Schnell,” Globe and Mail, June 27, 2012.

Sudan inspires Schnell to write her first novel,” Lifestyles, May 4, 2012.

Sudanese slave ‘spoke’ to Regina novelist,” Calgary Herald, April 18, 2012.

Interview with Melanie Schnell,” Global Television (Regina), April 18, 2012.