My Fourth Time, We Drowned: Seeking Refuge on the World’s Deadliest Migration Route

By Sally Hayden




‘The most important work of contemporary reporting I have ever read’ SALLY ROONEY

The Western world has turned its back on refugees, fuelling one of the most devastating human rights disasters in history.

In August 2018, Sally Hayden received a Facebook message. ‘Hi sister Sally, we need your help,’ it read. ‘We are under bad condition in Libya prison. If you have time, I will tell you all the story.’ More messages followed from more refugees. They told stories of enslavement and trafficking, torture and murder, tuberculosis and sexual abuse. And they revealed something else: that they were all incarcerated as a direct result of European policy.

From there began a staggering investigation into the migrant crisis across North Africa. This book follows the shocking experiences of refugees seeking sanctuary, but it also surveys the bigger picture: the negligence of NGOs and corruption within the United Nations. The economics of the twenty-first-century slave trade and the EU’s bankrolling of Libyan militias. The trials of people smugglers, the frustrations of aid workers, the loopholes refugees seek out and the role of social media in crowdfunding ransoms. Who was accountable for the abuse? Where were the people finding solutions? Why wasn’t it being widely reported?

At its heart, this is a book about people who have made unimaginable choices, risking everything to survive in a system that wants them to be silent and disappear.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 31 Mar 2022
Pages: 512
ISBN: 978-0-00-844557-7
Sally Hayden is an award-winning journalist and photographer focused on migration, conflict and humanitarian crises.Her first book, My Fourth Time, We Drowned, won the 2022 Orwell Prize, Michel Deon Prize, Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the Irish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford.She is currently the Africa correspondent for the Irish Times, and has also worked with VICE News, CNN International, the Financial Times, TIME, BBC, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New York Times, Channel 4 News, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera and Newsweek, among others.A law graduate with an MSc in international politics, she has twice sat on the committee deciding the winner of Transparency International\'s Anti-Corruption Award. In 2019, she was included on the Forbes \'30 Under 30\' list of media in Europe.

‘Journalism of the most urgent kind’Financial Times -

‘The triumph of the book is to inject a renewed urgency and moral clarity into a story most people think they are familiar with’The Times -

‘[A] devastating, moving and damning account of one of the tragedies of our age … Hayden never flinches in documenting human nature at its worst - its best is shown here, too’Irish Independent -

‘The most important work of contemporary reporting I have ever read … I hope that Sally Hayden's work can help to begin a radically new and overdue discussion about Europe's approach to migration and borders’Sally Rooney -

‘Brilliant, hugely important reportage on the ongoing situation many of us try to tune out’Marian Keyes -

‘What a devastating book about the catastrophic inhumanity of European migration policy. It’s a journalistic masterpiece. Shattering stories. It absolutely demands to be read … Essential’Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers -

‘Extremely good’Mark O’Connell, author of Notes from an Apocalypse -

‘Compassionate, brave, enraging, beautifully written and incredibly well researched. Hayden exposes the truth’Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland -

‘One of the most important testaments of this awful time in life's history. It is both heartbreaking and stoic’Edna O'Brien, author of The Little Red Chairs -

‘This vivid chronicle … may make you cry, but it should make you angry … A blistering rebuke’Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor of Channel 4 News -

‘A veritable masterclass in journalism … The most riveting, detailed and damning account ever written on the deadliest of migration routes’Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent of the Sunday Times -

‘Heart-stopping … A vital book for anyone who wants to feel what it means to be human in the 21st century’Fintan O’Toole, author of We Don’t Know Ourselves -