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Deng Adut is a writer and lawyer and the NSW Australian of the Year for 2017. A former child soldier in Sudan, he came to Australia as a refugee aged 14. Having never been to school, he taught himself to read, write and speak English, and went on to win a scholarship to study law in 2005. He now has his own law practice with offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown and Redfern, and he spends much of his free time working with disenfranchised youth and refugees.

Deng gave the 2016 Australia Day Address, and was painted for the 2016 Archibald Prize by Nick Stathopoulos (whose portrait of Deng won the People’s Choice award). Deng’s memoir Songs of a War Boy was written with Ben Mckelvey.