Mawi Asgedom self-published his memoir,
Of Beetles and Angels. The book told the story of his journey from
war-torn Ethiopia at age three to a refugee camp in Sudan, then to a childhood
on welfare in an American suburb, and eventually to triumph as a Harvard
graduate, where he gave the commencement address in 1999.
In 2001, he sold rights to that book and The Code (featuring
advice for teenagers drawn from his motivational speeches), to Megan Tingley for
six figures. As his agent, he relied on Mary Yockey, trade buyer for Anderson's
Bookshops, in Naperville, Illinois. Asgedom met Yockey while doing an author
event at the bookstore. His sale was Yockey's first as an agent.
Below is his story as told on his web site:
Mawi Asgedom survived civil war in Ethiopia, a refugee camp in
the Sudan and overcame welfare in the U.S. to earn a scholarship to Harvard and
establish himself as America’s leading authority on teen success.
Mawi is the author and creator of the most uplifting line of teen success
products ever produced. His first book, Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s
Remarkable Journey From a Refugee Camp to Harvard, has won awards from both
the American Library Association and the Social Studies Council of America.
Rounding out his book line are The Code: The 5 Secrets of Teen Success
and Win the Inner Battle: The Ultimate Teen Leadership Journal, both used
by Time Warner as the cornerstone of their national mentoring program, “Time to
His 3 books have sold over 100,000 copies and are used by schools across North
America. In October 2004, he released the nation’s first teen-success CD Set,
Nothing Is Impossible: The Ultimate Teen Success CDs.
In addition to writing and recording, Mawi has spoken to a quarter of a million
students in 25 states. He has hosted a year-long teen series on PBS Chicago as
well as appeared on Oprah.
Check out Mawi's fun bio at: