Evelyn Lau's memoir recounts the two years she spent living on the street after running away from home at the age of 14.

Evelyn Lau

At the age of six, Evelyn Lau already knew what she wanted from life — to be a writer. Frustrated and discouraged by her parents, who forbade her to "waste" valuable study time writing, Evelyn ran away at the age of 14. Seduced by the freedom and independence that life on the streets of Vancouver seemed to offer, she was soon trapped in a downward spiral of drug addiction and prostitution. During her two harrowing years on the street, Lau's writing ambition never left her; almost obsessively, she kept a written record of her days on the street.  (From HarperCollins Canada)

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

There is so much that I still dare to want to change. Everywhere I turn there is somebody who is innocent, who is doing good and who is being crucified for it.

I see myself going nowhere, running constantly, wishing to hide in a different personality, behind a different mask. Moving, but in circles. Trying to run away from life and from its eyesores that only the truly brave can face and attempt to change. It will go on and on: somebody being battered by rain down on Skid Row, on any street in any city, and people walking by. You give up after a while or else you go crazy.

Some people do beautiful things, once or twice in their lives, and create something for somebody else — a freedom, a glimmer of hope. Each of us measures happiness differently. If all of us could just be brought down to the lowest rung of existence, wouldn't we understand better what happiness is about?

From Runaway by Evelyn Lau ©1989. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Author interviews

Author Evelyn Lau on writing, poetry and having your life story made into a movie.