Tom Stranger

Tom Stranger (b. 1978) is based in Sydney, Australia. He has worked in both the Youth and Outdoor Recreation Sector since completing his Bachelor of Social Science in 2002. He also holds Certificate III and IV in Youth Work and has recently completed a Master of Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.

Tom will be donating any profits he receives to a women's shelter in Reykjavik, and will not profit from his involvement in South of Forgiveness.

Photo: Private

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South of Forgiveness

It wasn’t without fear that Thordis Elva kissed her three-year-old son and her loving partner goodbye before boarding a plane in Reykjavik, Iceland on March 27, 2013. The aim was to fly across the planet to meet up with the man who raped her when she was sixteen – and forgive him.

Meanwhile in Sydney, Australia; Tom Stranger, nervously boarded a plane, wondering if he was worthy of this meeting. Is healing possible if you can’t fathom forgiving yourself?

This journey was not planned in haste. It was the careful result of a written correspondence that had lasted eight years. After covering hundreds of letters with searing honesty in a dialogue between survivor and perpetrator, they decided it was time to see each other face to face.

Coming from opposite sides of the globe, their destination was literally middle ground; which happened to be Cape Town, South Africa, known as the “rape capital of the world” due to endemic levels of sexual violence. It’s a country deeply scarred by apartheid, bravely seeking to heal the wounds from its past. A powerful backdrop, where their lives will be permanently changed.

The story is a non-fiction narrative written under full names and credentials in a unique collaboration between survivor and perpetrator equally committed to shedding light into the dark corners of humanity. It’s a true story about being bent but not broken, of facing fear with courage and finding hope even in the most wounded of places.

Thordis Elva & Tom Stranger

Original title:
South of Forgiveness

February 2017


Original publisher:

Reading material:
Swedish and English manuscript (final)

305 pp.

France/Editions Nova
Germany/Droemer Knaur
Japan/Harper Collins JP
Poland/Czarna Owca
South Korea/Chaek-Se-Sang


“Hats off to Elva and Stranger for a brave journey that might well change lives.”



“A book written with great empathy and the authors’ courage is remarkable.”