africa


Flame Trees of Thicka DVD cover

Elspeth Huxley

There is nowhere better to experience the authentic african experience at the turn of the 20th century than in the books of Elspeth Joscelin Huxley (née Grant). She was born of Scottish parents in London, July 23, 1907and died January 10, 1997. Homeschooled by her parents who went to Kenya to become coffee planters when she was five, she started her literary career by secretly publishing articles in newspapers when she was 10 - 11 and went on to be one of the great literary figures of colonial Africa, a broadcaster, colonial officer, environmentalist and government advisor. She is best known for her delightful works, The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood ( Available from Amazon), and The Mottled Lizard, both based on her experiences growing up in Colonial Kenya before and after the first World War, respectively. Material from these two works was combined together and adapted for television by ITV under the title The Flame Trees of Thika Starring Holly Aird, Hayley Mills, and Ben Cross (available on DVD). Still Elspeth Grant at the time, she wrote these later under her married name, Huxley, after marrying the brother of author Aldous Huxley)

She left Africa at the age of 18 to study in England and the United States of America but returned to Africa many times.

Elspeth Jocelyn Grant Huxley published White man's country: Lord Delamere and the making of Kenya - a biography of the famous settler, The Sorcerer's Apprentice - A Journey through Africa, and many other works, both nonfiction and fiction. Though an advocate of colonialism early in life, she later called for independence for African countries. In the 1960s, she served as a correspondent for the National Review magazine. Though she wrote many books and articles, two considered by many to be her best are On the edge of the rift: Memories of Kenya, and Red Strangers which describes with great imaginative skill and anthropological detail life among the Kikuyu of Kenya before the arrival of Europeans and afterwards.

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