Out of Africa
Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville office
Africa has been popping up in one way or another during the past year for me. Last fall, I heard the organizer of the centennial for native Tennessean James Agee, who wrote the screenplay for The African Queen, speak. I was startled to realize how many great changes had taken place on that continent in the 60 years since Agee had not only written that story for film (starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn), but also Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and A Death in the Family, for which he won the Pulitzer after his sudden death in 1955.
In January Desmond Tutu’s daughter Naomi, in full South African garb, spoke at a local university here in Tennessee. I didn’t get to hear her, but this quote indicates she has the same spirit as her father: “It doesn’t matter what the prime minister of South Africa thinks of me. It only matters what I think of them, and I think of them as my brothers and sisters.”
In June, at The International Christian Retail Show, I heard Christy Award keynote speaker, Lisa Samson, talk about her life-changing trip to Africa with her daughter to combat the AIDS crisis. The trip and its impact are fully described in her new book, Love Mercy: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey from the American Dream to the Kingdom of God. Perhaps the most valuable parts of the book are the Appendix covering “Social Justice in Scripture” and the Acknowledgments, which includes a collection of African children’s pictures—most of them happy.
I know several of you are writing books, both fiction and nonfiction, about Africa. It’s a very large continent with many different stories—as Alexander McCall Smith has shown. It’s also considered the birth place of human beings. Tell us about books based in Africa you’ve enjoyed reading, or about what you’ve written on Africa.