Non-Fiction, Gallery Publications, 2010

Non-Fiction, Gallery Publications, 2010

Talking to the Ancestors

When Pablo Picasso first saw African artifacts at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris, he thought they were the “most powerful things the human imagination had ever created”.  For Picasso their sculptors had succeeded where many European artists had failed, and created objects that perfectly blended function, meaning and beauty.  For Picasso it was “religious, passionate and rigorously logical art”.

Since Picasso’s early appreciation, the status of African art has risen and risen, and today sculptures, paintings, textiles and jewellery from the world’s oldest continent are properly valued and widely venerated.  Africa is the most fertile and fecund continent, with more distinct peoples and cultures than any other, and its artistic traditions vary hugely from region to region.  Talking to the Ancestors looks at the magical beliefs, tribal influences and origins of the arts and crafts produced across East Africa, from Congolese fetishes to Zanzibar chests, from Makonde spirit carvings to Maasai body adornments.  

Talking to the Ancestors can be ordered from Gallery Publications.

 

 

Fiction, Barranca Press, 2014

Fiction, Barranca Press, 2014

Black Rock

Should ambition cease with death?  Napoleon Bonaparte doesn’t think so.  His ghost is actually hungrier than ever.

The emperor who once commanded 80 million people has no intention of allowing his premature end to threaten his legacy or thwart his family’s destiny … yet death holds unexpected surprises for the restless spirit of the nineteenth-century’s most infamous tactician.

Opening with the autopsy of Napoleon’s body, and climaxing with the disinterment of that same body some twenty years later, this historical whodunnit examines what great men do in straightened circumstances and what ordinary men do when their lives collide with the exceptional.

Set in 1821 on the remote Atlantic island of St Helena, and drawing upon the letters and memoirs of those exiled with the ex-emperor, Black Rock brings to life the complex machinations of those who made up Napoleon’s last court. 

Black Rock is available on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, as well as in retail outlets in Jamestown, St Helena. It was the recipient of the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Award for best cover design  (small format, fiction).

 

Non-Fiction, Black Ink Press, 2014

Non-Fiction, Black Ink Press, 2014

Seven Wonders

Tanzania has seven World Heritage Sites, more than virtually any country in Africa. Four of its sites have entered the global imagination to become some of the most legendary places on our planet: Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti National Park,  Ngorongoro Crater & Zanzibar's Stone Town. 

The remaining three sites are, on the contrary, little known outside the country and rarely visited by those within it.  Mention that you are travelling to the Selous Game Reserve, or the rock art sites of Kondoa, or the ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and you’re likely to receive little more  more than a frown and a quizzical look.  Yet the fact that these places are so little known is bizarre when one considers that they are – in order – the earth’s largest game reserve, a unique prehistoric rock art collection, and East Africa’s most important medieval city . . . not just part of Tanzania’s or Africa’s heritage, therefore, but truly part of a global heritage.  This gorgeously photographed book celebrates Tanzania’s stunning world heritage sites, examining both their fragile present and precarious future.

The revised and updated 2014 version of Seven Wonders is available on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com as well as in retail outlets (A Novel Idea & the Green Room) in Dar es Salaam.