The White Hart Speaker Series: Maaza Mengiste

Event date: 
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
The White Hart Inn
15 Undermountain Road
Salisbury, CT 06068

The White Hart Speaker Series is presented in collaboration with The White Hart Inn & Scoville Memorial Library

RSVP Requested. CLICK HERE to RSVP.

Maaza Mengiste credit Nina Subin

Maaza Mengiste's THE SHADOW KING is a gripping novel set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, and takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record.

Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory over Emperor Haile Selassie’s armies. Hundreds of thousands of Italians―Jewish photographer Ettore among them―march on Ethiopia seeking adventure. As the war begins in earnest, Hirut, Aster, and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians. But how could she have predicted her own personal war as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers, who will force her to pose before Ettore’s camera?

What follows is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

“A brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It’s also compulsively readable. I devoured it in two days.” - Salman Rushdie, author of The Golden House

“With epic sweep and dignity, Mengiste has lifted this struggle into legend, along with the women who fought in it. Beautiful, horrifying, elegant, and haunted, The Shadow King is a modern classic.” - Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Less

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright Scholar and professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation program at Queens College, she is also the author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, named one of the Guardian’s Ten Best Contemporary African Books. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in New York City. Author image by Nina Subin.

The White Hart Inn is a fully wheelchair accessible space with on-site van accessible parking. Microphones and speakers will be used at this event. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us: info@oblongbooks.com.

Beneath the Lion's Gaze Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393338881
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 3rd, 2011