Elspeth Huxley entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Most of Elspeth Huxley's writing reflects on her experiences growing up in Kenya and her continued interest in African development. Her output includes both novels and non-fiction: autobiography, travel writing, political exposition, biography, and journalism, produced throughout the latter half of the twentieth century—her book-publishing career alone spanned more than sixty years. Sympathising from the beginning with the white settlers and increasingly with the black Africans, with a professional background in agriculture as well as journalism, she became a skilled interpreter of Africa to the world outside, even while remembering that "no person of one race and culture can truly interpret events from the angle of individuals" who belong to a "different race and culture."  Bibliographic Citation link. This has not exempted her from later strong critique of her racial attitudes: attitudes which were normal, nearly inescapable, for her generation, her race, and her colonial identity.
As a professional she prided herself on being able to turn her pen to anything. Her polemical writing on environmental issues, for instance, deserves to be better known.
23 July 1907 Elspeth Josceline Grant (later EH) was born an only child in her grandparents' house at 22 Sussex Square, London. Bibliographic Citation link.
10 December 1921 Elspeth Grant (later EH), still in her teens, reached print with a social account of a day out with the Makuyu Hunt in Kenya, carried by the East African Standard under the name of 'Bamboo'. Bibliographic Citation link.
March 1959 EH published her best-known work, The Flame Trees of Thika, Memories of an African Childhood; it was this that established her reputation beyond colonial political circles. Bibliographic Citation link.
October 1993 The eighty-six-year-old EH published her final book, the biography Peter Scott: Painter and Naturalist, written at the request of his widow, Philippa. Bibliographic Citation link.
10 January 1997 EH died at Ilsom House near Tetbury, only three weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer and being told that she had three months to live. Bibliographic Citation link.
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