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Aminatta is a highly promotable journalist, broadcaster and TV presenter (e.g. Late Review) and is involved with the influential think-tank, Demos. She was a judge for the 2004 Samuel Johnson PrizeThe Devil that Danced on the Water received excellent reviews, was a BBC 'Book of the Week' and runner-up for the 2003 Samuel Johnson PrizeFor fans of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

About the Author

Aminatta Forna is an author, broadcaster and journalist. Her last book, The Devil that Danced on the Water, was runner-up for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2003. Formerly a television reporter, Aminatta has presented and produced numerous television programmes for the BBC including the arts and culture magazine programme The Late Show and the BBC political flagship On the Record. She has won several awards for her television work, and in 1996 directed and presented a documentary on Africa's art, 'Through African Eyes', a PBS/BBC co-production, which today is shown to students of African art and culture in universities across the USA. Aminatta has hosted radio series including An Essential Guide to the 21st Century (World Service), The Travellers Souk and In Living Colour (BBC Radio 4). She is a contributor to several newspapers including the Independent, the Observer, the Sunday Times and the Evening Standard. She has acted as a judge for the Macmillan African Writer's Prize in 2003, the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2004 and the Caine Prize for Africa 2005.

Reviews

Acclaimed memoirist Forna (The Devil That Danced on the Water) glides into fiction with this sweeping portrayal of the lives of five Sierra Leonean women. Abie-a young woman born and raised in Sierra Leone, who now lives in London with her Portuguese-Scottish husband and their children-receives a letter from her aunts informing her they're bequeathing her the family coffee plantation. When Abie returns, her aunts offer her another gift: their stories. A native of Sierra Leone, Forna unpacks Abie's family history (and that of Sierra Leone) using the alternating points of view of Abie's four aunts-Asana, Mary, Hawa and Serah. Asana outlives two husbands and eventually opens her own store, "relinquishing the birthright of womanhood in exchange for the liberty of a man." Mary addresses the changes brought to Africa by the Europeans (prominent among them, the mirror she uses to examine her disfigured face). Hawa trades her gold earrings for bus fare in order to see the sea just once in her life. And Serah opens a voting station during corrupt national elections. Though it's a stretch to call this a novel (each chapter is a self-contained story), Forna's work sheds light on the history of a long-struggling nation. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'A writer of startling talent ... Conveying the human spirit's irrepressible love of life is the triumph of this magical book' Daily Telegraph 'A fascinating evocation of the experience of African women, and all that has been gained - and lost - with the passing of old traditions' Marie Claire 'She tells stories as she breathes ... a prose of soaring beauty' The Times 'Mesmeric, elegant prose ... equally extraordinary and vibrant with sadness and joy' Daily Mail

Abie, a West African woman who has lived in London for years, learns that she has inherited the family coffee plantation in her native village. Abie returns to consider her inheritance and visits with four of her aunts, daughters of four of the 11 wives of her great-grandfather. The aunts tell Abie their life stories, which span nearly a century. They describe the founding of the village and the coffee plantation, what it was like seeing a white man for the first time, the end of colonialism, the first elections, political and religious upheaval, and the social implications of polygamous families. Because of the shifting time periods, the array of names, and the complicated family connections, the characters blend together, and it is difficult to identify each from one story to the next. However, Forna, whose memoir, The Devil That Danced on the Water, received critical acclaim, beautifully crafts an intimate portrait of the evolution of one West African community. Without didacticism, she illuminates the intricacies of the relationships and customs and the progress and decline of this particular family. Highly recommended for all libraries collecting fiction. Rebecca Stuhr, Grinnell Coll. Libs., IA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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