The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Book Club - POSTPONED - The Shadow King

Maaza Mengiste

Tuesday 24th March 2020

7:30pm, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX - all welcome


POSTPONED - Event will be rescheduled once the COVID-19: Guidance on social distancing is lifted.

The Society's book club will discuss Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King.

The Shadow King is set in Ethiopia starting in 1935. The threat of Mussolini's army is looming. Recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid. Her new employer, Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie's army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade.

Hirut 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. But how could she have predicted her own personal war, still to come, as a prisoner of one of Italy's most vicious officers?

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa. She held a Fulbright Scholarship and now teaches Creative Writing & Literary Translation in the MFA Program at Queens College, City University of New York. The bookclub read her previous novel, Beneath the Lion's Gaze, in August 2013.

The Shadow King will be published in the UK in December 2019 in Kindle format and in January 2020 in hardback (ISBN 9781838851163).

We will meet in The Long Bar on the ground floor of the National Theatre.

If you would like to attend, or want further information, please email the Book Club.




The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste.
Publisher : Canongate Books, 2020
ISBN : 9781838851163 (hardback)

First Published in News File Winter 2019

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