The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Lecture - ONLINE - Live Event: In Conversation with Maaza Mengiste

Wednesday 13th May 2020

17:00 - 18:00, Part of the Humanities Cultural Programme, TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities

A Big Tent! Live Online Event given as part of Women week

Uncover tales of Ethiopia's women soldiers in this live streaming of a discussion with Maaza Mengiste about her new novel The Shadow King.

No need to register - watch event here starting at 17:00. Questions can be sent in via a live chat replay feature.

The Shadow King is set in Ethiopia in 1935 with the impending invasion of Mussolini's army. 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?

The Shadow King is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, and what it means to be a woman at war.

'The Shadow King is a beautiful and devastating work; of women holding together a world ripping itself apart. They will slip into your dreams and overtake your memories' (Marlon James)

'A brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It's also compulsively readable. I devoured it in two days' (Salman Rushdie)


This event is free and open to all. However, viewers are advised that the event is being streamed live so some viewer discretion may be required. Suitable for children, with parental supervision.


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