Elspeth Huxley

The Flame Trees Of Thika
  • The Flame Trees Of Thika

  • When Elspeth Huxley’s pioneer father buys a remote plot of land in Kenya, the family sets off to discover their new home: five hundred acres of Kenyan scrubland, infested with ticks and white ants, and quavering with heat. What they lack in know-how they make up for in determination: building a grass house, employing local Kikuyu tribe members and painstakingly transforming their patch of wilderness into a working farm. Huxley’s unforgettable childhood memoir is a sensitive account of settler life at the turn of the twentieth century and a love song to the harshness and beauty of East Africa.

Elspeth Huxley was born in 1907 and first went to Africa in 1913. The story of her childhood years, memorably dramatized for television by John Hawkesworth in 1982, was told in The Flame Trees of Thika (1959) and its sequel, The Mottled Lizard (1962). She returned to England in 1925 and studied agriculture at Reading University and Cornell. She married Gervas Huxley in 1931 and during the thirties travelled widely with him in Africa, America, Australia and elsewhere. Among the many novels, biographies, travel books and memoirs that she has written are several about East Africa, including White Man's Country (1935), Red Strangers (1939), The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1948), Forks and Hope (1964), Nellie: Letters from Africa (1981) and Last Days in Eden (1984). In 1962 she was awarded the CBE. Elspeth Huxley has one son and three grandsons and lives in Wiltshire.