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 1906, the daughter of Major Josceline Grant of Njoro, Kenya, where she spent most of her childhood. She was educated at the European School in Nairobi and at Reading University where she took a diploma in agriculture, and at Cornell University, USA. In 1929 she joined the Empire Marketing Board as a press officer. She married Gervas Huxley in 1931 and travelled widely with him in America, Africa and elsewhere. She was on the BBC General Advisory Council from 1952 to 1959, when she joined the Monckton Advisory Commision on Central Africa. She wrote novels, detective fiction, biography and travel titles, and her books include The Flame Trees of Thika (1959), The Challenge of Africa (1971), Livingstone and His African Journeys (1974), Florence Nightingale (1975), Scott of the Antarctic (1977), Nellie: Letter from Africa (1980), Whipsnade: Captive Breeding for Survival (1981), The Prince Buys the Manor (1982), Last Days in Eden (1985, with Hugo van Lawick) and Out in the Midday Sun: My Kenya (1985). She died in 1997.