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Book Title: It’s Our Turn to Eat|
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The author of the book: Michela Wrong
Edition: Fourth Estate
Date of issue: April 10th 2009
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 935 KB
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A gripping account of both an individual caught on the horns of an excruciating moral dilemma and a continent at a turning point.
When Michela Wrong's Kenyan friend John Githongo appeared one cold February morning on the doorstep of her London flat, carrying a small mountain of luggage and four trilling mobile phones he seemed determined to ignore, it was clear something had gone very wrong in a country regarded until then as one of Africa's few budding success stories.
Two years earlier, in the wave of euphoria that followed the election defeat of long-serving President Daniel arap Moi, John had been appointed Kenya's new anti-corruption czar. In choosing this giant of a man with a booming laugh, respected as a longstanding anti-corruption crusader, the new government was signalling to both its own public and the world at large that it was set on ending the practices that had made Kenya an international by-word for sleaze.
Now John was on the run, having realised that the new administration, far from breaking with the past, was using near-identical techniques to pilfer public funds. John's tale, which has all the elements of the political thriller, is the story of how a brave man came to make a lonely decision with huge ramifications. But his story transcends the personal, touching as it does on the cultural, historical and social themes that lie at the heart of the continent's continuing crisis.
Tracking this story of an African whistleblower who started out as a pillar of the establishment, Michela Wrong seeks answers to the questions that have puzzled outsiders for decades. What is it about African society that makes corruption so hard to eradicate, so sweeping in its scope, so destructive in its impact? Why have so many African presidents found it so easy to reduce all political discussion to the self-serving calculation of which tribe gets to "eat"? And at what stage will Africans start placing the wider interests of their nation ahead of the narrow interests of their tribe?
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Read information about the authorHalf-Italian, half-British, Michela Wrong was born in 1961. She grew up in London and took a degree in Philosophy and Social Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge and a diploma in journalism at Cardiff.
She joined Reuters news agency in the early 1980s and was posted as a foreign correspondent to Italy, France and Ivory Coast. She became a freelance journalist in 1994, when she moved to then-Zaire and found herself covering both the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda and the final days of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko for the BBC and Reuters. She later moved to Kenya, where she spent four years covering east, west and central Africa for the Financial Times newspaper.
In 2000 she published her first book, "In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz", the story of Mobutu's rise and fall, which won a PEN prize for non-fiction. Her second book, "I didn't do it for you", which focused on the little-written-about Red Sea nation of Eritrea, came out in 2005 and was hailed as a "gripping political thriller" by Monica Ali.
Her third book, published in February 2009, was "It's Our Turn to Eat", which tracks the story of Kenyan corruption whistleblower John Githongo, who sought refuge in her London flat. Boycotted by Nairobi bookshops terrified of being sued, it has become an underground bestseller in Kenya, distributed by local churches, radio stations and non-governmental groups and debated in town hall meetings. Described as reading "like a cross between Le Carre and Solzhenitsyn", it has triggered expressions of interest from US and South African film directors. It was named as one of the Economist's "best books of 2009" and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.
Michela Wrong's non-fiction books on contemporary Africa aim to be accessible to both members of the general public and experts in the field. They have become a must-read for diplomats, aid officials, journalists and strategists based on the continent and regularly feature on the "required reading" lists of International Relations and African Studies courses at university. She was awarded the 2010 James Cameron prize for journalism "that combined moral vision and professional integrity
She currently lives in London and is regularly interviewed by the BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters on her areas of expertise. She has published opinion pieces and book reviews in the Observer, Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman, Spectator, Standpoint and Foreign Policy magazine, and travel pieces for Traveler Conde Nast. She speaks fluent Italian and French.
In 2014 she was appointed literary director of the Miles Morland Foundation, which funds a range of African literary festivals and a scholarship scheme for African writers. She is a trustee of the Africa Research Institute and an advisor to the Centre for Global Development.
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