The Shadow King: Book Talk with Maaza Mengiste

The Shadow King

Book Talk with Maaza Mengiste and Uzodinma Iweala


Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 7:30pm




Join Maaza Mengiste for a conversation about The Shadow King, her new historical novel.

Set against the first real conflict of World War II, Maaza Mengiste’s THE SHADOW KING is a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.  In 1935, orphaned servant Hirut struggles to adapt to her new household as Ethiopia faces Mussolini’s looming invasion. As the battles begin in earnest, Hirut and other women must care for the wounded. But when Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia is about to lose hope, Hirut helps to disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor to keep the fight alive. She becomes his guard, inspiring women to join the war against fascism. In this extraordinary, beautifully told epic, Hirut overcomes rape, violence, and imprisonment, finding the strength to fight for her country’s freedom and her own. Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a searing story of ordinary women and the advanced army they courageously opposed.

The evening’s discussion will be moderated by The Africa Center’s CEO, Uzodinma Iweala.

The discussion will be followed by a book signing and copies of the novel will be made available for purchase by Books on Call NYC, Inc.

MAAZA MENGISTE was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright Scholar and professor at Queens College, she is also the author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, named one of the Guardian’s Ten Best Contemporary African Books. She lives in New York City.



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