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A Wreath for Udomo

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Introduced by Petina Gappah, a lost classic by a radical black South African author: as exiled African activists in post-war London plot to revolutionise their native countries, idealism and tragedy collide when they return home as political leaders …

Those men who are history now; did they feel like this?

A 1950s Hampstead pub; a freezing night. Lois can't tear her eyes away from the haunted, restless African man in the corner. Over brandy and stew, she discovers he is in awe of her friend, Panafrica's greatest political writer and fighter. Their meeting inducts this stranger, Udomo, into London's revolutionary community of exiled African activists: the start of a life-changing journey. Amidst the internal politics and love affairs, Udomo is inspired by other leaders' independence uprisings; but when he returns to his native land to overthrow the colonial oppressors, his idealism is put to the ultimate test ...

Inspired by Peter Abrahams' befriending of future African heads of state in mid-century London, A Wreath for Udomo (1956) is a radical lost classic, unforgettably exploring the nature of freedom, power, leadership and love.

'The forerunner of an entire school of African literary art.’ Sunday Times

ISBN-13: 9780571376391

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Faber and Faber

Publication Date: 05-09-2023

Pages: 304

Product Dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

Peter Abrahams was born in Vrededorp, near Johannesburg, in 1919. His Ethiopian father worked in the gold mines; his mother was the daughter of a black African father and white French mother, classifying Abrahams as 'coloured'. After his father's death, he had an impoverished childhood, selling firewood and working for a tinsmith, before winning a scholarship to school. In 1939, Abrahams left South Africa for European exile, writing for the Communist Daily Worker, befriending political activists and organising the Fifth Pan-African Congress. His first book was published in 1942, followed by ten volumes of trailblazing fiction and autobiography exposing racial injustice. He settled in Jamaica in 1956 - where he lived until his death aged 97 - where he continued writing and broadcasting radio commentaries; he was married twice, both to white Englishwomen, and had three children. Petina Gappah is an international lawyer and writer who was born in Kitwe, Zambia and raised in Zimbabwe. She is the author of An Elegy for Easterly, The Book of Memory and Rotten Row. Her work has shortlisted for, among others, the Orwell Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN America Open Book Award and the Prix Femina (Étrangers). She is the 2009 recipient of the Guardian First Book Award and the 2016 recipient of the McKitterick Prize from the Society of Authors. Having spent more than a decade working as an international trade lawyer in Geneva, Petina now divides her time between Harare and Berlin, where she is a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogramm.