The first biography of the renowned writer, broadcaster, conservationist and chronicler of colonial Kenya, whose lyrical and evocative memoir 'The Flame Trees Of Thika' (1959) achieved worldwide fame when made into a television drama series in 1981.
Colonial Kenya inspired three great writers - Karen Blixen ('Out Of Africa'), Beryl Markham ('West With The Night') and Elspeth Huxley. Huxley's writings (30 books in all, including novels, biographies and political accounts) have great political and social range. In her Kenyan books she encompassed the exploits of the Happy Valley farmers - made famous by James Fox's book White Mischief - poor white farmers and Africans.
After a childhood spent in East Africa and wartime Britain, Elspeth married Gervas, a grandson of Thomas Huxley and cousin to Julian and Aldous Huxley, whom she knew well. She also later got to know Joy Adamson and the Leakeys. She travelled widely with her husband (an executive with the Empire Marketing Board) and wrote while constantly on the move. She worked for the BBC in World War Two and became a Kenyan Government adviser. In 1938 she bought a farm in Wiltshire, where she died in 1997.
The author, Christine Nicholls, has had access to all her letters and papers, and is familiar with many of the people and places in the book. Elspeth Huxley was a compelling personality and a brilliant letter writer, extraordinarily energetic and effective in everything she did.