An African in Imperial London
OFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER
In 1904, West African writer A.B.C. Merriman-Labor moved to London in 1904 to make his mark on the world’s greatest literary stage.
What happened there changed everything he thought he knew.
In a world dominated by the British Empire, at a time when many Europeans considered black people inferior, African writer A. B. C. Merriman-Labor claimed his right to describe the world as he found it. He looked at the greatest city in the greatest empire the world had ever known and laughed. An African in Imperial London is the first biography of this forgotten pioneer of African literature and a rich portrait of a great metropolis, writhing its way into a new century of appalling social inequity, world-transforming inventions, and unprecedented demands for civil rights.
A.B.C. Merriman-LaborFreetown, Sierra Leone, circa 1904 One hundred years ago today, July 14, 1909, A.B.C. Merriman-Labor died of tuberculosis in the Lambeth Workhouse Infirmary, age 41.The building still stands in South London. I remember the...read more
So, have you been wanting to know a little bit more about A.B.C. Merriman-Labor and An African in Imperial London? Curious to learn a few tidbits that didn't make it into the book? Or perhaps stories about what it was like to research the life of an...read more
POP QUIZ: How many books are published in the U.S. each month? ANSWER: 50,000. Or maybe 100,000. The experts disagree. Either way, it’s mind-boggling. For our purposes here, let’s stick with 50,000. Remember, that’s 50,000 books each month. Just to...read more
Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. Here in Billings, Montana, and in other towns and cities and cemeteries around the globe, people gathered together to remember, to honor, to mourn. Lest we forget. But two million men who...read more
October is Black History Month in the U.K. A time to reflect on the role people of African descent have played in the making of a great nation. But it is also time to consider the struggles of black people. If my research on A.B.C. Merriman-Labor has...read more
One month ago, I wondered what Montanans would think of the story of A.B.C.Merriman-Labor. After travelling nearly 800 miles, I have my answer. They loved it. Montana officially met A.B.C. Merriman-Labor at official U.S. launch party for the...read more
The butter is softening on the counter for the cupcakes. Ditto for the cream cheese for the cucumber sandwiches. In about an hour, I will be elbow-deep in flour. It's happening. And I couldn't be more excited! Today is the launch of An African in Imperial...read more
Krios of Sierra Leone As I prepare for the American launch of An African in Imperial London, I am taking a minute to reflect back on the process of writing and to introduce you to a few incredible people I met along the way. Many, many gifts...read more
Virginia Woolf spent ten years working on her first novel. After discarding several other titles, she ultimately called it The Voyage Out: a story of leaving home, of voyaging out into the world, of discovering oneself. Today I am contemplating The Voyage In: the...read more
Once the talks have been given, the books signed, and the pictures taken, it is time to get back to the thing I truly love--researching and writing. Today we are back at the British Library. Anyone can come to the Library and enjoy seeing items from its collections on...read more
My first book, The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop,
takes an imaginative look at the iconic British writer. Although there are numerous biographies of Woolf, mine is the only one to focus on her ideas about the craft of writing. Keenly aware of the joy, labor, and mystery of the writing process, Woolf took pains to record the practices she found most valuable. Through scrupulous research across the body of her work—including her diaries, letters, essays, and fiction—I sought to create a fresh vision of this famous writer as a woman with an enchanting sense of humor whose observations about her craft are as relevant today as they were when she wrote then nearly a century ago.
A little bit about me.
I grew up in the Mojave Desert just east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a land of alfalfa farms, dirt bikes, rattle snakes, one-gas-station towns, and big sky. Now I live in Montana, just north of the Beartooth Mountains, a land of sage-brush prairie, ATVs, cattle ranches, one-gas-station towns, and very, very big sky.
Although I am now a full-time writer, I still teach a class or two at Montana State University Billings, lead a regular seminar on Shakespeare’s plays for community members, and offer creative writing workshops throughout the year.