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My British Book Tour


For the last seven years, as I researched and wrote  An African in Imperial London: The Indomitable Life of A.B.C. Merriman-Labor, I knew I loved the story of Merriman-Labor, but I had no idea if anyone else would.

Turns out, lots of people are intrigued by this story of an African writer working to make a name for himself in the great metropolis. How did he make his way? What was his life like? These are the kinds of questions I’ll be answering on my tour.

I start out with a stop at the Britain and the World Conference in Exeter, a lovely spot in the west of England. This academic meeting attracts scholars from all parts of the globe interested in British history. On the final year of the centenary of World War I, I am especially excited to hear what other historians are discovering about “The Great War.”

Even though this visit to Exeter is all about introducing my new book that doesn’t mean my husband Tim and I can’t spend a few hours in nature. If we can squeeze it in, we’ll visit Dartmoor National Park, “a vast tract of largely untamed countryside of huge richness and diversity stretching across 368 square miles.” I walked on Dartmoor many years ago and still remember it as a magical place.

From there, we’ll drive to Cambridge for the Wimpole History Festival. 

If you are from the UK, you’ve no doubt heard of it. But for us Yanks here’s the lowdown:

Wimpole Hall

Wimpole History Festival

The Wimpole History Festival is a partnership between Cambridge Literary Festival and the National Trust. It takes place at the stunning Wimpole Estate. Although I’ve never been there, I’ve read that it has a gorgeous country house, beautiful grounds, and an impressive library collection.  “The perfect backdrop,” according to the Website, “to welcome some of Britain’s best and most engaging historians.”

I’m still get a bit dizzy thinking that I will be there talking with the remarkable Miranda Kaufmann (author of Black Tudors: The Untold Story), and Malcolm Gaskill from the University of East Anglia.

Malcolm writes about witchcraft and spiritualism and was thrilled to find out that as a teenager Merriman-Labor used to do magic shows in Freetown!

With that little tidbit, you definitely want to know more about Merriman-Labor, right?

I think I’ll just leave it at that for today.

Stay tuned for news about my other literary events (including one at the British Library) in the next installments of the “21 Days in the UK Book Tour.”

As for me, I’ve got a plane to catch!