The Phraser – an apology and an explanation

My desk - it's been busy

My desk – it’s been busy

Dear Reader,

In case you’re there, and wondering where I might be, this is an apology for the silence, and an explanation … two explanations. The first is sad, and the second is hopeful.

  1. I’ve just been to Scotland for the funeral of a wonderful lady and friend; and
  2. I’m tidying up The Phraser to make it easier to navigate, and to prepare for a new focus on all things to do with books.

The site should be ready and gleaming by the end of the month. Meanwhile, I hope you have the time to do some browsing – The Phraser is open for that.

I look forward to getting back to you, and wish you good reading and good company … always!

Georgie

Interview with Barnaby Rogerson: Part II – Eland and travel writing

Open day at Eland Publishing in December 2017

Open Day at Eland Publishing in December 2017

It is late November 2017, and I am with Barnaby Rogerson, author and expert on North Africa, whose latest book, In Search of Ancient North Africa – A History in Six Lives, has just been published.

This is the second part of our interview and the focus is on travel writing in general and on Eland, the publishing house where he is a director.

We are in the Eland hub – books are everywhere.

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Interview with Barnaby Rogerson: Part I – North Africa

Barnaby Rogerson (in the white shirt) with Nigel Barley (author of the Innocent Anthropologist). The photograph was taken at the Eland Open Day in early December 2017.

Barnaby Rogerson (in the white shirt) with Nigel Barley (author of The Innocent Anthropologist). The photograph was taken at the Eland Open Day in early December 2017.

The day is sunny, the bus ride easy, and the grey door is exactly where it should be. There are no signs … just a button to press, and then a set of narrow grey stairs to follow in a spiral to the top.

I climb the smooth steps and at the top a door is open. Just inside a tall, elegant, eager dog waits to say hello. Beside the dog is a slightly less-leggy man. He is, as I presume, Barnaby Rogerson, author of In Search of Ancient North Africa – a History in Six Lives, and one of the directors of Eland Publishing.

Behind them both is a book-filled den.

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In Search of Ancient North Africa (A History in Six Lives) by Barnaby Rogerson

In Search of Ancient North Africa (A History in Six Lives) by Barnaby Rogerson

In Search of Ancient North Africa (A History in Six Lives) by Barnaby Rogerson

“And though the world’s population keeps expanding, the number of individuals who know the stories of their own lands diminishes every year.”
              Barnaby Rogerson in the introduction to In Search of Ancient North Africa     

This is a book about forgotten origins and outcomes. Through six lives it shows us legends, families, survival, and the importance of memory. It gives the north of Africa a fresh polish.

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The Struggle Continues – 50 years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe (by David Coltart)

The Struggle Continues - 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe by David Coltart

The Struggle Continues – 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe by David Coltart

This is a tale of stubborn politics, war, courage, resilience, legal challenge, and hope. It tells of the evolution of a young democracy, and the consequences of decisions that have shaped that process.

The author, David Coltart, born and raised in Zimbabwe, is an experienced lawyer and politician who still lives in the country. He writes with a style that is clear and controlled, one that allows the subject to reveal itself.

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Harmony and Discord in Africa – Memories of Childhood in Southern Rhodesia by Mark Huleatt-James

Harmony and Discord in Africa by Mark Huleatt-James

Harmony and Discord in Africa by Mark Huleatt-James

This is about a time and a childhood place not far from my own.

Harmony and Discord in Africa, despite its title, is not a political book but rather a slice of ‘home history’ about a boy, his family and their life on a farm in the young British colony of Southern Rhodesia .

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Travels in a Dervish Cloak by Isambard Wilkinson

Travels in a Dervish Coat by Isambard Wilkinson

Travels in a Dervish Coat by Isambard Wilkinson

Here’s a book to pop your eyes. Cloaked in dust and petals it swirls through bedrooms, bazaars, bombings, palaces, shrines, caves and festivals. The pace is insistent and the tensions increasing.

Our guide is journalist Isambard Wilkinson. He takes us to Pakistan (2006 – 2009) and entices us to follow him from Baluchistan to the Khyber Pass, via a couple of pauses for kidney complications.

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