Michela Wrong

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Michela Wrong, Berlin 2006

Michela Wrong (born 1961) is a British journalist and author who spent six years as a foreign correspondent in Africa for Reuters, the BBC, and the Financial Times.

Career[edit]

Her debut book, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz (2001), covers the time she spent in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as it transitioned from the leadership of Mobutu Sese Seko to that of Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Her second book, I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation (2004), discusses the nation of Eritrea and the role foreign nations have played in its history during the 20th century.[1]

Her third book, It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower (2009), tells the story of John Githongo, a Kenyan journalist and civil society activist who, in 2002, took on a senior anti-corruption role within the newly elected government of President Mwai Kibaki. In this role, Githongo uncovered widespread evidence of corruption (notably the Anglo-Leasing scandal) located high up within the Kibaki government. The book also discusses the role of ethnicity in Kenyan politics and is strongly critical of the response of the international aid community to the Githongo case. The World Bank and the British government's aid department (the Department for International Development) come in for particularly strong criticism, though notable exceptions are also highlighted, such as Edward Clay, the then British High Commissioner to Kenya. It's Our Turn to Eat was censored in Kenya, leading to PEN Kenya president and activist Philo Ikonya acquiring books and bringing them into the country for wider distribution.[2]

In 2009 she authored a novel, Borderlines, a legal thriller with a female lawyer protagonist. It focuses on a border dispute between two fictional states in the Horn of Africa, which the Financial Times reviewer thought resembled Ethiopia-Eritrea disputes in 1998-2000.[3][4]

In 2021 she published Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad, about Rwanda, its president Paul Kagame, and the murder of Patrick Karegeya.[5]

Award[edit]

She was awarded the 2010 James Cameron prize for journalism “that combined moral vision and professional integrity.”[6]

Personal[edit]

She lives in London and is regularly interviewed by the BBC, Al Jazeera and Reuters on her areas of expertise. She has published opinion pieces and book reviews in The Observer, Guardian, Financial Times, New York Times, New Statesman, Spectator, Standpoint, Foreign Policy, and travel pieces for Condé Nast's Traveler magazine. She speaks fluent Italian and French.

She is a consultant for the Miles Morland Foundation, which funds a range of literary festivals, workshops and scholarships for African writers, a trustee of the Africa Research Institute, based in London, and an advisor to the Centre for Global Development.

She is a former literary director of the Miles Morland Foundation, an organisation that actively supports writers and literary projects across Africa.[7]

Wrong is the granddaughter of Oxford historian Edward Murray Wrong and daughter of the nephrologist Oliver Wrong.

Works[edit]

  • Wrong, Michela (2001). In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo. HarperCollins. pp. 352. ISBN 978-0-06-018880-1.
  • Wrong, Michela (2005). I Didn't Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation. HarperCollins. pp. 448. ISBN 978-0-06-078092-0.
  • Wrong, Michela (2009). It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower. Harper. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-06-134658-3.
  • Wrong, Michela (2015). Borderlines. Fourth Estate. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-00-814740-2.
  • Michela Wrong (March 2021). Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad. ISBN 978-1610398428.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammer, Joshua (17 July 2009). "Rooting Out Evil". xx. Retrieved 3 January 2021. Michela Wrong has built a distinguished literary career telling stories of African corruption and Western complicity. A former Africa correspondent for Reuters and The Financial Times, Wrong attracted wide attention with her first book, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo, a chronicle of societal collapse in the country then known as Zaire.
  2. ^ Barnes, Madeleine (1 August 2011). "Dark Secrets of Kenya: An Interview with Writer Philo Ikonya". Sampsonia Way Magazine. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  3. ^ Thomson, Ian (11 September 2015). "'Borderlines', by Michela Wrong". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 January 2021. Michela Wrong, half Italian, half British, has been writing about Africa as a journalist for more than 20 years, including for the Financial Times. Borderlines, her debut novel, is set in a fictional country on the Horn of Africa called North Darrar, which in many ways resembles post-fascist Ethiopia. The novel centres on a border dispute between North Darrar and the neighbouring Federal Democratic Republic of Darrar; Ethiopia’s murderous border dispute with Eritrea in 1998-2000 was perhaps on Wrong’s mind.
  4. ^ Kola, FT (22 August 2015). "Borderlines by Michela Wrong review – a gripping debut thriller". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2021. Wrong has an accomplished history of writing non-fiction about African politics. Her debut novel has much to say about Africa in the still unsettled aftermath of colonialism, and even more to say about the western powers who scrambled to divide up the continent and who now seek to influence it for their own purposes.
  5. ^ Michela Wrong (March 2021). Do Not Disturb: The Story of a Political Murder and an African Regime Gone Bad. ISBN 978-1610398428.
  6. ^ "Award winners". City, University of London. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Home - The Miles Morland Foundation". The Miles Morland Foundation. Retrieved 8 February 2018.

External links[edit]