The Write Question for September 22, 2011
7:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Today's Highlight: Julian Smith
A few months before he was to be married to his long-time girlfriend, Julian Smith was experiencing anxiety about making such a "huge commitment." Then he found out about Ewart Grogan's epic journey across Africa, from the Cape to Cario -- a journey he made to win the hand of the woman he loved. Smith then decided to follow Grogan's route, looking for a resolution to his own conflict. During this program, he talks about and reads from the book he wrote about that adventure: Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure.
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Crossing the Heart of Africa is the true story of Julian Smith, who retraced the journey of legendary British explorer Ewart "The Leopard" Grogan, the first man to cross the length of the African Continent, in hopes of also winning the heart of the woman he loved.
In 1898, the dashing young British explorer Ewart “the Leopard” Grogan was in love. In order to prove his mettle to his beloved's aristocratic stepfather, Grogan set out on a quest to become the first person to walk across Africa, “a feat hitherto thought by many explorers to be impossible” (New York Times, 1900).
In 2007, thirty-five-year-old American journalist Julian Smith decided to face his relationship issues in the same way Grogan had more than a hundred years before: he was going to retrace the Leopard’s 4,500-mile journey through the lakes, volcanoes, savannas, and crowded modern cities of Africa.
Smith interweaves both adventures into a seamless narrative in Crossing the Heart of Africa. the story of two explorers, a century apart, who both traversed the length of Africa to prove themselves, and returned as changed men.
Julian Smith is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in Outside, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, Wired, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. He is the author of guidebooks to El Salvador, Ecuador, Virginia, and the southwestern United States, and he has been honored by the Society of American Travel Writers for writing the best guidebook of the year. He lives with his wife and daughter in Portland, Oregon.
Visit Julian Smith's Web site.
Read a review of Crossing the Heart of Africa at OregonLive.com.
Read a review of Crossing the Heart of Africa at TravelingTripod.com.
You'll find Crossing the Heart of Africa at Fact & Fiction in Missoula, or at your local independent bookseller.
The Write Question: a program that explores the world of writing and publishing in the western United States.
The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis and Stellarondo.
The Write Question is produced by Chérie Newman.
Read an interview with TWQ producer Chérie Newman on the Humanities Montana Web site.
Executive producer, Michael Marsolek.
Special thanks to Lisa Simon, David Moore, Barbara Theroux, and Kim Anderson.
This program is supported in part by Humanities Montana, enriching intellectual, cultural, and civic life for all Montanans. And by the Montana Cultural Trust.
Send comments to Chérie Newman.
Guests on the The Write Question are writers, publishers, and illustrators living, or working for an extended period of time, in the western United States. The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.