Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crossing Africa. Now and Then. Reading Tonight!

We're excited to be hosting Portland-based author Julian Smith tonight to read from his book Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure, now available in paperback.

In 1898, the dashing British adventurer Ewart “The Leopard” Grogan was head-over-heels in love, but he needed the approval of his beloved’s skeptical, aristocratic stepfather. To prove his worth, the 24-year-old Cambridge dropout set out on an epic quest to become the first person to walk the length of Africa.

A little over a century later, journalist Julian Smith also found himself madly in love with his girlfriend of seven years, but terrified by the prospect of a lifelong commitment. Inspired by Grogan’s story, Smith decided to face his fears of marriage by retracing the explorer’s amazing but now mostly forgotten 4,500-mile journey for love and glory through the lakes, volcanoes, savannas, and crowded modern cities of Africa.

Crossing the Heart of Africa is the unforgettable account of twin adventures, as Smith interweaves his own contemporary journey with Grogan’s larger-than-life tale of charging elephants, cannibal attacks, deadly jungles, and romantic triumph. The book won the 2011 Outstanding Book Award for Memoir/Autobiography from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Julian Smith is an award-winning writer specializing in travel and science. His articles and photographs have appeared in Smithsonian, Wired, Outside, National Geographic Traveler, New Scientist, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and US News & World Report. He is the author of travel guidebooks to El Salvador, Ecuador, Virginia and the Four Corners, and has won the country’s top travel writing award from the Society of American Travel Writers.

With a background in the natural sciences, including a BA in biology and an MS in wildlife ecology, Smith helped launch and edit Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, an international peer-reviewed scientific journal. He has taught writing, editing, and literature at the College of Santa Fe and the Gotham Writers Workshop.

The reading starts tonight at 7 pm, and it's sure to be exciting. Hope you can join us!

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