Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light follows the captivating story of the 69 loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr Livingstone’s body, his papers and maps, 1,500 miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there.

The wise men of his age say Livingstone blazed into the darkness of their native land leaving a track of light behind where white men who followed him could tread in perfect safety. But in Gappah’s radical novel, it is those in the shadows of history – those who saved a white man’s bones; his dark companions; his faithful retinue on an epic funeral march – whose voices are resurrected with searing intensity. Read more here.

About the author

Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. Her short fiction and essays have been published in eight countries. Her debut story collection, An Elegy for Easterly, won the Guardian First Book Award in 2009. Her first novel, The Book of Memory, was published in 2015, and was longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Credit: Reading List