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About the BookAn intimate story of exile and homecoming by the South African author whose TED Talk touched millions.
New York Times Staff Favorite of 2018
Minnesota Public Radio Best Books of 2018 - Nonfiction
CBC Best International Nonfiction of 2018
The Globe 100 Favourite Books of 2018
Born in exile, in Zambia, to a guerrilla father and a working mother, Sisonke Msimang is constantly on the move. Her parents, talented and highly educated, travel from Zambia to Kenya and Canada and beyond with their young family. Always the outsider, and against a backdrop of racism and xenophobia, Sisonke develops her keenly perceptive view of the world. In this sparkling account of a young girl's path to womanhood, Sisonke interweaves her personal story with her political awakening in America and Africa, her euphoria at returning to the new South Africa, and her disillusionment with the new elites. Confidential and reflective, Always Another Country is a search for belonging and identity: a warm and intimate story that will move many readers.
"Msimang's graceful memoir is one of those rare books that managed to make me less cynical about the state of literature. She was born into a family dedicated to South Africa's liberation and the pursuit of justice. It's an environment that fosters a particular political consciousness, one Msimang continues to negotiate as she moves from Zambia to Kenya, Canada, the United States and, finally, to South Africa. It's a coming-of-age story for those children for whom home is marked by more than a single physical location." --Lovia Gyarkye, The New York Times
"...a graceful memoir by Sisonke Msimang, a welcome novelty. Msimang, a South African writer and political analyst, charts an alternate course to the now-familiar conclusion that home is not always a place on a map." --New York Times Book Review
"As a child of parents exiled by the apartheid policies of her father's South African homeland, Sisonke Msimang grew up hearing of how things would change when apartheid fell. Her beautifully written memoir describes how not only did this take much longer than her parents expected, but also how the journey deposited her in Minnesota for four years. She unflinchingly describes the good and the bad--including how the dream of South Africa has not turned out quite as she hoped." --Minnesota Public Radio
"Eloquent and affecting, Msimang's book explores the nature of belonging as it chronicles a perpetual outsider's quest for the meaning of home. A candidly intimate tale of a journey toward self-identity." --Kirkus Reviews
"For Sisonke Msimang, a childhood in exile created a life of activism. In her first book, the memoir Always Another Country, the writer and human rights worker reflects on her youth in exile from South Africa, and the urge for social justice that the experience created." --Wall Street Journal
"Memoirs are, by definition, personal. And while Always Another Country centers around Msimang's life, the narrative carefully widens to include historical context and family background, resulting in a powerful book that feels both intensely personal and larger than life." --Booklist
"A unique perspective on South Africa's recent history that fundamentally tells the struggle of a deeply torn woman to comprehend a deeply torn country." --Financial Times
"We rarely hear about the stories of the children of revolutionaries. Their perspectives not only give us another lens through the lives of their parents, but also their own regarding how they fit in the world post-struggle. South African critic and author Sisonke Msimang is one of them, and her memoir, Always Another Country, is an opening to learn of her constant search of belonging and identity. Msimang was born in exile to her South African guerrilla father and her Swazi mother. From living in places including Zambia, Kenya and Canada in her formative years to eventually return to South Africa, the Australia-based writer's worldview and political awakening has been met with comforting complexity that many of us young Africans living away from home--on the continent and in the diaspora--can relate to." --OkayAfrica
"Always Another Country is an uncompromising examination of a life focused on a place far away." --Minnesota Public Radio
"I felt less like I was reading a static text and more like I was having a deep, meaning-making conversation with a close friend. What I will remember most about Always Another Country is its brave intimacy. Msimang bears her soul to the reader, from her close relationship with her family to her search for home to her gradual political awakening." --Bright Magazine
"Memoirs are, by definition, personal. And while Always Another Country centers around Msimang's life, the narrative carefully widens to include historical context and family background, resulting in a powerful book that feels both intensely personal and larger than life." --The Gazette
About the AuthorSisonke Msimang (Swaziland, 1974) is a South African writer, speaker and political analyst in issues related to race, gender and democracy. With her successful literary debut, Always Another Country, she has established herself as one of the most exciting new contemporary voices in literature. Born to parents living in political exile, Sisonke Msimang was raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada, before going to the US as an undergraduate. She has a Master's Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Macalester College in the Minnesota. She has held fellowships at Yale University and the Aspen Institute and was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (WEF). She has worked for the United Nations and as an Executive Director of George Soros's Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. Now based in Perth, Australia, she is Program Director for the Centre for Stories, a social enterprise organization, from where she travels regularly to the US, South Africa and other countries. She contributes to publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post, and has over 20,000 followers on Twitter (@Sisonkemsimang). Her TED Talk, "If a story moves you, act on it," has been viewed over one million times.