October 5, 2012

Alexandra Fuller

Alexandra Fuller

Marcia Franklin talks with author Alexandra Fuller about her works, her life and her writing philosophy.

Fuller was raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Malawi and Zambia. Her reminiscences of growing up in war-torn Africa with her hardscrabble parents form the basis of two memoirs, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (2002) and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness (2011).

In the books, she details her growing awareness not only of the manic depression and alcoholism of her mother, who lost three children to disease and accident, but also of the unequal treatment of whites and blacks in Africa and her parents' own racism.

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight was a New York Times Notable Book, a Booksense best non-fiction book and a finalist for the Guardian's First Book Award.

Another memoir set in Africa, Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier (2004), chronicles a trip Fuller took through parts of Africa with "K," a former Rhodesian fighter who travels back to the locations of his rebel activity and confesses to some of his brutal acts, including the torture of a young woman. The book won the Ulysses Prize for the Art of Reportage.

In The Legend of Colton H. Bryant (2008), Fuller pieces together the life of a young oil rig worker in Wyoming who died in a fall from a rig in 2006, and investigates what could have been done to prevent the death. The book won Best Non-Fiction Book of 2008 from the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper.

Fuller has also written for numerous magazines and newspapers. She lives in Jackson Hole, WY.

The interview is part of Dialogue's ongoing "Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers' Conference" and was taped at the 2012 conference. Since 1995, the conference has been bringing together authors to discuss literature and life. Marcia Franklin has interviewed speakers there since 2005. This year's, and previous years', conversations can be found at the Dialogue Sun Valley Writers site.