Literary Birthday – 23 July – Elspeth Huxley


Elspeth Huxley was born 23 July 1907 and died 10 January 1997

Six Quotes

  1. Africa is cruel…it takes your heart and grinds it into powdered stone – and no-one minds.
  2. The best way to find out things, if you come to think of it, is not to ask questions at all. If you fire off a question, it is like firing off a gun; bang it goes, and everything takes flight and runs for shelter. But if you sit quite still and pretend not to be looking, all the little facts will come and peck round your feet, situations will venture forth from thickets and intentions will creep out and sun themselves on a stone; and if you are very patient, you will see and understand a great deal more than a man with a gun.
  3. The pioneer kills what he loves.
  4. You cannot sell a blemished apple in the supermarket, but you can sell a tasteless one provided it is shiny, smooth, even, uniform and bright.
  5. To deceive gracefully is the very essence of social life. One must start by deceiving oneself, and make a lifelong practice of deceiving others; if one does it well enough, in time one might even become an artist, the greatest illusionists of all.
  6. How much does one imagine, how much observe? One can no more separate those functions than divide light from air, or wetness from water.

Elspeth Huxley was an English author, journalist, broadcaster, magistrate, environmentalist, farmer, and government adviser. She wrote 30 books, including The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood, and The Mottled Lizard, based on her childhood in Kenya.

Source for image

by Amanda Patterson