Into The Mouth Of The Lion
By A.B. Kyazze
Will Lena have the courage to find her sister in Angola’s war-torn landscape?
Publication date: May 2021Support this project
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Written by a former war photographer, this book is for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider, lost in country you desperately want to understand.
Lena, a struggling photographer, flies from London to the war-torn highlands of Angola, after hearing the news of a suspicious explosion. She tries to piece together the reasons behind the disappearance of her sister DJ, but she gets entangled in the country’s conflict for minerals and power.
The book is a love story – actually, stories – crossing conventional lines in a war zone, but it is more than that. It is about working in intense situations, and finding the courage to bear witness to abuses. It is about how people can connect and help others in unexpected ways, despite a threatening landscape. Pacey and suspenseful, the book is ultimately uplifting, although bittersweet.
The novel is hard to categorise. It doesn’t fit in the neat little boxes or genres that the book industry likes. At the heart of it, it is a story about sisters; they are complex and complicated women, with aspects that each has kept hidden from the other.
Inspired by some great works like A Constant Gardener by John Le Carré, and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the book explores big themes and questions such as: how can we know what is the truth, and what is deception? How much are we shaped by family, and can we ever truly break away from that? If love gives life meaning, what happens when the person you love is taken away?
As a photographer, I have always been drawn to dramatic landscapes, and finding the humanity within. I worked in Angola at the time of the end of the civil war. I flew in planes doing the dangerous spiral described in the beginning chapters. I have interviewed soldiers and warlords, been detained at checkpoints, and photographed children in harrowing condition. So, while this book is a work of fiction, there is a lot of truth in the pages; I hope this will engage you as readers and keep you hooked until the very last line.
Please join us to make it a reality! As Patron, you get a special thank you in the back of the book for supporting the printing of the first edition. If you want to pledge higher support, you can be a Super Patron and get your name with special acknowledgements in the front of the book. Also, for those who are photography collectors, for higher pledges you can receive copies of hand-printed black-and-white landscape photographs from my Humanity in the Landscape series, from Angola and other countries in Africa.
Most importantly, you will know that you were part of making something real, bringing creative writing to print and to life for people to enjoy around the world. Thank you!
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A.B Kyazze is a British-American writer and photographer. She has spent more than 18 years writing and taking photographs on humanitarian crises across the globe in Africa, Asia and Southern Europe. Her work and travels have taken her to Angola, where Into the Mouth of the Lion is set, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Liberia, Uganda, Cape Verde, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, and other places.
She believes that in any landscape – peace or conflict, urban or rural - exists strong human stories that need to be told. Having focused on non-fiction writing for most of her career, she now draws on her real-life experiences to bring these powerful stories to life in her debut novel.
Her photographs and non-fiction work have been published in travel magazines, The Huffington Post, The Washington Times, Medium and other places. She was long listed for the Mslexia Women’s first novel prize in 2017. She also writes short stories, and was published in the National Anthology of Flash Fiction 2019. She lives in Southeast London with her young family, and is working on a series of novels set in Darfur, Eastern Congo, Paris and London.
Malanje, Angolan Highlands, January 2002
You are thrown backwards by the blast, out of the shack, falling and stumbling.
‘Maria!’ you scream as you scramble back up. You’re clawing your way to the doorway. Inside it is black with orange fragments of flame, spread in a circle.
The smoke pricks your eyes and you cover your mouth and nose with the collar of your shirt. You are crying and shouting at the same time. You smell burnt hair and an awful saturated human scent that you’ve never known before.
‘Maria, where are you, Maria?’
You hear voices outside, people who heard the explosion.
Oh God, Jesus Mary mother of God. Maria looks down at her blackened self and feels intense pain, wetness and emptiness where a solid body used to be. She knows this is bad. She sees the horror on DJ’s face.
She looks away, eyes to the ceiling. As she loses consciousness, she asks: I’m not going to make it Lord, am I?
She gets no reply.
- 5th October 2020 Autumn creative beginnings
Hello, I hope you and your loved ones have weathered the pandemic and shift to autumn safe and well. I’m sorry it’s been some time since my last update for Into the Mouth of the Lion. However I’d like to reassure you that while many things in publishing were delayed due to COVID, the publication of the novel is still going ahead in early 2021. As soon as I have a more specific…26th March 2020 Into the Mouth of the Lion: Copy editing done!
Into the Mouth of the Lion: Copy editing done!
I hope you and your families are okay at this very strange and worrying time. It is eerie how much of our daily lives has been affected, and at what speed. Six days ago I was due to teach a creative writing class to eager students. Now I am, like many of you, working from home, supervising my own children at the same time,…15th January 2020 Into the Mouth of the Lion: Moving forward into 2020
Hello! Happy 2020!
When I last wrote to you in November, I had the warm glow of your support allowing me to successfully reach the crowdfunding goal for Into the Mouth of the Lion. There was a moment to pause and be grateful for all the friends, family, colleagues and strangers who wanted to be part of making this book happen. If you want to read my thoughts on completing the crowdfunding…5th November 2019 Thank you! We did it!
Into the Mouth of the Lion reached 100% crowdfunding on Friday night! Woo-Hoo! The book is going to happen! This is so exciting, after years of work.
Thank you, every single one of you.
Thank you to those who signed up early, showing support for an idea that hadn’t proven itself yet. Thank you to those who pledged for a book, a photograph or a lesson in the middle of the crowdfunding, as there…28th October 2019 93% funded for Into the Mouth of the Lion! Help us get over the finish line by 31 October!
We are 93% funded for Into the Mouth of the Lion! Help us get over the finish line by 31 October!
Thank you so much for supporting Into the Mouth of the Lion so far. It means so much to me that you believe in the book as much as I do. I am so moved that friends, family, colleagues and strangers have put their faith in a book you haven’t read yet… and I promise it won’t disappoint you.
It…11th October 2019 Live radio interview - Into the Mouth of the Lion
Live radio interview on 6 O’Clock with Barra & Cal!
It was really fun to go on live radio last week with Barra & Cal on Maritime Radio, a local Greenwich radio station. We talked about music, my writing and my novel, Into the Mouth of the Lion. Not only are they a great pair of broadcasters who banter with humour, but they asked me to choose music to talk about different steps along my journey…25th September 2019 In the news! My writing process... and thanks for helping us cross the 60% line!
Hi folks! Into the Mouth of the Lion is in the news this week! Well, the local news, thanks to my friend the journalist Mercury Man; he wrote up our interview last week for his blog on the website 853, dedicated to public interest journalism and cultural stories for Greenwich and SE London. He asked interesting questions about my writing process, and got me thinking through where the book came from…13th September 2019 Into the Mouth of the Lion - over 40% funded!
Thank you so much for your interest in and support of Into the Mouth of the Lion! In the first 11 days we’ve raised over 40% of our goal!
If you know of others who are thinking of supporting the book, please do encourage them to pledge soon, as it would be great to keep up the momentum. We have added some new rewards, such as photography lessons, creative writing lessons, and other things that…
These people are helping to fund Into The Mouth Of The Lion.