About Hamilton Wende
I was born in the States but have spent most of my life in South Africa, with some side trips to live in Japan, Paris and lots of time in London. I have also traveled extensively in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. This sense of being on the move through our world and a career working as a foreign correspondent for many of the big networks such as CNN and BBC means that I am fascinated by boundaries and identities and how we never have a fixed ‘being’, but one that changes constantly as we grow and travel and learn. In my writing – both fiction and non-fiction – I like to explore the paradox between where we find ourselves and where we want to be.
I am fascinated by characters who have parallel lives and a sense of adventure about living those lives. Pain in life is a given – as the Buddha said ‘All life is suffering’, but it is the courage to move beyond it, to ‘travel’ through it, if you like, is the core of all our human stories from the time of Homer and his ‘Odyssey’.
I like wide landscapes, hard choices and people finding ways to live their lives with love and generosity of spirit in the midst of so many things that bring fear and rage into their lives. In the end, I am an optimist and my books reflect that. I believe in karma – not something that is a kind of airy-fairy ‘energy’, but in the karma of difficult, usually frightening choices, with all their consequences. Perhaps we cannot escape the Moirai and the strings of our fate, but we can choose within their web to keep fighting for love and hope. That belief is the core of my fiction.
I write about those who have, as Tennyson said, ‘become a name for roaming with a hungry heart’. In the end, we are all doing that, and those are our myriad stories, even if we never find a way to – or never want to – leave our hometown.
A little career biog here….
I am a freelance writer and television producer based in Johannesburg. I work all over Africa for a number of international networks including CNN, the BBC, ARD, ZDF, and a number of others.
I am the author of six books.
The House of War: A love story and thriller about searching for the lost diaries of Alexander the Great in the badlands of northern Afghanistan while being hunted by Al Qaeda. will be published by Penguin in 2009
The King’s Shilling: A novel about WWI in East Africa published by Jacana in April 2005. It has been on the bestseller lists in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and was long-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Award in 2006
Deadlines From the Edge: Images of War from Congo to Afghanistan. Stories about working as television news producer in different parts of Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan. It was published in 2003 by Penguin SA. Now republished by Mousehand on POD and available at Amazon, Kalahari etc
True North; African Roads Less Travelled: A non-fiction account of my work as a journalist in Africa. It was published in 1995 by William Waterman in Johannesburg. It was nominated for the 1995 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. Now also republished by Mousehand on POD and available at Amazon, Kalahari etc
A children’s picture book I wrote, The Quagga’s Secret, published by Gecko Books in Durban was selected as one of the ’1995 South African Books of the Year’ by Jay Heale of Bookchat. In 1999 it was selected by Cambridge University Press in South Africa for inclusion in an English anthology of South African writing that is distributed nationally.
I also am the co-author of a young adult novel, Msimangu’s Words, which was published by Maskew Miller Longman and was a finalist in the Young Africa Award 1992.
I have also written a number of radio features for the BBC, including regular contributions to From Our Own Correspondent on Radio 4. I am also a regular columnist in The Star.
My articles have appeared in many international and South African newspapers and magazines. Including National Geographic Traveler, GQ, The Chicago Tribune, Maclean’s Magazine in Canada, The New Zealand Herald, The Star, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Independent, Business Day in Johannesburg and many others.