The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers
A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster

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Synopsis

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, directed by Mira Nair.

The “astonishing” (The New York Times Book Review) and “inspirational” (Shelf Awareness) true story of Phiona Mutesi—a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda.

One day in 2005 while searching for food, nine-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende.

Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids in the Katwe slum through chess—a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chess­board in the dirt, Robert began to teach. At first children came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love the game that—like their daily lives—requires persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one girl stood out as an immense talent: Phiona.

By the age of eleven Phiona was her country’s junior champion, and at fifteen, the national champion. Now a Woman Candidate Master—the first female titled player in her country’s history—Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite level in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable countries. The Queen of Katwe is a “remarkable” (NPR) and “riveting” (New York Post) book that shows how “Phiona’s story transcends the limitations of the chessboard” (Robert Hess, US Grandmaster).
 

About Tim Crothers

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Tim Crothers is a former senior writer at Sports Illustrated. He is the author of The Man Watching, the biography of University of North Carolina women’s soccer coach Anson Dorrance, and coauthor of Hard Work, the autobiography of UNC basketball coach Roy Williams. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.
 
Published October 9, 2012 by Scribner. 241 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Queen of Katwe

Kirkus Reviews

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Sports journalist Crothers' (The Man Watching: A Biography of Anson Dorrance, the Unlikely Architect of the Greatest College Sports Dynasty Ever, 2006, etc.) moving account of an impoverished Ugandan girl's unlikely rise to prominence in the world of competitive chess.

Jul 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Katwe: A Story o...

The New York Times

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New books by Tim Crothers, Peter A. Galuszka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Lauren Slater.

Feb 08 2013 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Katwe: A Story o...

The New York Times

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New books by Tim Crothers, Peter A. Galuszka, Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Lauren Slater.

Feb 08 2013 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Katwe: A Story o...

Christian Science Monitor

”Phiona Mutesi is a young chess prodigy from Uganda whose fierce mind has sparked notice not only because it’s relatively rare to see an African woman playing elite chess, but also because she’s from Katwe – an impoverished corner of Uganda’s teeming capital city of Kampala.

Oct 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Katwe: A Story o...

Shelf Awareness

"[B]ookstores are human places--they are extensions of the personalities of the men and women who operate them....

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Katwe: A Story o...

Sunshine Coast Daily

Enter Robert Katende, a refugee and soccer-player turned missionary who had also grown up in the slums, who hatches an unlikely plan of teaching chess to impoverished children in Katwe.

Feb 02 2013 | Read Full Review of The Queen of Katwe: A Story o...

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