Writer Doris Lessing. Since her first novel, The Grass is Singing, published in 1950, she has written many books and plays, including the Children of Violence series, The Golden Notebook, and more recently Shikasta and her "space-fiction" series. Her new novel is titled The Fifth Child. Fresh Air book critic John Leonard once described Mrs. Lessing as "one of the half-dozen most interesting minds to have chosen to write fiction in English in this century."
Mapfumo is known as "The Lion of Zimbabwe," for his outspoken political stance during his home country's struggle for independence. Mapfumo and his band, The Blacks Unlimited, have a new album, called "Chamunorwa."
Book critic John Leonard reviews "African Laughter," Lessing's memoir of the four times she visited the country of her birth--now called Zimbabwe--and her impressions of its changing social and political climate.
Lessing is the author of more than thirty books, including, "The Fifth Child" and "The Golden Notebook." She grew up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), but was exiled for twenty-five years when she began to speak out against the oppressive white-ruled government. Lessing has just written a new book, "African Laughter," a personal story about the trips she took to Zimbabwe between 1982 and 1992.
Spark has been said to "uphold the great tradition of the English Catholic novel." She's a prolific writer, having written 19 novels, including "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," and "Momento Mori." Spark has a new memoir about her first 39 years, called "Curriculum Vitae." It includes stories about school teacher Miss Christina Kay (the character of Jean Brodie was based on her), Spark's marriage at 19 to a man 13 years her senior, their life in Africa, and Spark's early literary career. She's now 74 years old.
Journalist Peter Godwin. His new memoir is "Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa," about growing up in Rhodesia in 1964 as the British colony is collapsing. Godwin was formerly a foreign correspondent for the London Sunday Times. He now makes television documentaries for the BBC.
Journalist Andrew Meldrum is the Guardian Zimbabwe correspondent. Currently, he covers the upcoming presidential election in Zimbabwe and the crackdown that the media faces as election time nears. In the past few weeks, he written a series of articles focusing on the bill President Mugabe signed, requiring all journalists working in Zimbabwe to have a license from the Minister of Information.
She works in a country where reporters have been harassed, deported, jailed, even tortured. She's subject to all these risks herself — but Peta Thornycroft surrendered her British citizenship and became a Zimbabwean so she could remain in the country and continue to report on the challenges it faces. She's one of the few independent journalists still working in Zimbabwe.
African journalist Peter Godwin returned to his native Zimbabwe in 2008 to follow the presidential election. He writes about President Robert Mugabe's refusal to give up power -- and Mugabe's torture campaign against opposition supporters -- in The Fear.