Leanne, Shelly 1968(?)-
LEANNE, Shelly 1968(?)-
Born c. 1968; married. Education: Harvard College, B.A.; Oxford University, M.A., Ph.D. (international relations).
Home—California. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Walk Worthy Press/Warner Books, 1271 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10020.
High school teacher in Kenya; Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, lecturer, 1997-2001, organizer of AIDS in Africa Awareness Week; advisor for management consulting company until c. 1996. World Teach, member of board.
Joshua's Bible, Walk Worthy Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Shelly Leanne's first novel, Joshua's Bible, is a story based on the accounts of African-American missionaries who worked in South Africa during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is also a reflection of its author's experiences traveling and working on the African continent, and of her closely held Christian faith. Leanne, who holds degrees from both Harvard University and Oxford University, traveled throughout Kenya and South Africa while researching her doctoral thesis. During the five years she traveled abroad, she explained in a testimony on the Walk Worthy Press Web site, "I had become very acquainted with the global dimensions of racism against people of African descent. I had also become aware of the tremendous contributions that African Americans have made to freedom around the world, yet I had never seen this information reflected in the history books or novels I read." At the age of twenty-eight Leanne quit a high-paying job with a management consultant company to write the novel she knew she needed to write.
Joshua's Bible focuses on Philadelphia minister Joshua Clay, as he ponders God's purpose in causing the Great Depression of the 1930s. Presented with the opportunity to serve God as a minister in South Africa due to the lifting of a ban prohibiting foreign black clergy from entering that segregated country, Clay travels to Africa, trusting to God for the success of his mission. Faced with a repressive white culture that threatens the ancestral home of many native black South Africans, and cautioned by his white-owned church to curtail his involvement with the remote villagers the young minister knows would be aided by his sermons, Clay must chose which path, for him, is the right path. In Library Journal a contributor praised Leanne's "loving depiction of African culture" and wrote that Joshua's Bible is an appealing story "of a man who finds his true identity and faith." Recommending the novel in a Mansfield News Journal review, Terry Mapes added that Leanne has crafted "a very original and literary work that is quite different from what might come to mind when you hear the phrase 'Christian novel.'"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booking Matters, July-August, 2003, interview with Leanne.
Booklist, October 1, 2003, John Mort, review of Joshua's Bible.
Library Journal, April 1, 2003, review of Joshua's Bible, p. 86.
Mansfield News Journal (Mansfield, OH), July 27, 2003, Terry Mapes, review of Joshua's Bible.
Joshua's Bible Web site,http://www.joshuasbible.com/ (October 6, 2003).
Walk Worthy Press Web site,http://www.walkworthypress.net/ (October 6, 2003), "Testimony: Shelly Leanne."*