Sattin, Anthony 1956–
Sattin, Anthony 1956–
(Anthony Neil Sattin)
PERSONAL: Born June 28, 1956, in London, England; son of Gerald (an antiques dealer) and Mona Sattin; married Sylvie Franquet, 1989; children: two sons. Education: University of Warwick, B.A. (with honors), 1979; University of East Anglia, M.A., 1984.
ADDRESSES: Home—London, England.
CAREER: Journalist, writer, and broadcaster. Principal Film Company, director, 1986–96; writer, 1986–. Broadcaster on BBC Radio 4, 1999–2000.
(Editor) Florence Nightingale, Letters From Egypt: A Journey on the Nile, Barrie & Jenkins (London, England), 1987.
Lifting the Veil: British Society in Egypt, 1768–1956, Dent (London, England), 1988.
(With wife, Sylvia Franquet) Fodor's Exploring the Greek Islands, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 1997, 2nd edition, 2000.
(With Sylvie Franquet) Fodor's Exploring Egypt, 2nd edition, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Sylvie Franquet) AAA Essential Guide: Morocco, AAA (Irving, TX), 1998.
(With Sylvie Franquet) AAA Essential Guide: Istanbul, AAA (Irving, TX), 1999.
(With Sylvie Franquet) AAA Essential Guide: Egypt, AAA (Irving, TX), 2000.
The Pharaoh's Shadow: Travels in Ancient and Modern Egypt, Gollancz (London, England), 2000.
The Gates of Africa, HarperCollins (London, England), 2002, reprinted as The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for Timbuktu, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Fodor's Citypack: Bangkok, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 2002
(Editor, with Don George) A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad, Lonely Planet (Oakland, CA), 2002.
(With Sylvie Franquet) Fodor's Citypack: Brussels & Bruges, 2nd edition, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Mungo Park) Travels Into the Interior of Africa, Dufour (Chester Springs, PA), 2004.
Also contributor of articles and stories to newspapers and magazines, including the Times Literary Supplement, Sunday Times, Punch, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, London Times, Literary Review, and Condé Nast Traveller.
SIDELIGHTS: British writer Anthony Sattin has written extensively about Egypt and his country's fascination with this ancient land. After earning a master's degree from the University of East Anglia, Sattin served as editor of the 1986 volume An Englishwoman in India: The Memoirs of Harriet Tytler, 1828–1858. His first work on Egypt came as editor of a collection of papers from another Englishwoman, nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. This title, Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile, was published in 1987 and was followed the next year by a more sweeping look at the British colonial presence in Egypt, Lifting the Veil: British Society in Egypt, 1768–1956.
Sattin spent much of the 1990s in Egypt, traveling extensively throughout its large expanse of desert and river delta. His efforts culminated in the volume The Pharaoh's Shadow: Travels in Ancient and Modern Egypt, published in England in 2000. As he writes, he wanted to learn how and why, despite centuries of foreign presence in Egypt, how many of its ancient customs have endured into the present age. These include fertility rituals and funeral rites dating back seven thousand years, traditions that have remained relatively impervious to successive invasions of Christianity, Judaism, and finally, Islam. He visits festivals for local cults of saints, and meets with women who are considered fertility experts as well as cemetery caretakers. Sattin, noted African Business correspondent Stephen Williams, "writes succinctly about the nation's history as he applies a keen eye to observe the Egypt of today. The ordinary people with lifestyles that have barely changed in thousands [of] years are contrasted by the parallel Egyptian world of the mobile phone, computers and consumerism."
In The Pharaoh's Shadow, Sattin also investigates how some traditions of the Copts, who consider themselves the descendants of the first Egyptian peoples, have peacefully co-existed with Islam. Interspersed into his accounts are revelations taken from a pair of manuscripts written, but never published, by two earlier Egyptologists, Winifred Blackman, who lived among Egyptian villagers in the 1920s, and Umm Seti, an Egyptologist born Dorothy Eady in 1904. After a fall, Eady believed herself a reincarnated Egyptian, moved there, and became a priestess.
In researching The Pharaoh's Shadow, Sattin traveled up the Nile and entered rural villages that have had only rare encounters with Westerners. He writes of modern Egypt's increasing internal struggle with a fundamental Islamic movement, which seeks to erase much of the secularization that has occurred in the twentieth century. "He and his travelling companion are mocked, reviled, mobbed, insulted and threatened with assault at almost every step once they make their way into village Egypt," noted Robert Carver in the Times Literary Supplement review. Carver also termed it an "unusually scholarly travel book, with a bibliography which is quite in keeping with an academic treatise." The writer Jan Morris, assessing Sattin's book for the British Independent newspaper, called it "fun, enthralling and sometimes scary, rather like Egypt itself." Morris praised the author as a "tireless researcher" undaunted by the clamor and intricacies of this mystical place. "It is this irrepressible enthusiasm that gives the book its alarming moments, rather than any supernatural evidence," Morris wrote.
In his book The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for Timbuktu, Sattin relates true tales of European explorers in Africa searching for the then rumored but unknown city of Timbuktu. Including numerous maps and photographs, the book details the establishment of the African Association by European scholars and explorers, who not only explored Africa but also tried to abolish the thriving slave trade that took so many of its people. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called The Gates of Africa "a vigorous history, by a sympathetic and patient fellow traveler." Robert C. Jones, writing in the Library Journal, commented: "Sattin's scholarship is impressive … and his narrative highly engaging." Writing in the Spectator, Aiden Hartley noted: "He has reclaimed the reputation of the Association that fathered the RGS [Royal Geographical Society] and he has also tickled our interest with a string of astonishing yet forgotten explorers' tales."
Sattin also served as coeditor with Don George of A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad. The book contains twenty-six stories, eighteen of which were previously published, about moving to a place abroad. Among the contributors are writers Isabel Allende, Peter Mayle, and Paul Theroux. Melinda Stivers Leach, writing in the Library Journal, called the book "a fascinating anthology." Booklist contributor Brad Hooper referred to A House Somewhere as a "heartwarming assortment" of stories.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African Business, June, 2000, Stephen Williams, review of The Pharaoh's Shadow: Travels in Ancient and Modern Egypt, p. 42.
Booklist, September 15, 2002, Brad Hooper, review of A House Somewhere: Tales of Life Abroad, p. 205.
Independent, April 29, 2000, Jan Morris, "The Riddle of the Sands."
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of The Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for Timbuktu, p. 1191.
Library Journal, November 1, 2002, Melinda Stivers Leach, review of A House Somewhere, p. 119; April 15, 2004, Audrey Snowden, review of Travels Into the Interior of Africa, p. 113; January 1, 2005, Robert C. Jones, review of The Gates of Africa, p. 130.
Literary Review, March, 2000, Tom Holland, "Light in a Black Hole," p. 26.
Spectator, July 1, 2000, William Dalrymple, "Amazing Continuities by the Banks of the Nile," p. 36; November 29, 2003, Aiden Hartley, review of The Gates of Africa, p. 51.
Times Literary Supplement, April 28, 2000, Robert Carver, "Foreigners Cannot Come Here," p. 35.
St. Martin's Press Web site, http://www.stmartins.com/ (October 12, 2006), brief blurb on author.