Taylor, Stephen 1948–
Taylor, Stephen 1948–
PERSONAL: Born April 10, 1948, in Cape Town, South Africa; son of Sam H.A. (a chemist) and Ena R.F. (a secretary) Taylor; married Caroline Bowring (a journalist), January 27, 1975; children: Wilfred, Juliette. Education: Attended University of the Witwatersrand, 1967. Religion: Anglican.
ADDRESSES: Home—9 Dorset Rd., Windsor SL4 3BA, England. Office—London Times, 1 Virginia St., London E1, England. Agent—Caroline Dawnay, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Journalist and writer. Times, London, England, foreign correspondent and sub-editor, 1978–; also served as foreign correspondent for the Observer and Economist.
The Mighty Nimrod (biography), Collins (London, England), 1989.
Shaka's Children—A History of the Zulu People, HarperCollins (London, England), 1994.
Livingstone's Tribe: A Journey from Zanzibar to the Cape, HarperCollins (London, England), 1999.
Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2004, published as The Caliban Shore: The Fate of the Grosvenor Castaways, Faber and Faber (London, England), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: A foreign correspondent for several newspapers in England, Stephen Taylor was born in South Africa and often returns to Africa for the topics and stories of his nonfiction books. For example, in Livingstone's Tribe: A Journey from Zanzibar to the Cape, Taylor presents various stories connected with a trip he made through Zanzibar, Tanzania, Uganda, Kmalawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and ultimately to South Africa. For his journey, the author decided to travel like the common African, that is, by bus and train. Along the way he met a number of different people, including a motorcycling vicar and the last white person to own land in Uganda. The reference to "Livingstone's Tribe" in the title is how the author refers to whites who have decided to remain in an Africa that has become independent of European rule. Noting that the author "explores what the future holds for the [continent's] white citizens," Edward K. Owusu-Ansah in the Library Journal admitted that "Taylor deserves credit for openly addressing the precarious fate of many whites who still call post-independence Africa home." A contributor to African Business noted "the author's pertinent summaries of recent African history along with many observations of contemporary Africa." The reviewer went on to write: "This book serves as a personal examination of the author's own complex relationship with Africa."
Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors, published in England as The Caliban Shore: The Fate of the Grosvenor Castaways, tells the story of a 1782 shipwreck on the southeast African coast. The East India Company Ship Grosvenor ran aground and sank about 100 yards offshore, enabling most of the crew and passengers to swim to safety. Taylor first recounts the lives of those sailing on the boat and then focuses on the survivors and their experiences as they marched several hundred miles to South Africa, a grueling trek that killed 106 people, including women and children. Kliatt contributor Raymond Puffer noted the "author's skill at portraying personalities at all levels, from nabob to barefoot seaman." Sara Wheeler, writing in the New York Times Book Review, commented: "Like all good histories, it opens a window onto the past—in this case the exotic, pestilential and perilous world of those doughty men and women who braved the high seas more than 200 years ago." In a review in Geographical, Mick Herron called the story "a fascinating tale."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African Business, February, 2000, review of Livingstone's Tribe: A Journey from Zanzibar to the Cape, p. 40.
Geographical, March, 2004, Mick Herron, review of The Caliban Shore: The Fate of the Grosvenor Castaways, p. 91.
Kliatt, November, 2005, Raymond Puffer, review of Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors, p. 34
Library Journal, June 1, 2001, Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, review of Livingstone's Tribe, p. 198.
New York Times Book Review, July 18, 2004, Sara Wheeler, review of Caliban's Shore, p. 6.