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Aida Edemariam talks to Sarah Crown

The Wife’s Tale

Hay Festival 2018, 

A hundred years ago, a girl was born in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar. Before she was ten years old, Yetemegnu was married to a man two decades her senior, an ambitious poet-priest. Over the next century her world changed beyond recognition. She witnessed fascist invasion and occupation, Allied bombardment and exile from her city, the ascent and fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, revolution and civil war. She endured all these things alongside parenthood, widowhood and the death of children. The Wife’s Tale is an intimate memoir, both of a life and of a country. Edemariam retells her grandmother’s stories in a masterpiece that is being compared to Jung Chang’s Wild Swans.