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Gaile Parkin


Born and raised in Zambia, Gaile Parkin has lived and worked in many African countries. Her first job was in a Soweto still simmering from the violent uprising of the school students who had begun to loosen apartheid's control of the education system in South Africa. More recently she has worked in Rwanda, counselling women and girls who had survived the genocide. A published author of numerous school textbooks and children's books, Gaile has only recently turned her hand to writing fiction for adults...


Gaile Parkin



Kilimanjaro Snow

My Darling Lovemore

If you are reading this, it means that God and Agrippina both did what I asked of them. Now this is what I ask of you:

1. Always remember that everything I did was for you.
2. Work your hardest and do your best to achieve your goals.
3. Don't believe any man's lies. Let my mistakes die with me.
4. Don't let me become extinct through you. When you are grown, have at least 1 child.

But there is no number five. Maybe Mama ran out of instructions, which was not like Mama at all, or maybe she just got tired, which was like her near the end. Is this note really all there is of Mama's letter to her daughter?

Growing up, Lovemore always believed her Mama's lies about her baba being late, so reading her mother's diaries brings her some shocking revelations. It had always been a secret that Uncle Joseph was Lovemore's father because Uncle Joseph had a whole other family, a wife and three children. She thought she had already cried all her tears about losing Uncle Joseph, so there were not many more tears for him left inside her.

Angel and Pius Tungaraza are trying hard to welcome another child into their family; but will Lovemore be able to break free of the past?

Kilimanjaro Snow follows Baking Cakes in Kigali and Where Hoopoes Go To Heaven and is now available on Amazon.


book title

When Hoopoes Go To Heaven

Ten-year-old Benedict is feeling happy. His family's new home in Swaziland has the most beautiful garden in the whole entire world, teeming with insects, frogs and his favourite cinnamon-coloured birds. Here, crouched in the cool shade of the lucky-bean tree, it's easy to forget the loneliness that comes from his siblings playing without him, easy to stop himself fretting about how to fix his Mama's failing cake-baking business.

Not that Benedict generally allows sad or uncomfortable things to cloud his day. Usually, he simply finds a way to put things right. Like trying to learn the language of his strange new country, to make himself feel less of an outsider. Like persuading the people at Ubuntu Funerals to provide a decent burial for the beautiful hoopoe killed by their van. Or like being a friend to Nomsa, a girl brave enough to pick up a spider but too afraid to tell anyone why her teacher is making her stay late after school.

Of course, there are many things in Africa that cannot be put right by a boy who isn't yet big. But in Benedict's wonder-filled world, even the ugliest situation has a certain magic.

Warm, funny and brimming with life, Where Hoopoes Go To Heaven paints a fresh and compelling picture of life in Swaziland that will capture your imagination and restore your faith in humanity.


book title

Baking Cakes in Kigali

Angel Tungaraza, professional cake-baker and amateur matchmaker, has recently moved to Rwanda with her husband, Pius. Angel busies herself looking after her five orphaned grandchildren and running her cake business from their home, catering for her neighbours and their friends...

'As you know, Angel,' the ambassador's wife was saying, 'it's traditional to celebrate a silver wedding anniversary with a cake just like the original wedding cake. Amos and I feel it's so important to follow our traditions, especially when we're away from home.'

'That is true, Mrs Ambassador,' agreed Angel, who was herself away from home. But as she examined the photograph, she was uncertain of the couple's claim to the traditions that they had embraced when choosing this cake twenty-five years ago. It was not like any traditional wedding cake she had seen in her home town of Bukoba in the west of Tanzania or in Dar es Salaam in the east of Tanzania. No, this cake was traditional to Wazungu, white people. It was completely white: white with white patterns decorating the white. Small white flowers with white leaves encircled the outer edges of the upper surface, and three white pillars on top of the cake held aloft another white cake that was a smaller replica of the one below. It was, quite simply, the most unattractive cake that she had ever seen...

Baking Cakes in Kigali is a novel in fourteen irresistible confections each telling a story. As Angel helps her customers to work through their problems, they in turn help her lay to rest the demons she has hidden deep inside until, finally, she is able to face the truth and to achieve her own peace.

First published in hardback in the UK by Atlantic Books 2009


'Angel Tungaraza, cake maker and amateur matchmaker, is hell-bent on making her corner of the world a better place. A tricky task given that her new home is Rwanda a country recovering from war and still reeling from the Aids-related death toll. With a lightness of touch, and a cast as colourful as one of Angel's cakes, debut novelist Parkin deftly uncovers the joys and sorrows of the survivors. Fans of Precious Ramotswe will love this.' Marie Claire

'There's nothing hesitant about Tanzanian Angel Tungaraza, the cake maker and amateur matchmaker is hell bent on making her little corner of the world a better place. A tricky task given that her new home is Rwanda a country recovering from the atrocities of war, and still reeling from the AIDS related death toll. With a lightness of touch, Gaile Parkin's Baking Cakes in Kigali deftly uncovers the joys (and there are many) and sorrows of the survivors. Fans of Precious Ramotswe from Alexander McCall Smith's Number One Ladies Detective Agency will adore this too.' Daily Mail

'Wonderfully atmospheric.' Red


Baking Cakes in Kigali UK hardback  Baking Cakes in Kigali