bookshelves: spring-2014, afr-congo, nonfiction, journalism, published-2013, radio-4, travel, autobiography-memoir
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from May 16 to 23, 2014
BBC Description: Stringer is Anjan Sundaram’s vivid account of self-discovery and danger in the heart of Africa. In 2005, at the age of 22, the decision to become a journalist takes Sundaram to Congo where he spends a year and a half cutting his teeth as a reporter for a news agency. With the 2006 elections approaching he immerses himself in the everyday life of this lawless and war torn country. This intense period takes him deep into the shadowy parts of Kinshasa, to the dense rain forest with an Indian businessman hunting for his fortune, and culminates in the historic and violent elections of 2006.
Episode 1: First impressions of Kinshasa, and an encounter with a group of orphaned children
Episode 2: A frightening encounter compels Anjan to re-double his efforts to find work as a reporter,
Episode 3: A journey along the River Congo leads to new insights for the journalist
Episode 4: Anjan Sundaram heads east towards the conflict and conducts an extraordinary interview.
Episode 5: Anjan observes the elections and is caught up in the disturbing aftermath.
Anjan Sundaram is an award-winning journalist who has reported from Africa and the Middle East for the New York Times and the Associated Press. He received a Reuters journalism award in 2006 for his reporting on Pygmy tribes in Congo’s rain forest.
Read by Riz Ahmed who is best known for his work in film. He has starred in The Road to Guantanamo, Shifty, Four Lions, Ill Manors and The Reluctant Fundamentalist which he also read for Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime.
Abridged by Richard Hamilton
Produced by Elizabeth Allard.
THE BUZZ ABOUT THIS BOOK:
ONE OF the most talked-about incidents at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year was the dismissal by British MP Kwasi Kwarteng of Anjan Sundaram’s decision to leave behind a cushy life in academia at 22 and travel to Congo to report on the civil war as just another case of a rich kid displaying only a voyeuristic interest in Africa. While the consensus among the chattering classes was that Kwarteng had been needlessly belligerent, it is possible to see his point of view: Sundaram had said that he went to Congo because, as he writes in Stringer, “I had lived in man’s genius for so long. I wanted to know our destructive capacities.” – The Rough Guide to Reporting
Bongo-Bongo in the Congo