* A classic account of contemporary Africa - Eritrea & Ethiopia have not been out of the news since Band Aid in 1985 and Ciao Asmara is set to become an African travel classic.
Asmara is the capital of Eritrea - a surreally Italian city at the centre of an ex-Italian colony that has been at war with its neighbour Ethiopia (who claim sovereignty over Eritrea) for over ten years. Amidst broken palaces (built by the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie), nomadic desert encampments and war-torn towns, Hill found a god-fearing people remarkably resistant to everything fate has thrown at them. This book is a tribute to their resilience and will stand beside Philip Gouravitch's Rwandan book, WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT TOMORROW YOU WILL BE KILLED WITH YOUR FAMILIES, as a classic account of contemporary Africa.
The book is a love letter to the country he had to leave...The tone is low-key, but the story is anything but that: a brief and beautiful moment of calm in between storms - SUNDAY TIMES
Hill is a great and passionate storyteller, and his account is both readable and important - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Exquisite...CIAO ASMARA tells of hope deferred... His valediction has all the bittersweet anger and gratitude of Orwell's escape from Barcelona - INDEPENDENT
A tapesty woven with fact and testament, a captivating memoir tinged with tragedy. - GOOD BOOK GUIDE
Justin Hill was born in the Bahamas, and grew up in York, attending St Peter's School. He studied Old England and Medieval Literature at Durham University, and spent most of his twenties on postings with Voluntary Service Overseas in rural China and East Africa.
He has written poetry, non-fiction and fiction, which spans eras as distant from one another as Anglo Saxon England, in Shieldwall, to Tang Dynasty, China, in Passing Under Heaven. His work has won numerous awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask Award, as well as being selected as a Sunday Times Book of the Year (Shieldwall) and a Washington Post Books of the Year (The Drink and Dream Teahouse).
In 2014 he was selected to write the sequel to the Oscar winning film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
He lives near York.