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Under the Camelthorn Tree: Raising a Family Among Lions

Kate Nicholls

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Southern Africa, Memoirs, Travel writing

A mother's gritty yet often humorous account of bringing up her five children in a lion research camp; a 21st-century MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS with a dark side

Kate Nicholls left England to raise her five children in Botswana: an experience that would change each of their lives. Living on a shoestring in a lion conservation camp, Kate home-schools her family while they also learn at first hand about the individual lives of wild lions. Their deep attachment to these magnificent animals is palpable.

The setting is exotic but it is also precarious. When the author is subjected to a brutal attack by three men, it threatens to destroy her and her family: post-traumatic stress turns a good mother into a woman who is fragmented and out of control.

In this powerfully written, raw and often warmly funny memoir, we witness the devastation of living with a mother whose resilience is almost broken, and how familial structures shift as the children mature and roles change. UNDER THE CAMEL TREE addresses head-on the many issues surrounding motherhood, education, independence, and the natural world; and highlights the long-lasting effect of gender violence on secondary victims. Above all, it is an inspiring account of family love, and a powerful beacon of hope for life after trauma.

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Kate Nicholls

Kate was born in England in 1954 and raised in a theatrical family. Kate left home and school age sixteen, and supported herself working at numberless odd jobs, until she began a successful television and theatre career playing leading roles at the RSC and the National Theatre. In her thirties she read a book that changed her life and she gave up acting to study biology. Between 1976 and 1994, she had six children with whom she has travelled widely.

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