2016 l Dec 18 Ethiopia Simiens Day 3 at Gich (51)

Turning-point stories are what drive bestselling author Tim Butcher, historical stories so potent they still resonate today. With meticulous research both on the ground and in the archives, he has created a series of books lauded for their originality and clarity, shaping a fresh literary genre that straddles travel-writing, history, adventure and politics.

In time for the centenary of the First World War, Tim trekked across Bosnia and Serbia on the trail of the teenager who sparked the first global conflict, a journey of discovery recounted in The Trigger – The Hunt for Gavrilo Princip: The Assassin Who Brought the World to War. The book received rave reviews around the world, described as a `masterpiece’ by the Guardian and `riveting’ by the New York Times, while the Sunday Times said it was the most `strikingly original of First World War centenary books’.

For his first book, Blood River – A Journey To Africa’s Broken Heart, Tim took on a travel challenge many saw as suicidal, a traverse of the Congo, the world’s most war-ravaged country. With two thousand dollars hidden in his boots, he set off down a jungle track from the western shore of Lake Tanganyika on an adventure that sheds piercing light on issues of importance to Africa and beyond.

Blood River established Tim as a new travel-writing talent. It was a number one bestseller in the Britain, a New York Times bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and was shortlisted for numerous prizes including the Samuel Johnson Prize.

For his next book, Chasing the Devil – The Search for Africa’s Fighting Spirit, he hiked 350 miles through the tropical jungles of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia on the trail of a whisky-steeped Graham Greene. Greene had gone there in the 1930s when Europe was losing its way to fascism and Tim followed just as important new questions were being asked about the future of Africa and the developing world.

Tim’s route took him through the epicentre of world’s worst ebola outbreak, giving a unique perspective on one of the great global health challenges of the modern era. Chasing the Devil was longlisted for the George Orwell Prize, and published around the world.

With a background as a journalist, mainly for the Daily Telegraph, Tim is also a broadcaster and renowned public speaker. Born in Britain in 1967 and educated at Oxford, he was awarded the 2013 Mungo Park Medal for exploration by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Northampton in 2010 for services to writing. He lives in Cape Town with his family.