Elspeth Huxley was born Elspeth Josceline Grant in London in 1907. Her mother, Eleanor Lilian Grosvenor, was related to dukes and earls, and her father, Josceline Charles Henry Grant, also had connections to the British upper classes, but they had fallen on hard times and decided to move to British East Africa in 1912 to start a coffee plantation. Left behind for a year with a family friend in England, the six-year-old Elspeth joined her parents in Africa at the end of 1913. During World War I, Elspeth and her mother went back to England while her father fought in France, but Elspeth returned to Africa in 1920, to her parents’ farm at Thika in what had just become known as Kenya.
In 1924 Elspeth returned to England to study agriculture at Reading University, after which she spent a year studying at Cornell University in upstate New York. After her return to England in 1928, she used her experience writing articles for the local press in Kenya to find work as a press officer for a marketing board. She met Gervas Huxley, a cousin of the writer Aldous Huxley, and they married in 1931, by which time Elspeth, now Elspeth Josceline Grant Huxley, had embarked on a career as a freelance journalist, specializing in articles on agricultural topics.
In 1933 Huxley was commissioned to write a biography of a leading white settler in Kenya, Lord Delamere, and it was published in 1935 as White Man’s Country: Lord Delamare and the Making of Kenya. Work on this book required her to revisit Kenya, and during the rest of her life she made frequent...
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