It’s a story almost too uplifting to believe: a young girl from a dirt-poor slum in Uganda meets a man, a missionary from a similar background, who inspires her to take up chess, a game so unknown in her country that there is not even a word for it in her language. The girl rises to national champion and travels to the Chess Olympiad in Siberia, a journey that opens her eyes to a world she might never have known. Crothers tells Phiona Mutesi’s story in a crisp, reportorial style (he’s a former senior writer at Sports Illustrated), but it’s nearly impossible to read the book without a strong emotional response. The author necessarily talks about the social and economic challenges that Phiona encountered in Uganda—most girls her age had no bigger dreams than simply surviving—but his focus remains centered on Phiona herself, the uneducated prodigy, the barely literate girl who, against all odds, stands poised to become a chess grand master. Inspiring without being strident about it. --David Pitt
“Crothers tells Phiona’s story in a straightforward manner, never losing sight of its emotional resonances…. By the end of The Queen of Katwe
…you’ll join the ranks of those rooting for her success.”
“An inspiring and heart-wrenching story.”
“An extraordinary account of one young woman’s exceptional achievement.”
—Only a Game
“Moving…. A poignant reminder of the power of hope.”
“Phiona’s story is worth attention, and sportswriter Tim Crothers caught on…. Crothers is able to broaden and deepen Phiona’s remarkable story.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“Crothers tells a story that isn’t just inspirational but a corrective to our most damning assumptions.”
—Library Journal "
A moving and universal story of the power of potential and the wonder of perseverance. This story will inspire you--and will make you wonder how many more Phionas there are among us."
—Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, New York Times
bestselling author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
"This story of a young woman's triumph over the unimaginably cruel fortune she was born intowould pierce a heart of stone."
—Hillary Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Mudbound
and When She Woke