The Queen of Katwe

The Queen of Katwe

A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming A Grandmaster

Book - 2012 | 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
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Based on a popular ESPN Magazine article--a finalist for a National Magazine Award and chosen by Dave Eggers for inclusion in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011 --the astonishing true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenager from the slums of Kampala, Uganda, who becomes an international chess champion.

Based on a popular ESPN magazine article selected by Dave Eggers for The Best American Nonrequired Reading and a finalist for a National Magazine Award, the inspiring true story of Phiona Mutesi, a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Kampala, Uganda.

PHIONA MUTESI sleeps in a decrepit shack with her mother and three siblings and struggles to find a single meal each day. Phiona has been out of school most of her life because her mother cannot afford it, so she is only now learning to read and write. Phiona Mutesi is also one of the best chess players in the world.

One day in 2005, while searching for food, nine-year-old Phiona followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende, who had also grown up in the Kampala slums. Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids through chess--a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chessboard in the dirt of the Katwe slum, Robert painstakingly taught the game each day. When he left at night, slum kids played on with bottlecaps on scraps of cardboard. At first they came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love chess, a game that--like their daily lives--means persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one stood out as an immense talent: Phiona.

By the age of eleven Phiona was her country's junior champion and at fifteen, the national champion. In September 2010, she traveled to Siberia, a rare journey out of Katwe, to compete in the Chess Olympiad, the world's most prestigious team-chess event. Phiona's dream is to one day become a Grandmaster, the most elite title in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world's most unstable countries, a place where girls are taught to be mothers, not dreamers, and the threats of AIDS, kidnapping, and starvation loom over the people.

Like Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, The Queen of Katwe is an intimate and heartrending portrait of human life on the poor fringes of the twenty-first century.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2012.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781451657814
Branch Call Number: B MUTESI PHIONA
Characteristics: 232 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


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ser_library Oct 11, 2017

more background and context than the movie

Oct 22, 2016

Loved it. I was inspired to watch youtube videos about her. And, not in the book, she gets to fulfil a dream of a house for herself and her family. I was *so happy* to learn that.

Mar 06, 2013

Incredible how some people are forced to live their lives in this world. Also incredible the amount of raw talent and intelligence that must be missed among these people for want of opportunity. In this case one chess club in a slum uncovered several rough diamonds. The focus is primarily on the girl Phiona, and her rise from extreme poverty with little or no chance of an education or even basic survival into one of the world's most talented chess players. Excellent book.

Dec 17, 2012

An amazing story of how human talent can rise given a half a chance. It's a revelation to read how large numbers of people live in parts of the world (reaffirms how truly blessed we are). You get a glimpse of our world through the eyes of a young girl taking her first ride in a motor vehicle outside of her Ugandan slum to a chess match in a hotel with restaurants.

Dec 03, 2012

The story of Phiona Mutesi and her rise to being the top woman chess player in Uganda is riveting. She and her family struggle to get enough to eat and often are locked out of their shack because they cannot pay the rent in the slum where she lives. Robert Katende is the man who finds a way to reach these children. The book is written in a very choppy manner but I hope that many learn about these amazing children and the man who has helped them find a different future. Phiona spoke on the East Coast the end of Nov, 2012 and soon may be hitting national news. All the best to her and her peers.


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