Beryl Markham was a fascinating and controversial person – horsewoman, author, and aviatrix involved in more than one scandal. After reading her adventurous memoir, West with the Night, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer.” Who needs more of a recommendation than that?
Born in England in 1902, Markham moved with her family to a farm in Kenya (then British East Africa) at the age of four. Her mother and brother soon returned to England, but Beryl stayed in Africa with her father.
She learned to speak both Swahili and English. Her playmates were African tribal children and some remained her friends into adulthood. Her blonde beauty became legendary in Kenya.
She became the first licensed female horse trainer in Kenya.
Markham was no angel, but I applaud her courage in pursuing her goals which defied cultural norms of the times. I heartily recommend reading West with the Night before you read what other have written about her.