Now a major motion picture starring Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong‘o and David Oyelowo, directed by Mira Nair.
The “astonishing” (The New York Times Book Review
) and “inspirational” (Shelf Awareness
) true story of Phiona Mutesi–a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda.
One day in 2005 while searching for food, nine-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende.
Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids in the Katwe slum through chess–a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chess-board in the dirt, Robert began to teach. At first children came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love the game that–like their daily lives–requires persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one girl 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. Now a Woman Candidate Master–the first female titled player in her country’s history–Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite level in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable countries. The Queen of Katwe
is a “remarkable” (NPR) and “riveting” (New York Post
) book that shows how “Phiona’s story transcends the limitations of the chessboard” (Robert Hess, US Grandmaster).