Tom Stacey is best known as a prizewinning author and man of letters.
But his temperament and course of life have carried him frequently
to the scene of action. His has been a life of unusual range: as
traveller, especially in remote and challenging regions; as roving
correspondent, outstandingly for the Sunday Times, covering the
world scene and taking him to over 120 countries; as penal reformer,
political theorist, Christian activist, and entrepreneurial publisher. biog
Throughout his journey he has sustained his life as a writer: as novelist and screenwriter; chronicler of travel, African history and anthropology;
world affairs and the human situation. Many of his concerns are reflected in his lecture, A Sanctity to Ethnicity, given to Wotton’s Society, Eton College in March 2007.
Out of Tom Stacey's life as a foreign correspondent came one of his most widely read novels, reissued in a new Capuchin Classics paperback edition (May 2008). First published in 1988 in various British and American hardcover and paperback editions as DEADLINE, the BBC film version (starring John Hurt) outraged the author since the editing distorted the original intention of both the novel and screenplay. So the paperback reprint is entitled THE MAN WHO KNEW EVERYTHING (with a foreword by Sir Peregrine Worsthorne).The philosopher John Gray, choosing it as his Book of the Year for the New Statesman, described it as ‘a near-forgotten masterpiece’.
Into an already jumbly world, Tom Stacey has brought – as a Father – as many children as there are fingers on one hand, who have themselves added as many as there are fingers of two hands. As for greatgrandchildren, he and his wife are having to turn to toes for counting. And every one of these descendants has needed – or will need – a Likely Story or two of the old days (especially at bedtime), nearly all of which will be lost in the mists of time except for that handful caught by the heel and leaving their shadows elsewhere on this website. At last, in 2007 AD, Tom Stacey has found out and written down the full and deeply moving story of THE FIRST DOG TO BE SOMEBODY'S BEST FRIEND which he has shared in every detail with Angela Landels, who has drawn the pictures of how it happened...
Stacey's bicentennial monograph about his great-great grandfather, THOMAS BRASSEY 1805-70, The Greatest Railway Builder in the
World was published in October 2005 ... more
In 2003, Stacey's epic work TRIBE, the Hidden
History of the Mountains of the Moon, An Autobiographical Study,
'A chronicle of Stacey's lifetime association
with a fascinating people and its heritage. It is history, anthropology,
travelogue and philosophy all brewed together to produce a wonderful
story, and it has much to say to all of us.' Ronald Mutebi, Literary
'TRIBE triumphantly defies every literary shibboleth, unfolding
an important document of the history of the British Empire, and
a story of Stacey's personal engagement with and committment to
the people of Uganda's Mountains of the Moon.' Felipé Fernández Arnesto, Professor of Global History, Environmental History, Queen Mary University of London, selecting TRIBE as a Book of the Year (2003) in the Times Literary Supplement
A glacier-crowned range in the heart of equatorial Africa, the Mountains of the Moon (classical antiquity's name for the Ruwenzori Mountains) straddle the Congo-Uganda border, and are home to the Bakonzo tribe. Theirs is a turbulent history in which Tom Stacey has been repeatedly caught up since his first expedition in 1954.
Half a century ago, at 24, Stacey was the first white man to live with the Bakonzo tribe. Their armed creation of an independent state in the 1960s stemmed in part from the author's first journey: 'I went to Ruwenzori to write a book, and ended up seeding a rebellion.' Stacey's initial engagement with the Bakonzo of Ruwenzori - or Rwenzururu in the vernacular - cut deep, and endures to this day. The rebel kingdom in the mountains functioned with impressive authority from 1962-82. There followed a stormy campaign for formal recognition by Uganda of the constitutional role of Rwenzururu's king-in-exile who, having known the author since the age of two, has repeatedly turned to him throughout his life.
'The other unignorable voice, heard last month,
is that of Tom Stacey, in TRIBE
... Both Norman Lewis and Wilfred Thesiger would have treasured
it as true travel; it captures Banville's essence of "elsewhere".
Everything shimmers. The writing is limber, lyrical, muscular and
compelling - often all of these at once. My find of the year.' Tom Adam, Scotsman