Maaza Mengiste

Go ahead, let 10x10 novelist Maaza Mengiste take you far beyond the typical haunting images of Ethiopia – barren natural disasters and widespread starvation – that most of us in the West have been saturated with for far too long.

Open Maaza’s critically-acclaimed debut, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, and meet the Hailu family. We meet the Hailus as Ethiopia is on the verge of the horrific 1974 revolution that ousted a 3,000-year-old deified monarchy. This monarchy was replaced with a brutal regime that destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives. As if piecing together an intricate puzzle, Maaza presents an epic historical moment too few of us know of, laying the most atrocious acts next to radiantly tender moments. The story of the good doctor Hailu and his two sons will prove unforgettable.

Choose Maaza’s Beneath the Lion’s Gaze for your next book club meeting, then be sure to download her 10x10 Book Club Kit to uniquely enhance your reading experience.

  • Use 10x10’s biography and exclusive Q&A to learn about Maaza’s own isolated youth which fuels her “connect[ion] to the plight of children.” Read how Maaza channeled her own memories of her early past – filled with uncertainty, inexplicable violence, and constant fear – into this searing, award-winning novel.
  • Find out how Maaza chose her 10x10 girl for her “big smile.”
  • Have easy-to-use discussion questions on hand to deepen your dialogue about Maaza’s book.
  • Find out more about Ethiopia – past and present – to add context to your discussion.
  • Check out all the additional articles, videos, films, policy briefs, and more for further information.
  • Make your next meeting a full-sensory Ethiopian evening by using the included recipes for some delicious doro wett and injera, while you groove to the specially selected music playlist.

One by one, our 10x10 writers will have their own club kits … and we will continue to announce them here as they become available. Our 10 writers are our best ambassadors to our 10 countries and our 10 girls. Join us for an enlightening global tour you won’t forget!

Go to the 10x10 Book Club by clicking here.

If you loved Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, be sure to check out our last book club kit, for Loung Ung’s First They Killed My Father.