Baking Cakes in Kigali


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Angel Tungaraza has recently moved to Rwanda from her native Tanzania. With her husband Pius and the five orphaned children of their late son and daughter, she is hardly short of things to do. But she still finds time to pursue her passion: her small but increasingly successful business, baking individually designed cakes for the parties and celebrations of her neighbours and their friends.

As a businesswoman, Angel prides herself on behaving professionally at all times, even when faced by awkward situations, ethical dilemmas and her own undignified menopausal hot flashes. And if she is occasionally manipulative, it is only ever because fairness requires it. Or because people sometimes need a small push in the right direction. Or because it might just win her cakes an international reputation.

Entirely aware that many of the people around her have witnessed and survived horrors she can barely imagine, Angel also knows that their lives continue, that they still find reasons for joy and celebration. As her customers tell her their stories, she comes to realise how much each of them has to mourn as well as how much they have to celebrate. And, finally, she comes to accept how much that is true of her too…

Shortlisted for the 2010 McKitterick Prize

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Atlantic Books

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