WELCOME

Welcome to the website bonnieleeblack.com. For news, views, reviews, and interviews worth factoring into your life, please click on the box to the left to see what Bonnie's award-winning blog, The WOW Factor, is all about. And be sure to subscribe so you'll receive a new, inspiring WOW post in your inbox each week.

Jamie's MuseBonnie's novel is now available:

JAMIE'S MUSE
(Nighthawk Press, 2018)


The lost history of Bonnie Lee Black’s Scottish great-grandmother, Helen, has haunted the author for years. Why, as young newlyweds, did Helen and William Black leave their hometown, Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland, and immigrate to the “dark continent” of Africa in 1882?

Black’s deep spiritual connection to her ancestor has inspired her to weave a tale, in this, her first novel, that is part fantasy and part history.

Helen and Will died just three years after settling in Natal, South Africa, just months after the birth of their first child, Black’s grandfather, John. There is no record of their demise; no record of how their baby son ended up in an orphanage in Edinburgh, nor of how the 14-year-old boy stowed away on a ship to New York.

Black lived in Africa for many years herself and writes with a sure sense of place and ­history, interwoven with the fantasy of Helen, her short life, and her imagined close friendship with Kirriemuir’s most famous son, J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan.




 

How to Make an African QuiltNew Mexico-Arizona Books Awards Finalist:

HOW TO MAKE AN AFRICAN QUILT:
The Story of the Patchwork Project
of Ségou, Mali 

(Nighthawk Press, 2013)

"This is an immensely evocative, superbly written, and profoundly moving narrative of Bonnie Lee Black's work with a group of remarkable Malian women. Her radiant humanity shines through on every page."

 -- David Livingstone Smith, author of Less  Than Human (St. Martins)

How do we sew together the hoped-for future and the unfortunate past, the bright as well as the darker patches of our lives? How do we stitch cultural differences, join disparate worlds, to create something both beautiful and useful? Bonnie Lee Black subtly addresses these universal questions through vivid stories of her life-changing experience living and working in the fabled city of Ségou, Mali, in West Africa, after having served for two years in the Peace Corps in Gabon.

At the request of a talented group of Malian seamstresses, Black taught them the craft of American patchwork quilting and spearheaded an independent economic-development effort called the Patchwork Project. In this memoir she has created a many-layered patchwork quilt of a book that brings that time and place -- and all its colorful characters -- to life on the page. 

Threaded throughout is the fictional narrative of Jeneba, a slave-quilter in the antebellum American South who had been kidnapped from the Kingdom of Ségou as a child, as well as the real voices of the Malian women who took part in the Patchwork Project.




 

Winner of a Best in the World award from Gourmand International, Paris:

HOW TO COOK A CROCODILE:
A Memoir with Recipes

(Peace Corps Writers, 2010)

Casting caution to the wind at the age of fifty, New York caterer and food writer Bonnie Lee Black decided to close her catering business and join the Peace Corps. Posted to the tiny town of Lastoursville in the thickly rainforested interior of Gabon, Central Africa, Bonnie taught health, nutrition, and cooking, in French, primarily to local African women and children.

In the two years she served in Gabon, Black developed her own healthy recipe for a purposeful life, made in equal measures of good food, safe shelter, meaningful work, and unexpected love. Like M.F.K. Fisher’s classic World War II-era book, How to Cook a Wolf, Black’s true stories comprise a lively, literary, present-day survival guide
.

How to Cook a Crocodile won first prize in the Charity and Community - North America category at the Gourmand International awards ceremony held at the Folies Bergeres in Paris on March 6, 2012.

Click here to watch a six-minute Pecha Kucha presentation of How to Cook a Crocodile.






SOMEWHERE CHILD 
(Viking Press, 1981)

Somewhere Child is Bonnie Lee Black's astonishing and beautifully told memoir of how she lived through the ordeal of parental kidnapping not once, but twice -- first in her suburban New Jersey community and then, several years later, in Salisbury, Rhodesia, where she had tracked her ex-husband down, and where, after a long and sensational legal battle, she once more won custody of her daughter, only to lose her yet again.... Black has assembled fragments of letters, journals, and court transcripts to create a spellbinding interior narrative recapturing those years.  A compelling brief against child snatching, that perverse and tortuous form of domestic violence, Somewhere Child is filled with love and fury and heart-wrenching pain, and is ultimately a testimony to the resilience and fierceness of the human spirit. 
      -- Viking Press, New York,1981

"This book reconfirms for me the importance of the work we are doing to bring the problem of parental alienation to public awareness in the hopes of sparing future generations the pain and suffering that this author and her daughter had to endure."
      -- Amy J. L. Baker, Ph.D., author and expert on PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome)


Find both eBook and available hardback copies of Somewhere Child at Amazon.