Rediscover: The Queen of Katwe

Phiona Mutesi was born in 1996 in Katwe, the largest slum in Uganda's capital, Kampala. Her father died of AIDS when she was three, and when she was nine, Phiona dropped out of school when her family could no longer afford to send her. One day in 2005, while searching for food, Phiona met Robert Katende, a missionary who discovered and nurtured Phiona's unexpected talent for chess. She ascended the ranks of her country's chess championships until she was competing on Uganda's national team in the World Chess Olympiads. Phiona is now a Woman Candidate Master, the first titled female in Uganda's history.

In 2011, sports journalist Tim Crothers wrote about Phiona's remarkable journey for ESPN the Magazine, which he expanded into a book, The Queen of Katwe: One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion. A film version developed by Disney, Queen of Katwe, comes out this Friday, September 30. Madina Nalwanga makes her acting debut as Phiona Mutesi, starring alongside David Oyelowo as Robert Katende and Lupita Nyong'o as Phiona's mother, Nakku Harriet. On September 6, Scribner released a movie tie-in edition of Queen of Katwe ($16, 9781501127182). See the original Shelf Awareness review of Tim Crother's "inspirational" book here. --Tobias Mutter
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