Lisa St Aubin de Terán: The Magic of Mozambique

Review by Lynne Booker


Best selling writer Lisa St Aubin de Terán has found her corner of paradise in a remote part on the Mossuril Peninsula in northern Mozambique. Born and schooled in Clapham, Lisa began her lfe as a wanderer with sojourns in Venezuela, Norfolk, Italy, and Amsterdam before reaching the distant shores of Africa.


Lisa has thrown herself at life with gusto and her extraordinary experiences have provided a rich cast of characters and scenes for her fiction and memoirs. In 1970, she gave up school at the age of seventeen to marry a Venezuelan landowner. She later found out that he was a bank robber and political exile who suffered from hereditary schizophrenia.. She stayed in Venezuela for 7 years and brought her daughter Iseult back to England to escape a suicide pact.


George MacBeth the Scottish poet and novelist became her second husband after they met at a poetry salon. Their married life was brief and after an acrimonious divorce, she married the portaitist Robbie Duff Scott. She had met Scott as she commissioned him to paint her portrait. Living in Venice and then Umbria, they stayed together for 17 years, and she left him in 2001 because the relationship between two artists became more and more competitive, and finally broke down. Lisa has 3 children, one from each marriage


She then moved to Amsterdam to set up a film company. There she met Mees van Deth and went with him to Mossuril in Mozambique. They fell in love instantly with Mossuril and its people and gradually with each other. She intriguingly comments that I have had a strange and interesting life, but nothing I have done approaches the exoticness of Mees´s adventures.


Lisa´s books have been received with great critical acclaim. She won the Somerset Maugham Award for her first novel, Keepers of the House and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Slow Train to Milan . Her most recent novel is Otto - a fictionalised biography of a revolutionary who was an adviser to Fidel Castro. Lisa´s latest memoir is Mozambique Mysteries (2007) in which she details her move to Africa and how she found a new direction in her life. Together with her niece, Lisa St Aubin de Terán has set up a sustainable development project called The Terán Foundation.


She is due to arrive in the Algarve sometime in late November. Her visit to Portugal provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for residents and expatriates alike to meet an author of international renown who is also a strong woman of extraordinary resource and adaptability. Do not miss it