Lynn Michell


First accepted for publication in hardback by Quartet Books.

By 1950, Kenya was on the verge of one of the bloodiest wars of decolonisation fought in Britain’s twentieth century empire. Britain’s Gulag.

Eve is dutifully typing her father’s dictated memoirs of his time as a soldier in WWII and in Nairobi during the Mau Mau uprising. With growing unease, she questions his account of what really happened in Kenya.

A different story – of love and adultery – written by Eve’s mother, comes to light after her death. The two young sisters recount fragments of their time in Africa; their naive voices break into the adult deceptions.

White Lies is about different kinds of war and different kinds of loving. It explores the fragility and partiality of memory and our need to re-write the past so that it does not jar with the stories we tell ourselves and others.

A debut novel which possesses and is possessed by a rare authority of voice… the mother’s voice that sings White Lies into unforgettability. Hers and Eve’s. Their thoughts and writing ring like music.
— The Scotsman

ISBN: 978-0-9559618-3-0
Published: April 2011

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About this book

Lynn Michell’s sixteen books are published by HarperCollins, Oliver & Boyd, Pluto Press and The Women’s Press. They include Write From the Start, a six-book, illustrated writing scheme for schools, and Shattered, a non-fiction book based on interviews with thirty people with severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The two books close to her heart are her debut novel, White Lies, set in Kenya at the time of the Mao Mao uprising, runner-up for the Robert Louis Stevenson Award, and her third novel, The Red Beach Hut, about a fine but fated friendship between a man and a boy, both outsiders, who meet on a windswept English beach. You can find her here:


“An anatomist of the human heart.”
— Wanda Whitely, HarperCollins

“Gripping… with a bombshell of an ending.”
— Michele Hanson, The Guardian

“A naturally gifted writer and not afraid of ambitious projects as this one is. It has great filmic potential.”
— Christopher Rush, Author of “Will”

“…a fine job capturing the time and transporting the reader there whilst 
exploring the reactions, feelings and fears of those who lived through the early stages of the Emergency. A first class read.”
— Martyn Day, Lawyer for former Mau Mau insurgents against the British Government

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