We were extremely sorry to hear that Landeg White passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 3 December. Born in South Wales in 1940, Landeg was a gifted writer, academic, novelist and poet, who published two of his novels with Cinnamon Press, most recently Ultimatum, which will be launched in February.
Landeg began his professional at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, where he was chief arranger for a steel band. He moved on to the University of Malawi and his passion for human rights and justice saw him deported from the country in 1972. His next appointments were at the University of Sierra Leone, where he wrote the detective novel, Inspector Tucker & the Leopard Men, and the University of Zambia, where he wrote his first book of literary criticism, V.S. Naipaul: a Critical Introduction.
Landeg later became the Director of the Centre for Southern African Studies at the University of York and there, partly in collaboration with Leroy Vail, he wrote books based on his African experiences — two Mozambican histories, the history of a village in Malawi, a study of southern Africa praise poetry, an anthology of African oral poetry (co-authored with Jack Mapanje), as well as producing three collections of his own poetry.
In 1994 he moved to Portugal wand taught at the Universidade Aberta (Open University). There he published a prize-winning translation of Camõe's The Lusiads and four further collections of poetry, including Where the Angolans are Playing Football: Selected and New Poems and Arab Work. The Collected Lyrics of Luís de Camões was published by Princeton University Press in 2008. Singing Bass, a further collection of poems, appeared in 2009, and Livingstone's Funeral, a novel, in 2010. His most recent collection of poems, Letters from Portugal, was published in 2014 by Kondwani publications.
The impressive C.V. is a testimony to his intelligence and creativity, but what it doesn't tell you is what a warm, generous and remarkable person Landeg was. He had a way of communicating clearly and with great integrity that made working on novels with him a privilege. In the face of a terminal diagnosis, he told me only when I'd returned from a writing sabbatical so as not to disturb that time; a mark of someone not simply stoical, but deeply gracious.
The world is poorer without him, but his life touched many people for the better and his writing is a fitting legacy. He had an extraordinary ability to see to the heart of a matter and his novel Ultimatum is a great example of that. It was an honour to be in Lisbon with him for the pre-launch in October and we will be launching the book fully in February, 2018. It is not only a compelling read, but an important book with much to say about how nations deal with one another. It's a novel he was passionate about and proud of and we commend it to every fiction reader we know.
His wife, Maria Alice, sons, Martin and John, sister, Glenda and all of Landeg's family are very much in our thoughts at this time.