In all fairness, I picked this up because it was one of the four books I managed to find that hail from Timor Leste. And I was a little discouraged when I saw that it was written by a white woman. I was like, oh no, is this another aid worker memoir? These tend to be full of navel-gazing and colonial egocentrism. Clearly, I had no idea about who the first first lady of Timor Leste was, but I was also 9 when the country was founded. And having finished the book I can say with utter conviction: I am absolutely in awe of Kirsty Sword Gusmão, and I think that she had objectively won the right to represent East Timor culturally, politically, and in many ways. What a fascinating story, and what a great input into the liberation of the brave little nation.
A Woman of Independence by Kirsty Sword Gusmão
Published by Macmillan Australia in 2003