Killing My Own Snakes

Ann Leslie

01 August 2013
464 pages


'Gloriously funny . . . unfailingly entertaining' – Mail on Sunday

'What worlds she's seen, what a life she's had – at long last, the memoirs of the fearless, witty, indomitable Ann Leslie' – Deborah Moggach

She has been shot at by Bosnian snipers, been pursued by Robert Mugabe’s notorious secret police, filed from the North Korean border, propositioned by both Salvador Dali and David Niven and been driven maniacally through London by Steve McQueen.

But Ann Leslie’s life is every bit as remarkable as her career. A daughter of the Raj, she was born in India and the strongest influence on her early life was an illiterate Pashtun bearer, who saved her life during Partition. Her mother, a great beauty, was indifferent to her eldest daughter and she was sent to the first of a series of boarding-schools aged just four, eventually winning a scholarship to Oxford. After graduating she began her career at the Manchester office of the Daily Express, where the news editor took an instant dislike to her - she was a southerner, educated and – worst of all – female. Despite his best efforts she was soon given her own column. Then, after a stint covering show business she was appointed Foreign Correspondent of the Daily Mail, an association that endures today, almost forty years later, and one which finally allowed her real talent to shine through.

Killing My Own Snakes is a witty, incident-filled account of an extraordinary life, a fascinating self-portrait of one the most influential journalists of our time.

A smashing tale of history and handbags and the role of the bra in a danger zone
Dame Ann Leslie is one of the greatest journalists of her generation. This is a masterpiece – always self-deprecating, always exciting, always witty
A vivid, absorbing book which, like Leslie's best journalism, conveys what it's like to live through wars, civil conflicts, oppression and historic change