West with the Night by Beryl Markham

Published: 1942 Genre: Memoir 1. First lines 2. Cover: World of Books [Fair use] 3. Background: Beryl Markham’s home in Kenya Source: Kembu Cottages [No known copyright] 4. Beryl Markham by Tekniska museet [CC BY 2.0] via wikimedia 5. Beryl Markham Source: Kembu Cottages [No known copyright] 6. Beryl Markham Source: Kembu Cottages [No known copyright]

This is the memoir of Beryl Markham (1902-1986). Beryl spent most of her life in Kenya living a life of adventure, first as a child seemingly given free-reign by her father to roam the African countryside; then growing up as an accomplished horse trainer, and working as a bush pilot helping tourists track game. Her famous accomplishment was being the first person to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean from Britain to North America.

“We are flying west with the night”

“West with the Night” by Beryl Markham

BOOK SNAPS: “This book is the memoir of Beryl Markham, an English pilot/adventurer in the early twentieth century. Thankfully, she was also a rather good writer, and I really enjoyed reading this book which has an easy conversational style, and some very entertaining anecdotes from her life in Africa.

  • Ernest Hemingway: Source: Books are our Superpower. “Did you read Beryl Markham’s book, West with the Night? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would put pen to paper except to write in her flyer’s log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers. The only parts of it that I know about personally, on account of having been there at the time and heard the other people’s stories, are absolutely true . . . I wish you would get it and read it because it is really a bloody wonderful book.” —Ernest Hemingway


“It is no good telling yourself that one day you will wish you had never made that change; it is no good anticipating regrets. Every tomorrow ought not to resemble every yesterday.”

“I have seen a herd of buffalo invade the pastures under the occasional thorn tree groves and, now and then, the whimsically fashioned figure of a plodding rhino has moved along the horizon like a grey boulder come to life and adventure bound.”

“Some day I’ll write a book and you can read about it.”


Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun is a 1988 American-British TV mini-series starring Stefanie Powers and Jack Thompson. It traces Beryl’s life from a 20-year-old equestrian to a lonely 82-year-old and focuses more on her personal life than her achievements as an aviator.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s