Helena Drysdale


Dancing with the Dead

  Dancing with the Dead - Girl with Baguette

A journey to the spice islands of Zanzibar and Madagascar

Letters and a shroud in her aunt’s attic led Helena Drysdale to follow in the wake of her nineteenth century ancestors to the spice islands of Zanzibar and the Comoros, and into the hidden wilds of Madagascar. She unearthed stories of slave trading and piracy, and was soon caught up in the Malagasy worship of their ancestors.

Travelling down waterways in a dug-out canoe, wading through the mud of the north eastern rainforests, bumping across ravine-creased tracks in a lorry, or witnessing the annual exhumations of the dead, she explored the heart of unknown Madagascar: the land, its peoples and their unique customs.

Some Impressions

‘I felt so privileged to be present at your lecture this afternoon. What a gift of communication you have! I was on the journey with you and totally absorbed throughout.’ Royal Scottish Geographical Society

‘ You brought alive, in a very genuine and thought-provoking way, your journey through the islands as well as the lives of the people who live there. It was inspirational.’ Oxford University

‘ The fascinating story you interwove between your ancestors and those of the Malagasy enthralled the audience. What a wonderful speaking voice and diction you have.’ Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Dundee Branch.

‘ Thank you once again for your marvellous talk – a truly fascinating tale with wonderful slides and music – all done so professionally and charmingly.’ East Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes

‘ It was such an entertaining evening and the audience enjoyed it immensely, I do so admire your courage and good humour while on your travels.’ Barking Libraries

‘ Thank you most sincerely for giving such an excellent lecture. The feedback I have received from many fellows suggests that the evening was a great success.’ Royal Geographical Society Southern Region

‘ The subject and delivery of your talk came through magically. You have such an evocative way with words and Richard’s photographs captured your story brilliantly.’ London Members’ Centre, National Trust for Scotland

‘ Thank you for giving us such a marvellous lecture to start our new season. The words of appreciation you received from a member of the audience were echoed by many others and we must certainly congratulate your husband on his excellent photography.’ Hertford Celebrity Lectures

‘ The capacity audience was fascinated by all your information and anecdotes about such an interesting journey.’ Royal Geographical Society

‘ You gave us such a wonderful start to the Women and Travel seminar, that if the audience reaction is anything to go by, your book and film will be a tremendous success.’ Expedition Advisory Centre of the Royal Geographical Society

‘ Thank you most sincerely for giving us that fabulous talk. Everybody who was there enjoyed it immensely.’ The Harbour Bookshop, Dartmouth

‘ All have expressed praise for your very clear diction and speed of delivery, as well of course the content of the talk.’ Eastbourne Ashridge Circle

‘ You transported our members to exotic places and I am sure inspired some of them to think about travelling further afield themselves.’ Oxfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes

‘ Thank you for an interesting and entertaining lecture, there were over one hundred in the audience and I have had very positive feedback, you are definitely on our list for a return visit.’ Royston Pike Lecture Series, Elmbridge Libraries

‘ The slide lecture was brilliant. Quite exceptionally brilliant, in fact!’ Globetrotters’ Club

‘ Thank you very much for coming to give us such an interesting lecture. My informal ‘exit poll’ indicated that it went down very well with members.’ Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature and Art

‘ Thank you very much indeed for coming along to talk at our Annual Council Meeting. I believe your talk captivated every member’s imagination so much that they were no longer in Dorking but actually ‘Dancing with the Dead’ in Madagascar!’ Surrey Federation of Women’s Institutes

Helena wading through Jungle in Madagascar

Book a talk: info@helenadrysdale.com

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© Helena Drysdale 2006
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