The Queen of Katwe

One Girl's Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion

Publisher: Vintage Canada

Already optioned for film by Disney directed by Mira Nair, The Queen of Katwe is the inspirational story of a teenage girl from one of the poorest slums in Africa who, thanks to one small effort to empower children through sport, became an international chess champion.

Phiona Mutesi, is a 15-year-old girl born and raised in a miserable slum called Katwe in Kampala, Uganda. Phiona Mutesi is also one of the top chess players in the world. By the age of 11, in 2007, Phiona was her country's junior chess champion and at 15, her country's national champion. In September of 2010 she traveled to Siberia, just her 2nd time ever on an airplane, to compete in the Chess Olympiad, the world's most prestigious team chess event. While there, Phiona proved herself to be on par with the greatest players in the sport. Her goal is to one day become a grandmaster, the most elite title in chess, and to blaze a trail out of Katwe that other children in her chess community can follow. The Queen of Katwe is the ultimate underdog story.


"Crothers writes the story matter-of-factly, not relying on emotionally charged words to depict the struggle that Mutesi faces. This book reads like a newspaper article, reserving judgment and bias."
—The Post and Courier

"The Queen of Katwe is an extraordinary account of one young woman's exceptional achievement."

"Moving.... A poignant reminder of the power of hope."
—Kirkus Reviews