Caroline Gill wins the Karavan Press Review Competition for her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker

Review competitionCongratulations to Caroline Gill! With her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker Caroline wins the Karavan Press Review Competition and a book voucher worth R1000 for a bookshop of her choice. Thank you to all participants for reading, engaging with Melissa’s novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker, and submitting your entries for the competition. To show our appreciation, we would like to send you all a copy of Melissa’s next novel, provisionally titled Switchfoot, when it becomes available next year. In the meantime, we wish Caroline happy book buying and reading!

Karavan Press title: a biography of Thembi Mtshali-Jones – THEATRE ROAD: MY STORY as told to Sindiwe Magona

THEMBI_COVER_FINAL_LOWRES

DESCRIPTION

Growing up in the village of Sabhoza near Ulundi and the city of Durban of the 1950s and 1960s, THEMBI MTSHALI-JONES listened to her beloved gogo’s stories and marvelled at the voices emerging from her father’s gramophone, but she could never imagine that, one day, her own voice would be enthralling audiences across the globe. Or that she would become so famous that Nelson Mandela would thank her personally for entertaining him in prison where he watched her perform on TV as Thoko in the sitcom ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi.

As a teenager living under apartheid, Thembi dreamt about getting a decent education and becoming a nurse. Life had other plans. She fell in love with the first man who paid her any attention and became pregnant soon after. Forced to leave Nursing College and her baby behind, so that she could earn a living taking care of other people’s families, she seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of many other women trying to survive their shattered hopes in the townships.

But the daughter of a white family employing Thembi in Durban heard her sing, first recognising the precious gift that fans cherish her for today. She encouraged Thembi to audition for a show. It was her first role, starting her on the path that would take her to stages around the world, where her life would inspire a sell-out musical and she would perform alongside and become lifelong friends with such greats as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Gcina Mhlophe.

Set against the background of South Africa’s tumultuous struggle for democracy, Theatre Road tells the remarkable story of Thembi’s illustrious career and the people and places who shaped her along the way, her tight-knit family and Durban most prominent among them.

In 2019, Thembi received the Living Legend Award from the National Black Theater Festival in Winston Salem, NC. The publication of Theatre Road coincides with the celebrations of her 70th birthday.

Listen, as she tells her story to her friend and collaborator, SINDIWE MAGONA

ISBN: 978-0-6399942-3-9 

Publication date: November 2019

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sindiwe Magona

Born in the Transkei in 1943, SINDIWE MAGONA finished high school by correspondence. She later completed a BA through the University of South Africa and went on to graduate with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University in New York. She worked for the United Nations at its headquarters in New York for over two decades before retiring to her native South Africa.

A prolific writer of children’s books, biography, poetry, short stories, plays and novels, Sindiwe is also a translator and highly regarded public speaker. Her books include To My Children’s ChildrenForced to Grow, Mother to MotherBeauty’s Gift and Chasing the Tails of My Father’s Cattle.

Sindiwe’s work has been recognised with numerous awards. In 2007, she received the Molteno Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement for promoting Xhosa culture and language, the Permio Grinzane Terre D’Otrantro and the Department of Arts and Culture Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to South African Literature. She is also the recipient of the Bronx Recognises Its Own Fiction Award (2000), a Fellowship for Non-Fiction from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze (2011), given in recognition of her literary and humanitarian contributions to society. The Xhosa Forum honoured her with a Heroes Award and the uNdimande Grand Prize. In 2012, she was joint winner (with Nadine Gordimer) of The Mbokodo Award, which recognises women who have shown leadership, fostered growth and made efforts to strengthen the arts. She was awarded the 2016 Gold Medal by the English Academy of Southern Africa, affirming her distinguished service to English over a lifetime.

The Hartwick College of New York conferred her with an honorary doctorate in 1993 and the Rhodes University of Grahamstown in 2018.

Sindiwe lives in Cape Town and is currently Writer in Residence at the University of the Western Cape.

Author photograph by Victor Dlamini

Author: Sindiwe Magona

Sindiwe MagonaBorn in the Transkei in 1943, SINDIWE MAGONA finished high school by correspondence. She later completed a BA through the University of South Africa and went on to graduate with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University in New York. She worked for the United Nations at its headquarters in New York for over two decades before retiring to her native South Africa.

A prolific writer of children’s books, biography, poetry, short stories, plays and novels, Sindiwe is also a translator and highly regarded public speaker. Her books include To My Children’s ChildrenForced to Grow, Mother to MotherBeauty’s Gift and Chasing the Tails of My Father’s Cattle.

Sindiwe’s work has been recognised with numerous awards. In 2007, she received the Molteno Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement for promoting Xhosa culture and language, the Permio Grinzane Terre D’Otrantro and the Department of Arts and Culture Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to South African Literature. She is also the recipient of the Bronx Recognises Its Own Fiction Award (2000), a Fellowship for Non-Fiction from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze (2011), given in recognition of her literary and humanitarian contributions to society. The Xhosa Forum honoured her with a Heroes Award and the uNdimande Grand Prize. In 2012, she was joint winner (with Nadine Gordimer) of The Mbokodo Award, which recognises women who have shown leadership, fostered growth and made efforts to strengthen the arts. She was awarded the 2016 Gold Medal by the English Academy of Southern Africa, affirming her distinguished service to English over a lifetime.

The Hartwick College of New York conferred her with an honorary doctorate in 1993 and the Rhodes University of Grahamstown in 2018.

Sindiwe lives in Cape Town and is currently Writer in Residence at the University of the Western Cape.

Author photograph by Victor Dlamini

Karavan Press to publish a biography of Thembi Mtshali-Jones – THEATRE ROAD: MY STORY as told to Sindiwe Magona

It is with the greatest of pleasures and literary pride that Karavan Press announces the publication of a biography of Thembi Mtshali-Jones, THEATRE ROAD: MY STORY, as told to Sindiwe Magona.

THEMBI_COVER_FINAL_LOWRES

Growing up in the village of Sabhoza near Ulundi and the city of Durban of the 1950s and 1960s, Thembi Mtshali-Jones listened to her beloved gogo’s stories and marvelled at the voices emerging from her father’s gramophone, but she could never imagine that, one day, her own voice would be enthralling audiences across the globe. Or that she would become so famous that Nelson Mandela would thank her personally for entertaining him in prison where he watched her perform on TV as Thoko in the sitcom ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi.

As a teenager living under apartheid, Thembi dreamt about getting a decent education and becoming a nurse. Life had other plans. She fell in love with the first man who paid her any attention and became pregnant soon after. Forced to leave Nursing College and her baby behind, so that she could earn a living taking care of other people’s families, she seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of many other women trying to survive their shattered hopes in the townships.

But the daughter of a white family employing Thembi in Durban heard her sing, first recognising the precious gift that fans cherish her for today. She encouraged Thembi to audition for a show. It was her first role, starting her on the path that would take her to stages around the world, where her life would inspire a sell-out musical and she would perform alongside and become lifelong friends with such greats as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Gcina Mhlophe.

Set against the background of South Africa’s tumultuous struggle for democracy, Theatre Road tells the remarkable story of Thembi’s illustrious career and the people and places who shaped her along the way, her tight-knit family and Durban most prominent among them.

In 2019, Thembi received the Living Legend Award from the National Black Theater Festival in Winston Salem, NC. The publication of Theatre Road coincides with the celebrations of her 70th birthday in November this year.

Sindiwe and Thembi

Thembi told her story to her friend and collaborator, Sindiwe Magona. The resulting biography is a deeply touching and inspiring account of an extraordinary life shaped by love, resilience and creativity.

In a recent interview with BONA Magazine, Thembi spoke about the “dedication and hard work” that have characterised her career as one of the most acclaimed, admired and internationally recognised South African musicians and actors. The Living Legend Award which she received from the National Black Theater Festival in the US earlier this year is the latest in a series of accolades, which include the Arts and Culture Trust Lifetime Achievement Award for Theatre, The Mbokodo Award, Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival and Best Actress Award at The Carthage Festival in Tunisia, to name only a few. She is currently starring in the e.tv drama Imbewu: The Seed in the role of MaNdlovu Bhengu.

Thembi collaborated on Theatre Road: My Story with no other than Sindiwe Magona, a South African legend in her own right.

Thembi and Sindiwe

The two artists first collaborated on a radio recording of one of Sindiwe’s short stories. Then, Thembi read Sindiwe’s famous Mother to Mother, a book based on the tragic killing of Amy Bhiel in Gugulethu in the violence of 1993. Together with Janice Honeyman, Sindiwe and Thembi adapted the book to a one-woman play, exploring the possibility of forgiveness and redemption between the mother of the killer and the mother of the victim.

Sindiwe and Thembi have begun work on Theatre Road a few years ago. The book will be published in November and enthral fans of both artists.

Sindiwe Magona

Born in the Transkei in 1943, Sindiwe Magona finished high school by correspondence. She later completed a BA through the University of South Africa and went on to graduate with a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University in New York. She worked for the United Nations at its headquarters in New York for over two decades before retiring to her native South Africa.

A prolific writer of children’s books, biography, poetry, short stories, plays and novels, Sindiwe is also a translator and highly regarded public speaker. Her books include To My Children’s ChildrenForced to Grow, Mother to MotherBeauty’s Gift and Chasing the Tails of My Father’s Cattle.

Sindiwe’s work has been recognised with numerous awards. In 2007, she received the Molteno Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement for promoting Xhosa culture and language, the Permio Grinzane Terre D’Otrantro and the Department of Arts and Culture Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to South African Literature. She is also the recipient of the Bronx Recognises Its Own Fiction Award (2000), a Fellowship for Non-Fiction from the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze (2011), given in recognition of her literary and humanitarian contributions to society. The Xhosa Forum honoured her with a Heroes Award and the uNdimande Grand Prize. In 2012, she was joint winner (with Nadine Gordimer) of The Mbokodo Award, which recognises women who have shown leadership, fostered growth and made efforts to strengthen the arts. She was awarded the 2016 Gold Medal by the English Academy of Southern Africa, affirming her distinguished service to English over a lifetime.

The Hartwick College of New York conferred her with an honorary doctorate in 1993 and the Rhodes University of Grahamstown in 2018.

Sindiwe lives in Cape Town and is currently Writer in Residence at the University of the Western Cape.

Author photograph: Victor Dlamini

Fynboshoek – the inspiration for Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch

‘Visiting the cheese farm today felt like walking into my novel,’ Dawn Garisch wrote after her recent return to Fynboshoek, the place which inspired the setting of her latest novel, Breaking Milk.

Breaking Milk concerns a day in the life of Kate, a cheese maker.

Don’t come, she is told by her only child. Jess is keeping her mother at a distance on the day that her own children, conjoined twins, are to be separated during high-risk surgery in London.

Kate wakes on her farm in the Eastern Cape, torn between respecting Jess’s wishes and a longing to rush to her estranged daughter’s side.

A former geneticist disillusioned by the pressing ethical questions posed by her job, Kate is now an award-winning maker of organic cheese. She relies on the farm’s routine and the people and animals in her life to hold steady as her day teeters on a knife’s edge.

Meanwhile, her employee Nosisi’s son is undergoing initiation. Forbidden to have contact with him during this traditional passage into the world of manhood, his mother anxiously awaits his return…

Fynboshoek6

The sky is clotted with cloud, but the background blue is clear, rinsed by the night’s rain. The farmer’s need to know the weather blurs with Kate’s artistic appreciation of cloudscapes – the infinite variety of forms: misty wisps and erupted whites above the underlining of the land.
Kate’s small farm appears over the rise, nestled in beside the dam – an oasis of fynbos and indigenous trees that stand out in a vast green desert of pastures and fields. It does feel like home, she thinks… 

Fynboshoek5In the Acknowledgments of Breaking Milk, Dawn writes: Thanks to Alje van Deemter who allowed me to job shadow him on his farm Fynboshoek in the Eastern Cape so that I could detail his cheese-making process and restaurant business – his produce is as delicious as the book portrays.

To discover more about Fynboshoek and the cheese-making process visit the farm’s website and follow their stunning Instagram account.

Stay tuned for details about a launch of Breaking Milk on Fynboshoek in November. Until then, enjoy the novel, learn more about the art of organic cheese making and have some delicious artisan cheese.

Photographs: Fynboshoek Instagram

Dawn Garisch at the Open Book Festival 2019

DAWN GARISCH will be speaking about her novel Breaking Milk at the following events during this year’s Open Book Festival which is taking place between the 4th and 8th of September.

  • THUR | 05/09 | 16-17 | HCC Workshop

DISTRUSTING THE PRESENT: Tracey Farren, Dawn Garisch and Masande Ntshanga speak to Alex Dodd about how the dystopian present informs their work.

  • SAT | 07/09 | 16-17 | HCC Workshop

THERE IS NO TEXTBOOK: Patrick Flanery, Dawn Garisch and Julia Martin speak to Pippa Hudson about the impossibility of preparing for some events.

  • SUN | 08/09 | 12-13 | A4 Ground

GENE THERAPY: Oyinkan Braithwaite, Nicole Dennis-Benn and Dawn Garisch speak to Bonnie Mbuli about dealing with family challenges.

Dawn Garisch by AJ Wattamaniuk

 

At the Montagu Book Festival with Melissa A. Volker

MBF1I had been hoping to interview Melissa A. Volker at a literary event for years. I had no idea that when it finally happened, I would be speaking to her about her life and writing as her publisher, but that made the occasion even more special.

We travelled together to the Montagu Book Festival/Boekefees, which took place between 25 and 28 July, to speak about “Up Lit” and Melissa’s two novels, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker.

Set in the Great Karoo, in Graaff-Reinet, A Fractured Land looked at home in the Little Karoo and received a very warm welcome.

Melissa and I first heard the term “Up Lit” from Kate Mallinder and, immediately, we both felt that it applied exceptionally well to Melissa’s novels. They are books which focus on kindness, empathy and a sense of community without shying away from difficult topics such as divorce, debt, grief, addiction or mental illness. They are stories of “redemption” and “second chances”. Above all, they are romances. In both novels, Melissa tackles vital environmental topics (fracking and wind energy respectively). Her protagonists find love while at the same time having to find some form of common ground when they end up on opposing sides of these environmental issues, as Melissa explained during our event. We also spoke about the innocence of falling in love, surfing, strong female characters, music, and perseverance. We had great fun talking to each other and engaging with the readers who came to listen to our conversation.

MBF3

We want to thank the Montagu Book Festival for hosting us, the Montagu Bookshop for selling our books, and all who attended our session for your infectious enthusiasm and for sharing the love of reading with us. May there be many more such joyous and inspiring occasions!

MBF6

Hope to see you all in Montagu next year!

Join us for the XPRESSION ON THE BEACH launch of Shadow Flicker by Melissa A. Volker

Shadow Flicker Xpression

In our author interview, Melissa told us about the place surfing holds in her life:

… I suspect it’s more of an obsession, a compulsion, much like writing, but possibly less plagued by self-doubt? I’ve been married to a surfer for more than twenty years, and initially I acquired a good beachside understanding of things. But four years ago, I stepped off the beach and learned to surf a stand-up paddle board. I have not looked back; I now plan my week around the surf report. Surfing is a most empowering experience; it has taught me that I am stronger and braver than I ever thought. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be in the water whenever it presents itself.

Significantly, the first editor who did NOT reject my writing was Calvin Bradley, of Zigzag Surfing Magazine. I entered a competition called Write To Surf, and wrote a story about my life as a surf widow called ‘The Thinking Girls Guide to Life with a Surfer‘. I didn’t win the competition, but they published the story online. It was my first ever published story and when it got over 1000 likes on Facebook I was beyond stoked. It’s been epic to subsequently write pieces for The Inertia, Zigzag and Wavescape, especially when I have had the opportunity to write about women’s interests in surfing. We have a bunch of smart and funny surf writers in South Africa and I enjoy reading their work and learning from them as well.

In some ways surfing is like writing. It’s almost impossible to impress your will upon a wave, instead you have to be in tune with it and adapt your movement to the possibilities the wave is revealing to you. Much like a story. Sometimes you can’t impress your will upon it or force it in a certain direction. You have to be present, mindful and in tune with the possibilities that lie before you on the page.

Surfing features strongly in Shadow Flicker. It plays an important role in the protagonists’ lives, but both Kate and Matthew have to battle through loss and pain to return to the waves.

Shadow Flicker quote

Thus, it is with great pleasure that we invite everyone to join us for a launch of Melissa’s Shadow Flicker at the iconic XPRESSION ON THE BEACH: “We are more than just a ‘SUP and Surf Shop’ – We are a community.”

XPRESSION

Melissa will be in conversation with surfer, writer & historian Glen Thompson, who had this to say about the novel:

Melissa A. Volker deftly weaves romance, eco-fiction and surf noir into a gripping saga in Shadow Flicker. In the small coastal village made popular by The Endless Summer, the restless wind brings waves, haunted memories, and the promise of a green energy future. Volker takes you to the heart of the turbulence.

We can’t wait to catch this wave! See you on the beach …

 

Karavan Press title: Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch

Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch

DESCRIPTION

So many women down the ages have lain awake in the earth’s great shadow, insomniac over their progeny, their sons and daughters intent on escaping their mothers’ intractable worry.

Don’t come, Kate is told by her only child. Jess is keeping her mother at a distance on the day that her own children, conjoined twins, are to be separated during high-risk surgery in London.

Kate wakes on her farm in the Eastern Cape, torn between respecting Jess’s wishes and a longing to rush to her estranged daughter’s side.

A former geneticist disillusioned by the pressing ethical questions posed by her job, Kate is now an award-winning maker of organic cheese. She relies on the farm’s routine and the people and animals in her life to hold steady as her day teeters on a knife’s edge.

Meanwhile, her employee Nosisi’s son is undergoing initiation. Forbidden to have contact with him during this traditional passage into the world of manhood, his mother anxiously awaits his return.

Breaking Milk, Dawn Garisch’s seventh novel, is an evocative exploration of the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment.

ISBN: 978-0-6399942-2-2

Publication date: 1 September 2019

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dawn Garisch by AJ Wattamaniuk

DAWN GARISCH is the highly acclaimed author of a non-fiction work, a memoir and six novels, three of which were published in the UK. She has written for television and has had five of her plays and a short film produced.

Her poem Blood Delta won the DALRO Prize in 2007 for best poem, and Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry Award in 2011. Difficult Gifts, her debut poetry collection, was published the same year. She also writes short stories and her What To Do About Ricky won the Short.Sharp.Story competition in 2013.

Dawn’s novel Trespass was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in Africa in 2010, and Accident was longlisted for the Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2018.

She is part of the medical humanities movement and a founding member of the Life Righting Collective where she runs courses in memoir writing. Dawn is also a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.

Breaking Milk, published by Karavan Press, is her seventh novel.

Author photograph by AJ Wattamaniuk.