Beryl Eichenberger reviews Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch for the Woman Zone Book Club

Breaking_Milk_Dawn_Garisch_COVER_SMALLHighly emotive, the novel is an evocative and thoughtful exploration of confrontations, loss and ultimately acceptance.

Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch is her 7th novel and takes us into the world of protagonist Kate, a former geneticist and now an award winning organic cheese maker, over one seminal day. Her estrangement from her daughter Jess is at the heart of the novel as, on this day, Jess’s conjoined twins will be separated and Jess has forbidden Kate to come to London to be with her.

Goat by Laty McLeanWe enter the rooms of Kate’s mind as she wrestles with her inner anguish using her routine chores to cover her turmoil. Making cheese, running the farm and restaurant, dealing with her dementia addled father, a manipulative ex-husband and a besotted neighbour take us step by step through this day in vivid prose. Mothers united in their fear, Kate and Nosisi whose son Luzoko is undergoing initiation, work side by side in silent contemplation.

Continue reading review: Woman Zone Book Club

Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch to be launched at Fynboshoek Cheese Farm

Fynboshoek cheese

Please join us for a special event to celebrate the launch of Dawn Garisch’s Breaking Milk at Fynboshoek Cheese Farm, the place that inspired the setting for the novel.

Dawn will speak about the genesis of her novel, which tells the story of a day in the life of an award-winning maker of organic cheese. The ticket price for the event (R60 per person) includes a cheese tasting.

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Books will be on sale.

We look forward to seeing you there and experiencing this delicious literary treat with our readers!

A bookwormy day

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Last night, Dawn Garisch launched her novel, Breaking Milk, at Kalk Bay Books. She was in conversation with Tracey Farren.

In the audience at the amphitheater-like venue outside of the new Kalk Bay Books premises in Kalk Bay, were enthusiastic readers, family and friends, and many writers, among them Karavan Press author, Melissa A. Volker. Thank you to all who attended the event! Your support means the world to us. And thank you to Kalk Bay Books for hosting us! It was a beautiful evening.

Before the launch, I caught up with Caroline Gill at The Bookworm in Fish Hoek. Caroline is the winner of our Karavan Press Review Competition. With her review of A Fractured Land by Melissa A. Volker, Caroline won a R1000 book voucher for a bookshop of her choice and chose The Bookworm, a magical shop which has been in Fish Hoek for over forty years and is a joy to behold. It was my first, but definitely not my last, visit. Yesterday, I found an out-of-print poetry collection by Finuala Dowling there. The book just had to come home with me…

I salute all bookworms. Happy book hunting and reading to you all!

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

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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.

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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…

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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