THE POOL GUY by Melissa A. Volker launched at The Alma Café

Earlier tonight, surfers, romance enthusiasts, readers and writers gathered at The Alma Café to celebrate the launch of Melissa A. Volker’s novelette, The Pool Guy – “the holiday you need”, in the words of Qarnita Loxton. Melissa was in conversation with the wonderful book reviewer, Sammi Malunga.

You can find Sammi on Twitter and IG @sammikoalareads.

These are tough times, but thank goodness for uplifting stories that allow you to escape into a world where, despite challenges, you can expect a happy ending. In Melissa’s stories that ending always includes an empowered woman fighting for her dreams. And she gets the guy – the pool guy in this case! And everybody needs this pool guy in their lives – trust me! 🙂

Thank you to Melissa and Sammi for an entertaining evening of romance and laughter!

And thank you to everyone who attended and to The Alma Café for supporting the literary scene by making their music venue available for book launches and readings. You guys rock!

Karavan Press Literary Festival 2021

What a day of literary delight! Among the doom and gloom of the latest news cycle and despite this weekend’s weather chaos, we made literary magic happen. The (inaugural?) Karavan Press Literary Festival was a resounding success on all fronts (even the Skype connections went smoothly and turned the festival into a transcontinental – Africa / Europe / South America – event!) and I cannot thank the writers and readers who made it possible enough — you make everything worthwhile. Thank you!

10:00-11:00 GOING WILD

Penny Haw discusses the young adult stories included in Going Wild and Other Stories with editor Helen Moffett and contributors Qarnita Loxton, Sally Partridge and Lester Walbrugh

11:30-12:30 LET’S TALK ABOUT …

… the tough life topics: Nancy Richards in conversation with Cathy Park Kelly, James Leatt, Sue Brown and Joanne Hichens about their memoirs and the topics of grief, faith and abuse

13:30-14:30 WRITING WOMEN

Consuelo Roland interviews Melissa A. Volker, Penny Haw, Dawn Garisch, Joanne Hichens and Qarnita Loxton about their writing lives and the women characters they create across genres (literary fiction, chicklit, romance, crime and women’s fiction)

15:00-16:00 SWITCHING GENRES

Joy Watson, Lester Walbrugh, Stephen Symonsand Justin Fox discuss their upcoming books, two debut novels, a debut short story collection and a poetry volume respectively, with their publisher Karina M. Szczurek

16:30-17:30 LIFE WRITING

Dawn Garisch of the Life Righting Collective talks to Charlotte Mande Ilunga, Nancy Richards and Robert Hamblin about life and writing

If there ever was a moving literary event, this was it! To find out more about this amazing initiative, click here:

LIFE RIGHTING COLLECTIVE

18:00-19:00 MIGRATIONS

Karen Jennings and Nick Mulgrew talk to John Maytham about their migratory lives and the themes of land, belonging and migration in their novels, An Island and A Hibiscus Coast

Being currently in Brazil (Karen) and Scotland (Nick), the two authors joined our live audience via Skype and I am grateful to my brother Krystian (in Austria) who helped me set up the connection.

My gratitude to all Karavan Press writers and guests who gave of their time, talent, expertise and extraordinary creativity to make this festival a soul-nourishing event. A special thank you to the authors chairing the individual events.

And thank you to all the fabulous readers who attended throughout the day and have been supporting our efforts in these tough times by buying, sharing and reading our books.

A purring thank you to my Furry Family who welcomed all the visitors into our home and listened in on the sessions.

The Karavan parked at EB Cavendish this week

We parked the Karavan at Exclusive Books Cavendish this week, launching four of our books there, and we had the most wonderful time of celebrating the writers we love and talking books.

Tuesday: The Wilderness Between Us by Penny Haw, who was in conversation with Gail Gilbride

Wednesday: FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons and Beat Routes by Justin Fox – the two authors were in conversation with each other and read from their collections

Thursday: The Skipper’s Daughter by Nancy Richards, who was in conversation with Kim Cloete

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially Linda and the great booksellers at EB Cavendish! Thank you to our authors – you make me believe in a future of Karavan Press and the journeys we are still to travel! And last, but not least, thank you to all the readers who came to celebrate these wonderful authors and their books with us – your support makes us possible.

Poetry in McGregor 2021

The first Poetry in McGregor Festival Karavan Press poets participated in at a group event and it was a total success. Because of his academic commitments which took him to Pretoria this past weekend, Stephen Symons could not be with us, but John Maytham kindly agreed to read from Stephen’s poetry collections, FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT and Small Souls (a very limited special edition of his latest poems, not for sale, but the poems included will feature in Stephen’s forthcoming Selected Poems). Dawn Garisch and Justin Fox answered a few general questions about their poetry and read from their own collections, Disturbance and Beat Routes respectively, and it was obvious from the reactions of the audience that I am not the only one in love with the way these three poets craft words into art. Thank you to everyone who attended and who asked questions and bought books! We are grateful for the enthusiasm and generosity with which we have been received.

The rest of the festival was an immersion in words. ‘You are a river that cannot be denied,’ Malika Ndlovu began her reading at the festival with this line and reminded us that ‘love is persistently at work’, that ‘in my heart it is harvest time’, that ‘we are found’ – and so it felt, the bounty and the homecoming we experienced at the feast of poetry that was Poetry in McGregor this weekend.

During his performance of a script that Finuala Dowling compiled for him during lockdown, “Ice Cream, Thank You”, John Maytham quoted the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski: ‘praise the mutilated world’. The last twenty months have brought many of us to our knees, or worse. To be celebrating the written word among poets in front of live audiences was truly healing.

Poetry is ‘necessary’, Lara Kirsten said during her reading. Thank goodness there are so many fine poets who hold this truth close to their hearts and share it with us so abundantly.

It was also a joy to tell one of the young poets attending that it will be an honour to publish (hopefully, in the near future) the stunning poetry manuscript she had shared with me earlier this year. I hope that she will be reading from her debut collection at the next Poetry in McGregor Festival. Watch this space!

Thank you to all who make Poetry in McGregor possible! You are all ‘necessary’ and I am deeply grateful.

Literary greetings, Karina

Book launch: THE POOL GUY by Melissa A. Volker

Spa manager Lauren runs a professional space, so when Wyatt, the pool cleaner, brings down the tone with his languorous manner and sketchy dress code, she loses her cool. Instead of being intimidated, Wyatt is captivated and tries to chip through her armour of hair gel and makeup to find the real Lauren inside. But he is reluctant to reveal too much of himself, and when Lauren finds out who he really is, the pool guy is in for the swim of his life.

Every time I read this story, it makes me happy! It is the holiday we all need.
See you at the launch.
Love, 
Karina