AFTERWARDS by Kerry Hammerton launched at The Book Lounge

Publishing poetry is an honour. And when a collection is as exquisite as Kerry Hammerton’s fourth, afterwards, it is pure delight, too. We launched the book last night at The Book Lounge. Kerry was in conversation with Finuala Dowling and read from her beautiful collection – in content and design (the book features Kerry’s photograph on the cover and was designed by Monique Cleghorn). Another magical event that encourages me to continue working for what I am hoping to create at Karavan Press – a sense of literary belonging, a home for writers.

I want to thank The Book Lounge for supporting us from the moment when Karavan Press was only a dream. Many thanks to Finuala Dowling for her sublime writing, and for everything that she does to nurture writers in South Africa and beyond. Finuala edited afterwards. Thank you, Kerry, for joining the Karavan Press family. And thank you to all poetry lovers who joined us last night, especially all – present and future – Karavan Press authors.

Cover reveal: US edition of ‘Conjectures’ by James Leatt

Catrina Wessels Rights Management | Regtebestuur

It is a pleasure to share the cover of the US edition of Conjectures by James Leatt, which has been released by Wipf & Stock Publishers, a publishing house based in Eugene, Oregon, publishing works in theology, biblical studies, history and philosophy.

Conjectures was originally published by Karavan Press in 2021. Click here for more information.


Title: Conjectures

Subtitle: Living with questions

Author: James Leatt

ISBN: 978-0-620935-87-6

Date Released: August 2021

Publisher: Karavan Press

Extent: 221 pp

World rights (excl South Africa and US) available.

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Be part of the first Karavan Stories anthology! We will meet for a writing workshop at the end of April and together analyse what makes a good short story, read examples, go through a few writing exercises, begin exploring ideas for new stories and in the following months write, edit and compile an anthology of stories which will be published by Karavan Press.

Photo: Etienne Swanepoel | Unsplash

WORKSHOP DATE: Saturday, 22 April 2023, 9:00 – 15:00

VENUE: 6 Banksia Road, Rosebank, 7700 Cape Town


FEE: R3 900

To book your spot, contact: Karina @ Karavan Press

Includes: workshop, catering during the day of the workshop, guidance and feedback, editing, proofreading, 5 copies of the anthology and the option to submit your next manuscript to Karavan Press.

If you cannot afford the fee but would like to participate, please get in touch. Two places will be available to writers who require financial assistance.

Maximum number of participants: 12.

Participants not based in Cape Town can join via Skype (maximum two).


Karina M. Szczurek is the author and (co)editor of a dozen works of fiction and non-fiction, most recently a memoir, The Fifth Mrs Brink, a collection of letters, You Make Me Possible: The Love Letters of Karina M. Szczurek and André Brink, and an anthology, Disruption: New Short Fiction from Africa. She won the MML Literature Award in the Category English Drama in 2012 and received the Thomas Pringle Award for a portfolio of ad hoc reviews from the English Academy of Southern Africa in 2018. She is a board member of Short Story Day Africa. In 2019, she founded Karavan Press, an independent publishing house, and a year later, established the Philida Literary Award.

Karavan Press: 2022 in review

We are still here!

The year 2022 is coming to an end and, despite all the challenges we’ve faced, we have not only survived, but thrived. I can now confidently say that Karavan Press has a future.

The above mentioned challenges resulted in ‘only’ four books being published this year, but every single one of them has been a publisher’s dream. Thank you, Joy, Lester, Melissa and Stephen – it has been amazing to work with you on these special books. This brings us up to TWENTY published books since we began with Melissa A. Volker’s Shadow Flicker mid-2019.

We were also meant to publish Sipho Banda’s debut poetry collection in English, A Crowded Lonely Walk, but we ran out of time in 2022, so it will be the first title to go to print in 2023. Poetry lovers have a wonderful literary treat to look forward to in the new year.

In 2022, Karavan Press authors and books have been recognised with the following:

Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh was shortlisted for the HSS Awards in the Best Fiction Short Stories category while the Best Fiction Edited Volume category was won by Hauntings (edited by Niq Mhlongo and published by Jacana) – the anthology included short stories by Lester Walbrugh and Joanne Hichens.

An Island by Karen Jennings, A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew, The Skipper’s Daughter by Nancy Richards and Boiling a Frog Slowly by Cathy Park Kelly were longlisted for the Sunday Times Literary Awards, with An Island making the shortlist in the Fiction category.

A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew won the 2022 K. Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award. This is the second year in a row that a Karavan Press author was recognised with this award.

Thanks to Catrina Wessels, Wipf & Stock acquired the US rights to Conjectures by James Leatt, originally published by Karavan Press in 2021.

Dr Sindiwe Magona received her PhD in Creative Writing from UWC.

The Other Me by Joy Watson featured at number four on the 2022 top twenty bestselling books at The Book Lounge.

Congratulations to All!

The Karavan Press literary family is growing in other ways. This year, together with Protea Distribution, Karavan Press became local distribution partners for Gagman by Joanne and Dov Fedler and August House is Dead, Long Live August House! and Panya Routes by Kim Gurney.

In September, Catrina and I attended the Gothenburg Book Fair, where we met and exchanged ideas with publishers from around the world. I hope to explore and strengthen these connections in 2023.

None of this would have been possible without the dedication and kindness of the people I work with: the authors, book designers, printers, distributors, agents, other publishers, booksellers and, of course, readers! Thank you, All!

A special thank you to my Loved Ones (furry and otherwise) who have kept me and Karavan going when the path ahead looked dire. We are still here thanks to you!

US rights sold: ‘Conjectures’ by James Leatt

Catrina Wessels Rights Management | Regtebestuur

Conjectures by James Leatt, originally published in 2021 by Karavan Press, will be released in the United States following Wipf & Stock’s acquisition of US rights.

Established in 1995, Wipf and Stock Publishers has been publishing books that serve the church and academy under its general imprint, Wipf & Stock. The publishing focus of Wipf & Stock is broad, offering titles in biblical studies, theology, ethics, church history, linguistics, history, classics, philosophy, preaching, and church ministry.

Conjectures is Professor James Leatt’s philosophical reflection on his life and times as he grapples with the realities of parish work in black communities, teaching ethics in a business school under apartheid, managing a university in the dying days of the Nationalist regime, and eventually working in higher education in post-apartheid South Africa.

Weaving strands of his personal life with the questions of theodicy and modernity as well as drawing upon the Western…

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Elton Baatjies launched (and arrested) at Liberty Books

Family, friends, readers gathered last night at Liberty Books to celebrate the launch of Elton Baatjies, the eagerly awaited debut novel by local author Lester Walbrugh.

Cleo wanted to do the interview …

… but the humans insisted that they would do a better job and even dressed up – Elton-style! – for the occasion.

Full house for Lester, Christy, Elton and Cleo!

The humans did a great job for a while …

… but then Cleo did take over!

She (and the tiger) wanted to know about the role of wild horses in the novel, and whether any cats featured.

The novel is fiction, but it is so believably written and feels so real that the local cops showed up to arrest Elton!

To find out whether Detective Junaid Japtha is as successful in fiction, and about what happens to Tyron May, you will have to read Elton Baatjies.

Lester’s job is done: Elton Baatjies is in the hands of readers. Books were celebrated, sold and signed.

Thank you to Liberty Books and all who attended for another amazing literary event! Thank you to Peregrine Farm Stall for the delicious snacks! And thank you to Paul Cluver Wines for the elegant wines which made the evening all the more special!

Above all, thank you to Christy and Lester for a great conversation and all the literary joy you bring into our lives!

Want To See My Boobs?

Cathy Park Kelly

Photo by Catrina Carrigan on Unsplash

For my birthday a few months ago, my husband whisked me off into the city for a surprise night away. We were excited for our adventure. Hotel bedlinen! A chance to sleep late!

After we’d found parking in Long Street (never an easy task), we lugged our bags one block to the hotel entrance and up two flights of stairs to the Reception desk.

‘Booking for Kelly, please: the Beach House.’

The receptionist shook his head: ‘Sorry, you’re at the wrong hotel. This is Daddy Long Legs. You’re looking for Grand Daddy, five blocks down.’

So back down the stairs with our bags we went, and into the bumper to bumper stream of cars to look for parking. Again.

Joel looked over at me: ‘Sorry! You must think I’m an idiot.’

It doesn’t have to be a dog eat dog world

Now if we…

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Questions Commonly Asked by Writers

Cathy Park Kelly

I love questions. Especially open-ended questions that somehow make us rethink what we thought we knew, that entice us to look at ourselves or at life from an unexpected angle.

And when I’m needing answers to questions that jostle restlessly inside me, I go to the page. As my pen shapes each word, as it moves from line to line, I know that eventually, the solutions will begin to form from the ink.

As writers contemplating any sort of creative project, we tend to have lots of queries. All About Writing recently hosted a webinar with me and my publisher, Karavan Press, attended by writers of all levels. The following are some of the questions that we didn’t have time to address online. I’ve picked two common ones that were asked in different ways by many of the attendees.

From Fred: My memoir is so personal that, as Karina…

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Of Canapés and Tricky Questions

Cathy Park Kelly

(Photo by Karina Szczurek,
Karavan Press)

In the years that I’ve been working on my memoir, there were many moments when I’d slump down after an uninspiring writing session, and question what I was doing. Joel would hug me and say: Let’s talk about your book launch.

Then we’d spend a few pleasant moments talking about where it would be, who would be there and what canapés (or knaps, as Joel calls them) would be served. Because the work as a writer and a memoirist of excavating the past for treasure can be lonely and often grubby, sometimes you have to borrow energy from future possibilities.

And finally, this future dream became a reality. Instead of a book store though, it took place in the cosy The Alma Café (usually a live music venue) surrounded by collections of old tins and music posters. (I would’ve been mightily tempted to break…

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SKIPPER…around the world

The most well-travelled Karavan Press title so far! Making waves across the world 🙂

From the moment that Karina of Karavan Press arrived in Rosebank, Cape Town with the first batch from the printers, to when a smaller stash arrived at a Putney front door in London, ‘Skipper’ was destined to travel. Here are some moments from her voyage…

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