Earlier this year, Karavan Press authors, Dawn Garisch and Melissa A. Volker participated in the Salonfestival Cape Town.
Here is a link to the brand new Salonfestival magazine of 2020. The Cape Town festival features in it. The magazine is only available in German but the photographs tell their own story of times when we could still gather freely and celebrate these cultural encounters: Salonfestival. Happy memories!
I wanted to express what I find unusual and fascinating about your writing – which this book seemed to exemplify – and I needed to think about it. I know you talk about ‘embodied’ writing. I am not sure exactly how you define that, but having read six of your books now I am going to try to articulate what I think is the ‘physicality’ of your writing.
I think your writing takes one to the edges of human experience and tells us what it is like to be there. Your knowledge of the human body makes it possible for you to describe what one can barely imagine – being the mother and grandmother of conjoined twins in this case – and tell us what it is like, in a physical as well as emotional way. (Other examples: the relationship between Phyllis and the young boy in Trespass, and the ‘accident’ in Accident). Your writing takes one to the edge of what many of us have been taught to regard as acceptable subjects to speak or write about. You write as elegantly about urinating and defecating, sex and orgasms as you do about mountains and music and ideas. Breaking Milking also seems to be particularly well-researched, yet one never gets a sense of the labour that must have been involved. You write as if you were a cheesemaker yourself!
I continue to be a great admirer of your writing.
Dr Mignonne Breier is an author and academic based in Cape Town.
(Personal note posted with permission of the author.)
12 March 2020: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.
Karavan Press author Dawn Garisch will be participating in this year’s Jewish Literary Festival (JLF). The festival is taking place on 15 March 2020 at the Gardens Community Centre in Cape Town, home to the iconic Jacob Gitlin Library, SA Jewish Museum and Cape Town Holocaust Centre.
Dawn’s event will take place at 10am at the venue “ISRAEL ABRAHAMS 2“.
Writing Jewish characters — when you’re not Jewish: Where angels fear to tread…
Helen Moffett, Qarnita Loxton and Dawn Garisch talk to Karina Szczurek.
This is the third edition of the bi-annual Jewish Literary Festival, a one-day event for lovers of literature and Jewish life. Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, 15 March 2020, readers can engage with more than 70 wordsmiths, poets, journalists, filmmakers and educators over more than 40 sessions. The presenters all have some Jewish connection, are engaged with subjects of Jewish interest or have a way with words and, with multiple sessions running simultaneously throughout the day, the organisers offer genres that cover fiction, sport, food, memoir, politics, journalism, the arts and more – a wide choice to suit all tastes. It is a literary feast of note. Don’t miss it! Tickets sell out quickly, so do not hesitate to book yours here: Quicket.
Writing the Environment: where fact meets fiction
Novelists Lynton Burger (She Down There), Melissa A. Volker (Shadow Flicker) and environmentalists Colin Bell (The Last Elephants) and Richard Peirce (Orca: The day the Great White sharks disappeared) talk to Robin Adams of World Wide Fund for Nature about telling stories that need to be written about our world.
Saturday morning, 14 March, 10:00-11:30, Fish Hoek Library.
This Writing Life
Tracey Farren asks novelists Dawn Garisch (Breaking Milk), Qarnita Loxton (Being Shelley) and Trevor Sacks (Lucky Packet) where their stories come from. Do they arrive fully formed, or do uncontrollable characters dictate what will happen next? How do they write, and when, and why, and can anyone ever fully explain this writing life?
Saturday afternoon, 14 March, 14:00-15:30, Fish Hoek Library.
I have just completed reading Breaking Milk and I enjoyed it completely. It was a rollercoaster ride in the best way. At first I was less intrigued by the story and more fascinated by the style of writing, it truly is poetic in the analogies that are drawn and the way Dawn describes the surroundings, people and feelings. After a while I became accustomed to the style of writing (still fascinated by it though) and then I was absorbed into the story. But towards the end the most riveting aspect of the book became the understanding and expression of the human condition by the author.
Breaking Milk left me feeling unbroken and light. It reaffirmed my notion that nothing really matters in the bigger scheme of things and that in as much as we consider ourselves significant and often make mountains out of molehills, we are actually quite insignificant in the universe, which is reflected by the ejaculate of the Milky Way over the moon on the book cover and as described in the text. The vocabulary used is really excellent and I needed to consult a dictionary from time to time which I didn’t because I was enjoying the book so much and I could make sense of the words in the context of the sentences. I also particularly like the absence of quotation marks because it allowed everything to flow so well. I really enjoyed how the text broke away from the story by working in philosophies and theories during a portion of the written work where Kate has a conversation with her goats.
I must admit that I was waiting for something raunchy to happen and the writing didn’t disappoint, even if the performance by one character wasn’t exactly up to par. Once again, the way it was captured was mesmerising.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book along with the journey and emotions it led me on and to.
Thank you to Earl Nicholas Petersen for sending this wonderful review.
27 February 2020, 18:00-20:30
Karavan Press authors Melissa A. Volker and Dawn Garisch will talk to John Maytham of CapeTalk about the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment in the Rosebank home of writer, editor and publisher Karina Magdalena Szczurek.
Dawn’s latest novel is the evocative meditation Breaking Milk, and Melissa’s are eco-romance thrillers Shadow Flicker and A Fractured Land. As a writer, medical doctor and founder of the Life Righting Collective, in her writing, Dawn explores the fascinating relationship between art and science. As a writer, blogger, environmentalist and SUP surfer, Melissa includes environmental themes in her stories to increase awareness about such topics as fracking and renewable energy in a palatable way that will not make readers feel disheartened. Both write about independent women and their relationships with the land in their home country, South Africa.
To book tickets, click here: WOMEN IN A FRACTURED WORLD: MELISSA A. VOLKER AND DAWN GARISCH IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN MAYTHAM
WOMEN IN A FRACTURED WORLD with Melissa A. Volker and Dawn Garisch is one of the highlights of the Salonfestival Cape Town 2020:
Melissa and Dawn will talk to John Maytham of CapeTalk about the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment in the Rosebank home of writer, editor and publisher Karina M. Szczurek, on Thursday, February 27 at 6pm.
To read more about the Salonfestival, please click here: Sneak Preview of the Salonfestival 2020
A small world of deep metaphorical meaning
There is a lot in this slim book – art and science, family and culture, the workings of the heart and of the body
On a farm in the Eastern Cape, Kate wakes before dawn, her head and heart in turmoil. She has good reason to worry – today is the day that her baby grandsons, conjoined twins, are to be separated. The risky surgery will take place in London. Kate’s estranged daughter, Jess, has told her definitively, and hurtfully: “Don’t come.”
On the same farm, Nosisi awaits the return of her son, who is undergoing the traditional initiation into manhood. Another anxious mother, another separation, another child at risk.
“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,” writes Dawn Garisch in Breaking Milk.
The book takes place over one day, from Kate’s early-morning wake up, and within the confines of the farm and the house she shares with her demented father and his carer. As she ponders her painful choice – respecting her daughter’s wishes, or rushing to be at her side – she must continue to take care of business. Once a microbiologist geneticist working on embryos in a fertility lab, she is now the creator of prize-winning goat’s cheese…
Continue reading: Sunday Times
“Highly 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.
We 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