The latest Karavan Press title – Conjectures: Living With Questions – in the hands of its author James Leatt

Always a happy moment: the handover of author’s copies to The Author! Yesterday, James Leatt received the first copies of his Conjectures: Living With Questions and signed a copy for the Karavan Press archive.

When I put up two of the above photographs on Instagram yesterday, the post attracted two very moving comments:

“There’s an author who once slept holding … a copy of his first book. He finished a matchbox looking at the book at night since there was no electricity in his rural area. Congratulations James.”

— Sipho Banda

“I love that you publish outsider authors with exceptional talent that other publishers are afraid of. You’re like the originals, publishing words not social media followers. Literature is better for Karavan Press.”

— Rachel Zadok


Rachel is the founder of Short Story Day Africa. She and her work – as writer, editor, publisher and curator of Short Story Day Africa – continue to be great inspirations for Karavan Press.

And, like no other, Sipho’s comment captures the pride and joy of the moment of holding your book in your hands for the very first time, especially when the journey up to that point had not been easy. But no matter what the path, the magic of the arrival is extraordinary.

Thank you, Rachel and Sipho! And thank you, James, for travelling with Karavan Press!

Conjectures: Living With Questions tells the story of James’s search for how to live a meaningful life at a time when the socio-historical realities all around forced him to question the mere possibility. The book is now available from all good bookstores (please order, if not in stock), online from Loot, and as ebook.

James Leatt was nine when the Nationalist Party came to power, and eleven when he saw a documentary of the Allied forces liberating Nazi death camps. For most of his life the shadows of apartheid and the Holocaust have dogged his beliefs about faith, the meaning of life and the moral challenges humankind faces.

Conjectures is a 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 philosophical tradition and the wisdom of East Asian traditions such as Taoism and Buddhism, he comes to terms with a disenchanted reality which has no need for supernatural or magical thought and practice.

He has learned to live with questions. If you no longer believe in God and a sacred text, what are your sources of meaning? What kind of moral GPS allows you to find your way? Is what might be called a secular spirituality even possible?

Conjectures traces the author’s search for a secular way of being that is meaningful, mindful and reverent.

ISBN: 978-0-620935-87-6