Scenes from the second Karavan Press Literary Festival

The inaugural Karavan Press Literary Festival last year was a prayer. We were still in lockdown, still scared, and in-person literary events were scarce, but the longing for them after all the loss and depravation was overwhelming, and so the idea for a small, socially distanced, as safe as possible (under the circumstances) festival was born. Together, we made it happen, and it was a resounding success.

Much has changed since last year, but the longing has remained, and it seems that the Karavan Press Literary Festival is here to stay. The 2022 edition was another day of literary joy, and I want to thank everyone who made it happen!

EVENT 1 10:30-11:30  LOVE STORY

Love is in the air: Sally Partridge and Melissa A. Volker speak to Karina M. Szczurek about writing romance and love (feline guest appearance: Antonia Salieri)

EVENT 2 12:00-13:00  SHORT STORY

Rachel Zadok, founder of SHORT STORY DAY AFRICA, Joanne Hichens, founder of SHORT.SHARP.STORIES, and Lester Walbrugh, talk to Helen Moffett about the projects that define and nurture the short fiction landscape in South Africa and beyond

LUNCH   13:00-14:00  WOMEN OF SOIL

Lunch hour inspired by stories and recipes from Women of Soil: Changing Lives, snacks and drinks were served

EVENT 3 14:00-15:00  MEMOIR

Tracy Going, Erika Bornman, Joanne Hichens and Leslie Swartz discuss the memoir’s potential to change lives


Joy Watson and Mary Watson (via Skype) in conversation


Penny Haw, Helen Moffett and Justin Fox talk to Gail Gilbride about the histories that shaped their latest novels


Melissa Sussens, Kerry Hammerton, Stephen Symons and Justin Fox read from their collections

In the audience:

Apart from the gigantic gift of this day of shared literary wonder, I received three physical gifts: smiling sunflowers from Brenda, a lovely Christmas parcel from Sally and an inspiring book from Christy. Thank you, Everyone!

The day ended with a rabbit rescue mission that felt like something out of Alice in Wonderland – thank you, Joanne, for not abandoning my neighbours’ beautiful Sparkles (The Escape Artist) to her uncertain fate. We not only managed to catch her, but made sure that she returned safely home the next day.

The Karavan Press Team at the end of the day (after the successful rabbit rescue)!

Thank you to everyone who participated, attended, shared stories and food and wine, and bought and swapped books, and in general made us believe in miracles again!

See you next year! 🙂

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)


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:


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.