AN ISLAND by KAREN JENNINGS longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize!

Karavan Press is thrilled and deeply honoured to announce that An Island by Karen Jennings has been longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize. Co-published with UK publisher, Holland House Books, An Island tells the story of Samuel, a lighthouse keeper.

Samuel has lived alone for a long time; one morning he finds the sea has brought someone to offer companionship and to threaten his solitude …

A young refugee washes up unconscious on the beach of a small island inhabited by no one but Samuel, an old lighthouse keeper. Unsettled, Samuel is soon swept up in memories of his former life on the mainland: a life that saw his country suffer under colonisers, then fight for independence, only to fall under the rule of a cruel dictator; and he recalls his own part in its history. In this new man’s presence he begins to consider, as he did in his youth, what is meant by land and to whom it should belong. To what lengths will a person go in order to ensure that what is theirs will not be taken from them?

A novel about guilt and fear, friendship and rejection; about the meaning of home.

“The far southern extremities of our planet produce remarkable, distilled, and ravaged tales. An Island has to be counted as among the most remarkable of these. Karen Jennings offers a chilling, immersive portrait of Samuel, a lighthouse keeper on a remote island off the African continent. He is a man at the edge of history, until the arrival of a refugee stranger returns him to everything he most needs to forget. A gripping, terrifying and unforgettable story.”  — Elleke Boehmer

THE 2021 BOOKER PRIZE LONGLIST ANNOUNCEMENT

Dawn Garisch on the genesis of her novel, BREAKING MILK, shortlisted for the 2021 Sunday Times/CNA Fiction Award

2021 Sunday Times/CNA Fiction Award shortlist

In this novel, I explore aspects of separation and connection. Several mothers I know are estranged from their adult children, and many of us are disconnected from nature, intuition and creativity. I track the nuanced task of knowing when to intervene and when to withhold action in the lives of our own or other women’s children.

However, there are situations where we need to cut – initiation, divorce, surgery. Breaking Milk uses the metaphor of milk and cheese-making to ground these preoccupations during one day in the life of Kate, a geneticist who became a farmer when ethics in her lab were compromised. I job-shadowed a friend to learn about this ancient craft that employs patience and invisible micro-organisms to preserve milk.

I am interested in the idea “you can be right, or you can have relationships”; also how our intelligence has had some disastrous consequences for the natural world on which we depend.

Embedded in these concerns is the role of women in society – what it takes to say no, and how a woman finds her feet after divorce. The books that have informed my inquiry are Disgrace by JM Coetzee, and Accident: A Day’s News by Christa Wolf.

Sunday Times Books

Continue reading:

Extract from Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch

Kate Sidley reviews Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch for the Sunday Times: “A small world of deep metaphorical meaning”

Read about the organic cheese farm that inspired the setting for Dawn Garisch’s Breaking Milk: FYNBOSHOEK

Follow the cheese farm on Instagram: FYNBOSHOEK CHEESE FARM

Forthcoming from Karavan Press: CONJECTURES by JAMES LEATT

Conjectures, when the book still went by a different working title, was one of the first manuscripts to arrive on Karavan Press’s doorstep. “Lovely to be entrusted with an author’s intellectual and creative work. A great honour and responsibility. Looking forward to the read…” I commented about it on Instagram at the time.

The manuscript and the author came highly recommended by a writer who has been running creative writing classes for a long time and who knew that this book was special and needed a home with an independent publisher. They thought we would be a good fit. And so it is.

Reading James’s reflections about his life and work, I felt as if someone had written about my own intellectual and spiritual journey, but with the deeply grounded theoretical and practical insights that I had lacked at the time when I was travelling this path. He writes with care, integrity and joy, and an unmistakable gratitude for the treasures he had discovered along the way – a journey marked by many difficult questions and challenges, but also rewards and achievements.

Beautifully written, Conjectures will appeal to readers who have questions of their own and are willing to open their hearts and minds to them, no matter how complex and arduous the attempt may be. Some of us might arrive at a different destination, but the journey itself is quite a thrill.

The book’s cover and content have been designed by Stephen Symons. We are in the final stages of production and I can’t wait to share this intellectual and creative literary gem with our Readers.

Author: James Leatt

DR JAMES (JIM) LEATT began his career in banking before becoming a Methodist minister, working on the Cape Flats, in District Six and at the Federal Theological Seminary, Alice. In 1977, he became Lecturer in Religious Studies at UCT. His work in industrial relations mediation and interest in applied ethics led to a joint appointment with the GSB at UCT in 1980. Three years later, he was appointed to the first chair in Social Ethics at a South African business school. In 1985, he became a Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Principal at UCT, and in 1991, he took up the post of Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Natal, where he initiated a major strategic review of the university. On his return to Cape Town, he became CEO of the Cape Higher Education Consortium involving the four public universities in the Western Cape, and consulted in higher education.

He is the author of journal articles, chapters in books, and is editor-in-chief of Contending Ideologies in South Africa (David Philip, 1986 & 1989). He was a founder member of the Independent Mediation Service of SA (IMSSA). He retired after eleven years as Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA), and as Deputy Chair of the Tertiary Education Network (TENET).

James and his wife Jenny live in Somerset West. They have two children, Christopher and Ann-Marie.

Karavan Press title: Disturbance by Dawn Garisch

we are mere players

in a pantomime, performing parts

which must stay true to narrative alone;

right now, this means weeping salt

into a chilli stew to the sound of the sea –

that enormous story, consistent and unfathomed,

repeating outside in the dark, endlessly. 

I write into questions of discomfort, tracking an image until the poem reveals a partial answer.

— Dawn Garisch

“They are poems to break hearts, and mend them again. And I swear I heard the sound of the potter’s wheel turning in The Sound in Stone.”

Jacques Coetzee

ISBN: 978-1-990992-57-5

Also available on Kindle: Disturbance by Dawn Garisch

Publication date: December 2020

About the author:

DAWN GARISCH Dawn Garisch is the highly acclaimed author of a non-fiction work, a memoir and seven novels, three of which were published in the UK. Her latest, Breaking Milk, was published by Karavan Press in 2019. She has written for television and has had five of her plays and a short film produced.

Her poem Blood Delta won the DALRO Prize in 2007 for best poem, and Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry Award in 2011. Difficult Gifts, her debut poetry collection, was published the same year. She also writes short stories and her What to Do About Ricky won the Short.Sharp.Story competition in 2013.

Dawn’s novel Trespass was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in Africa in 2010, and Accident was longlisted for the Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2018. She is part of the medical humanities movement and a founding member of the Life Righting Collective where she runs courses in memoir writing. Dawn is also a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.

Disturbance, published by Karavan Press, is her second poetry collection.

Author photograph by AJ Wattamaniuk.

Book launch!

It feels like a miracle. We are going to have a socially distanced book launch for Lester Walbrugh’s story collection, Let It Fall Where It Will!

Thank you to the three literary Fairy Godmothers who are making it possible: Marion Smith of Elgin Ridge Wine Estate for providing a safe space for such an event during lockdown; Christy Weyer of Liberty Books for agreeing to sell books at the launch (in the time ‘before’ we were hoping to have the launch at her beautiful bookshop in Grabouw, but it is too small for a safe gathering of this kind); and, Bettina Wyngaard for agreeing to do the interview with Lester. Both authors grew up in Grabouw and it will be wonderful to celebrate Let It Fall Where It Will with them on their home turf.

Karavan Press title: FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons

“Stephen Symons’s new collection is engineered for flight, gliding its way between the heavy and the weightless, memory and forgetting. It is a self-proclaimed ‘language of feathers’ that makes this flight possible, a spiritual athleticism that brings to mind George Herbert, whose idea was that the ‘fall furthers the flight in me.’ Symons’s skill is in creating a fathomable sphere for the dimensions of war, contextualizing the enormous facts with small detail, whether referencing Amichai’s ‘diameters of bombs/and sadness of open closets’ or exploring the weightless dross of childhood in the beautiful piece ‘My son was conscripted.’ Symons creates an epicentre of violence by means of an exquisite prose poem sequence that reverberates even to the quietest poems in the book. But the work, as in all of Symons’s poetry, keeps thrusting us back into the present with all its perfect natural math as counter to aftermath: a child’s laughter; sunlight trickling over mossed stones; a ballet of cormorants. This is a beautiful book by one of South Africa’s most tender poets of witness.”

— David Keplinger, author of Another City (Milkweed Editions, 2018), and The Long Answer: New and Selected Poems (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020)

ISBN: 978-1-990992-56-8

Publication date: 9 November 2020.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

STEPHEN SYMONS has published poetry and short-fiction in journals, magazines and anthologies, locally and internationally. His debut collection, Questions for the Sea (uHlanga, 2016) received an honourable mention for the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, and was also shortlisted for the 2017 Ingrid Jonker Prize. His unpublished collection Spioenkop was a semi-finalist for the Hudson Prize for Poetry (USA) in 2015. His second collection, Landscapes of Light and Loss, was published by Dryad Press in 2018.

Symons holds a PhD in History (University of Pretoria) and an MA in Creative Writing (University of Cape Town). He lives with his family in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.

Author photograph by Carol Bradley.

Karavan Press title: Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

Joanne Hichens lost first her mother, then, in quick succession, her husband, her father and her mother-in-law – two deaths anticipated, two coming as the worst kind of shock. In this memoir of grief and recovery, she writes with honesty and humour of death, our ‘constant companion’, and the stumbling journey through the country of grief. By turns searing and sparkling, her account gives compelling insight into the losses that stalk us all, while also celebrating the mainstays of life – friendship, family, and the memories of those we love and lose.

ISBN: 978-0-9946805-5-6

Publication date: 2 November 2020

Also available on Kindle: Death and the After Parties

“If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.”
— Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JOANNE HICHENS, author and editor, lives in Cape Town. She has edited numerous short story anthologies, including Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity, Bloody Satisfied, the award-winning Adults Only, Incredible Journey, Die Laughing and Trade Secrets. Her crime novels are Out to Score (co-written), Divine Justice (soon to be published in the United States), and Sweet Paradise. Her YA novels, Stained and Riding the Wave, were both shortlisted for the Sanlam Literature Award. 

Author photograph by Rob Turrell.

Karavan Press title: Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh

‘Hi,’ he said. He had perfect teeth.
We clinked glasses, his martini with my local craft gin cocktail.
‘Let it fall where it will,’ he said.

The die is cast in Lester Walbrugh’s debut collection of stories. Set in the Western
Cape and in Japan, Let It Fall Where It Will showcases the stunning versatility of the
author. Ranging from witty to poignant, occasionally employing magic realism to
great effect, the stories capture a vibrant chorus of voices and fearlessly explore
contemporary topics of identity and sexuality while illuminating South Africa’s
troubled past and the shadows it throws on our present.

The rooms are aglow, another morning with portals of light. Its clarity is blinding.

ISBN: 978-1-990931-91-8

Publication date: 2 November 2020

“A thrilling debut … gritty and intimate. Walbrugh’s prose, whether in the Cape
vernacular or standard, illuminates a diverse world with subtlety and wit.”
— Zoë Wicomb

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LESTER WALBRUGH is from Grabouw in the Western Cape. His acclaimed short stories have been published in, among others, the anthologies of Short.Sharp.Stories and Short Story Day Africa, New Contrast and, most recently, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity. He has lived in the UK and Japan and is currently back in his hometown, working on his first novel.

Author photograph by Francois F. Swanepoel.