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.

Karavan Press title: The Skipper’s Daughter by Nancy and Nancy Richards

On the long stretch down to Australia, I really became quite the proficient sailor. I had to steer the ship at some stage during the day. The first time I was taken to see the white wavy wake following the ship at the initial attempt, but eventually I became adept at keeping a straight course. My father was somewhat appalled at my mathematics though. He taught me the rudiments of trigonometry and how to use a sextant. Each noon, I had to ‘take the sights’ of the sun and work out the ship’s position.

Nancy Brooks was sixteen when she went to sea with her father. Despite a gypsy fortune-teller’s warning to her mother, on 2 July 1938, she signed up as Captain’s Clerk for a shilling a week on the SS Nailsea Manor. Leaving from Birkenhead in Liverpool, the ship was to circumnavigate the world. The log Nancy Fancy Pants, as she became known, types during the voyage tells tales of exotic ports, fascinating people and places, and the rope-and-grease routine of a sailor. On board, she masters navigation, the Morse code as well as all the sea knots, and she flies high on the swing the crew rig up for her. On land, she learns even more, but when a squall takes its toll one stormy night in Australia, she is unprepared for the lessons death brings. Between the neatly typed lines of her extraordinary record, she captures her own journey, of self-discovery, and love. The Skipper’s Daughter interweaves the log with Nancy’s recollections and is lovingly shared with us by her daughter, Nancy Richards.

ISBN: 978-0-620-93588-3

Publication date: July 2021

A percentage of the proceeds from sales of this book will be donated to the National Sea Rescue Institute.

About the authors:

NANCY RICHARDS JUNIOR is an independent journalist and podcaster based in Cape Town, founder of Woman Zone and The Women’s Library.

NANCY RICHARDS SENIOR was a fashion consultant based in London. She died on 5 April 2008.

Last night at Exclusive Books Cavendish

Readers gathered last night at Exclusive Books Cavendish for a live literary event: a discussion of Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens. I (Karina) had the great privilege of interviewing Joanne and the occasion gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk about the path our friendship has taken through first encounters at launches and festivals, reading of each other’s stories, grieving the sudden deaths of our husbands, drinking many bottles of pink bubbly and working on several literary projects together – Short.Sharp.Stories and the HAIR anthology among them – before most recently publishing this exquisite memoir at Karavan Press.

Our gratitude to Linda and the wonderful team of booksellers at EB Cavendish – your support for local authors is exemplary. Thank you also for making us all feel safe during these difficult times. And thank you to everyone who attended the event, especially readers who had loved the book and came to listen to Joanne talk about it. Last but not least, thank you to all readers who bought the book and had it signed – your support is what keeps us going.

DIANE AWERBUCK reviews DEATH AND THE AFTER PARTIES by JOANNE HICHENS for the Sunday Times

THE KISS OF DEATH

The aptly titled Death and the After Parties is Joanne Hichens’s long-awaited memoir following four sudden horrifying deaths in her family. Blisteringly accurate, humorous and lyrical, the book follows her investigations into how we mourn, and how she nearly lost herself in that process. Hichens initially began a scholarly dissertation on grieving soon after her mother’s death, titled “Loss and the City”, which examined Cape Town’s tortured past and present – the losses of land and identity. Then her husband died, and her theory was proven in hard and personal practice.

The passing of seven years since his death has given Hichens a clarity of thought even in the ongoing chaos and fever of grief. The memoir is divided into five parts, a kind of guide to grieving.

Continue reading: Sunday Times

Cover reveal: DEATH AND THE AFTER PARTIES by Joanne Hichens

It is pure joy to share the cover of the forthcoming Karavan Press title with you. Without further ado:

‘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