Forthcoming from Karavan Press: THE SKIPPER’S DAUGHTER by Nancy and Nancy Richards

Ahoy there, dear Readers!

Some stories are simply unforgettable. When I first heard about this one, my reaction was: ‘If you cloak this in a novel, nobody will think it plausible.’ But the story of The Skipper’s Daughter is not a novel, it is the most incredible – true – family story. Truth stranger than fiction, as they say.

The beloved broadcaster and journalist Nancy Richards has been weaving together the various strands of this family story over the past three decades, interviewing her mother – the heroine of the tale – searching family archives and correspondences, speaking to family and friends, travelling, and writing down everything that she could remember herself. The lockdown last year finally gave her an opportunity to put it all together. The result is this stunning book – part her mother’s diaries and recollections, part letters and newspaper articles chronicling the main events of the story, and part Nancy’s own commentary and annotations, all beautifully illustrated with photographs and images of memorabilia collected over many years – that will transport readers in time and place and make you wonder about the extraordinary events as they unfolded after Nancy Richards Senior, at the age of sixteen, decided to go to sea with her father. And this, in 1938 …

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.

The book was designed by Monique Cleghorn. Working on it with these two fabulous women (and Lulu assisting) has been one of the greatest literary joys of the past year and I cannot thank Nancy enough for sailing this wonderful project into the Karavan Press harbour and Monique for making the book look so beautiful.

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.

Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards 2021 longlists announced!

We are thrilled to share the news that the Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards 2021 longlists have been announced and two Karavan Press books are among the longlisted titles:

FICTION PRIZE 

This is the 20th year of the fiction prize. The criteria stipulate that the winning novel should be one of “rare imagination and style … a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark of contemporary fiction”.

THE JUDGES

KEN BARRIS – CHAIR

Barris is a writer, editor and former academic. His fiction has been translated into German, Danish and Turkish, and he has won various literary awards for novels, short stories and poetry. These include the Ingrid Jonker Prize, the M-Net Book Prize, the Thomas Pringle Award, the University of Johannesburg Prize and the Herman Charles Bosman Prize.

NANCY RICHARDS

Richards is an independent journalist with experience in radio and print. Founder of NPO: Woman Zone and the Women’s Library at Artscape, she’s author of Beautiful Homes and co-author of Woman Today: 50 Years of South African Women on Radio and Being a Woman in Cape Town. She is a speaker, media trainer and podcasts under Woman Zone Stories and Books Stories People on pointview.fm.

WAMUWI MBAO

Mbao is a writer and essayist. He reviews fiction for the Johannesburg Review of Books and teaches South African literature at Stellenbosch University. His short story “The Bath” was listed as one of the 20 best stories of SA’s democracy, and he has compiled and edited the poetry collection Years of Fire and Ash: South African Poems of Decolonisation.

NON-FICTION 

The award will be bestowed on a book that presents “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power”, and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity”.

THE JUDGES

GRIFFIN SHEA – CHAIR

Shea is the founder of Bridge Books, an independent bookstore in downtown Johannesburg, and the author of a young adult novel, The Golden Rhino. Bridge Books focuses on African literature, and on finding new ways of getting books to readers. The store’s non-profit African Book Trust is the lead partner in the Literary District project, a collaboration among booksellers, city agencies, businesses and other volunteers. Before opening Bridge Books, Griffin worked as a journalist for 15 years, mostly with the international news agency Agence France-Press (AFP).

NOMAVENDA MATHIANE

Mathiane has been a journalist for more than 35 years. Her writing career began in 1975 as a reporter at The World newspaper, and she later joined Frontline magazine where she specialised in writing about life in South African townships. Since then she has worked for most of SA’s major newspapers. She has written three books: Beyond the HeadlinesSouth Africa: Diary of Troubled Times, and Eyes in the Night: An Untold Zulu Story. She currently teaches isiZulu at a private primary school.

BONGANI NGQULUNGA

Ngqulunga is director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Johannesburg. He is the author of The Man Who Founded the ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme, which won multiple awards, including the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction in 2018. Ngqulunga was educated at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and at Brown University in the US, where he obtained a doctoral degree.

Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards 2021 longlists

WOMAN ZONE STORIES – Joanne Hichens speaks to Nancy Richards

“In her book Death and the After Parties – a memoir (Karavan Press) JOANNE HICHENS shares the full range of emotions she felt following first the death of her mother, then in quick succession her husband, her father and her mother-in-law. Recovery after the death of loved ones is a life-long affair – but what she deals with here is coping with the raw early stages and the agonising aftermath. It is a book to which every one can relate, on many different levels.”

Listen here: WOMAN ZONE STORIES

Nancy Richards reviews Theatre Road for Breakaway Reviewers

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From domestic worker to diva – a truly South African story

“To a greater or lesser extent all biographies, auto or otherwise, tell the story of the times as much as that of their subject. In Ms Mtshali-Jones case, her story reflects the anomalies and atrocities of apartheid as well as her own journey through theatre. But to begin at the beginning, young Thembi, born of a childlike ‘makoti’ (new wife) grows up in rural Kwa Zulu-Natal with her grandparents. Her early childhood is simple, honest and filled with old school love and care. Things change though when aged 13 she is put on a bus to join her mother in Durban where her eyes are opened wide – and she sees white people for the first time…”

Continue reading: From domestic worker to diva – a truly South African story

Theatre Road chosen as one of this year’s “most outstanding books”

 

Sunday Times outstanding books2

Sunday Times outstanding books1Theatre Road, the story of Thembi Mtshali-Jones as told to Sindiwe Magona, is among this year’s “most outstanding books”, chosen by the reviewers of the Sunday Times. Thank you to Nancy Richards for including the biography among her picks.

Great to see quite a few independent presses, local and international, getting a mention on this wonderful “Grand Book Tour” of 2019.

Cheers to a great year in books!