Karen Jennings at the UCT Summer School 2022

“In the beginning was the word …”

Author and academic Karen Jennings continues to shine a light on words and stories in her UCT Summer School lecture series:


Monday 24–Friday 28 January | 5.00 pm | COURSE FEES R375 (online)/R550 (in person)

This course looks at the fascinating way in which social insects have served as a uniting force between the two cultures of science and literature over the centuries. Starting in the Middle Ages, we examine the bee’s position in allegorical, religious teaching and commentary. Next, we briefly discuss the proliferation of bee books during the scientific revolution. The second lecture focuses on the West African scientific explorations into termites by fly-catcher Henry Smeathman and the consequences this research had for the Black poor of London. The third lecture remembers Romantic poet John Clare’s poems on ants and how they bring to the fore the negative consequences imposed on nature by the demands of capitalism which dominated the period. In addition, the course considers the popularity and influence of Victorian myrmecology. The fourth lecture explores the way in which both psychoanalysis and nationalism were influential in the scientific and poetic writings of Afrikaner hero Eugene Marais. Special attention is given, too, to the man he accused of plagiarising his work on termites – Maurice Maeterlinck. The lecture also touches on the rise of pulp science fiction. Finally, we arrive at the present day and the threat of bee extinction. We consider E.O. Wilson’s call for consilience and the growing popularity of eco-fiction.

Lecture titles

  1. The Medieval bee and the scientific bee
  2. Termites and slaves: Henry Smeathman
  3. The romance of ants and a dash of Victorian myrmecology
  4. Termites, nationalism and science fiction: Eugene Marais, Maurice Maeterlinck and David Keller
  5. The death of the bee

Wonderfully enlightening!

Karavan Press at the 2019 Prince Albert Leesfees

Prince Albert Leesfees 2019

Please join Karavan Press authors, Dawn Garisch and Melissa A. Volker, for an event at this year’s Prince Albert Leesfees:


SATURDAY, 2 November | 14:00 – 14:45

Melissa A. Volker, A Fractured Land and Shadow Flicker (“Expect eco-fireworks and literary Happy Ever Afters!”), and Dawn Garisch, Breaking Milk, (“an evocative exploration of the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment”) discuss their novels with writer, editor, literary critic and publisher, Karina M. Szczurek


Venue: Jans Rautenbach Schouwburg

Ticket price: R40pp

To buy tickets, click here: Prince Albert Leesfees

Karavan Press title: Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch

Breaking Milk by Dawn Garisch


So many women down the ages have lain awake in the earth’s great shadow, insomniac over their progeny, their sons and daughters intent on escaping their mothers’ intractable worry.

Don’t come, Kate is told by her only child. Jess is keeping her mother at a distance on the day that her own children, conjoined twins, are to be separated during high-risk surgery in London.

Kate wakes on her farm in the Eastern Cape, torn between respecting Jess’s wishes and a longing to rush to her estranged daughter’s side.

A former geneticist disillusioned by the pressing ethical questions posed by her job, Kate is now an award-winning maker of organic cheese. She relies on the farm’s routine and the people and animals in her life to hold steady as her day teeters on a knife’s edge.

Meanwhile, her employee Nosisi’s son is undergoing initiation. Forbidden to have contact with him during this traditional passage into the world of manhood, his mother anxiously awaits his return.

Breaking Milk, Dawn Garisch’s seventh novel, is an evocative exploration of the divisions and connections between humans, animals and the environment.

ISBN: 978-0-6399942-2-2

Publication date: 1 September 2019



Dawn Garisch by AJ Wattamaniuk

DAWN GARISCH is the highly acclaimed author of a non-fiction work, a memoir and six novels, three of which were published in the UK. 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.

Breaking Milk, published by Karavan Press, is her seventh novel.

Author photograph by AJ Wattamaniuk.