News & views

Some events in 2015

In January, I began (in earnest) to sort through 40 years of papers for archiving. For a glimpse of the personal challenge, read ’Parting from papers’ on my blog. The picture below shows Sarah Lawrance and Kris McKie from Seven Stories in Newcastle as they begin to pack up my files on 12 February.

18 March 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the launch of Journey to Jo’burg. I wrote a bit about the 1985 event in ’Parting from papers’.

I shall be remembering extraordinary Ethel de Keyser whose persistence enabled this little book to see the light of day.

With Journey to Jo’burg papers due to be catalogued and available to researchers at Seven Stories, plans are under discussion for a 30th anniversary year event involving young people from a former mining community near Durham. I shall cross my fingers. There’s an interesting connection with Naledi’s and Tiro’s father having been a miner in South Africa’s gold mines. I hope I convey some of the danger in my poem ’G is for Gold and eGoli’. It appears in S is for South Africa, published in paperback by Frances Lincoln last year.

In March, for the first time, I shall have a book published in 5 South African languages. Illustrator Piet Grobler is also very pleased. Who is King? will be our third collaboration. We are indebted to Jacana Media and the inspiring Little Hands Trust, co-publishers with Frances Lincoln who will bring out their English edition in the UK and USA in April (a Janetta Otter-Barry Book). Here are our covers in Sesotho, English, Afrikaans, isiZulu and isiXhosa.

I am delighted and honoured to be nominated by the Society of Authors’ Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group for the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The company is wonderful. We are listed by by countries of origins, hence my inclusion under South Africa. It’s great to be alongside illustrators Piet Grobler and Niki Daly and two organisations doing vital work in promoting reading by celebrating SA’s many languages: PRAESA and Biblionef.