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Porcupine Press

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Great Review|Gilan Gork’s book Persuasion Games

Persuasion Games in the Citizen,City Pg 19

Get your copy NOW!


Persuasion Games Review - Citizen Pg 19

Review| Gemmas Gems by Gemma-May Grotepass

See the lovely review in the Wellness Magazine of Gemma’s Gems by Gemma-May Grotepass

Get your copy Here


Review | Travel writer, editor shares his experience with locals

Mr David Robbins, a travel writer and the supervising editor of Porcupine Press, provided Writers 2000 with a morning of teaching and insight into his life on August 29. The workshop focused on travel writing and he shared the principles of generating excitement, drawing material from strangers while making friends, following personal impulses and apply- ing creative and imaginative skills to travel writing.

“The fact that people in South Africa write in spite of publishing difficulties is remarkable, given that there is very little subsidy for ‘struggling’ writers as there is in some other countries,” said Mr Robbins. Mr Robbins started travelling in Africa in I994 and this quickly turned into an obsession. He wrote narratives about where he travelled, with insights below the conventional tourist surfaces. In 2005, the South African Broad- casting Corporation (SABC) asked Mr Robbins to research the San radio station XKfm. This brought him into contact with the San soldiers who had fought for South Africa in Angola.

Based on his research experiences, he wrote On the Bridge of Goodbye, deal- ing with ‘the destruction of a stone-age people’. Mr David Robbins took the audience on a journey of his own life experi- ences, generating new insights, some nostalgic memories and reflections on many of his own achievements.


Review | Remote : A Story of St Helena by Lindsay Gratten-Cooper

Ode to the romance of a vanishing island life

As St Helena prepares to open to air traffic, Vivien Horler meets a resident who celebrates the joys of the island’s seclusion OMEWHERE between here and the mid-Atlantic, the last British Royal Mail ship in the world is chugging towards the island of St Helena. It sailed from Table Bay on Saturday, and on board are Lindsay Grattan Cooper and her hus- band Chris on their umpteenth voyage to the island. Chris says it’s his 37th trip, Lindsay has lost count. But it will be a special journey, steeped in nostalgia, because this is the last time they’ll sail on the RMS St Hele- na.

The ship, after serving the island faithfully for 25 years, carrying passengers and cargo, will make its last voyage next June. Then it’s the scrapyard. The island is to get an airport, current- ly being built by the South African con- struction company Basil Read, and people wanting to go to St Helena will be able to fly from OR Tambo, a five-hour flight replacing a five-day voyage. Which sounds much more efficient on the face of it, but the Grattan Coopers, like many other people who love the island, have a keen understanding of what will be lost. Lindsay realised there needed to be a record of the island’s old way of life, and since she has been visiting St Helena reg- ularly since 1969, sat down and wrote it. As she says in the last few couple of sen- tences of her book Remote: “This was then a very special place, an island whose whole personality and extraordinary uniqueness were shaped by its great dis- tance from the Outside World. I write this in remembrance of that remoteness.

” The Grattan Coopers’ home is in Tokai, but in 1969, when all her friends were haring off to Swinging London, 22-year- old Lindsay decided to try somewhere dif- ferent. With a pin hovering over a map of the world, she selected the tiny island of St Helena of which she knew nothing but that Napoleon had been exiled and died there. So she spoke to a travel agent who told her confidently: “No one goes there. In fact you can’t get there!” The travel agent had no idea whom she was dealing with. Lindsay discovered that Union Castle ships sailed to the island; she booked a voyage for a week’s stay, arrived in Jamestown Bay and fell in love.

“I felt I’d come home,” she told me over wine and cheese in the Grattan Coopers’ home last week, the room crowded with boxes and parcels marked “Hold”. She made friends on the island with whom she kept in touch, and went back in 1970 for a month. There was a long gap when she married and had two children, but in 1987 she took the whole family to visit the island. In 1999 she and Chris bought a 200-year-old house, Villa Le Breton at the top of Jamestown. From then on their lives became increasingly connected to the island, with Lindsay choosing to spend much of her year there, while Chris stayed in Cape Town to support their schoolboy son Richard. Meanwhile their daughter Vir- ginia, who had just finished matric in Cape Town, decided to spend six months  on the island as a gap half-year.

“She’s never really left,” says Lindsay. On the shelf are pictures of Virginia’s wedding to islander Stuart, and another of their toddler son Dylan. The Grattan Coopers have gone from being occasional tourists to home owners to grandparents of an islander. You can’t get much more involved than that.

Full story attached63986066-e96d-413b-b6f1-90eb53976178 a293eb73-27f2-4940-bffe-4e4a4c5764fe

Great review for A Bullet in the Back by Nigel Fox

A bullet in the back is a novel based on the 1914 Boer Rebellion, also known as the Maritz Rebellion.

The book centres around the defeat of the “Houdini of the Veld” (General Christiaan de Wet) and the hunt for him by General Louis Botha’s forces.  He was eventually taken prisoner by Colonel Brits on 1 December 2015, sentenced to six years imprisonment and a fine of  £2000.


Click here for full review 

Book Launch at Skoobs | Gemma’s Gems | 26 August 2015

Come join us at Skoobs for Gemma’s Gems book launch on 26 August 2015.

Please RSVP with: Charle de Klerk |


Gemma's Gems Invitation Final


Description of Book:

This self-help book is like no other – no preachy nonsense, no making you feel bad about yourself because you aren’t ‘perfect’.

What are you waiting for? Take Gemma’s Gems home with you… You have a lot to read and learn about yourself. This is just one person trying to help another.

You will learn about:

  • Dealing with conflict
  • Coping with your emotions – from fear to trust
  • The Secrets to Success and making your dreams a reality
  • Tons of awesome quotes
  • Dealing with social networking sites and the media overload
  • Your perceptions of reality
  • Dealing with your self-image
  • Looking after your body but keeping up with your responsibilities
  • Dealing with bullies/mean people
  • And much more!

Get your copy NOW!

Donate a Book and Make a difference in the Life of a Child

Book Drive

Please donate new or second hand books for kids in Grade R – 12.

Also accepting books of any kind to donate to BOASA, an association of black-owned bookshops operating across the country, who are keen to start trading in second-hand books. These donated books will be given to the bookshops as start-up stock. They’ll be asked to keep the prices low; the intention being to circulate more and more books into communities which have had limited access before.

Our goal is to collect at least 300 books in three months.

Please call AFNA on 011 791 4561 and tell us what you’d like to donate and how many. This initiative might be more important – and more urgent – than some of us might believe.

Books can be dropped off at 02 Anikehof, 105 Martha Road North, Fontainebleau, Randburg or posted to PO Box 2756, Pinegowrie, 2123.

Please email us at or for more information.

Help make a difference. Thank You!


If you like to join as a member or to find out more please visit our website at or contact Clare-Rose Julius at 011 791 4561.

Follow Us: Facebook & Twitter

Book Drive 2


New Release | Way out in India

Way Out In India_Front Cover

Way out in India

Travels in a Curoius Land

Meryl Urson

Pages: 280 pages

Retail Price: R220 (incl. VAT)

Publication Date: April 2015

Format: Paperback, A5

ISBN Number: 9781928276142

Genre: Non-Fiction / Travel

Book Description


When Meryl Urson stepped off a plane for the first time into a steamy Mumbai midnight, little did she know that she’d begun a lengthy love affair with India?

It would stretch across innumerable encounters and far into her future. This book is a record of her relationship with the world’s most fascinating country.

The reader is swept from the craziness of a revered guru’s southern headquarters to the turbulent peaks of the northern Himalayas, and through adventures as diverse as the discovery of a secret queen’s bath-house glittering behind a long-locked door, and the toppling of a Karl Marx statue in the middle of a Keralan Communist rally.

Way out in India is an idiosyncratic view of the diversity of life on the subcontinent through the enchanted eyes of an author in love with both place and people.

About the Author

Meryl Urson is a South African yoga teacher and a wife and mother of three grown children.  In former years she survived a stint of English teaching in a boys’ high school, learned to type fast as a medical secretary, honed her olfactory skills while practicing aromatherapy and rejoiced at being a published writer.

Her writings were products of the 80s and 90s before parenting won out over the pen.  They included a book of short stories called Loaded, an illustrated children’s book called Vuyo’s Whistle and a children’s TV script called Nkathazo, which was translated into the Xhosa language and aired on South African TV. She also wrote several pieces of fiction and non-fiction for various South African magazines over many years.

She has also travelled extensively, to many countries and most continents and has visited India six times, unable to resist the curries that call to her from across the Indian Ocean.

She wrote the book to share the colour and chaos of the country with readers far and wide and to make them snort with laughter in airport lounges, at the hairdresser or in their beds.

If she manages to transport the reader to India, actually or vicariously, her book will have done its job.



Interview with Paula Fernandes author of The Mirror Breaks

This is the first book in a trilogy which tells the story of a young South African woman who is abused both physically and mentally through two marriages and the threat of losing her children in a court of law. In The Mirror Breaks, the story begins with Paula Fernandes’ first encounter with sexual abuse as a child in coercion into a marriage to a man she does not love.

It is our preference that if you wish to share this article with others you should please use the following link:

Interview with Paula Fernandes author of The Mirror Breaks
The Mirror Breaks_Front Cover
ISBN 9781920609610
Price R 185
Get your copy now!!

Mail & Guardian Review A Bullet in the Back by Nigel Fox

Fox captures the bitterness about the treatment of Boer women and children in Lord Kitchener’s concentration camps – under his Scorched Earth policy.

In 1914, what is considered by some to be South Africa’s first civil war started with the unlikely death of Boer general Koos De la Rey. He was accidentally shot in the back by an English policeman working his second shift for the day, who thought he was firing at armed robbers. De la Rey was hit by a richocheting bullet aimed at the tyres of the vehicle in which he was travelling.

But the death was the final kindling on the fires of rebellion that had brewed in Boer hearts after the Peace Treaty of Vereeniging ended the Second Anglo-Boer War (now known as the South African War).

The aftermath of De la Rey’s death forms the basis of Nigel Fox’s debut novel. It tells the story of two former Boer brothers-in-arms, the pro-German Christiaan de Wet and the Union of South Africa’s prime minister – and therefore Brit-aligned – Louis Botha.

The conflict is seen through the eyes of HD Saker and Harm Oost, both also historical characters, if lesser-known. Another lesser-known is the role in the fight of motorised military vehicles – think machine gun mounted on a Jeep rather than tank – and this is where Fox focuses his attention.

He tells the true story of how Saker, founder of Saker’s garage in Johannesburg, converted sedan vehicles belonging to members of the Johannesburg Automobile Club into military vehicles for use against the mounted Boer guerrillas.

Although his ingenuity in transforming luxury cars into transport that could traverse the South African bushveld is clear, Saker doesn’t come across as a sympathetic character. His sheer ambition leaves a foul taste in the mouth as the reader realises he has little regard for human life.

Fox captures the rank bitterness about the treatment of Boer women and children in Lord Kitchener’s concentration camps and under his Scorched Earth policy – and its continuing influence in the Rebellion – by telling part of the story through the eyes of Harm Oost.  Oost was the founding editor of the pro-Boer mouthpiece Het Volk newspaper (not to be confused with Botha’s political party of the same name), and served as De Wet’s secretary and head of his bodyguard.

He was also one of the few De Wet supporters who remained literally by his side all along, until De Wet’s capture, helping him come to terms with the death of his son Danie during the Rebellion, and generally taking notes of events and meetings. The greater arc of the story encompasses a group of British Joburg-based car owners, under Saker’s direction and accompanied by the Union Army, chasing De Wet and his troops across South Africa.

Ultimately, motorised transport that carries its own fuel and spares and is driven by owner-mechanic-drivers runs to ground horses and riders that need food and water. De Wet is captured and sent to jail, Saker goes home having shown the value of machine guns mounted on sedans in fighting cavalry, and South Africa joins World War I on the side of Britain, not Germany.

A Bullet in the Back is the first in a planned series of South African historical novels by Fox, and sets him up as the writer of well-researched and easy to read books. Fox makes the characters very believable, and has given them a fictional voice that rings true – probably due to fanatical research, which included writing to every Saker in the phone directories of Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

“There are 10 years of research in the book,” says Fox. “I found quite a lot of contemporary writing, such as a monthly column in the SA Motorist from a driver mechanic who was with HD Saker, chasing De Wet. He was very colourful. Harm Oost’s book, Wie is die Skuldiges?, was rich in detail and personal information. Oost added a lot of detail to the events from the rebels’ side and revealed quite a lot about how they suffered for their convictions.

Hider Saker was a much more opaque character with little available information about him, but there was enough to construct his character. The two of them made perfect antagonists, neither of them particularly military but thrust into a bitter civil war.”

If there is one criticism of the book for a modern-day South African audience, it is that the main characters are all white.

When asked about this, Fox says: “This was very much an internecine conflict based on political and international issues that only affected the white population. In all my research, the only black participants I came across were a farm worker who guided De Wet to a crossing over the Vaal River and another who reported Oost’s whereabouts to the government forces. The rebels, the permanent forces such as the Cape Mounted Rifles and the Active Citizen Force were all composed only of whites.”

This is not a book of surpassing literary value, but it is decently written and makes for a relaxing, quick read with a history lesson thrown in for fun.

  •  Nigel Fox, author of A Bullet in the Back (Porcupine Press), will speak at the Franschhoek Literary Festival on May 15.

Posted by Ansie Vicente