A few of our favourite local authors share their upcoming summer holiday plans and the books they plan on reading.
Author Marguerite Poland and her husband Martin divide their time between Durban and Makhanda. They have two grown-up daughters, Susan and Verlie and four grandchildren between the ages of eleven and six – Jack and Evy Garland and Hope and William Briscoe.
Tell us about your family? “Martin and I have known each other since we were teenagers – fifty years and we still manage to live together very contentedly (I’ve learnt to never argue with an attorney!). Our daughters already have families of their own. Because we move between places, we no longer have pets. We were addicted, however, to bull terriers and ginger cats and remember our past pets with much love – and laughter in the case of the bullies.”
Where are you going? “I’m hoping to spend some time with dear friends on my favourite farm near Bedford in the Eastern Cape. I’m excited to introduce my grandchildren to the delights of goats, mountain tortoises, climbing koppies, prickly pears, and the Daggaboers Nek padstal for a breakfast of roosterkoek, quince jelly, slaphakskeen pickle, and boerenkaas!”
What will you be reading? “I usually read something connected to what I’m writing, so it’ll most likely be a book on SA history or an obscure biography. Recent favourites are Your People Will Be My People, a biography of Ruth Khama by Sue Grant-Marshall; and a biography of Winnie-the-Pooh’s illustrator. Odd choices? Certainly – but enchanting characters!”
Marguerite’s novel A Sin of Omission is available at exclusivebooks.co.za.
Restaurateur and food writer Karen Dudley lives in Woodstock with her husband, David, and their two children, Ben and Maggie.
Where are you going? “David and I plan to spend quite a bit of time in the hammocks in our garden. Our kids love doing ‘staycation’ stuff in the city and surrounds. Christmas will be at our house this year, as I have taken the mantle from my mother and mother-in-law. We’ll also stay with our best friends in Plett for a bit. Those perfect beaches, the lovely sea, glorious walks… they do live in paradise!”
What will you be reading? “I’ve just finished Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. I read quite widely and I don’t mind a bit of historical non-fiction either. I love beautifully written books, and I’ll read everything from stories of pilgrimage and historical crime fiction to fantasy and epic dramas. This holiday, I’ll read volume two in Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust trilogy called The Secret Commonwealth.”
Karen Dudley’s third book, Set a Table, is available at exclusivebooks.co.za.
Bestselling author Deon Meyer lives in Stellenbosch with his wife Marianne, two of their six children, and a talkative Indian ringneck parrot called Kokkerot.
Where are you going? “My family and I will spend some time in Loxton in the Karoo before Christmas, which we’ll then celebrate back at home. We mostly cycle and write over the summer break. The year-end holiday is actually a great time to get some serious writing done, because the whole world slows down a little.”
What will you be reading? “I try to read every day, but the holiday’s slower pace means I get to do more of it. The stack on the bedside table has a constant height, so I’ll grab whatever is next. I tried a Kindle, and didn’t like it much. I want to feel and smell a book, turn real pages and stare at the cover. And I’d rather carry the extra weight of a real book on my travels – it’s well worth it. Although suspense fiction is a firm favourite, I read anything and everything: Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, Elton John’s memoir Me, Jared Diamond’s Upheaval, Shaun Bythell’s Confessions of a Bookseller; and Jeffrey Archer’s Nothing Ventured are all bought and waiting.”
Deon Meyer’s latest novel, The Last Hunt, is available at exclusivebooks.co.za.
Basetsana Kumalo lives in Kyalami with her husband Romeo, their three children, and their two chows, Chichi and Chow.
Tell us about your family? “I feel blessed knowing I’ve been married to Romeo for 19 years. In fact, we marked this momentous occasion by inviting our closest family and friends to join us at home for an intimate celebration. I often refer to Romeo as the father of the tribe – that being our three children, Nkosinathi, Kgosietsile and Bontle ba Morena. Our two dogs are a big part of the family. They are great around the kids, because they have a relaxed temperament and are just as keen to go outside and play a game or stay inside relaxing with the adults.”
Where are you going? “We’ll be going on a family holiday to the Maldives, because our children love to be at the sea. I’m excited for the chance to just sit in the shade and watch the ocean as it ebbs and flows. My plan is to do as little as possible. Our eldest son, Nkosinathi, started boarding school this year, so we’re really looking forward to having him home again to share quality time with us. On Christmas Day, the whole family will get together, and I’ll prepare us all a festive spread for lunch.”
What will you be reading? “I’ll be taking The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and our very own Archbishop Desmond Tutu with to the beach. I have always been an avid reader, so it comes naturally to me to take a few book options with when I go on holiday. I also want my kids to see me reading so they, too, can start engaging with books as they get older. Reading is a part of becoming a well-rounded human being. Next up on my reading list after The Book of Joy is Factfulness by Hans Rosling.”
Bassie: My Journey of Hope by Basetsana Kumalo is available at exclusivebooks.co.za.
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By Features Writer, Marike Watson