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A number of new books will be launched during the Schreiner: Karoo Writers Festival (Cradock 24 to 27 July) and the event jumps the gun with pre-launch session on two titles: the English edition of Deon Meyer’s Cobra and Rachel Holmes’ Eleanor Marx – a life.

Kobra (Afrikaans) has been out for a while but the English version will only go on sale in August. Nonetheless, Meyer will introduce the book in person during an interview session on Saturday 25 July.

The Eleanor Marx book was launched in London in June and British-based SA author Rachel Holmes is booked for the 2015 Schreiner: Karoo Writers Festival as part of the official South African launch.

A couple of years ago, Holmes spent a couple of weeks in Cradock researching the friendship between Olive Schreiner and Eleanor Marx. The festival team has tracked the production of the work since then and a single precious copy arrived in Cradock last week. We will review it, discussing the fascinating Olive/Eleanor friendship during the Schreiner session on Saturday 26 July.


Two other important additions to the South African Africana library are coming to Cradock for the festival hot off the press.

They are the Van Riebeeck Society’s prestigious new volume, The World’s Great Question: Olive Schreiner’s South African Letters 1889–1920, and, from UKZN Press, Interviews with Neville Alexander.

The Schreiner letters were edited by Prof Liz Stanley and Dr Andrea Salter, both based at Edinburgh University and both in Cradock to introduce the book.

Interviews with Neville Alexander (edited by Karen Press et al) focuses on Alexander’s core theme: “the Power of Languages against the Language of Power”. The first chapter is an unforgettable account of his childhood in Cradock.

The Neville Alexander event is set for Thursday 24 July in Michausdal. Next morning, yet another book will be launched as Stephen Gray talks about his brand new collection of poetry – Rough Passage – which is woven through with themes of voyaging.


‘Word journeys through heritage food’ is the subtext for style guru Niël Stemmet’s new book back+page (also available in Afrikaans).

This sequel to his recipe book salt+peper takes readers into the heart of the Karoo plaaskombuis, which he suggests, is the heart of our heritage.

During his four days in Cradock, he will present a style/design think-tank for matrics (adults can also attend), he will talk at a special lunch on Friday 25 July and he will read during the Open Microphone session on the Saturday afternoon.


Chris and Julienne Marais will make news with the launch of their first e-books – digital editions of the popular Karoo Keepsakes series which make super gifts for South Africans in the diaspora. And easy-reference travel companions for those who love to explore the Karoo.

Chris and Julienne Marais


The festival book sale table will be open throughout the weekend and writers will be on hand for signings. Best-sellers by Etienne van Heerden; Antony Osler’s Stoep Zen and Zen Dust; Gordon Wright’s Veld to Fork; Deon Meyer’s earlier titles in English; Niël Stemmet’s salt+pepper and back+page in English and Afrikaans and Stephen Gray’s Rough Passage are among the books that will be on offer.

For more info and to get the detailed programme and booking sheet for the Schreiner: Karoo Writers Festival, write to


By Lourens Schoeman

New national and provincial record prices for game were set at the annual Absa Kirkwood Wildsfees Auction held at Kirkwood on Friday, June 27, more than doubling the previous record annual turnover.

A national record of R7,8 million was set for a rare white saddleback blesbok ram called “Top Deck”, which was sold to Phillip Mostert of the game farm Gamevest which is near Thabazimbi in the Northern Cape, said the auction convenor, Johan Swart.

The ram’s brother Mnumzane sold for R4,2 million at an auction in Limpopo in May this year. Mostert paid another national record price at the weekend’s auction, this time R400 000 for a yellow blesbok ram.

“A provincial record price of R975 000 was paid for a two to four year-old buffalo cow with an estimated 25,6” horn span from the Addo Elephant National Park. This was shortly after a record of R650 000 was set for a cow aged between eight and ten years and with an estimated 34” horn span.

“The 30 disease-free, Addo buffalo on auction raised close to R9-million,” said John Adendorff, acting manager of the Addo Elephant National Park, adding that the park was very pleased with the prices and that the funds raised would be invested back into conservation. (Continue on page ?)

Wit Saalrug Blesbok Ram(3)

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