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Heather Parker Lewis’ New “Informal Biography” of Olive Schreiner: The Other Side of the Moon

Olive SchreinerHeather Parker-LewisBOOK SA friend Heather Parker Lewis has just published a new book, this time on Olive Schreiner, which Lewis calls an “informal biography”. Congrats to her! Here’s the blurb, plus some praise:

Olive Schreiner was an extraordinary and unconventional woman of genius. She was also South Africa’s first major novelist, a humanist, a liberal thinker, and a feminist. In an era when no respectable woman went without stockings, she was considered outrageous for shunning corsets and stays. Olive liked to skinny-dip and sunbathe in the altogether! She lived very simply. In later years she was so poor that she packed the inside of her coat with newspaper to keep out the cold.

Professor Rosemary Gray says, “What distinguishes this biography is its readerly format; the narratorical skill of the writer that enables her to place herself, chameleon-like, into the very midst of her subject’s society – be this on the South African veld, or in England or Europe; and its imaginative projection of Olive into the 21st century and even into the milieu of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. By the end of the book one feels that one has somehow known Olive Schreiner personally, known this remarkable South African seeker of the Truth as one might have come to ‘know’ the other side of the moon. The style is direct and conversational but the content is, at the same time, impressively authoritative, drawing upon hitherto unpublished archival material melded with first-hand accounts of people who knew or who were associated with Olive. The author treats the immensely complex personage of Olive Schreiner with empathy but without sentimentality of judgement.”

The book is “available countrywide at major bookstores”, according to Lewis. Take a look!

About the author

Helen Parker Lewis qualified as a social worker but has been self-employed as a writer for the past twelve years, ever since she broke both knees in a motor vehicle accident. She also spent fifteen years teaching at the University of Cape Town. She writes mainly for a niche market about those on the periphery of society. She self-published her first book Also God’s Children? Encounters with Street Kids in 1999. Other books include The Prison Speaks: Men’s Voices/South African Jails and God’s Gangsters? The History, Language, Secrets, Rituals and Myths of South Africa’s Prison Gangs. She is particularly addicted to recording prison gang mythology. Her novel The Interloper was published in 2008 and reviewed as an unconventional and tongue-in-cheek read; a journey through memory and the process of writing.

Book details


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