South African Womxn Writers – Day 12: A Reflection on Publishing by Karina Szczurek of Karavan Press

Karavan Press came into being in 2019 to offer authors a literary home for their books – home in the sense of shelter, safety and care.

As editor and publisher, I want to nurture authors and their creativity and establish strong bonds between writers and readers who are passionate about our words and stories. The vision for Karavan Press crystalised for me after reading Roberto Calasso’s L’impronta dell’editore (2013) and I was especially inspired by two South African literary projects founded around the same time and led by women: Rachel Zadok’s Short Story Day Africa (gallery below) and Joanne Hichens’s Short.Sharp.Stories (second gallery below).

The Short Story Day Africa Books

The Short Sharp Stories Books

Over the years, I have been involved with both initiatives in different capacities and have greatly profited from the cooperation, mentoring and creative networks they provide for authors and editors across the continent and beyond. The majority of authors and creatives who are already part of the Karavan Press family – Melissa A. Volker, Megan Ross, Dawn Garisch, Stephen Symons, Sindiwe Magona, Lester Walbrugh, Monique Cleghorn, Helen Moffett, Joanne Hichens, Catherine Shepherd, John Maytham, Karen Jennings and Nick Mulgrew – also have diverse connections to either or both of these projects.

ISBN: 9780994680549

Other initiatives have originated from them. Last year, Joanne Hichens and I edited and published an independent anthology of short stories, first of three planned: HAIR: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity by South African writers (Tattoo Press, publisher of the Short.Sharp.Stories anthologies, founded and led by Joanne Hichens).

The majority of people I work with are womxn and I hope these networks will only grow wider and stronger. Karavan Press is at the beginning of our journey. The pandemic has been incredibly difficult to negotiate on a personal and professional level, but with the help of the Karavan Press family we have not only survived but are still continuing on our path.

In the second half of 2020, we brought the list of Karavan Press books up to ten books in two years:

May there be many more. Happy reading, Everyone!

Karavan Press Titles by Womxn Writers

  • Karen Jennings – An Island – ISBN: 9781910688922 GoodReads
  • Dawn Garish – Disturbance – ISBN: 9781990992575 GoodReads
  • Joanne Hichens – Death and the After Parties: A Memoir – ISBN: 9780994680556 GoodReads
  • Sue Brown – Earth to Mom: Personal Essays on Loss and Love – ISBN: 9781990931925 GoodReads
  • Thembi Mtshali-Jones / Sindiwe Magona – Theatre Road: My Story – ISBN: 9780639994239 GoodReads
  • Dawn Garisch – Breaking Milk – ISBN: 9780639994222 GoodReads
  • Melissa A Volker – Shadow Flicker – ISBN: 9780639994208 GoodReads
  • Melissa A Volker – A Fractured Land – ISBN: 9781942856269 GoodReads

Karina M. Szczurek is a writer, editor, literary critic and publisher based in Cape Town. Find out more about Karavan Press, here.

This month’s blog is curated by Jen Thorpe.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long listed for the Etisalat Prize for Literature (2016) and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize (2017). Her second novel, The Fall, was published in July 2020. Thorpe has edited three collections of feminist essays – My First Time: Stories of Sex and Sexuality from Women Like You (2012); Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth (2018) and Living While Feminist (2020). Her writing has been published in Brittle Paper, Saraba Magazine, Jalada, and Litro. Find out more via Jen is also the host of the Living While Feminist Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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