Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Housemaid's Daughter in Johannesburg

I have just returned to Cape Town after a hectic day in Johannesburg promoting The Housemaid's Daughter. The day started with a 4am wake up call (gasp), and I leapt onto a 7am flight.
I was born in Johannesburg and later lived there as an adult for 8 years, but even so I found it utterly changed and so much more vibrant than when I was last there in the early 90s.

At the airport I was met by the charming Dedre, representing my SA distributers. Our first port of call was Novel Books in Bryanston where I spoke to an enthuastic audience which included a long lost cousin and a family friend from those earlier Jhb days! And it was a pleasure to meet so many readers who felt a personal connection with the book and its Karoo setting. My thanks to Helen and Sharon for their warm welcome.

From there we negotiated the traffic to the Radio Today studios, an oasis of calm set in a nursery in the appropriately named suburb of Rosebank. There I met the exuberant Sue Grant Marshall, with whom I spent a lively 45 minutes or so, recording an interview which will later play on Radio Today. Then we swept through the flowery aisles and made our way to the Hyatt Hotel where I had my picture taken for an article that will be appearing in the Business Day newspaper. Once again Sue was my interviewer (see picture above) and we delved a little deeper into the background of The Housemaid's Daughter and the research I did for the book.

Then it was back into the car and along to the Radio 702 Talk Radio studios in Sandowne, where I recorded an extract of the book, to be aired alongside a review by Jenny Crwys-Williams on her Book show.

By this stage it was mid-afternon and we were due at Love Books in Melville for the final event of the day. The indefatigable Dedre tackled the rush hour traffic and we arrived on time for a glass of wine and some snacks before the start. Love Books, like Novel Books earlier in the day, has a loyal group of readers who enjoy attending talks and book launches. Certainly this is a powerful way for independent bookshops to build and retain a following, and make themselves a centre for the enjoyment of reading... Kate and Anna, the owners, welcomed me to what may be the prettiest bookshop in the world, and we were joined by Sue Grant Marshall for a fascinating chat about the book, including the role of music in the story, and the way that Ada finds melody even amidst the hustle and bustle of township life... she calls it Township Bach.
More next time!

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