Guest 2005, 2017.


Winner's Magic
Heinemann Jaws
Keswahili, 1993

Mellow Yellow
Cape Town, 1994

Dark Waters
Cape Town, 1995

Nobody's Perfect
Human & Rousseau
Cape Town, 1995

Where Shadows Fall
Cape Town, 1996

Gaborone: African Publishing Services
Botswana, 1996

One Magic Moment
Cape Town, 1996

Da mußt du durch, Lurch
Elefanten Press
Berlin,  1996
Übersetzung: Marion Schweizer

The Denials of Kow-Ten
Cape Town, 1998

Because Pula Means Rain
Cape Town, 2000

Savannah 2116AD
Cape Town, 2004

All for Love
Peter Hammer
Wuppertal, 2007
Übersetzung: Jutta Himmelreich

Übersetzer: Jutta Himmelreich, Marion Schweizer

Jenny Robson [ South Africa ]

Jenny Robson was born in Cape Town and grew up in South Africa during Apartheid.  After studying Primary School Teaching in Mowbray and taking a degree in Philosophy through the University of South Africa in Cape Town, she worked as a teacher in Simonstown before going to Botswana, where she works as a music teacher.  She teaches marimba and steel drums in a diamond mining school at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, where the temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius and the infrequent rains, according to the author, turn into an impressive and uplifting natural spectacle.  Thus it is her immediate environment – daily interaction with children and the extreme climatic conditions – which significantly moulds her literary work.  She did not start writing until the age of 38, following a difficult patch in her life. To date she has published more than thirty books for children and young adults, which include stories for children with English as a foreign language, a novel for adults as well as numerous short stories. Her texts emerge from quiet moments: the early morning hours, the weekends and school holidays.  The children she teaches also remain an endless source of inspiration.

"My novels are set in Africa.  The characters and situations are all deeply African.  Africa is my home and my motherland and I believe my first loyalty belongs here", comments Jenny Robson about her literary work.  Born into a fundamentalist Protestant home where other beliefs and religions were condemned as evil, tolerance, mutual respect and peaceful cohabitation have become important to her.  Meeting her husband – the Englishman Matt Robson – and her daily interactions with children have made it clear to her that each and every human being is totally unique and to be valued above all else.  This understanding has become the cornerstone of her writing.  Her texts depict South African teenagers with their dreams, their fears, their hopes and their problems, which resemble those experienced by young people outside the African continent.  At the same time, she touches on topics, which are unmistakably "African": she writes about street gangs in the townships and documents exclusion and racism.

In her youth novel 'Because Pula Means Rain' (2000) – awarded the UNESCO-Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance in 2003 – Emmanuel has to deal with discrimination within his community, which is excluding him out of fear of becoming like him: a "white black", an albino. In her penetrating and exciting novel, 'Praise Song' (2005), Robson elegantly tells the story of young Gaone, who has to confront the ever-present threat of AIDS. When her teacher is found dead on World-AIDS day and her younger sister is in danger of being won over by the local 'Don Juan', Gaone takes the initiative.

Jenny Robson received the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Prize in 1992.  She was the first author to be awarded the Sanlam Youth Literature Award (1994ff) four times in succession. She was awarded the same award a fifth time in 2005 for 'Praise Song'. The German translation of 'Don’t Panic, Mechanic' (1994; German: Da musst du durch, Lurch) was published in 2001 and won the Blue Cobra Award in Switzerland.

Translator: Jutta Himmelreich

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