Missing the Boat Launch

Missing the Boat  by David  ‘Cuz’ Jeppe was launched on 9 February 2017 at Love Books in Johannesburg.                                                                                                                                                                        

Jenny Tuckett officiated on Behalf of Otterley Press and Piers Cross gave the introductory speech before Cuz responded

 Jane Abrams, Convenor of the Thursday Night Writing Class  Group says  in an email to Jackie of Otterley press: Just to tell you that Cuz’s launch was in my opinion a wild success, shop packed with people, many of them famous and all of them beautiful! Piers gave a great opening speech, and then he and Cuz turned into a comedy duo, swapping jokes and puns about sailing, and keeping us all laughing. Really great, Jackie, and well done to everybody.


A young man sets out to build a boat from materials scrounged from building sites and bought with carefully hoarded occasional wages; it becomes an object of love as each plank and screw finds its place over many months. The small catamaran is painstakingly transferred to the coast where it is finished and finally launched on an extraordinary maiden voyage.

This is an adventure of a rare kind, which not only describes a sea-going experience in authentic detail, but which also evokes the sounds and smells of a misty estuary anchorage in winter among a  fishing population who are not always friendly to this young stranger. David Jeppe writes beautiful, lyrical prose, and the voyage, with its surprising, heart-wrenching ending, will live long in the memories of readers who enjoy a good yarn and a thought-provoking journey into the depths of the human heart.


David ‘Cuz’ Jeppe   - Carpenter, boat builder, sometime author. Now spends his time trying to grow grass for warthogs or horses.

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Otterley Press aims to soar even higher in 2017!

Last year Sani Pass: Revealing its Secrets by James Colman and Celebrating Gardens in Style by Sue Sandrock were our highlights  but it is only March and we have already launch two books. Both reveal Otterley’s eclectic coverage: Missing the Boat by David Jeppe – a rollicking nautical tale with a surprise ending and Speech after long silence  - a collection of new poems by the well-known Moira Lovell. Both launches were wonderful occasions and well supported;  David Jeppe’s book  at Love Books in Johannesburg and Moira Lovell’s at The Wykkeham Collegiate School where, until recently, she was head of the English Department.

In the pipeline we have:

 The French Prince: From Tragedy to Transformation by Glen Flanagan

There have been many books, mostly on a military nature on the Prince Imperial who was tragically killed in Zululand in 1879 thus signalling the end of the Bonaparte Dynasty. This book presents  information on the Prince as a person,  and the interest shown by cultural tourism towards the   communities  living near the place where he fell  have transformed their lives,

Pickled edited by Jeffery Wailer

A collection of  tried and tested recipes from celebrities and happy everyday cooks

The Unofficial Odyssey by Jane Fox

This beautifully illustrated gift book  will intrigue  all as Jane takes us on  an imaginary journey peopled  by those left behind on Ithaca when Homer and his men went  gallivanting to Troy

Farmhouses in Old Natal : The Midlands and its Periphery edited by Jacqueline Kalley.

Documents over thirty farmhouses and the families that lived in them dating from the 1850s  and photographs by Hugh Bland  reveal  the glory days of these wonderful old houses and in many cases, their slow decline, this book will become Africana Collectors’ Items  and a record for posterity.

 So watch this space for more developments for Otterley Press!

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Old Roses - Book review

Read the review of out book Old Roses from the Natal Mercury.

ROSES came to South Africa with the early Dutch settlers. In November 1659, Jan van Riebeeck recorded in his diary that he had picked the first Dutch rose at the Cape.

During the restoration of the Castle, friezes decorated with roses were discovered under layers of whitewash. The renowned Gwen Fagan then investigated whether any of these original roses still survived 350 years later.

She is just one of many contributors to this beautifully illustrated book on old roses. The cut-off date used to define old roses is generally 1900. Many have now been found and identified, but then roses have an amazing tenacity to survive, overcoming drought, fires and ice or being eaten down to their stumps by goats and sheep.

The 1820 settlers brought rose cuttings with them as a living memory of their English homes and families. One, the “Grandmother Wiggill 1820”, was brought by Elizabeth Wiggill in a screw-top glass jar. It survived the three-month sea voyage and can today be found from the Eastern Cape and Free State to KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

Each time the Wiggill descendants moved, they took a cutting of this fragrant rose with them.

Rose lovers will delight in this book. The revival of old roses seems assured with the creation of the South African Rosarium at Bedford in the Eastern Cape in 2012. There, an old rose sanctuary is being created which, like this book, will inspire South Africans to cherish these historically significant roses.

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Alex La Guma Review

Read the Alex La Guma Review from the Natal Witness. 

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Our New Recruit!

Camilla Smolicz  is our latest recruit to the Otterley Press team! Editing is her forte and she also has a long background in sales, marketing and creating educational multimedia content for underprivileged communities.  A First Class Honours degree from the University of Adelaide, Australia and a Diploma in the Sociology of Education from the Sorbonne in Paris make her a well-rounded asset to Otterley Press. She has lived in Johannesburg for the past 12 years  where her two children, Mila and Alex fueled her interest in children’s literature – ideal for  her appointment as Editor of Children’s Books to Otterley Press.

Welcome to the team Camilla!

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Otterley Press receives World Federation of Rose Societies Literary Award!

In 2006 the World Federation of Rose Societies introduced a Literary Award to honour outstanding rose books. At the 17th Convention of Rose Societies held recently in Lyon, France, this prestigious accolade was awarded for the book, Old Roses: Survival and Revival in South Africa. Edited by Jacqueline Kalley and published by Otterley Press, it is a wonderful affirmation to all who contributed to this book. Congratulations!

This is the second international award received by Otterley Press, the first being for Veld, Vlei and Rose Gardens.

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Otterley is on the move!

Otterley is on the move – both literally and figuratively! We now have a tiny office in Johannesburg which makes a wonderful change from our first storage space in my motor car! The poor old Ford had its belly almost on the ground from the weight of the books! We have also appointed a new Rep for the independent bookshops in Johannesburg, Jenny Tuckett, so that we can expand our coverage. Our main headquarters continues to be in Pietermaritzburg where we have established a firm network of contacts. In order to improve our communications, Melanie Wester has taken over the position of Business Communications so you can expect to hear more from us.

This week has been an exciting one as our latest book The Eloquent Bead: Zulu Women Communicate,edited by Stan Schoeman went to print. This book has had a gestation period of almost three years undergoing almost every conceivable problem a book can go through! We have worked tirelessly through each of the difficulties and have now come up with a superb product of which we are justifiably proud. Based on a collection of traditional Zulu beads made in the 1960s, the author examines the meaning of this beadwork, illustrated by striking photographs before tracing the development of beadwork in KwaZulu-Natal to the present day. It has become a recognised art form and examples are touring the United States as part of Washington’s Smithsonian Museum initiative. It demonstrates how the crafters of the present have cleverly adapted the past in order to make a living. It should be on the shelves soon and hopefully we can share the reviews with you.

The good news doesn’t stop there... On 29 January 2015 Mark Henning launched his latest book The Cross, The Sword and Mammon at St Stithians College, Johannesburg where he was Headmaster for many years. We also published his previous book, Zest: A Celebration of Good Schools and Good Teachers and it was highly acclaimed. His latest book has been described by Professor Jansen of the University of the Free State as follows:

"A lively, humorous and riveting account of the history of schools for English-speaking South Africans. Mark Henning gives insight into a remarkably rich part of the education vineyard with storied histories and prognoses into their future course. The schools need closer appreciation for their great contribution to South Africa culture, economy and democracy, but also for their troubled origins. There will be a new appreciation for the hardiness of these institutions over centuries. Outstanding."

And as if that is not enough we are revamping our website and Facebook page so that you can keep up to date with all our happenings!

I look forward to communicating with you more frequently and welcome any comments or feedback you may have.

Jackie Kalley

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