All of my books are rooted in Africa and the essence of this continent. Whether they are for very young readers, or for teenagers, they express my love of the landscape and the places that I care about and reflect the experiences I have shared with children here during the fifty years since my family emigrated from Scotland.
As a teacher, I was able to move around South Africa and experience first-hand the differences between the Western and Eastern Capes, the mountains of Natal and the beaches of the Wild Coast, the rural farming regions and the urban inner cities. After I married and became a full-time writer, I was privileged to work in Namibia during the transition to Independence and to be in South Africa prior to and during the first democratic elections here.
Above all, I was fortunate to be involved in educational projects that brought me into close contact with the Ju/'hoansi people of Eastern Bushmanland where I spent many winters in the company of anthropologists and educationalists and met the San people in their communities and remote villages.
It is these experiences that inform my stories for young people. Memories of places and times, experiences and dreams that I hope sometimes resonate with the realities of children here … and everywhere.
I believe in the universality of children’s experience. I believe in the ability of children to comprehend these similarities and to see the connections that truly exist between different cultures and different worldviews.
And I believe that the place to bring these issues to their attention is through the most powerful medium of all … the written word.
My home, my life, my world is filled with books. If I could wish one wish for any child, one child anywhere, it would be the ability to decipher the riches books bring. If I could have one wish for myself, it would be that I could have the ability to write books that make those connections.