Lesley Beake has been involved with writing and editing children’s stories for thirty years now and has published over 85 books. All her stories are set in Africa and are rich in African imagery and landscape. They vary from picture books for the very young, to novels for teenagers, with a good spread of stories for all ages in between. Much of her work involves writing for readers who are reading in English as their second, third, or even fourth language. The challenge of corresponding a reading level with an interest level is helped by her background in primary school teaching and in teaching English as a Foreign Language in the Middle East for the British Council.
Lesley also has a wide portfolio of other writing, including travel writing, broadcasting and website work. She has edited three southern African travel magazines and four websites on wildly varied topics.
Her books have been translated into numerous languages, worldwide and in Africa, and she has received many awards for her books. But the greatest satisfaction comes with meeting the young people who actually read her books – and in typing the last word of the manuscript in hand!
Hap won Gold at the 2017 Sanlam Awards, celebrating the best in SA youth literature. Described by the judges as ‘a well structured and beautifully written coming-of-age story.’ In it, a troubled teenager travels from New York to South Africa to spend time with her father on an archaeological site, where she identifies with the fossil of a young woman whom she names Hap.