Category Archives: Meeting local legends

Bennies Book Fayre

I will be organising the Bennies Children’s and YA book fair with my fellow authors from the Schools Reading Road Show next year.

If you are a Child Author or Children’s author and wish to participate please contact me as we are starting our selection process.

If you would like to be a SPONSOR at the event please get in contact. Sponsors have already started to sign up.


Jann Weeratunga and Abdul Manack team up

Polly’s Piralympics (Jann Weeratunga) and Abdul Manack (SA cricketers and commentator) will be teaming up to offer a unique anti-bullying programme to primary schools.

Kicking off soon, so if interested for your school contact us as places are filling up fast.


An Elephant in My Kitchen

Finally, I got to meet the author.

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth.”

Well, l not exactly, all I wanted was ‘An Elephant in my Kitchen,” by Francoise Malby-Anthony. It didn’t quite happen for Christmas, but I did get it for my birthday in January and had finished it within days. It made me laugh and of course cry, but it also made me angry. Angry that in this day an age, there are not enough consequences in Africa to prevent an animal that has been on the planet since the dinosaurs being poached to the brink of extinction. Angry because humans can be so callous and cruel. Angry because I felt helpless.

I had the pleasure of meeting Francoise in the Green Room at the Kingsmead Book Fair, where the authors mingle and meet their interviewers, before heading off for their sessions. Mine had just finished and hers was due to start. Of course, I knew she was would be there, and I just so happened to have my copy of her book with me, ha, ha, ha.

Even though I am a recognised author in my own right, with my Polly’s Piralympics Series, I was still a little nervous to approach her; which is strange because I had been approached by and had approached other authors all morning. Maybe it was because I had read her book, as well as ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ and ‘The Last Rhino’ by her late husband Lawrence Anthony. I don’t know, but with her book firmly clutched in my hand and butterflies in my stomach I walked over to her.

Immediately as she smiled at me all the butterflies dissipated, and at that moment I realised that that is probably how the youngsters feel when they come up to me to get their books signed. Well, nerves gone, we chatted for about 5 minutes before she had to leave for her talk.

Well, I can tell you I was dead chuffed and Francoise, thank you so much for the special personalised message, I think we will be talking again.

Oh, and what did we chat about?

Hmm, I think you are going to have to read #7 in the Polly’s Piralympics Series to find out –’ Polly Returns to Africa’.  And maybe, just maybe, there is another parallel series being written at the moment that you can get free, by signing up to my newsletter. Click below.

#PollysPiralympics, #RichardtheRhino, #PollyReturnstoAfrica #AnElephantinMyKitchen



Pop-up Book Fairs – Southern Courier

A few months ago, I decided to start Pop-up book fairs in Johannesburg. I had seen authors go to coffee shops and have book launches but I wanted more. More authors and more people.

Southern Courier reported our visit to Cafe La Plume here is what they had to say…

Promoting reading is the way to go

READING IS GREAT: The group of authors who gathered at Café La Plume recently. Front: Ashleigh Giannoccaro, Cora Groenewald and Kim Hunter. Back: Silke Kaiser, Gerry Pelser, Evadeen Brickwood and Jann Weeratunga.

JANN Weeratunga who lives in Winchester Hills began writing about 10 years ago with a few pieces of poetry. Since then she has written many children’s books, including the Polly’s Piralympics series, inspired by the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games, and is for readers aged between eight and 12 years old.

Polly’s Piralympics series of books are both unique in concept as well as content and format. They deal with disabilities, bullying and cheating. The books also have a comprehension page at the end of each chapter, where the participants can answer questions and draw their own characters etc.

“I’ve been to many primary schools with my parrots, and the children really relate to them and the stories about Polly,” said Jann.

Recently, her and other authors from around Johannesburg, including Kim Hunter, Gerry Pelser, Silke Kaiser, Cora Groenewald, Ashleigh Giannoccaro and Evadeen Brickwood, met at Café La Plume in Glenanda for a morning of poetry and reading.

“It was a fun time getting together, and we are planning on more mornings in the near future where we can promote reading among children and adults,” said Jann.

Thank you Southern Courier for the support of local Indie authors and to Cafe la Plume for once again hosting us.

Yesterday was a mixed day…

Yesterday was a mixed day. I met a South African legend and said goodbye to a Greenford and District Scout legend (I have paid tribute to RJ on facebooks and will now take time to reflect on my meeting last night with one of South Africa’s own.) Here I am with Brian Mitchell – helping to raise funds for SRRS (Schools Reading Road Show.)


Brian didn’t have the best of starts in life, sent away to boarding school at just 6 years old, times were tough for a nipper. Then his mum manages to get him to Jeppe, but books weren’t his forte and a few scraps mapped out his future – he started to box.

He was an amateur from 9-19 when he joined the army. He became Defence Force Champion in 1981 and turned Pro. He went on to become WBA Junior Lightweight Champion in SA and in 1986 aged just 25 he took a bash at the World Title against Alfredo Layne.

“It was all thanks to Sol Kerzner, I’m not sure how he did it, back in those days,” said Mitchell, “But he got the fight here to South Africa and I’m not sure how, but I won.”

The WBA wanted to strip him of the title because of the sanctions on sport in the country at the time, and after a court battle they eventually allowed him to keep the title, but he would have to defend his title on foreign soils.

He went on to remain undefeated in 13 fights as WBA Champion and when asked which was his hardest opponent he said unhesitantly Jose Rivera.

He stated that his proudest moments were meeting the likes of Princess Charleen of Monaco, Silvester Stalone, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard. But the one that touched him most was when President Nelson Mandela flew him down to Cape Town to have a personal audience with him.

“Thanks to boxing, it was a great journey.”

He is the only South African to date to have entered the Boxing Hall of Fame (2009).

So there you have it two legends in one day.



Wheelchair Tennis!

I was watching the Men’s Final at Wimbledon today – Congratulations Roger Federer on your 8th Wimbledon Title by the way. But what intrigued me was they went over to the Boys Final and the Wheelchair Event

.Image result for wheelchair tennisImage result for wheelchair tennis

Oh, my goodness, talk about athleticism and skill, I could hardly believe my eyes. These guys not only wheel themselves about the court but them manage to hit the ball too. I can’t even hit the ball and I am able bodied – KUDOS GENTLEMEN, KUDOS.

I don’t think I shall ever cease to be amazed by Para-athletes and what they can achieve, you have my complete admiration and awe.

Look out for Polly in an upcoming book as I am sure she will be persuading her pirates to learn how to play tennis.


Feel honoured that Johnny Issaluk will be guiding me with my book Polly’s Eskimo Paralympics

Having written my second book around the Traditional Arctic Games I wanted to make sure that all the reference I have made to the Inuit/Eskimo names and culture are correct before I go to press.

I was fortunate enough to contact Johnny Issaluk and ask him for help and he agreed. I feel very honoured as Johnny is an accomplished author hijohnny-issalukmself (Games of Survival.) he is also an actor and athlete.

He is a participant of the Arctic Games – Traditional Inuit Games. this picture demonstrates the one leg high kick, an event that my pirates participate in in Polly’s Eskimo Paralympics.

Johnny Issaluk | Sedna Epic Expedition

Johnny was a member of the 2012 Arctic Jubilee Expedition that successfully climbed the highest point of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut, and sent a video greeting to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II—sponsored by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the expedition was followed by schools in the UK and Canada, enabling approximately 17,400 students to learn about Inuit culture and this remote part of the Commonwealth and the Canadian High Arctic.

So you can imagine how chuffed I was when he agreed to read through Polly’s Eskimo Paralympics. It may only be a children’s book, but I want it to be right and I want to highlight other cultures through my writings correctly.

I am so looking forward to working with Johnny and feel very honoured. Thanking you in advance Johnny THANK YOU.