Q&A with Poet and Novelist Beverly Rycroft

01 Apr 2015
Beverly Rycroft

Beverly Rycroft is a poet and novelist. In 2010 she published a poetry collection, missing (Modjaji Books), and her first novel, A Slim, Green Silence, was published by Umuzi this year.

Beverly was awarded second prize in the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Competition in 2011 and in 2012 missing won her the Ingrid Jonker award for a debut poetry collection. In 2000 she was joint winner of the Femina/Sensa Features competition.

A Slim, Green Silence was launched at The Book Lounge last week.


What are you working on at the moment?

A second collection of poems. A second novel.

Favourite part of the writing and publishing process?

When the story finally takes off on the page and you are alone with your characters.

Any characters (yours or another writer’s) that have stuck with you?

Emma (Jane Austen). King Lear. Just William from Richmal Crompton.

Any advice / tips for writers starting out?

Write first, judge later. Put the work away for three months before you look at it again. Persevere.

Hardest part of the writing and publishing process?

Motivating yourself to write when you have no guarantee what you produce will be published.

South African writers, poets or books that have made an impact on you?

Herman Charles Bosman, Finuala Dowling, Zakes Mda, Antjie Krog.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever, Long walk to Freedom, Emily Dickinson poems selected by Ted Hughes.

If you had to pick one book or poem to give to all South Africans to read what would it be?

Dis al. Jan F Celliers

Any other genres that you’re interested in trying your hand at?

Maybe a play one day.

Proudest moment of your writing career?

Winning the Ingrid Jonker prize.

Favourite quote from a book or poem?

“Out of the quarrels with ourselves, we make poetry.” Yeats.

How did writing a novel compare to writing a poetry collection?

A wider scale and discipline, one that exercised different writing muscles.