Q&A with Poet and Writer Geoffrey Haresnape

20 May 2015
Geoffrey Haresnape

Geoffrey Haresnape is a poet and fiction writer with five volumes of poetry published to date: Drive of the Tide (1976), New-Born Images (1991), Mulberries in Autumn (1996), The Living and the Dead: Selected and New Poems (2005) and Where the Wind Wills (2011). He published a prize-winning novel titled Testimony in 1991 and a collection of short stories – African Tales from Shakespeare (1991).

He is the Vice President of PEN South Africa, an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Cape Town, an Honorary Vice-President of the English Academy of Southern Africa, a Literary Patron of the New Contrast literary journal and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University.

Favourite South African novel / poem?

The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner.

What are you working on at the moment?

An article on Othello at Maynardville. New poems.

Favourite part of the writing and publishing process?

Looking at proofs.

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

Alie van Staaden in Pauline Smith’s “Desolation”.

Any advice / tips for writers starting out?

Refuse to be discouraged and try to find a reliable reader for feedback.

Hardest part of the writing and publishing process?

Finding a publisher for poetry, the Cinderella of literature.

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

Roy Campbell, Richard Rive, Tatamkhulu Afrika.

What are you reading at the moment?

Cecil Rhodes by William Plomer.

Proudest moment of your writing career?

My two appearances as a prizewinner were traumatic as much as proud.

(Image courtesy bookslive.co.za)