Help me write in France!

I have always wanted to be a writer.

I could share pictures with you of my school reports that say things like ‘Jenny is very creative (read, a little strange) and writes very well’ but nobody needs to see those nerdy things. I remember learning to read with my mum at around four years old and thinking – wow, when someone writes a book they allow you to go into a new world at any time you want to, all by yourself! How cool is that! It’s like time travel, but for free.

In junior school my best friend Roxane and I used to have reading sleep-over parties where we’d read Sweet Valley, and some way more serious books I promise, and enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company. At high school I discovered great women writers and was amazed at their fearless and important stories.

In 2012 I left my job and decided to take myself seriously as a writer. I used all my savings, moved back to Cape Town, and I started a Masters in Creative Writing at UCT. Two years later I had my first draft of my first novel. Two years after that, it came out in print with Penguin SA. Ta da! The Peculiars (p.s get it here).

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It got great reviews and I was (and still am) so proud to have finished it and put it out into the world.

Then I went back to work, thinking that I could keep writing in the evenings and mornings (when I was energetic enough). I did, but it was really hard. After a tough year in 2016 I spent the December holidays doing some thinking about the life I want to live. There are so many quotes about being a writer, but the one that resonates with me most strongly is from Gloria Steinem, who says:

Writing is the only thing I do that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.

I mean, look how happy I look.

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Me with my book and the amazing cupcakes my sister’s boyfriend made.

So, at the end of last year I started applying like a maniac for writers residencies, retreats, jobs, competitions and all sorts of activities.
And with some luck and some incredible support from other writers, I put in an application to the Camac Art Centre and I got in! I’ll be going to France for June and July 2017 to write my third novel. Think crazy politicians, magical creatures, radical activists, and more.

It’s a dream come true, but it’s … well … an expensive dream. That’s where you come in! I’ve paid the 520 Euro deposit (gulp) but I could use a few extra euros to help me get there.

You can donate here. 

Thanks so much for reading and supporting me!

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