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Features, Literature, Regional News

A chat with award nominee, Sally Cranswick

Sally Cranswick

I was quite nervous about approaching Sally Cranswick for an interview. In fact, I didn’t even think she’d reply my message but, she did! Sally was shortlisted for the South African Literary Awards (SALA) Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award for her debut collection of short stories, Women out of Water.

Women out of Water book cover

Sally lives in Cape Town and is a writer and workshop facilitator with a special interest in life-writing and memoir. She has an MA in Creative Writing from UCT. Before coming to South Africa, Sally lived in many countries around the world and worked as a singer in the UK and Southeast Asia.

African Book Collective

Who is Sally Cranswick?


Oh wow, that’s a big question packed into in a small sentence! We are all so many things aren’t we? Today, I’m someone who’s very grateful to have the opportunity to do something I truly love and believe in; to be able to write and share my love of writing with others.

How and when did you start writing?


I started writing stories in my early twenties. I was in a band – a lot of very funny things happened and I started writing them down as little vignettes.

Why did you start writing?


Because I can’t not write!


I’ve been lucky to publish quite a few things over the years; features, columns and short stories. ‘The Winds May Change’ was my first published story in about 2002. I wrote it then submitted it to The Lady Magazine and simultaneously, I sent it to a writers’ critique service. Within a week, the critique service had sent me three sides of A4 telling me what was wrong with the story and the next day, I received a cheque in the post from The Lady, who published my story in their next issue. It just goes to show how differently each reader can view the same story!

What is Women out of Water about? What inspired it?


Women out of Water is a collection of nine short stories about women who are coping the best they can in strange environments and extreme circumstances. Having lived in different countries around the word, I have often viewed the world as a ‘fish out of water’ myself.

The stories were all inspired by different things: news items, women’s social issues, motherhood, aging, power, economics and landscapes to name just a few.

What are your literary achievements to date?


I’ve got an MA cum laude in Creative Writing from UCT and I’ve been lucky enough to have some shortlists, longlists, a fiction award and an Arts Council England Bursary – and now, this incredible honour; to have Women out of Water shortlisted by the South African Literary Awards for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award!

How can people access your work?


Thanks for asking, Connie.
You can buy or order Women out of Water through your local book shop or online from my publisher, Modjaji Books, https://www.modjajibooks.co.za/titles/women-out-of-water/

About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.

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