Chris van Wyk – Irascible Genius

Kevin van Wyk

Age 16 +
01 July 2024
324 pages


When he died in 2014, author Chris van Wyk left behind an impressive literary legacy. The scope of his work was broad – poetry, children’s books, short stories and biographies. But perhaps he is best remembered for his memoir Shirley, Goodness & Mercy, which chronicles his growing up in Riverlea and introduces us to the colourful characters who helped to shape his life and inform the stories he wrote.

The public persona of this witty and wise raconteur was well known, but behind it was a family man, who liked nothing better than to spend time with his two sons Kevin and Karl, his wife and childhood sweetheart Kathy, and the friends and family who were his primary sources of inspiration.

Using the unique vantage point of oldest son, Kevin van Wyk’s astute observations of his father and the strong bond they enjoyed throughout Chris’s life have resulted in a memoir that is as affectionate as it is entertaining. In taking us behind the scenes into the Van Wyk household, we witness the inner workings of the mind of a storyteller, from the flowering of his father’s activism, wit and wisdom to the sources of his occasional quirky outbursts. If storytelling runs in the genes, Kevin may just be proof that his father’s spirit lives on.