Add some Heritage Classics to your bookshelf!

"These are both special South African novels that deserve another opportunity to be on shelves in bookstores." - Andrea Nattrass, Pan Macmillan's publisher

Celebrate Heritage Day by adding some South African greats to your bookshelf. These two revered authors' books have been held firmly in the memory of South African readers since their very first publications a few years back. Johan Steyn's Father Michael's Lottery and Jo-Ann Richards' The Innocence  of Roast Chicken speak to the themes of hope and determined triumph in the midst of imperfect circumstances.  

"The Innocence of Roast Chicken was a story that just wouldn’t go away. I denied it for a good three years, but it stubbornly refused to budge. It became all I could focus on. Fearful of waking my young family, I spent my nights huddled on the bathroom floor with a torch, scribbling into a notebook. On that cold floor, my debut novel took shape. A farm materialised. A child was born, who loved it and believed that ‘everyone should have a farm like that in their childhood’. But I could also see the brutal nature of her coming of age, and the adult she would become".  - Jo-Anne Richards

"Father Michael’s Lottery is a great-spirited novel that tells its tale – about a committed doctor’s search for more “happy endings” in all-too-unpromising circumstances – with heart and passion and hope. The telling is fired by Johan Steyn’s fervour for justice for poor patients in Africa, but also by his sense of humour and his love of the people, the birds, the animals and the vistas of our continent." - Judge Edwin Cameron

Father Michael's Lottery

by Johan Steyn

Book cover for Father Michael's Lottery

The doctors and nurses at a small hospital in an African town are fighting an uphill battle against the Aids pandemic, made worse by the interventions of Holmes, the budget-conscious superintendent, and his bungling sidekick, Thunderbird.

The rebellious and profane Morgan thwarts every new rule in his quest to save his patients, most of whom are dying because they lack the resources to buy back their lives with over-priced drugs. His efforts are valiantly supported by the enigmatic Oumar, the likeable Kenyan, the beautiful Violet, and Rebecca, the battleaxe with a heart of gold. Then there is Mary, with her passion for birds, holding Morgan’s heart in her frail hands; Naledi, the success story, who is brought back from the brink of death; and Rastodika, the untameable spirit.

When funds are needed for a kidney transplant, Morgan conspires with Father Michael; Dorcas, the shebeen queen; and Rachel, the whore, to make the rich Mr B organise a Beerfest to pay for the operation. But then things don’t work out exactly as they had planned.

The Innocence of Roast Chicken

by Jo-Anne Richards

Book cover for The Innocence of Roast Chicken

The Innocence of Roast Chicken focuses on an Afrikaans/English family in the Eastern Cape and their idyllic life on their grandparents’ farm, seen through the eyes of the little girl, Kate, and the subtle web of relationships that is shattered by a horrifying incident in the mid-1960s. Scenes from Kate’s early life are juxtaposed with Johannesburg in 1989 when Kate, now married to Joe, a human rights lawyer, stands aside from the general euphoria that is gripping the nation. Her despair, both with her marriage and with the national situation, resolutely returns to a brutal incident one Christmas day when Kate was thrust into an awareness of what lay beneath her blissful childhood. Beautifully constructed, The Innocence of Roast Chicken is painful, evocative, beautifully drawn and utterly absorbing.