The many lives of the Nelson Mandela Comic
We first published Nelson Mandela: The Authorised Comic back in 2008 so it’s strange to write about a book nearly ten years later. Some books, however, take on a life of their own and this is one that recently came across my desk again when we sold publishing rights to Constable, an imprint of Little Brown in London. Constable is run by the wonderful publisher Duncan Proudfoot who happened to grow up in the same street as I did. But that’s a story for another day.
The Nelson Mandela Comic first came to life not as a book but as series of eight comic books. They were a collaboration between Umlando Wezithombe and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The comic books were distributed to children around South Africa, and were also serialised in various newspapers.
I came across them – I don’t remember how – and immediately saw the potential of putting them together into a single volume. It wasn’t long before we had a deal and the first edition hit the South African market.
Since then the rights have been sold to the Netherlands, France, Spain and Korea. Each with a cover design to appeal to their own market. Open the pages and there is Nelson Mandela speaking in Dutch, Spanish, Korean...
In South Africa we published a second edition, this time in paperback and with teacher’s notes at the back for teachers wishing to use it in the classroom.
One day I got a call from the Spanish publisher at Ediciones Escalera. It was two or three years after publication of their edition and he was breathless with excitement: ‘Jeremy, we have sold 100 000 copies to the education department in Ecuador in South America. They are going to give one to every child in grade 8. You don’t know what this means – we were about to go under and now we can continue publishing!’ In publishing, stories of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat are all too rare. I’ll drink a glass of champagne to that.
Now back to the latest deal. Constable have cleverly bought all language rights still available. They will publish in English in the UK and Commonwealth, but will also sell language rights to publishers in countries I haven’t a hope of reaching. Long live the comic.
Jeremy Boraine, Publishing Director
Did an equally advanced species inhabit Earth with us, or before us?
Did these ancestors of ours bury their dead?
If so, they must have had an awareness of death, a level of self-knowledge: the very characteristic we used to define ourselves as human.
In 2013 Lee Berger put together a team of adventurous researchers brave enough to squeeze through 8-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave 40 feet underground, not very far from Johannesburg.
With this team of ‘underground astronauts’, Berger made the discovery of a lifetime and found a very rare of all the species discovered so far: Homo naledi.
In his own personal tell-it-all book, Almost Human, the charismatic and visionary palaeontologist, Lee Berger narrates science, exploration, and what it means to be human.
Almost Human will be available from bookstores end March 2017.
Read more here.
Pre-order Almost Human here:
Jan Christian Smuts was soldier, statesman and intellectual, and one of South Africa’s greatest leaders. Yet little is said about him today even as we appear to live in a leadership vacuum.
Afrikaner Sonder Grense is a re-examination of the life and thought of Jan Smuts. It is intended to remind a contemporary readership of the remarkable achievements of this impressive soldier-statesman.
The author argues that there is a need to bring Smuts back into the present, that Smuts’ legacy still has much to instruct. He draws several parallels between Smuts and President Thabo Mbeki, both intellectuals much lionised abroad and yet often distrusted at home.
This book is a highly readable account of Smuts’ life. It also examines a number of overarching themes: his relationships with women, spiritual life, intellectual life and his role as advisor to world leaders. Politics and international affairs receive the lion’s share, but Smuts’ unique contributions to other fields – for example, botany – are not neglected.
Afrikaner Sonder Grense does not shy away from the contradictions of its subject.
Smuts was one of the architects of the United Nations, and a great champion of human rights, yet he could not see the need to reform the condition of the African majority in his own country.
Buy Jan Smuts: Afrikaner Sonder Grense here:
Wilbur Smith is back!
"That time is upon us. I can feel it coming. That evil barbarian will not be satisfied until he has engulfed the whole world in war and death. I fear for us all."
The worldwide number one bestseller Wilbur Smith introduces us to the bravest new member of the famed family, Saffron Courtney, in a new action packed historical novel War Cry.
Read more here.
War Cry will be available from bookstores from 02 March 2017.
Pre-order it here:
Welcome to C araval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
Buy Caraval here: