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Dianne Hofmeyr

Dianne Hofmeyr

Author of youth books

Dianne Louise Hofmeyr, née Townsend, was born at Somerset West on 24th September and grew up in Gordons Bay. She studied at the Cape Town Teachers Training College and taught art in Cape Town and Johannesburg. While living in Stellenbosch she worked as a potter. She and her husband now live in London. She has two sons who have both recently moved from Hong Kong to London as well.


1988 : Sanlam Silver Award for Youth Literature for When Whales go Free
1990 : Sanlam Gold Award for Youth Literature for A Red Kite in a Pale Sky
1993 : Maskew Miller Longman Young Africa Award for Blue Train to the Moon
1994 : Sanlam Gold Award for Youth Literature for Boikie You Better Believe It
1995 : M-Net Book Prize for BoikBlue Train to the Moon
1996 : The Asahi reading promotion: Hic... Hic... Hiccups
2002: M.E.R. Prize - best children/youth publication in 2001 for The Waterbearer
2004: IBBY HONOURS (International Board of Books for Young Children) for The Waterbearer
2013 Bookchat Award South Africa for The Magic Bojabi Tree
2013 South African early childhood development awards by ABSA BANK for The Magic Bojabi Tree

Hobbies: design, photography, film, theatre, travel and reading

Favourite authors: Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham, Carson McCullers, Peter Carey, Doris Lessing, Michael Ondaatjie and E. Annie Proulx

Her books have been translated into many languages, including African languages, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Swedish.

The Magical mulberry blanket. Tafelberg
The Yellow balloon. Tafelberg
1987: A sudden summer. Tafelberg
1988: When whales go free. Tafelberg
1990: A Red Kite in a Pale Sky. Tafelberg
1993: Blue Train to the Moon. Maskew Miller Longman
1994: Boikie you better believe it. Tafelberg
1995: Do the whales still sing? (Illustrated by Jude Daly), Dial, New York
1997: Hic...Hic... Hiccups!, (Illustrated by Joan Rankin), Cambridge University Press
The Stone, (Illustrated by Jude Daly), Frances Lincoln, London, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York. Translated into Danish
2001: The Star Bearer, an Egyptian creation myth, (Illustrated by Jude Daly) Frances Lincoln, London, and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York. Translated into Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Spanish, and Swedish.
2003: The Waterbearer, Tafelberg and Hodder Headline, London UK
Blue Train to the Moon, Maskew Miller Longman
2005: Fish Notes and Star Songs, Simon & Schuster, London UK
2007: Eye of the Moon, Simon & Schuster
Kaapstad se ligte (Co-author: Gina Daniel), South Africa Maskew Miller Longman
'n Boot vol geheime (with Jean Fullalove and Anthony Riley), South Africa Maskew Miller Longman
2008: The Faraway Island, Frances Lincoln Ltd
2009:Eye of the sun, Simon & Schuster
2013: Oliver Strange and the Journey to the Swamps (Illustrated by Robert Foote)
2014: The Magic Bojabi Tree (Illustrator: Piet Grobler)
2014: Zeraffa Giraffa (Illustrated by Jane Ray), Frances Lincoln Children's Books

Stories in Reading Schemes for second language readers: Hic Hic Hiccups, Mama Mabena's Magic, both Cambridge University Press and various others for Maskew Miller Longman and Heinemann.
Her stories also appear in collections such as Storyland and Stories South of the Sun.
Adult short stories published by Kwela in the anthologies, Crossing Over, To the Rendezvous of Victory and In the Rapids
The Waterbearer, which won the M.E.R, is set in 14th Century Africa against a background of the dhow trade between Persia, Mogadishu, Zanzibar and Sofala and is interwoven with myth, falconry and the symbolic forces of fire and water. When Maji's father's dhow is wrecked, he is taken hostage by two strange men... one a falconer, the other imbued with evil power. On his journey through the wilderness to the mysterious Kingdom of Dzimba Dzemabwe, he discovers he possesses the power of water divining. In the Kingdom under threat of never making the return journey to the sea and his home, he confronts the evil and the terror of witch-burning and death... as well as life itself.

Reviewer comment:

It is not often one comes across a manuscript that transports you convincingly out of everyday life into an exotic world. The opening passages of The Waterbearer do just that. They enchant with their lyrical tone and the rich and elaborate setting... something of the old magic about sea voyages has been recaptured.

Most of the text by Dianne Hofmeyr, May 2002/2004
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