Tuesday, 08 August 2017

Women's Month Profile: Dr Barbara Boswell

INTIMATE: Dr Barbara Boswell used her own life experience as inspiration for book INTIMATE: Dr Barbara Boswell used her own life experience as inspiration for book

As a child Dr Barbara Boswell dreamed of being a writer but without the influence of excellent black South African female writers the young girl expected the dream to remain just that- a dream.

Instead after matriculating she pursued the next best career option and studied journalism- eventually graduating from Peninsula Technikon on the eve of democracy in SA in 1994. Boswell returned a few years later to complete her BTech in Journalism while working as a journalist in Cape Town.

Years later it was while she completed a doctorate in Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland in the States that the idea of finally realising her childhood dream of writing a book finally crystallised.

“My PhD led me to the work of some great, but unknown Black South African women writers and discovering them made me believe I could write fiction of my own,” she says.

“I tried my hand at writing fiction while completing my dissertation, and the novel "Grace" is the result. The novel actually helped me complete the arduous project of writing a dissertation because it provided me with spaces of creativity.”

The novel follows the story of Grace, a young girl growing up on the Cape Flats in the 1980s, who’s past comes rushing back after the reappearance of a long-lost friend. As a victim of domestic abuse herself Boswell says the book explores the impact that violence, both personal and political, can have on an individual’s life.    

Boswell currently teaches English Literary Studies at Wits and says her novel is joining a local literary scene that is exploding with exciting talent.
“We are a very creative nation and our literature is flourishing!,” she says.

“When you look at the number of new books coming out, it is apparent that we have found our voice and are continuing to articulate our experiences in beautiful ways. It's an exciting time to be a writer and reader, as we are spoilt with a number of excellent books, both fiction and non-fiction, to choose from.”

Visit http://www.modjajibooks.co.za/titles/grace/ for more information about the book which retails for around R250.

Written by Lauren Kansley

Tel: +27 21 953 8646
Email: kansleyl@cput.ac.za

Liaises with the media and writes press releases about interesting developments at CPUT.