BY SHARON SIBINDI
BULAWAYO poet, critic and writer John Eppel will launch his ninth novel The Boy Who Loved Camping end of month at the Orange Elephant in Bulawayo.
Eppel told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that the novel, a dedication to his late mother and other women, is set in the 1950s and 1970s in Rhodesia at a time love between the races was forbidden.
“The novel is a semi-autobiography dedicated to my late mother so I guess she, and women in general were my inspiration. I spent my childhood and my youth in a country called Rhodesia.
I cannot wash it away. It is published by Pigeon Press, a subsidiary of Hubbard’s Historical Tours,” he said.
“The book talks about Tom who is seen through two windows of time, a time of forbidden love, in a country once called Rhodesia in 1950s when he was a pre-teen and the 1970s when he was a young man. In the book, Tom holds a shocking secret, a secret only the more perceptive reader will uncover. It alienates him from his people and guides him towards unlikely redemption.”
Eppel said that his poetry collection will be ready next year and his advancing age will not stop him from writing.
“By this time next year I should have another poetry collection ready for publication. Growing old has not stopped me from writing or teaching,” he said.
Recently, Eppel released two publications — O Suburbia and White Man Walking, a collection of short stories which he has written for many years.
Eppel’s first novel, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road, won the MNet prize in South Africa and was listed in the weekly Mail & Guardian as one of the best 20 South African books in English, published between 1948 and 1994.
His second novel, Hatchings, was shortlisted for the MNet prize and was chosen for the series in the Times Literary Supplement on the most significant books to have come out of Africa.