SHEILA FUGARD was born in England in l932 and came to South Africa at the age of eight.  She is the author of three novels, and two collections of poetry. Her novels are in part a meditation on spiritual and political power and move with sure imaginative conviction in their explorations of Africa. Sheila Fugards first novel, "The Castaways" won the prestigious C.N.A. and Olive Schreiner Literary Awards. "The Castaways" emerged in the early seventies, as both an historical exploration of  the South Africa, as well as a metaphor for the oppressive apartheid society of that time. The story is set in the eighteenth century and brings together the catastrophe of a shipwreck, and the turmoil of mental breakdown. Sheila Fugard takes the reader on an inner contemporary journey while simultaneously exploring the struggle of the survivors of the actual wreck. The scrutiny is intense, the language evocative and filled with resonance’s of both past and present. The themes of colonial conquest, the paranoia of terrorism, and the eternal quest for the self are expressed in superb lyrical passages. Many diverse voices from the different ages in Africa echo through the text and will no doubt speak to a new generation of readers, with the same eloquence and riveting power as they did, when the novel made its original debut. 

Her two other novels, "Rite of Passage" and "A Revolutionary Woman" were written in the seventies. Both novels are explorations of an isolated South Africa, still unknown to most of  the world, and subtly surrendering its own secrets.” Rite of Passage”, is the story of a troubled young man and a discredited doctor. They are both searching for the truths of their lives in the remote tribal world of Sekhukuneland. Their journey towards life and death is both searing, revealing, and finally transcendental. Though it is set in the past in the nineteen twenties, "A Revolutionary Woman" touches on the most urgent of our contemporary concerns - the nature of racial tension, the power of sexual entanglement, the attractions of violence, and pacifism, and finally, the limits of freedom.

Sheila Fugard's work is questing, and spiritual. She is ever mindful of feminist values, and the need to interpret the powerful psyche of Africa in the novel, stories, and poems. She is a committed Buddhist, and her memoir of the extraordinary Western woman, Sister Palmo, who was her teacher, and that of many others, in the seventies can be read on line. The memoir is titled "Lady of Realization".

Sheila Fugard is working on a memoir, "The Making of Theatre in our youth,” that deals with her meeting and marriage to Athol Fugard, and their early work in theatre. The memoir is an exploration of life in the fifties in South Africa. The memoir looks at both the political ,and artistic life of that decade.

"The Castaways" has  been  reissued and can be ordered from :

Jonathan Ball Publishers, P.O. Box 33977, Jeppestown 2O43, South Africa.

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