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Katjagter by Erika Nortje. The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa will publish its first fiction book next month

Author Erika Nortje and Wikus van Zyl of AFRICAN SUN MeDIA with the proof copy of Katjagter

Erika Nortje, a colleague of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa at Stellenbosch University’s Department of Botany and Zoology, where she is the Laboratory Manager for the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology, has written her first work of fiction.  She contacted us earlier this year to see if ALSA was interested in publishing her book – and we leapt at the opportunity to help spread awareness of South Africa’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic heritage in this “novel” way.

Members of M60, Erika is kneeling centre

Erica has overwintered on Marion Island twice as a member of the Marion M58 and M60 overwintering teams in 2001 and 2003 as an entomologist.  In her second year on Marion she was also the Deputy Leader.  With her experience and intimate knowledge arising from her sojourns she has written a novel set on the island in her home language of Afrikaans.

Katjagter ‘n Marion-eiland storie is about Heinrich van Vuuren, a previous cat hunter on Marion and Karin Wessels, a team member.  The book is set against the backdrop of the beautiful, but unforgiving Marion Island.  Cat Hunter a Marion Island Story is a captivating suspense adventure which gives the reader insight into human behaviour in a harsh environment on their journey through life.

Erika posed proudly with her book

Erika received the proof of her book from Wikus van Zyl of AFRICAN SUN MeDIA at the end of 2016.  The book will be launched by ALSA on 11 January 2017 at an evening reception at Stellenbosch University.  It is expected that a number of her old Marion team mates who are resident in the Western Cape will attend as “guests of honour”.  ALSA senses a group photo in the offing!

To ALSA’s knowledge, Katjagter is the first novel to emerge from the South African National Antarctic Programme (although it is the third to include the Prince Edward Islands within its theme).  In fact, it is one of the few books of any description to be written by a SANAP participant since the annexation of the Prince Edwards in 1948.

Katjagter is the second book to be published under the imprimatur of ALSA.  The first, Exploring a sub-Antarctic Wilderness, Brian Huntley’s diary of his island sojourn over 1965/66, was published earlier this year.  It is planned that four more volumes will appear in the ALSA series during the course of 2017, with two being actively edited for publication at the moment (click here).

Ria Olivier, Project Manager and Archivist, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University, 29 December 2016

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