Nancy Richards, journalist, media trainer; Emeritus Professor Anwar Mall, University of Cape Town; Dr Helen Moffett, author, editor                     

Monday 15–Wednesday 17 January 5.00 pm COURSE FEES R330; Staff and students R165

In this three-lecture course Nancy Richards, Anwar Mall and Helen Moffett will discuss the books that had a significant impact on their lives, sharing with the audience the ways in which books influenced them at various points in their lives, in some instances decades ago, and in others, more recently.

For Nancy Richards, A Book of Japanese Folk Tales spawned a decades-long obsession with embroidery, while

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer changed her mind and eating habits irrevocably.

Mother to Mother by Sindiwe Magona flung open a window onto the reality of women’s lives in South Africa, whilst Shades by Marguerite Poland led to A Sin of Omission by the same author – expanding her very narrow world view on South Africa, and teaching her the meaning of the word ‘empathy’.

As an avid reader, Anwar Mall’s approach to this talk on three life-changing books will be from a biographical perspective. These books are When breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi; Portrait of an Artist as Young Man by the Irish author, James Joyce; and Madame Curie by her daughter Eve Curie. Each one of these books, read at very different times in his life, helped him to understand and address the varying issues he faced at those specific periods. He aims to pay adequate tribute to books and the habit of reading.

What do Jane Austen, Christina Rossetti, Ingrid Jonker and Elinor Sisulu have in common? Their writing changed Helen Moffett’s life. However, it’s not just that their words and books transformed her inner world: all contributed in different ways to her career, opening doors into actual, not just metaphorical landscapes, adventures, and creative productions of her own. This lecture is a slice of personal memoir, framed and prompted by the works of these four extraordinary women writers.