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Jo-Anne Richards is a South African novelist with a PhD in Creative Writing, whose work has been published internationally. She teaches creative writing through All About Writing, having recently left Wits University, where she lectured for fifteen years.

Her first novel, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, was originally published in 1996 by Headline Review in the UK, and has now been re-released in 2019 as part of the Picador Africa Heritage Series.

In this prestigious collection, her book joins those of writers like Frank Chikane, Ellen Kuzwayo, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Pallo Jordon and Johan Steyn. The collection features “bestselling titles” which Pan Macmillan believes “deserve rebranding and a new lease of life in bookstores and on readers’ bookshelves”.

When it first appeared, The Innocence of Roast Chicken topped the South African bestseller list in its first week and remained there for 15 weeks. It was nominated for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award, short-listed for the M-Net Book Prize and chosen as the 1997 Dillon’s Debut novel in London, to be showcased in UK book stores as an “outstanding first novel”.

The new edition of the novel includes new material in the form of an essay about her experiences as a post-apartheid writer and her writing journey since then.

Her latest novel, The Imagined Child, Picador Africa, was released in 2013. My Brother’s Book, was also published by Picador Africa.

News & events

Innocence of Roast Chicken  – Radio interview with Sue Grant Marshall

Sue Grant-Marshall chatted to Jo-Anne on Reading Matters on 5 November 2019 about the re-release of “The Innocence of Roast Chicken” as part of the Picador Africa Heritage Classics collection. ‘Published back in 1996 it became an instant SA classic, was published internationally and resonates as much today as it did then,’ says Sue. Click here to listen to the interview.

Innocence of Roast Chicken  – Radio interview with Sue Grant Marshall

My first book, The Innocence of Roast Chicken, relaunched recently as part of the Picador Africa Heritage Classics collection. Originally published by Headline Review in the UK, I’m proud to say it now joins works by authors such as Ellen Kuzwayo, Frank Chikane, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Pallo Jordan and Johan Steyn.

I’ve been thrilled and humbled by the warm reception the book has received now, 23 years after it first appeared. I was overwhelmed by the number of people at both my Johannesburg and Cape Town launches (at Love Books and Exclusives Cavendish), where I was in conversation, in Johannesburg, with Professor Lesley Cowling, and, in Cape Town, with poet and novelist Dr Finuala Dowling.

Here are a few pictures from both events

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