Wilbur Smith is a prolific novelist, specialising in historical fiction set mostly in, or regarding South Africa, it’s politics and the international involvement in the country over hundreds of years.
Smith was born in Northern Rhodesia (now Kabwe, Zambia) on 9th January 1933, His father was a metal worker, a tough man who Smith said had ‘probably never read a book in his life’. He hoped his son would go on to work with his hands, and spent Wilbur’s childhood trying to toughen him up. His mother was more encouraging of her son’s avid reading, encouraging him and seeing the potential of him receiving a good education.
While attending boarding school in Natal, Wilbur Smith continued to be an avid reader, and developed a good relationship with his English master, with whom he would discuss books. It was the Master who tough Smith that being a bookworm was worthy of praise and he was the first person to realise Smith’s writing potential.
Eventually, Smith would work on his father’s cattle ranch, served with the Rhodesian Police, and even tried out accountancy with the Inland Revenue before writing his first novel.
Eventually Smith would go back to writing fiction, selling his first story to Argozy magazine for 70 pounds, twice his monthly salary. Eventually he would go on to write ‘When the Lion Feeds’ and his debut novel was a success.
To date, Wilbur Smith has written 35 novels, selling more than 120 million copies. Many of his novels have been adapted for screen including ‘The Dark of the Sun’, filmed as ‘The Mercenaries’, ‘Shout at the Devil’, and ‘River God’.
Here’s Wilbur himself in an interview from 2009 (in two parts), a little while ago now and in it he talks of writing, his works, and his influences.
Jazmin Truesdale has been a proud nerd all her life, loving comic books, science fiction, and action movies, but always looking for some positive representation within those entertainment spheres. As one may imagine the worlds of graphic novels and comic books are very straight-white-male-centric, with shallow female characters. and few depictions of non-white women.
Jazmin, with her entrepreneurial mind and passion for cultural diversity, began creating characters she would want to read about and, with the help from an illustrator, her universe was born. It has not been an easy journey- finding an illustrator who knew how to draw Black women’s bodies was one particular hurdle to overcome, however Jazmin’s drive and focus ensured her goal became a reality.
The author, who has sold more than 70 million books during her career claims that her husband, Lawrence Kenyon was lacing her food with poison from 2014 until they split last year. She says the poison left her with clumps of hair falling out, crumbling teeth, tremors and back pain, all unexplained by doctors until tests showed unusually high levels of lithium in her blood.
She claims her husband was helped by his assistant Kerrie Ann Plump and her IT specialist Paco Cavanaugh to carry on the scheme and says that her husband laced her food while Cavanaugh siphoned hundreds of thousands off her bank accounts.
Born Susan Rosenblatt in New York City to Jewish parents of Lithuanian and Polish descent. When Susan was five years old her father died and several years later her mother married a US Army Captain, Nathan Sontag, giving Susan the name we remember her by. Despite being raised by Jewish parents, Sontag stated that she did not have a religious upbringing and was in her 20s before she entered a synagogue.
Before he created the writer-persona of Dr Seuss, Geisel was an artist of another kind. In his spare time he created sculptures of interesting and strange creatures, using parts of real animals. Of course it is not as grotesque as it sounds- the animal parts were given to Theodor after the animals died of natural causes. His father was the superintendent of parks in Massachusetts at the time when a young Geisel was working as a fledgling author and illustrator. When zoo and park animals crossed the rainbow bridge, Geisel’s father sent him the various animals’ parts to help him create some whacky characters.
Horns, antlers, beaks, and all sorts were used by Geisel to build some of the most fantastical animals that, unsurprisingly, look like they have jumped straight out of a Dr Seuss picture book.
The author of And We’re Off, and memoir Choose Your Own Disaster, offered to stand at the back of a funeral with a massive black umbrella, looking mysterious. For a small fee, of course.
Fellow authors and humorists of Twitter, including our favourite Neil Gaiman, got involved to either take her up on the offer or to join the enterprise. A surprising amount of people were up for it, prompting Schwartz to promote her latest book in place of Venmo donations.