My books

This painting, by British artist Heywood Hardy, is among the images that served as inspiration for scenes in THE INVINCIBLE MISS CUST. The cover of the book is still to be revealed.

Scheduled for publication by independent Illinois-based book publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark in the fourth quarter of 2022, THE INVINCIBLE MISS CUST is Penny Haw’s debut historical fiction. It tells the story of English aristocrat Aleen Cust, who defied society and her family—who had close ties to Queen Victoria—and battled patriarchy to train as Britain and Ireland’s first woman veterinary surgeon in 1900.

Worldwide rights for THE INVINCIBLE MISS CUST and a second work of historical fiction by Penny (for publication in 2023) were acquired by Sourcebooks’ Associate Editor, Erin McClary from Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.


THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US was released internationally as part of a traditional publishing deal with US publisher Köehler Books on July 31, 2021. In August, it was named an award winning finalist in the 2021 American Fiction Awards.

Here’s what the book is about:

Faye Mackenzie and her friends’ anorexic daughter, Clare are thrown together when a flood separates them from their hiking group in the remote, mountainous Tsitsikamma region of South Africa. With Clare critically injured, Faye is compelled to overcome her self-doubt and fear of the wild to take care of the younger woman, who opens her heart to Faye.

As their new friendship takes the women on an unexpected journey of discovery, the rest of the group wrestles with the harrowing aftermath of their own near tragedy. When the hiking party is reunited, their number is reduced by one.

Juxtaposing physical and psychological intrigue, THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US is a tale of two fragile women who unexpectedly find clarity, independence and renewed purpose as they fight to survive. It is a vivid, moving story about family, friendship, adventure and the healing power of nature and compassion. As with all my writing, it also expounds my love of animals and the outdoors.

It is available internationally from Amazon here. You will also find it on Indie Bound here.

As part of a distribution agreement with Karavan Press, wholesale/trade purchases in South Africa are available from Protea Distribution on 021-699 8506 or orders@proteadistribution.co.za.

Nicko cover (medium res)

NICKO, THE TALE OF A VERVET MONKEY ON AN AFRICAN FARM is an animal story based on the true account of the author’s grandmother, Alice Kirk and her life with a vervet monkey and a menagerie of other animals on her farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa. It is told in Alice’s voice.

Abandoned as a baby, Nicko was brought to Alice to raise. Because she expected him to return to the wild once he was old enough to take care of himself, Alice never caged or confined the little monkey. The result? Nicko became a lifelong and important part of the farmyard, befriending the dogs, cats and other animals, and accepting them as his new troop.

Told over almost 180 pages, Nicko and friends get up to series of hilarious, heart-warming and sometimes heart-wrenching escapades and antics. There’s tension too, as the monkey learns to be careful when Ruskie, the borzois (also known as a Russian wolfhound) is around; Ruskie is bred to hunt and finds it difficult to see Nicko as anything other than prey. But, what happens when Nicko goes missing after he and his friends encounter a strange pack of vicious dogs on the farm, is the ultimate surprise.

Reminiscent of classic animal stories like JocK OF THE BUSHveld, The Incredible Journey and Old Yeller, the book is written for animal lovers of all ages. It’s ideal as a self-reader for children aged 8 to 12, and as a chapter a night bedtime story for younger children. Nicko is a gentle story that describes unlikely friendships across species, provides thought-provoking insights into animal-life and will pull a little at your heartstrings as you wonder whether Nicko will eventually include Alice in his special circle of loved ones.

Watch the book trailer here.

As part of a distribution agreement with Karavan Press, wholesale/trade orders of NICKO in South Africa are available from Protea Distribution on 021-699 8506 or orders@proteadistribution.co.za. You can order the Kindle version of the book here.