Wilderness shines in American literary competition

Los Angeles, August 26, 2021 – THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US, written by South African, Penny Haw and published by Köehler Books of Virginia Beach, VA was named an award-winning finalist in the highly-contested women’s fiction category of the 2021 American Fiction Awards by the American Book Fest in Los Angeles.

The competition encompasses 70 genre specific categories, with awards being presented for titles published in 2019-2021.

President and CEO of American Book Fest, Jeffrey Keen says of the awards, now in their fifth year, “The 2021 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the United States. With a full publicity and marketing campaign promoting the results of the American Fiction Awards, this year’s winners and finalists will gain additional media coverage for the upcoming holiday retail season.”

American Book Fest provides coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers with an active media presence among more than 134,000 bibliophiles.

“Our success begins with the enthusiastic participation of authors and publishers and continues with our distinguished panel of industry judges who bring to the table their extensive editorial, PR, marketing and design expertise,” says Keen.

Buy THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US from Amazon here or find it on Indie Bound here.

As part of a distribution agreement with Karavan Press, South African wholesale/trade orders of THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US (and NICKO) are available from Protea Distribution on 021-699 8506 or

It’s out in the wild

August, 2021. Described by author and book reviewer, Noelle Granger as “gripping, tense and well-wrought” and “a powerful celebration of human resiliency”, Penny Haw’s novel, THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US is now available worldwide in paperback and hard cover, and as an ebook.

Published by Virginia Beach-based Köehler Books, it’s the story of two women who are separated from the rest of their group by flooding during a hike in the Tsitsikamma region of South Africa. Faye has forgotten herself, surrendered her strength after years of being bullied and manipulated by her husband. Clare is diminished, acutely ashamed of the pain her eating disorder has caused. To survive, the women know they’ll have to overcome their fears, shame and wariness of one another. They’ll have to face the truth. What they don’t expect is what the wilderness will provide—and what it will take away.

“The story is incredible and uplifting. I recommend this to anyone who loves a feel-good story full of action and adrenaline,” wrote reviewer for My Bookish Bliss, Kimberly Grow.

Buy the book from Amazon here or find it on Indie Bound here.

As part of a distribution agreement with Karavan Press, wholesale/trade orders of THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US (and NICKO) in South Africa are available from Protea Distribution on 021-699 8506 or

Coming in 2022 and 2023

July, 2021. Penny Haw’s debut historical fiction, ALEEN will be published in 2022 as part of a two-book deal with Sourcebooks, which, located in Naperville, Illinois, is one of the 20 largest publishers in the United States.

ALEEN is based on the true story of English aristocrat, Aleen Cust who defied society, fought patriarchy and was renounced by her family—who had close ties to Queen Victoria—to train as Britain’s first woman veterinary surgeon in 1900. Worldwide rights for ALEEN and a second work of historical fiction by Haw (for publication in 2023) were acquired by Sourcebooks’ Associate Editor, Erin McClary from Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Image: Erin McClary.

The Wilderness is closer than you think

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June 8, 2021. Eight friends set off on a six-day hike, which they’ve dreamed of doing for years. The trail traverses a magnificent but remote part of South Africa, where the trees are tall, the undergrowth dense, the mountains high and the animals as intriguing as they are elusive. What could go wrong? Who will snap and who will come to the rescue?

THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US will be released on July 31, 2021. It is available from Amazon on pre-order here. Click here to add it to your ‘want to read’ list on Goodreads.

Tsitsikamma 8

“Thick with trees, bushes and ferns, the forest was a shady tousle of vegetation, impenetrable beyond the path. Several giant trees lay dead and decaying where they’d fallen years previously, creating fertile surfaces for other life. A caravan of ants, each insect hauling a tiny piece of plant, trickled past her boots and disappeared, one-by-one, beneath a chunk of bark.” – from Penny Haw’s new novel to be published in July 2021.


Wilderness is whisperer in novel set in South Africa

March 31, 2021. South African journalist and author, Penny Haw’s debut fiction, THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US will be published as part of a traditional deal with US publisher, Köehler Books on July 31, 2021.

Haw’s first book, a children’s chapter book called NICKO, was published by Penguin Random House South Africa to high acclaim in 2017, was reprinted in 2018 and is now included in middle-grade school curricula. It also heralded the writer’s transition from journalist to novelist, with her focus now on literary fiction.

In THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US, Faye and her friends’ anorexic daughter, Clare are thrown together after a flood separates them from their group during a hike in a remote, mountainous region of South Africa. When Clare is critically injured, Faye takes control, builds a shelter and nurses the younger woman. Her resilience and resourcefulness prove to Faye that she is not the fearful, helpless person her husband has long insisted she is. As they battle the elements and Clare’s failing health, the women discover they share a demon; shame. Their new friendship and growing appreciation of the wilderness take Faye and Clare on an unexpected journey of recovery and self-discovery—but not everyone survives.

THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US is a portrait of two broken women who reclaim their independence and strength as they fight for survival—and renewal. It is a vivid, moving story about family, friendship and adventure, which reveals the effects of gaslighting and anorexia, the associated shame and the healing power of nature and compassion.

In describing the work, literary acquisitions editor at Köehler Books, Greg Fields said, “Penny has created something that is, in my reading of it, immensely powerful. The themes cross several layers, including the intricacies of relationships, manipulation and control, the evolution of personal self-esteem and the inestimable power of human resiliency. All of this is carried by a narrative that is at times gripping and consistently well-structured and clear.”

Fields is the author of ARC OF THE COMET and THROUGH THE WATERS AND THE WILD, both of which have nominated for several literary awards. Most recently, THROUGH THE WATERS AND THE WILD was nominated for the international 2021 Rubery Book Award.

THE WILDERNESS BETWEEN US will be available internationally in hard cover, paperback and e-book format from July 31, 2021.


Nicko back in print

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December 2020. Good news! After being out of print for a few months, Nicko, The Tale of a Vervet Monkey is once again available in print in South Africa.

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 Nicko is also available internationally in Kindle/ebook format here.