Marguerite Poland

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Marguerite Poland
Born 3 April 1950
Gauteng, South Africa
Occupation Novelist
Spouse(s) Martin Oosthuizen
Children Sue Oosthuizen and Verlie Oosthuizen

Marguerite Poland (born 3 April 1950, Johannesburg) is a South African writer and author of eleven children's books.

Early Life[edit]

When she was two years old, the Poland family relocated to the Eastern Cape where she spent most of her formative years. After completing her secondary education at St Dominic's Priory School in Port Elizabeth, Poland completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Rhodes University, majoring in Social Anthropology and Xhosa. In 1971, Marguerite Poland completed her honours degree in African languages at Stellenbosch University. In 1977 she obtained her doctorate degree in Zulu folklore - her field of speciality being cattle. Her doctoral thesis was 'A Descriptive Study of the Sanga-Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People' - from the University of Natal. She also has an Honours degree in Comparative African Languages and an MA and Ph.D in Zulu Literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.[1]

Personal Life[edit]

Poland also worked as a social worker in Port Elizabeth and in Durban. In 1997. Poland contributed to a weekly column in the local newspaper, The Mercury. Poland also worked as an ethnologist at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town. Most recently she taught English for a year at St. Andrew's College in Grahamstown, where she was commissioned to write a history of the school to mark the 150th anniversary of its foundation in 2005.The resulting publication 'The Boy in You: a Biography of St Andrew's College, Grahamstown 1855-2005' was launched in South Africa and London in 2008.( Poland is married to attorney, Martin Oosthuizen, who was also raised in the Eastern Cape and attended St Andrew's College. They have two daughters and three grandchildren and divide their time between Durban and Grahamstown where she acts as historian to the College.

Creative Work[edit]

Among her works are The Mantis of the Moon and Woodash Stars for both of which she received the Percy FitzPatrick Award, the first two books to receive this award. The Mantis and the Moon also received the Sankei Honorable Award for translation into Japanese. She has written four adult novels. The Train to Doringbult was short listed for the CNA Awards and Shades for the M-Net Award. Shades has been a matriculation setwork for over a decade throughout South Africa. Her third novel, Iron Love, draws much of its inspiration from the lives of a group of boys just prior to the Great War of 1914-1918. A stage adaption written and directed by Ingrid Wylde appeared at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2006. Her more recent works, Recessional for Grace and The Abundant Herds: a Celebration of the Nguni Cattle of the Zulu People have been adapted for documentary films. Her work is translated into several languages including French and Japanese. She was chosen to appear in Twentieth Century Children's Writers[2] and in the 'International Who's Who', published by Cambridge University Press.


Marguerite Poland is the recipient of two national Lifetime Achievement Awards for English Literature from the Department of Arts and Culture(2005) and SALA (South African Literary Awards) 2010.



  • Train to Doringbult, 1987, (shortlisted for the CNA Award).[3]
  • Shades, 1993, (shortlisted for the M-Net Award)[4]
  • Iron Love, 1999. [5]
  • Recessional for Grace, 2003. [6] This novel has been translated into French as Cantique pour Grace


  • The Abundant Herds,with David Hammond-Took, illustrated by Leigh Voigt, 2003.[7]
  • The Boy in You: a Biography of St Andrew's College, 2008.[8]
  • Taken Captive by Birds, illustrated by Craig Ivor, 2012.[9]

Children's books[edit]

  • The Mantis and the Moon, Percy FitzPatrick Award 1979.[10]
  • Nqalu, the Mouse with no Whiskers, 1979.[11]
  • Die Muis Sonder Snorbaard, 1979.[12]
  • Once at Kwafubesi, illustrated by Leigh Voigt, 1981.[13]
  • Die Bidsprikaan en die Maan, 1981
  • The Bush Shrike, 1982, Raven Press
  • The Woodash Stars, 1983, Percy FitzPatrick Award in 1983[14]
  • As die Boerboonblomme Val, 1983.[15]
  • Die Vuurkoolsterre, 1983.[16]
  • The Shadow of the Wild Hare, illustrated by Leigh Voigt, 1984.[17]
  • Marcus and the Go-Kart[18]
  • Marcus and the Boxing Gloves, illustrated by Cora Coetzee, 1984.[19]
  • Sambane's Dream, illustrated by Leigh Voigt, 1990.[20]


Contributed to:

  • South Africa 27th April 1994 Ed. Andre Brink, 1994 Quellerie
  • 27th April, One Year Later. Ed Andre Brink, 1995 Quellerie
  • Madiba Magic, date? Tafelberg
  • Keersy/Crossing Over, Stories from a new South Africa compiled by Linda Rode and Jakes Gerwel


  1. ^ Jeanette Eve (2003). A Literary Guide to the Eastern Cape: Places and the Voices of Writers. Juta and Company Ltd. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-919930-15-2. 
  2. ^ Laura Standley Berger (1995). Twentieth-Century Children's Writers. St. James Press. ISBN 978-1-55862-177-0. 
  3. ^ Marguerite Poland (26 March 1987). Train to Doringbult. Bodley Head. 
  4. ^ Marguerite Poland (2 October 2012). Shades. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-0-14-302713-3. 
  5. ^ Marguerite Poland (2 October 2012). Iron Love. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-0-14-302699-0. 
  6. ^ Marguerite Poland (28 September 2012). Recessional for Grace. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-0-14-352864-7. 
  7. ^ Marguerite Poland; W. D. Hammond-Tooke; Leigh Voigt (January 2003). The abundant herds: a celebration of the cattle of the Zulu people. Fernwood. ISBN 978-1-874950-71-4. 
  8. ^ Marguerite Poland (2008). The Boy in You: A Biography of St. Andrew's College, 1855-2005. Fernwood Press. ISBN 978-1-874950-86-8. 
  9. ^ Marguerite Poland (28 November 2012). Taken Captive by Birds. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 978-0-14-352985-9. 
  10. ^ Marguerite Poland (1985). The Mantis and the Moon: Stories for the Children of Africa. Ravan Press. ISBN 978-0-86850-115-4. 
  11. ^ Marguerite Poland (1987). Nqalu, the Mouse with No Whiskers. Tafelberg. ISBN 978-0-624-02554-2. 
  12. ^ Marguerite Poland; Cora Coetzee (1979). Die Muis Sonder Snorbaard. Tafelberg. ISBN 978-0-624-01289-4. 
  13. ^ Marguerite Poland (1 January 1981). Once at KwaFubesi. Ravan Press. ISBN 978-0-86975-201-2. 
  14. ^ Marguerite Poland (1983). The Wood-ash Stars. David Philip. ISBN 978-0-908396-98-6. 
  15. ^ Marguerite Poland; C. N. Van der Merwe; Leigh Voigt (1982). As die boerboonblomme val en ander verhale. Tafelberg -Uitg. ISBN 978-0-624-01753-0. 
  16. ^ Marguerite Poland; Shanne Altshuler (1983). Die vuurkoolsterre. Human & Rousseau (Edms) Bpk. ISBN 978-0-7981-1634-3. 
  17. ^ Marguerite Poland (1986). Shadow of the Wild Hare. D. Philip. ISBN 978-0-86486-073-6. 
  18. ^ Marguerite Poland (1988). Marcus and the Go-kart. Tafelberg. ISBN 978-0-624-02452-1. 
  19. ^ Marguerite Poland (1984). Marcus and the Boxing Gloves. Tafelberg. ISBN 978-0-624-02253-4. 
  20. ^ Marguerite Poland (1989). Sambane's Dream. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-012849-9. 

External links[edit]