Beverley Naidoo

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Beverley Naidoo is a South African author of children's books who lives in the U.K. Her first three novels featured life in South Africa where she lived until her twenties.[1] She has also written a biography of the trade unionist Neil Aggett.[2]

The Other Side of Truth, was published by Puffin in 2000, is a story about political corruption and how that affects the lives of the children of an outspoken writer. For that work she won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject.[3]

Naidoo won the Josette Frank Award twice – in 1986 for Journey to Jo'burg and in 1997 for No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa.


Beverley Jill Naidoo was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 21, 1943 and grew up under apartheid. As a student, she began to question the apartheid regime and became part of the resistance movement.[4] In 1965, she came to the UK and married another South African exile; they have two children. She graduated from the University of York with a BA in Education.[5]


Journey to Jo'burg, Chain of Fire and Out of Bounds are set in South Africa under apartheid, while No Turning Back concerns the experiences of a boy trying to survive on the streets of Johannesburg in the immediate post-apartheid years. The Other Side of Truth and its sequel, Web of Lies, deal with the experiences of Nigerian political asylum seekers in England. Her 2007 novel Burn My Heart has an imagined point of reference in the boyhood in Kenya of a second cousin, Neil Aggett, being set in the 1950s during the Mau Mau Uprising.[6]

Beverley Naidoo has also written several picture books, featuring children from Botswana and England. In 2004, she wrote the picture book Baba's Gift, set in contemporary South Africa, with her daughter, Maya Naidoo.[7] In The Great Tug of War and Other Stories she retells African folktales, the precursors of the Brer Rabbit tales.


  • Journey to Jo'burg (1985)
  • Chain of Fire (1989) ISBN 0-397-32427-8
  • Through whose Eye? Exploring Racism: reader, text and context (1992), nonfiction
  • No Turning Back (1995)
  • The Other Side of Truth (2000)
  • The Great Tug of War and other stories (2001), retellings
  • Out of Bounds: Stories of Conflict and Hope (2003)
  • Web of Lies (2004), sequel to The Other Side of Truth
  • Making It Home: Real-life Stories from Children Forced to Flee (with Kate Holt)
  • Burn My Heart (2007)
  • Call of the Deep (2008), retellings
  • Death of an Idealist (2012)
Picture books
  • Letang and Julie save the day (1994)
  • Letang's new friend (1994)
  • Trouble for Letang and Julie (1994)
  • Where is Zami? (1998)
  • King Lion in Love (2004)
  • Baba's Gift (2004), by Beverley and Maya Naidoo
  • S is for South Africa
  • Aesop's Fables, a retelling with illustrations by Piet Grobler
  • Journey to Jo'burg (1985)


  1. ^ "Novels". Beverley Naidoo: Author.
  2. ^ "A family’s loss, a country’s painful past". Sue-Grant Marshall.Business Day, 23 October 2012.
  3. ^ (Carnegie Winner 2000). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  4. ^ "Beverley Naidoo". Bookbox. Channel 4 Learning.
  5. ^ "Award-winning South African Writer". Grapevine. Alumni Office, University of York (Spring/Summer 2002): 3. 
  6. ^ Burn My Heart. Beverley Naidoo: Author.
  7. ^ Baba's Gift. Beverley Naidoo: Author.

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