Colleen Higgs

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Colleen Higgs (born 1962 in Kimberley, South Africa) is a South African writer and publisher. As a writer, she has published poems and stories in literary magazines in South Africa for the past 15 years. As a publisher, she is both renowned and respected as the founder of independent publishing house, Modjaji Books.


Higgs spent most of her childhood in Lesotho, her adolescence and young adulthood in Johannesburg, and more recently lived for five years in Grahamstown. She now lives in Sybrand Park, Cape Town. She has worked as a teacher, a teacher trainer, a materials writer and an academic development lecturer, and programme manager at The Centre for the Book. She is currently the founder and publisher of Modjaji Books. Modjaji Books is an independent publishing house, based in Cape Town, publishing books written exclusively by women. Currently, Modjaji publishes short stories, memoir, novels, poetry, and creative non-fiction: their publication Whiplash by Tracey Farren was short-listed for the 2009 Sunday Times Fiction award.[1]

Higgs is also a writer whose poems have been published in literary magazines over the past 15 years. Her debut poetry collection, Halfborn Woman, was published in 2004.[2]

Her blog (on BooksLive) is frequently updated and features reviews, news, articles and insights on South African publishing.[3]


  • Halfborn Woman (2004), Hands-On Books collection of poems
  • A Rough Guide to Small-scale and Self-publishing (2005), Centre for the Book
  • South African Small Publishers' Catalogue (editor with Maire Fisher) (2006), Centre for the Book
  • "Small Publishers' Catalogue - Africa, 2010" (2010) (editor with Bontle Senne)
  • "Lava Lamp Poems" (2011), Hands-On Books, collection of poems
  • "Looking for Trouble: mostly Yeoville stories" (2012), Hands-On Books, collection of stories
  • "Small Publishers' Catalogue - Africa, 2013" (2013)

Selected books published by Modjaji Books[edit]

  • Strange Fruit by Helen Moffett
  • Oleander by Fiona Zerbst
  • Please, Take Photographs by Sindiwe Magona
  • Burnt Offering by Joan Metelerkamp
  • Invisible Earthquake by Malika Ndlovu (A mother's journal about stillbirth with an essay by Prof. Sue Fawcus, Obstetrician from Mowbray Maternity hospital) (poetic memoir)
  • Whiplash by Tracey Farren (short-listed for the 2009 Sunday Times Fiction prize)
  • Fourth Child by Megan Hall (Winner of the Ingrid Jonker prize)
  • Life in Translation by Azila Talit Reisenberger [4]


  1. ^ Colleen Higgs on Modjaji Books. Retrieved on 28 October 2009.
  2. ^ Roll Over, Gutenberg! Interview with Colleen Higgs, Absolut Write. Retrieved on 7 February 2008.
  3. ^ Colleen Higgs' Bookslive Blog. Retrieved on 28 October 2009.
  4. ^ Modjaji Books on Book SA. Retrieved on 28 October 2009.