Upturned Earth is set in Namaqualand, the copper mining district of the Cape Colony, during
the winter of 1886.
William Hull arrives at the town to take up the position of magistrate, a position that no one
else wanted to accept because of the bleak and depressing locale. He finds that the town is
run by the Cape Copper Mining Company and the despotic mine superintendent, Townsend.
Meanwhile, Molefi Noki, a Xhosa mining labourer, is intent on finding his brother who was
sent to jail for drunkenness and has yet to be released.
Set against the background of a diverse community, made up of white immigrants,
indigenous people and descendants of Dutch men and native women, we are given insight
into the daily life of a mining town and the exploitation of workers, harsh working conditions
and deep-seated corruption that began with the start of commercial mining in South Africa in
the 1850s and which continue until now.
While Upturned Earth is a novel about the past, its concerns are very much founded in the
Thank you, Karen Jennings and Holland Park Press
About the author
Karen Jennings was born in Cape Town in 1982.
She has Masters degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Holland Park Press has published four of Karen’s previous books: her debut novel Finding Soutbek in 2012, which was shortlisted for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature 2013 and has been translated into French: Les oubliés du Cap,
Editions de L’Aube, 2017; a short story collection Away from the Dead in 2014; Travels with My Father, an autobiographical novel, in 2016; and in 2018, her first full poetry collection, Space Inhabited by Echoes.
Karen currently lives in Brazil.