Marguerite Poland

Literary Birthday – 3 April – Marguerite Poland

Happy Birthday, Marguerite Poland, born 3 April 1950.


  1. In writing the book [A Sin Of Omission], I hope to have witnessed, in some small and personal degree, a history, culture and language that, for centuries, have suffered from the insidious sins of omission born of deceit, paternalistic patronage and outright repression. Mostly, I hope that in creating the fictional character, Rev. Stephen Malusi Mzamane, I have honoured and respected the real man on whom he is based, the known fragments of whose life might have remained obscure forever but whose story, I believe, reflects the lives of legions of his fellow countrymen and women whose names ‘are only known to God’.
  2. Writing A Sin of Omission has been a long, difficult and demanding project for me for a number of reasons but one with transcendent moments during research, and in the company of others, that made the writing of it the journey of a lifetime.
  3. Book learning and accomplishment in the world mean nothing if you do not have compassion, Crispin. (Shades)
  4. He used to say that sinning was not about the bad things you’d done and regretted but about the failure to do what you should have done. Especially for others. (Shades)
  5. Loneliness does not arise so much from something lost as from a longing for something well remembered. Isolation cares nothing for memory. (The Keeper)

Marguerite Poland is a South African writer. She writes books for both children and adults. Her 1979 book The Mantis And The Moon helped to establish a market for indigenous children’s books in English in South Africa. Poland’s novels for adults have won several prestigious awards. A Sin Of Omission was awarded with the 2021 Sunday Times Literary Award. Fluent in Xhosa and isiZulu, Poland’s work is often inspired by African oral traditions.

Source for quotes Source for quotes / Source for image: Author’s publishers (Credit Melissa Mitchell)

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 2nd April 2022