About me

Penny Haw.

I grew up on a dairy farm in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa among cows with eyes as brown as the muddy pools in which I learned to swim. With two older brothers, I discovered early how to stand my ground, fight my own battles and laugh as often as possible.

For much of my youth, I considered my maternal grandmother my soul mate. She was a fiercely independent and private woman who taught me to love words, books and stories. We also shared a love for animals. (My first book, Nicko – The Tale of a Vervet Monkey on an African Farm is based on part of her life with a menagerie of animals. There’s a photograph of her and her original Nicko notes in the header above.)

Nicko (HR cover)

Nicko is based on the true story of my grandmother and some of her furry friends.

With my childhood behind me, I gave up walking barefoot and my horse for words and work that involves stringing them together to tell a story or two.

I moved to Cape Town to work as a journalist and eventually, an editor. I founded a business and, for almost a decade, published a magazine before selling it to work as a freelance writer and editor. My clients include leading South African newspapers and magazines. Among them, Business Day, Financial Mail, Sunday Times and The Sunday Independent.

In 2017, Penguin Random House South Africa published Nicko, which heralded a shift in my career. These days, while I continue to freelance as a journalist and feature writer, I dedicate as much time as possible to creating fiction.

In October 2019, I signed with literary agent Jessica Faust of BookEnds Literary Agency in New Jersey, USA and am currently writing fiction, which is largely centred on the lives of strong, interesting women – most of whom love animals.

Sophie pup grass

Sophie at a few months old.

When I’m not writing, I’m probably walking in the mountains with live-wire Scottish terrier, Sophie, gorgeously great boerbul, Lily, and her smart-sometimes-silly Labrador X Allsorts friend, Molly – and my husband.

Lily and Molly beach Nov 2016

Molly and Lily playing on Sandy Bay beach near my home.

5 Responses to About me

  1. Marianne Marsh says:

    i really enjoyed reading your articles! keep them coming. And yea, your walk view is stunning!

  2. Sue Dods says:

    Have so enjoyed this blog, and found the broad range of subject matter very entertaining and informative – am looking forward to more so please keep posting!

  3. Heather Lategan says:

    Loved loved loved my random selection about your Orange River experience. Decided to read more and when I looked at my watch an hour had passed. Thank goodness I sleep with my boss !

  4. Cait says:

    Just found you today. Good read!

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