Emily Hart, a Grade 12 learner at Rhenish Girls’ High School in Stellenbosch, will release her first novel before the end of this year after being offered a publishing contract by Europa Editions.
Hart started writing the crime fiction novel in Grade 10 and finished the book during lockdown. “In 2018, I had this dialogue scene running throughout my head, so I quickly wrote it down (I had to do this sneakily as I was in class)…then a couple of months later I picked it up and thought I could turn something into it. That became my intro to my novel.”
She always loved to write and fondly recalls her grandmother sending her short stories by post. “I’d sit listening intently as my parents read them to me. I fell in love with how an infinite world of colour and life can be created from 26 black and white letters.”
However, reading did not come easy to her. “Up until Grade three, I had a minor reading disability, where I struggled to read and pronounce words – I had to go for extra classes during and after school. It wasn’t easy, but when I overcame that, I learnt the world of books wasn’t as scary as I’d thought and was rather a place for my imagination to breathe and grow.”
Two weeks after submitting her manuscript to Europa Editions, the publisher offered her a contract. Her book will be on shelves before Christmas, realising her dream of being published by the end of matric. She is currently developing two new novels and will most likely study towards a Bachelor of Arts in Language and Culture at Stellenbosch University.