Sarah Penny


Lecturer in Creative Writing

Room: Gaskell Building 131
Brunel University
United Kingdom
Tel: 01895 266581
Web: Personal Website


Sarah Penny emigrated to the UK from South Africa in 2003 to lecture in Creative Writing at Brunel University.  She is the author of a travelogue and two novels, one of which is the national set text for final year students in South Africa.  She is also one half of Hadithi ya Afrika – a story-capturing project that works with underprivileged African communities using dramatherapy and creative writing techniques.   Teaching interests include African fiction and children’s fiction.

Research and Teaching

Research Overview

Sarah’s own research is two-tiered. She writes novels for both adults and children, all of which are set in Africa.  Her adult novels focus mainly on narratives arising from sub-Saharan African liberation struggles and are set in England, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She is currently writing a children’s series – The Bundu Bashers. The core themes of the children’s series are the preservation of endangered wildlife in African game parks, and the experiences of a young boy who becomes a traditional African healer.

She is also one half of a research collaboration, Hadithi ya Afrika (stories from Africa in kiSwahili) which uses dramatherapy to enable autobiographical storytelling in underprivileged communities in Africa.

Teaching Activity

Sarah Penny teaches Creative Writing at both undergraduate and post-graduate level. She is module co-ordinator for both Special Project and Minor Project (the independent writing projects for final year undergraduates) and welcomes PhD applications that reflect her particular research interests.

More about Sarah


Current Work:
The Bundu Bashers – a children’s wildlife series (2011)
The Lies We Shared – a murder-mystery set in Zimbabwe during the Mugabe land appropriations and Kenya during the multiparty elections (Penguin South Africa, 2002)
The Whiteness Of Bones – an autobiographical travel narrative about a journey through East and Central Africa (Penguin South Africa, 2002)
The Beneficiaries – the story of a young woman who grows up in a rural boarding school during apartheid set against the backdrop of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Penguin South Africa, 1997)
I Am A Transnational
(included in Should I Stay Or Should I Go – published by Two Dogs, 2010)       Waiting (included in 180 Degrees: New Fiction by South African women writers (Oshun Books, 2005)  
Casualties (included in Scores, 1999)

“A Literary Vox Pop” Journal of Postcolonial Writing (a study of the reception of South African novel in the British market), 2005
Includes publication in:
Britain: Guardian Unlimited/ TNT Magazine/ North West Magazine
South Africa: GQ Magazine/Oprah Magazine/Leadership Magazine/Femina Magazine/The Sunday Independent/The Big Issue/The Mail and Guardian/The Cape Times/Varsity



Journal Papers

(2005) Penny, S., A literary vox pop, Journal of Postcolonial Writing 41 (2) : 212- 221

Conference Papers

(Forthcoming) Penny, S., A Literary Vox Pop, The Letters Home Conference

(2011) Penny, S., Hadithi ya Afrika ( Stories from Africa), The Great Writing Conference

Book Chapters

(2010) Penny, S., Should I stay or should I go?. In: Richman, T. ed. Should I stay or should I go? To live in or leave South Africa. Two Dogs

(2005) Penny, S., Waiting. In: Moffet, H. and Morris, C. eds. 180?: new fiction by South African women writers. Cape Town: Oshun Books 57- 70


(2011) Penny, S., The Lies We Shared. Penguin SA

(2002) Penny, S., The Beneficiaries. London: Penguin Books

(1997) Penny, S., The Whiteness Of Bones. Penguin

Page last updated: Tuesday 16 July 2013