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Celebrated Novel


Critical acclaim and global reach

'The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena' is commonly regarded as one of the best novels to have emerged on the African continent in the 20th century. Hailed as groundbreaking, the novel was reprinted three times within its first four months of release. Joubert’s work has been translated into many languages, with Poppie being translated into no fewer than 13 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Italian. It was also published as a special edition in America. From 1982 to 1984, her drama based on Poppie (co-authored with Sandra Kotzé) was performed worldwide to much acclaim. The stage adaptation was performed internationally for years in New York, Chicago, Edinburgh, London, Australia, and Canada. From the 1970s to the present, stage shows in South Africa have consistently have sold out. The novel is still frequently prescribed in South African schools and universities and the loved novel will be re-released in both English and Afrikaans on 15 October 2019, in celebration of the film’s 2020 release.


Elsa Joubert (1922 – 2020) was a South African novelist who, throughout her illustrious and prolific career, had been awarded the most prestigious awards for Afrikaans writing. Her novel Die reise van Isobelle (1995) was awarded the WA Hofmeyr and the Hertzog Prizes, while The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena – originally Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena (1978) – was voted one of the top 100 books of the 20th century; in 2020, the novel was made into a film. Joubert is recognised internationally for her work: in 1980 she was the recipient of the Winifred Holtby Prize by the British Royal Society of Literature. In 2001, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Stellenbosch for her contribution to literature. Her final novel, The Hunchback Missionary, was published by Jonathan Ball Publishers in 2014.