Four ways of looking at a beetle


Seeing your book’s cover for the first time can be a fraught moment for an author, but I’ve been really fortunate: I’ve had wonderfully skilled designers working on my books. I’m especially happy about my small but growing collection of Nineveh editions from different corners of the world.

Each of these great designs is offbeat, eerie, playful, enigmatic – perfect for a tale of family dysfunction and real-estate catastrophe in a vermin-haunted swamp – yet distinct in mood and tone. You can see more work by each of these fine artists in the links below.

Nineveh US cover

Adventurous LA-based publisher Unnamed Press recently revealed the cover for the US edition of Nineveh: this striking image from artist and in-house art director, Jaya Nicely. I love its menace and mystery. The looming building is a reference to the luxury housing development that gives the novel its name, and to bigger themes of urban growth and decay. I’m very much looking forward to introducing Nineveh to America in November.

Ninive French cover

A beautiful French-language Ninive appeared from Swiss publisher Editions Zoé in 2014. I was so pleased that artist Silvia Francia chose this image for her swampy, subtle cover – a doomed frog has a crucial cameo in the book. It’s lovely to know that a designer has read the book with care. I’m happy to add that in 2016 Editions Zoé will publish my novel Green Lion, translated once again by the excellent Elisabeth Gilles. (The South African cover for Green Lion is also a work of beauty.)

In 2015, I had the pleasure of seeing Nínive published by another fearless independent, Editorial Almadía (Mexico), in a Spanish translation by Ana Marimón Driben. Alejandro Magallanes is the artist behind the fabulous, clever covers on all of Almadía’s books. The combination of candy colour, humour and unease works brilliantly: the pink dust-jacket draws you in, before revealing the disturbingly sweet, ant-eyed butterfly-woman beneath.

nineveh cover 001

This is the arresting original cover of the South African edition, published by Umuzi (Penguin Random House) in 2011. With its combination of boldness and detail, it captures the book’s ambivalence towards the creatures infesting it: suspicion, fascination, strange affection. The design is by Michiel Botha, one of the most talented and prolific South African book designers, who also did the airy, pigeon-adorned cover of my short-story collection Homing.





Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s