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Mike Kantey, editor of 'It's a pity I didn't bring any swords'

Posted on Fri March 5, 2021.

Introducing Mike Kantey - editor of Martin Hatchuel's children's novel, ‘It’s a pity I didn’t bring any swords’

With a BA in languages from the University of Cape Town (English III, Xhosa III, Sotho I, the Lestrade Scholarship for African Languages), Mike Kantey, who’s had more than forty years experience in publishing, writing, and editing, founded Watercourse Media & Development in 1990.

Mike is a language practitioner, activist, editor, publishing consultant, project manager, author, musician, event manager….

And he’s done this stuff all his life.

As an activist, for example, he served during the 1990s as co-chair of Earthlife Africa, Cape Town, as the founder member of the South African New Economics Network, as an executive committee member of the Publishers Association of South Africa, and as a committee member of the Book Development Council South Africa (Western Cape). 

More recently, he founded and still runs the annual Watercourse History Festival in Plettenberg Bay, while also concentrating on research, writing, editing and design for his own imprint, The Watermark Press - which has published Prof. Mike de Jongh’s ‘The Hessequa of the Southern Cape’ and 22 other titles (so far!). 

Mike Kantey: Editor

Among the many books he’s edited, we find:

  • Ken Barris’s ‘The Jailer's Book' (Kagiso), which won the M-Net Book Prize;
  • Peter-Dirk Uys’ ‘No One's Died Laughing’ (Penguin), and ‘Apart Hate Apart Love’ (Random);
  • Stephen Gray’s ‘John Ross’ (Penguin); and
  • Alan Landau’s self-published ‘Langbourne’ series.

Publishing companies he’s worked with include:

  • ​Gariep Publishing Company (marketing and project management);
  • ​Hodder & Stoughton, Johannesburg (marketing and sales in the Western Cape);
  • ​Maskew Miller Longman, Cape Town (research);
  • ​World Bank Publications, Washington (research);
  • ​International Masters Publishers, London (research);
  • ​Kagiso Publishers (commissioning editor, English language and literature).

​And his own written work includes:

  • The BIG Book of MADness (The Watermark Press, 2018);
  • Nukes? No Thanks! Five Arguments Against Nuclear Energy in South Africa (​The Watermark Press, 2017);
  • Touching Circles, a family chronicle (Watermark Press, 2009);
  • Touching Hands, which follows after Touching Circles (Watermark Press, 2011);
  • ​“A Homage to Sophia” (Janus, a Journal of Philosophy, USA, 2005);
  • Some of us are leopards, some of us are lions - also published as Mens kry mos luiperds, mens kry mos leeus, and in nine other languages (Human & Rousseau) ‘Leopards’ won the ​Old Mutual Literary Award and received an Honourable Mention at the Bologna Book Fair;
  • All Tickets/Alle Kaartjies (Taurus);
  • ​The Terribly Vain Squirrel (Buchu Books);
  • Harriet and the Sunrise Toffees (Kagiso);
  • ​True to the Whole (Firfield Pamphlet Press);
  • ​“Publishing in South Africa” in Africa Bibliography 1987, Manchester and a South African entry (with David Philip) in the Garland Encyclopaedia of Publishing;
  • Numerous articles in various publications (he was a columnist for Vryeweekblad and South in the 1990s, and still writes for CXPress and Plettenberg Bay Tourism)

You’d think editing ‘It’s a pity I didn’t bring any swords’ would be a bit of a breeze...

Contact Mike Kantey

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