7 Mar 2011

News: Warthog Books, publishing with a heart of gold.

Some news now for you, a fledgling publishing house with a mission born out of charity a sense of adventure and a world of delicious global travel and rich experience. Actress, artist, playwright, fruit farmer, cook and mother, the busy and multifaceted Lehla Eldridge forms up with writer, educationalist and fellow mother of three Mary Jo Amani to create Warthog books and it's inaugural title Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read combining a heartfelt love of education and Africa to create a wonderful childrens book that aims to inspire, provide laughter and most of all promote literacy in a fun and useful way. With much respect for their achievements and the tasks they set themselves, It's Lehla Eldridge and Mary Jo Amani.  

Who are you?
Lehla Eldridge and Mary Jo Amani,

Lehla Eldridge
Lehla is a self-taught artist, having grown up with an artist father who ran workshops in Italy. She studied at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1988 – 1991. On graduating she was awarded a scholarship by Twentieth Century Fox to study theatre in South Africa. She worked with various theatre companies for a year and then went back to London to work as an actress forming the theatre company chosen to inaugurate The International Theatre Festival in Delhi, with her co-written show ‘On The Boil’.

he returned to South Africa in 2000 to publish a cookbook celebrating local cuisine.Travelling around South Africa in a rental car with a paint box, pen, and notebook she wangled her way into people’s kitchens. People from all different cultures—Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, Indian, and Cape Malay—gave her recipes, resulting in The South African Illustrated Cookbook, published in 2002.

Lehla went on to live on a fruit farm with her husband, Anthony, and together they owned and managed a restaurant and had three children—all in three years! For sheer sanity, she took time out to write and illustrate The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women celebrating wonderful women, with humour and insight about what makes women laugh and feel good.

Recently returning to Britain after fifteen years in South Africa she considers both places home.

Mary Jo Amani
Mary Jo Amani is home wherever she finds herself, currently in Mozambique part of the year and in North Carolina the rest of the year. She has Masters degrees in Education and in Latin American Studies and has worked for over twenty years in education in developing countries.

Over the years, her passion for education and children’s literature has led to serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica in the early 1980’s, teaching family literacy to inmates in the Washington D.C. prison system, helping to start children’s libraries in rural Guatemala, starting a non-profit organization (Libros para Niños) to promote reading in schools and communities in Nicaragua that continues today, and serving as education coordinator of an inner-city program for hundreds of the poorest children in Guatemala City.

At the moment, she delights in spending time with family and friends, pursuing self-discovery, reading poetry, and writing. She often finds herself in Guatemala visiting her grandson, Gabriel, in North Carolina visiting friends and her three grown children, or in Mozambique with her husband where she works with small villages to initiate community lending libraries using children’s books (see www.booksforkidsafrica.org).

What do you do?
We write and illustrate books for children initially but who knows where we will end up…

How did you start?
We started because Mary Jo once came for lunch at my café which was in a small village in South Africa. She saw one of my 2 previous books and liked them. I was away at the time but she met my husband and after that an e mail relationship started between us. I was in South Africa she was in Mozambique, or the U.S. She then invited me on a research trip through Mozambique to help promote literacy and reading in small rural villages. Out of this trip many ideas were shared and one was our first book Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read  from there we started working together and then set up Warthog Books.

Your mission statement?
Warthog Books publishes high quality books of any genre. We are committed to excellence and books that inspire, provoke laughter and that tell a good story. you can follow us on twitter

You can also follow us on twitter we are WarthogB and facebook

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