Women Out Of Water

Nominated for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award by the South African Literary Association in 2022, Women out of Water (published by Modjaji Books, 2021), is my debut collection of short stories.

The beautiful cover, designed by Cape Town artist Jesse Breytenbach, was a finalist in the Good Book Appreciation Society Book Cover Design Awards, 2021.

These are stories of women who have been emotionally or physically displaced and are coping the best they can in extreme environments. Eighty-five-year-old Alma tracks a stallion through the wild bush. A young woman leaves her corporate job to start a wine farm as her marriage stales. A mother leaves her war-torn home to seek safety for herself and her daughter and a girl begs for survival.

‘In a series of ten mesmerising stories, Cranswick pulls aside the covers to let us in on the lives and inner lives of women thrown out of their comfort zone. With chilling clarity and a haunting lyricism, Cranswick slows down time, zooms in close, and refuses to look away.’

~Alma always thought if he had been brought up somewhere else, where the need to be a man was less prevalent, he might have made a success of himself. But the refusal to leave was ruining him. And that was not something you could tell a son.~

~Ironically, he blamed her, as children who do not want to recognise their own failings are apt to do with their mothers.~

~She has your beauty, my husband said when he first saw her. But I was not so happy. For a woman to be beautiful is for a woman to be noticed. And where we come from, it is not good for a woman to be noticed.~

~People brought their bodies to this place because there were pieces of themselves they could no longer carry.~

Readers’ Comments

“This book is a keeper. You are sure to thoroughly enjoy and savour each of these exquisitely written stories and return again and again.” – Karen Watkins, Constantiaberg Bulletin

“Women out of Water is a book full of short stories that will make you feel things. Bread, while only four pages long, made me cry proper, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it!” – Paige, Cape Town

“The descriptions of the African landscape were evocative and celebratory, reminding me of Olive Schreiner’s love of the wild, open land. The story is psychologically and symbolically gripping, dealing with themes of choice and empowerment, male-female conflict, leadership and/or companionship.” – Rachel, Cape Town

“The collection is not one to skim through. Each story demands focus and attention to nuance and implied meaning. It requires one to construct an interpretation of hope. The worlds the women in these stories inhabit are harsh and uncertain. Cranswick puts you under their skins, shows you their lives from behind their eyes. It’s uncomfortable, startling, often depressing – but always real and conveyed with compassion for those at the centre of the storm. Readers will come away richer from the experience, with a deeper insight into lives and circumstances beyond their own.” – Liz Sparg, Good Book Appreciation Society

“Who Has to Make These Decisions is so powerful I found it almost unbearable to read. The clean, simplicity of language accentuates the horror of the situation.” – Maggie Brookes, Novelist, UK

“Powerful and utterly convincing descriptions of excruciating pain, with a clarity of detail and constant composure giving the protagonists a remarkable strength and dignity.” – Goodreads.com

BUY Women out of Water, R220 plus R50 delivery – Only a few remaining print copies are available!

New Novel Release for 2024

Of All Things We Need Hope, Modjaji Books

Of All Things We Need Hope is a story of hope, forgiveness, restorative and retributive justice, all told through the narrative of a mother who willfully befriends her son’s murderer whilst he is serving a life sentence in prison.

As a writing coach, what you will find with me is someone who is grounded, literary and academic – and yet someone who also believes in colourful creativity that brings joyful sparkles and magic-wand moments – it’s an alchemy of its own making – and I invite you to join me on this wonderful creative journey!

Contact me to book a session