My Brother and I: An Essay in biography and some poems

by C. J. (Jonty) Driver

“There seemed nothing else to say; we knew that this was the last time Simon and I would see each other. I hugged Dorothy, then shook hands with Simon, and we said our usual, ‘Well, goodbye, brother’, before I turned my back to walk away.”

Brothers Jonty and Simon had never liked saying goodbye. Neither to their parents, seeing them off to boarding school two thousand miles away in Grahams town, nor to each other. Especially the last time.

The two Driver brothers had been always close, from early games in a sandpit under the pepper tree of rectory in Kroonstad to having to live apart for most of their adult lives – one prohibited to return to South Africa because of his political views, the second one living there despite of them.

Spoken through prose and nine poems, My Brother and I is an elegy narrated with a level-headed but affectionate voice. It tells the history of a family of British descendants and their position within South African segregated society through the lives of two brothers. And it is a voice Jonty is sure Simon would approve of.

Key features/publicity

  • This life-writing recounts memories of South Africa, country which the travel advertisers insisted on calling ‘sunny’, even in the worst years of apartheid, narrated by a politically inconvenient writer refused to re-enter his homeland;
  • Explores brotherhood in its deepest sense and brotherly closeness which remained constant despite the varying levels of distance.

Author info

Jonty Driver is honorary senior lecturer of creative writing. He has published five novels (four of them have been recently re-issued under the imprint FaberFinds), a biography of South African radical Patrick Duncan and six books of poetry. In 2013, twenty-six of his poems are published in a pamphlet, Citizen of Elsewhere by the Happenstance Press). He was a judge of the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2007 and 2008.

Beyond the Workshop Kingston Writing School

Publication details

  • Format: Paperback
  • Price: £6.99
  • Extent: 128pp
  • ISBN: 978-1-899999-59-0
  • Categories: Life writing, memoir, biography