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Flashback Friday: Read Jacqui L’Ange’s 2013 Blog Post About The Seed Thief – Which is Out Now!

The Seed ThiefLast month Umuzi published Jacqui L’Ange‘s striking debut novel called The Seed Thief.

The novel tells the story of Maddy Bellani and her trip to Brazil to collect rare seeds from a plant that could cure cancer. It mixes romance, “bio-piracy” and Afro-Brazilian spiritualism with Maddy’s search for belonging.

More than two years ago, L’Ange posted on her Books LIVE blog answering questions about “The Next Big Thing” for her as a writer. She wrote about The Seed Thief, which was then in draft stage.

L’Ange, who wrote the book as part of her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town, describes the plot of her then-work in progress as: “A young botanist in search of an endangered plant gets caught up in a parallel world of Afro-Brazilian spiritualism, and finds out some home truths, where she really stands, and what she is prepared to sell out in order to survive.”

Read the post:

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was convinced that I was going to write a book about the sea. I’d had an idea for some time to write something with the deity Yamanja – the Yoruba and candomblé orixa, or goddess, of the sea – in a cameo role. Yamanja is still there, but so are a lot of other orixas who confuse the hell out of my rational-minded protagonist. I liked the possibilities of putting someone into a situation that throws them completely off-kilter, and seeing what comes up out of that.

Researching the botanical aspects of the book I became fascinated with seed banking, and came across some incredible stories of botanical survival against all odds – many of them found their way into the book.

But I think my original urge was to re-connect with one of the places I grew up in (Brazil), in a way that felt new and interesting. On a trip to Brazil a friend of mine suggested I visit Salvador in Bahia. I became fascinated with how African the city is, in a uniquely Brazilian way.

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