George the Cat – Peter van Zyl Writes to Felicity

Note by Felicity Keatscat, publisher, umSinsi Press.

In 1998 Engen sponsored a project for 13 primary schools on Durban’s Bluff where every child in every school learnt the right brain method. 95 small books were published as a result. One book, George the Cat, written by Peter van Zyl, obtained sponsorship from Old Mutual for a 2000 print run. Books in sets of 50 per school were given to 40 rural schools, 20 down the South Coast, and 20 up the North Coast.

Peter van Zyl’s book that was given to disadvantaged schools was filmed by SATV as the school chosen up the North Coast was one which was on British TV when a member of the Department of education had to swim across the river with the matric papers as the river was in flood and there was no other way to access the school. This is the cover of the book that Peter wrote and illustrated.

Now, 16 years later, Peter van Zyl writes to Felicity of umSinsi Press and Dancing Pencils as under:

July 2014

Hi Felicity,

I hope this mail finds you well.

My name is Peter Van Zyl and I was part of the Creative Writing Project that took place over 10 years ago. At the time I was a student at Austerville Primary School and wrote the book titled George The Cat.

I am now based in Johannesburg and am a father to 5 beautiful children aged between 5 and 11. I am in the process of getting married to the love of my life, Lerato, who is from Johannesburg.

I would really love to get back into writing as I believe that my life has quite a story to tell since being part of that initiative which saw me meet the likes of then Minister Of Education, Mr Kadar Asmal and being on TV for the first time in my life. I would go as far as saying that I was always intended to be a great achiever and certainly, my life has shown those signs.

I am currently in the export and import industry, dealing with Chinese manufactured goods, which is not my only point of interest and am involved in a few upcoming projects, one being media distribution i.e television and broadcasting and online marketing being my current career path.

Anyway, I do not want to bore you further with my life happenings and am sure your time is very limited to be even reading this mail.

I have a few friends who are also interested in getting their pieces and stories published and have told them about the wonderful work that you and your organisation do for schools and instilling the values of writing and education for underprivileged and needy schools as well. I myself am interested in republishing my work and perhaps even getting an adventure series out for Young George The Cat.

Up until now, I had not been able to put a name to the technique which was taught to us way back then when we first started writing. The creative flow that is opened up by the Right Brain technique still amazes me today because I use it whenever I need to be creative. I do write ups including product descriptions for products that we have on our site, and it certainly has helped me get out of very sticky situations in my customer service role on the same site and previous site

To be able to be republished and further published what is it that I would need to do? What would be required of me?

If i wanted to acquire a copy of my book, how could I go about doing that?

Felicity Keats Replies:

Hi Peter!

Of course I remember you and it gives me cold shivers to read your brief history of achievements! Do you mind if I put up what you have just written me in our “Success Stories” on ://

If you look at this website you will see a few young people from the Engen project with amazing careers!

An adventure series of Young George the Cat sounds amazing! And republishing it sounds wonderful!

I can publish you but not someone who hasn’t done the right brain method … you had a lovely story!

Congratulations on all your achievements and maybe your young family will one day become young published writers! But we have to train them in right brain methods; using left brains doesn’t work!

I’m sending you a copy of your cover!

(And Peter wrote in reply: My insides are tingling with anticipation! I haven’t seen the cover in over 10 years!)



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