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Martinique Stilwell Discusses Thinking Up a Hurricane with Tanya Pampalone

Thinking Up a HurricaneThe Mail & Guardian‘s Tanya Pampalone interviewed Martinique Stilwell about her memoir, Thinking Up a Hurricane, which tells the story of her life growing up at sea.

Pampalone describes how an article that Stillwell wrote for the Mail & Guardian on convicted rapist Hans Klaar, who Stillwell knew, managed to secure her a book deal. The article ended with a note that she was busy writing a memoir and this landed her a meeting with then CEO of Penguin, Alison Lowry. Stillwell describes her parents’ reactions to the book, which she didn’t want to be a “misery memoir…but we had a slightly difficult family”:

In January last year Martinique Stilwell was well into her memoir of a childhood at sea. In fact, she was nearing the end of it, writing about her 18-year-old self who was preparing to go to medical school — an astonishing feat considering much of her learning came from a few hours of maths and English a day. She was boat-schooled, as it were, by her mother and, for a period, through a string of marine biology lessons from a young woman who hopped aboard her family’s yacht in Puerto Rico and stayed for several months.

So when the local papers splashed an oversized photograph across the front pages that same month of convicted rapist Hans Klaar — hand-cuffed, tattooed, a sneer across his tanned face and surrounded by armed guards as he landed at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg — the timing was disturbing. Or perhaps auspicious.

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