Penstock Publishing


Author: André Carl van der Merwe
Soft cover, 310 pages
ISBN: 978-0-620-36779-0 
Price: R195,00

Moffie follows the life of a gay man in the South African Defence Force during the 1980's. 

Author André Carl van der Merwe transports the reader into this young man's world with evocative realism - sometimes heart-rending, sometimes with humour, always with beautiful brushstrokes of hope. This is a long overdue story about the emotional and physical suffering endured by countless young men.


Wilhelm Snyman Cape Times

What sets this novel apart is its overwhelming honesty and integrity. Van der Merwe has wrought intense trauma into something that restores human dignity and passionately confronts the injustice and degradation that surround him.

Derek Wilson Cape Argus

Though Moffie is a novel, Van der Merwe writes with such clarity and feeling that it reads like a true story. Narrator Nicholas van der Swart is a suppressed homosexual from a conservative Afrikaans family which expects him to live a macho life. When Nicholas is conscripted to do his national service, there is much soul-searching and trepidation as the time to go draws nearer:

But Nicholas survives, his fears and stressful suppression of his homosexuality notwithstanding.
Although the novel is relentlessly grim, it makes for a compelling read from beginning to end. One suspects that it must have been something of a catharsis for van der Merwe.

Niel le Roux Die Burger

Hierdie roman behoort deur elke Boetman - gay of straight - wat in die weermag was, gelees te word.

The Green Carnation Prize Winner 2012 (Moffie)

Article from the Green Carnation Website.

Chair of the judges Rodney Troubridge said "I'm glad to see two novels win the Green Carnation Prize... from a much loved author, Patrick Gale, a challenging tale of moral choices and a visceral debut of love and prejudice from South Africa…” Fellow judges Katie Allen, website editor of The Bookseller and We Love This Book said ""It was really exciting to be part of a judging panel where we loved the books so much we had to declare a tie. These are very different books, but both true winners in different ways – Gale's novel is a masterpiece of characterisation and plotting, while Moffie reveals the often devastating consequences of being gay- reverberations of which can still be felt across the world today." Dom Agius, photographer and DJ, said "The winning titles shared one thing more than any other, repeated reads revealed ever more. The decision to tie the 2012 prize says everything about this year’s submissions. No so much a coalition compromise, just a wealth of really great books.”

Last year’s winner Catherine Hall was delighted to pass the award over two both winners "Two such very different books, one a debut, the other a sixteenth novel. A coming out story about the horrors of the South African army and an exploration of the moral dilemmas of a Cornish priest and his family. Both beautifully written and utterly gripping - which is why I'm delighted they're this year's winners of The Green Carnation prize.” Co-founder and Honorary Director of the prize, journalist and blogger Simon Savidge, said he adored the winners and also wanted to praise the runners up "It has been a fantastic standard of writing this year, showing just how important this prize, which some people may say is niche, is not just to LGBT people but to readers in general. Our joint winners are utterly fantastic books and so were all the shortlisted books. Edmund White has written his written what I think will be looked at as one of his finest books, Philip Hensher does something unique in writing with his fictionalisation of his partners memoirs, Carol Anshaw makes a gripping an compelling novel about the ripples of things we have done in the past and Kerry Hudson has written one of the most promising debuts we have read in some time, its human, funny, heartbreaking and current.”

About The Prize
The Green Carnation Prize got off to a great start in 2010 as an award that celebrated the best fiction and memoirs by gay men. It provoked debate, produced an intriguing shortlist and chose a worthy winner in Christopher Fowler's Paperboy. In 2011 the prize came back even bigger and better opening its doors to all LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) writers. It was won by Catherine Hall for her second novel ‘The Proof of Love’.

Notes to Editors
Details of the winning authors and novels:
Patrick Gale was born on the Isle of Wight in 1962. He spent his infancy at Wandsworth Prison, which his father governed, then grew up in Winchester. He now lives on a farm near Land's End. His most recent novels are The Whole Day Through and the Richard & Judy bestseller Notes from an Exhibition. ‘A Perfectly Good Man’ was also chosen for the Richard and Judy book club this year.
A Perfectly Good Man: "'Do you need me to pray for you now for a specific reason?, 'I’m going to die., 'We’re all going to die. Does dying frighten you?, 'I mean I’m going to kill myself., When 20-year-old Lenny Barnes, paralysed in a rugby accident, commits suicide in the presence of Barnaby Johnson, the much-loved priest of a West Cornwall parish, the tragedy's reverberations open up the fault-lines between Barnaby and his nearest and dearest - the gulfs of unspoken sadness that separate them all. Across this web of relations scuttles Barnaby's repellent nemesis - a man as wicked as his prey is virtuous. Returning us to the rugged Cornish landscape of 'Notes from an Exhibition,, Patrick Gale lays bare the lives and the thoughts of a whole community and asks us: what does it mean to be good?”
André Carl van der Merwe was born in Harrismith in the Free State. When his family moved to the Cape, he started his schooling in Welgemoed and later attended high school in Stellenbosch. After two years of national service, he started studying fine art in Cape Town. During his third year he established a clothing company, which he owned for the next 15 years. Today he concentrates on architectural and interior design and writing.

Moffie: Nicholas van der Swart has always known he is different. Unable to live up to the expectations his family, his heritage and his culture have of him, he grows increasingly diffident and introverted. When, at the age of 19, he is conscripted into the South African army, he enters a world that is utterly at odds with his every sensibility. Here, he will face the scorn and violence of his tormenters, but will also find the strength to survive. Moffie transports the reader into the world of a young gay conscript in the Angola Bush War that raged from 1966 to 1989.

The six shortlisted books for the Green Carnation Prize 2012 were:

Carry The One – Carol Anshaw (Penguin Books, American, 4th novel) A Perfectly Good Man – Patrick Gale (4th Estate, British, 16th novel) Scenes from Early Life – Philip Hensher (4th Estate, British, 8th novel) Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Before He Stole Me Ma – Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus, British, debut novel) Moffie – Andre Carl Van Der Merwe (Europa Editions, South African, debut novel) Jack Holmes and his Friend – Edmund White (Bloomsbury, American, 10th novel)
The judges for the 2011 prize were: Dom Agius, photographer and DJ Katie Allen, author and website editor of The Bookseller and We Love This Book Catherine Hall, author and winner of the Green Carnation Prize 2011 Simon Savidge journalist, blogger and books podcast presenter Rodney Troubridge (Chair of Judges) bookseller and reviewer

Further Information
You can find further information on the Green Carnation website including more on our judging panel and further updates on events and additional announcements.

Contact Information
For further information, images, interviews with the judges and/or the winner plus any other enquiries please email: