DRYAD PRESS | News & Events

Poetry is Live Again: Join us for the Launch of Kobus Moolman’s New Collection, The Mountain Behind the House

Date: Thursday 12 November 2020 at 17:30 at Exclusive Books, Cavendish

For many of us, online launches have been the way forward during the Covid pandemic. Now that we have reached Phase One, Exclusive Books are offering Dryad Press and its patrons the opportunity to host an instore launch. There will, however, be strict protocols: every person must wear a mask; there will be social distancing; screening will occur before entering the store; and the venue can only hold 50% of its capacity. This means that we can only seat 30 people for the launch. Please RSVP immediately to secure your spot and if you are subsequently unable to attend, it is important that you cancel timeously so that anyone on the waiting list will have the opportunity to attend. We are all adjusting to the new way of working alongside this pandemic. But it is exciting and a privilege to be able to hear poetry read live again.

We are delighted to be able to confirm that talented musician Francis Christie will be playing a half hour set from 17.30 to 18:00 so we encourage you come early to listen to his skilful musicality and enjoy a glass of wine and some snacks.

Finally, please continue to support small independent press publishing in South Africa by purchasing our books. Take advantage of our Pre-Order Special Offer (available online only at the Dryad website from now until just before the launch). If you order any two Dryad poetry books (excludes the Dryad Press Poetry Notebook), one of which is The Mountain Behind the House, you will receive a 20% discount on your order. Click on our bookstore link to take advantage of this limited special offer.

Sally Ann Murray nominated for a 2020 South African Literary Award for her Dryad Press collection, Otherwise Occupied.

Dryad Press is proud to announce that Sally Ann Murray has been nominated for a South African Literary Award (Poetry) for her 2019 Dryad Press collection, Otherwise Occupied. We take this opportunity to thank wRite Associates and the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture for sponsoring the awards and for proceeding with them in the face of the Covid pandemic. Winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony on 7 November 2020. Good luck to all nominees! For further details of the nominations, visit the SALA website at: sala.org.za


“Some fool called marriage an epitaph in the end.
How little some people know. Sometimes, a table may serve
as well for laying out a body, as for spreading a feast,…”

Sally Ann Murray ‘Afterward’ from Otherwise Occupied (Dryad Press, 2019)

River Willows: Senryū from Lockdown, by Tony Ullyatt

Dryad Press is proud to be releasing this sublime poetry handbook by the winner of the 2019 South African Literary Award for poetry, Tony Ullyatt. These moving senryū were written by the poet during the lockdown that followed the Covid-19 pandemic – one for each day. Made more poignant by the untimely passing of the poet’s wife during this time, these poems are haunting in their significance and insight. At only R150, this handbook is a must. Shop for your copy by clicking below.


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The Dryad Press Poetry Notebook is now available!

These poetry notebooks are now available and make for a stunning gift for both the literary and art lovers among you. They comprise:

  • a hand stitched and bound A5 notebook, made by artist Elize de Beer;
  • CLAS signature cream coloured thread;
  • 48 pages unlined Munken Pure 120gsm paper (suitable for writing and drawing in any media);
  • 10 pages of Dryad Press poems by Dryad poets on tracing paper inserts;
  • Price: R180 per notebook.

Shop for your notebook now, while stocks last!

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Dryad Press is delighted to be at the SA Book Fair 11-13 September 2020

Dryad Press was the lucky recipient of a subsidy awarded by the South African Book Development Council to attend the SA Book Fair from 11-13 September 2020. Given the effects of the Covid pandemic, the event organisers have had the foresight to move the entire Fair online. Go to www.southafricanbookfair.co.za for a full events programme, where you can attend an exciting array of lectures, launches and readings. And shop online for Dryad Press books using the Special Book Fair Offer at our online store.

Dryad Press books

We take this opportunity to thank the South African Book Development Council who have provided recipients of the subsidy with a series of invaluable workshops that Dryad has been able to attend on an array of subjects like Digital Marketing, E-Book Conversion, Cover Designs and the Complexities of Bookselling. For a small business like ourselves, this recognition and investment in the future of our business is encouraging.

A collaboration between Dryad Press and the World Arts Agency

Dryad Press and World Arts Agency are proud to announce a collaboration in terms of which World Arts Agency will represent Dryad Press poets in respect of the sale of foreign publishing rights.

For further information contact:
Michèle Betty

Warren Jeremy Rourke

The launch of Fiona Zerbst’s In Praise of Hotel Rooms

We had over 100 people join us online for the digital launch of Fiona Zerbst’s In Praise of Hotel Rooms. Thank you everyone for embarking on this exciting journey with us.

Dryad Press is delighted to be launching the new collection by Fiona Zerbst, In Praise of Hotel Rooms

In collaboration with Exclusive Books, Dryad is excited to be hosting its first online launch. Fiona will be in conversation with writer and head of Creative Writing at the University of Pretoria, David Medalie. Register to join us on Thursday, 9 July 2020 at 18:00 by using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/

Once you register, and on the day of the launch, Exclusive Books will email you a link to join the event. It really is that easy!

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The launch of catalien was a night to remember!

Thank you to the large crowd who attended the launch of catalien last night at Exclusive Books. Our first launch of the year was a memorable one. Oliver’s poems, engaging as they do with the disparate and often disturbing character of the human/animal relationship, are, in this time of coronavirus, more relevant than ever. Pick up a copy of catalien in our online bookstore or at better bookstores near you.Congratulations to our competition winner, Joanne Hichens, who won a complimentary copy of catalien.

For a full transcript of the fascinating interview between Oliver Findlay Price and Joan Hambidge, click here.

Dryad Press poets Sally Ann Murray, Joan Hambidge and Beverly Rycroft are at the US Woordfees 9-15 March 2020!

Dryad Press is excited to announce that its poets Joan Hambidge, Sally Ann Murray and Beverly Rycroft will be appearing at the Toyota University of Stellenbosch Woordfees 2020.

9 March 2020 at 15:30 Adam Small Seminar Room: Join Beverly Rycroft in conversation with Bibi Slippers on how her Dryad Press collections, A Private Audience and missing are woven from a personal space and time.

11 March 2020 at 15:30 Adam Small Seminar Room: Sally Ann Murray‘s collection Otherwise Occupied was published by Dryad Press in 2019 to outstanding reviews. Take this unique opportunity to hear the Chair of English at Stellenbosch University, in conversation with Joan Hambidge (literary critic, reviewer and Hofmeyr Chair in Afrikaans at the University of Cape Town) discuss her collection and read from her poems.

Announcing the Launch of Oliver Findlay Price’s catalien

Dryad Press, in association with Exclusive Books, is proud to announce the new collection in the Dryad Press Living Poets Series by Oliver Findlay price, catalien.

This unique debut collection of poems engages with the Surrealist notion of a rebus – a puzzle device that combines images to depict a new word and which requires unexpected creative conjunctions that confuse then delight when the puzzle is resolved. The collection harnesses a liberal range of human emotions combined with a deceptively charming wickedness. In amongst a terrain of cats, fish, birds, dolphins, lizards and snakes, Findlay Price deftly draws the reader into his idiosyncratic world.

Join us at Exclusive Books, Cavendish in Claremont, Cape Town on Thursday, 5 March 2020 at 18:00 for 18:30 to hear Oliver Findlay Price in conversation with critic and poet Joan Hambidge, read from his work.

We look forward to sharing this exciting new collection with you!

Brian Walter’s reading at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum

Thank you to everyone who attended Brian Walter’s reading at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum on Sunday. And to Dan Wylie for facilitating the discussion and to the Friends of the Museum for making all the arrangements. A wonderful morning was had by all.

Tony Ullyatt wins the SALA for An Unobtrusive Vice!

Congratulations to Tony Ullyatt who was awarded a South African Literary Award (SALA) in the Poetry Category for 2019 for his collection, An Unobtrusive Vice. Ullyatt was awarded the prize jointly with poets Ayande Billie and Nathan Trantraal. We take this opportunity to thank SALA and all the organisers for this generous recognition and for the awards evening enjoyed by all who attended.

Brian Walter will be in conversation with Dan Wylie at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Port Elizabeth

Well-known poet from the Eastern Cape, Brian Walter, will be in conversation with literary critic and poet Dan Wylie on his new collection Allegories of the Everyday. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Brian read from and discuss his work.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum: This event is a collaboration with the Friends of the Art Museum in the Nelson Mandela Metropole. They are an inspirational organisation that seeks to develop, enhance, preserve and celebrate the museum and who seek to create a vibrant arts, culture and heritage community in Nelson Mandela Bay. The event will coincide with the monthly Art in the Park Event so you will be able to enjoy a vibrant morning of poetry and art.

For more information click here.

Announcing the Dryad Press Poets Selected for Publication in 2020

Dryad Press has made its selections for publication in 2020! Congratulations to Kobus Moolman, Fiona Zerbst, and Oliver Findlay Price whose evocative and inspiring manuscripts were selected from among the many submissions received by Dryad Press in the 2019 open submission period. If you submitted a manuscript, we thank you for having the courage to put your work out there. If you did not make it, do not lose heart and consider submitting new work in our 2020 open submission period. Watch our website and social media platforms for information regarding this.

In the meantime, take inspiration from the three new poets that we welcome into the Dryad Press stable and whose collections will form part of the Dryad Press Living Poets Series, joining Michèle Betty, Beverly Rycroft, Tony Ullyatt, Stephen Symons, Sally Ann Murray and Brian Walter, whose collections were published in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Congratulations to our prize nominated poet!

This October, Tony Ullyatt’s collection, An Unobtrusive Vice has been nominated for one of South Africa’s most prestigious literary awards, A South African Literary Award (SALA) in the Poetry category. Tony published this debut collection with Dryad Press in February 2018. We wish him congratulations and the best of luck for the forthcoming announcement.

“Crouched among the last surviving pieces
of my life’s wreck, I see chemistry,
some wizard’s formula which releases
the wayward life from its grim history.”

– Tony Ullyatt, ‘Like Icarus’

Brian Walter and the Helenvale poets read at the Alliance Francaise Festival of Poetry

Brian Walter will read from his collection Allegories of the Everyday. The reading will focus on poems about Helenvale and the reading will include new work read by the Helenvale poets. Join us for this exciting and ground breaking reading.

Brian Walter travels to France with the Helenvale Poets

Dryad Press poet Brian Walter will be travelling to France with the Helenvale poets whom he mentors. We are proud of the invaluable work Brian does in this under privileged local community and will keep you updated on the progress of this team of young poets.

Dryad Press was at the McGregor Poetry Festival 23-25 August 2019

Thank you Poetry in McGregor for a fantastic weekend of poetry.

Dryad Press is at the McGregor Poetry Festival 23-25 August 2019

Dryad Press poets, Joan Hambidge, Sally Ann Murray, Brian Walter and Michèle Betty read at this year’s McGregor Poetry Festival.

Click here for details of the 3 events

News from the launch of Brian Walter’s Allegories of the Everyday

A big thank you to Exclusive Books and to everyone who attended the launch of Brian Walter’s, Allegories of the Everyday. It was a packed reading and interview thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. We have posted some pictures and two videos of Brian reading his poems for you to enjoy.

Read Joan Hambidge’s fascinating interview with Brian Walter here


Announcing the Launch of Brian Walter’s Allegories of the Everyday

Dryad Press, in association with Exclusive Books, is proud to announce the new collection in the Dryad Press Living Poets Series by Brian Walter, Allegories of the Everyday.

Walter is a previous winner of the Ingrid Jonker Prize for poetry. In this extraordinary collection of poems, he reflects on daily moments drawn from the ordinary – a hovering kestrel, the activities of wasps or crabs, the death of a wildcat, to construct the stations of a journey that shape into a deeper, human story.

Join us at Exclusive Books, Cavendish in Claremont, Cape Town on Wednesday, 7 August 2019 at 18:00 for 18:30 to hear Brian Walter in conversation with critic and poet Joan Hambidge, read from his work.

We look forward to sharing this exciting new collection with you!

Date:  Wednesday, 7 August
Poet: Brian Walter
Collection: Allegories of the everyday
Venue: Exclusive Books, Cavendish
Time: 18:30

Sally Ann Murray Book Reading

Join us at The The Bookshoppe, Tokai on Monday 15 July 2019, to hear Sally Ann Murray read from her new collection Otherwise Occupied.

Date:  Monday, 15 July
Poet: Sally Anne Murray
Collection: Otherwise Occupied
Venue: The Bookshoppe, Tokai
Time: 19:30

For anyone who missed Beverly Rycroft’s incredible talk on CapeTalk, and would like to listen to the interview and discussion regarding breast cancer, as well as hear Bev reading some of her poetry, go to this link:


Re-Launch of Beverly Rycroft’s missing

Beverly Rycroft will be in discussion with Pippa Hudson of CapeTalk, on the re-launch of her debut collection, missing.

Dryad Press is proud to announce the re-launch of Beverly Rycroft’s debut poetry collection, missing. Beverly will be in discussion with Pippa Hudson (of CapeTalk) and Dr Rika Pienaar (Oncologist) on Tuesday, 4 June 2019, 14:00-15:00, on CapeTalk radio. Tune in on 567AM or to join the studio audience at the CapeTalk Green Point Studios.

To be part of the studio audience at CapeTalk, please email comments@capetalk.co.za with the heading: Cancer- Bev Rycroft 4 June in the subject line.

Reading of Sally Ann Murray’s Otherwise Occupied

For those who couldn’t make Sally Ann Murray’s brilliant reading at the Tokai Book Shoppe last night, watch these videos of her reciting “Lady Gaga’s superbowl performance divides America” and “Sample questions for a senatorial quorum”.

Dryad Press, in association with Exclusive Books, is proud to present this serious, often playful, sometimes outrageous volume of poetry by Sally Ann Murray, Chair of the English Department at Stellenbosch University.

Murray draws inspiration from contemporary women’s experimental poetics, inflecting poetry’s familiar inner speech with the sounds and shapes of found materials and engaging cultural noise. In Otherwise Occupied, the poem becomes otherwise under innovative necessity and performative exploration.

Join us to hear poet and critic Joan Hambidge in conversation with Sally Ann Murray on: Wednesday, 10 April 2019 at Exclusive Books, Cavendish, Claremont, Cape Town at 17.30. The acoustic band, GRAVEL ROAD, will be playing LIVE from 17:30 so join us for a glass of wine and a canapé before the interview and reading begins.

We look forward to sharing this landmark
collection with you!

Thank you to everyone who supported the launch of Sally Ann Murray’s, Otherwise Occupied. Thanks also to Exclusive Books for hosting such a successful evening. So great to see a packed bookstore!


Dryad Press is excited to announce that Joan Hambidge will be at the University of Stellenbosch Woordfees, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 at 14:00.

woordfees coroner's wife

Joan Hambidge’s collection of translations, The Coroner’s Wife (Dryad Press, 2017), is a selection of poems in translation chosen from across Hambidge’s more than 25 poetry collections. The translations are by established poets such as Johann de Lange, Charl J.F. Cilliers, Jo Nel and Douglas Reid Skinner.
Join Louise Viljoen in conversation with Joan the poet and Douglas Reid Skinner the translator, poet and editor, about the nuances and complexities of translation. Joan and Douglas will read excerpts from the The Coroner’s Wife, in Afrikaans and English respectively.
The US Woordfees provides poets, authors and literature lovers alike with a unique opportunity to celebrate their craft. Seats will sell out fast, so book your tickets early online at www.woordfees.co.za to avoid disappointment.

Thanks to Elmari Rautenbach and the organisers at the US Woordfees for such an enjoyable event.

Open submission period in April 2019

Dryad Press is pleased to confirm that it has made its selections for publication in 2019. Watch this space for an announcement regarding forthcoming publications in 2019! Dryad will also be accepting submissions for original collections of poetry from South African poets, or poets living in South Africa.

Please take note of the following important information:

Submissions will be open from 1 April to 30 April 2019. 

Manuscripts must be predominantly written in English or Afrikaans, or a combination of those languages. Every manuscript will be read, and all will be considered for publication.

We ask for smaller collections of poetry of between 50-60 pages. Most books published by Dryad Press contain approximately 40 poems and we recommend that you submit manuscripts that do not substantially exceed this in length.

We recommend that you obtain and read collections of poetry previously published by Dryad Press. Our collections are available online at www.dryadpress.co.za, at most Exclusive Books stores and at better bookstores nationwide. This will assist you in gaining an understanding of the type of poetry that we publish.

Successful manuscripts will be published in the manner and format that Dryad Press deems appropriate.

Manuscripts containing poems previously published in magazines, anthologies, journals, or online will be accepted, as long as each previously-published poem is acknowledged in the manuscript. Manuscripts that have already been published previously – including self-publishing – will not be accepted.

We accept manuscripts from writers of any experience, whether they have published a collection of poetry before or not. We do, however, strongly recommend that you obtain the advice and assistance of a trusted colleague or friend (preferably experienced in the collation of literary collections) prior to submitting your work. Manuscripts that have been carefully compiled and thought out tend to stand out and have a better chance of success.

Guidelines for submissions

Dryad Press poets are coming to Johannesburg in November 2018!

Dryad Press launches a new publication in October 2018.

Dryad Press is delighted to be publishing Stephen Symons’s second collection, Landscapes of Light and Loss. Join us at Exclusive Books for the launch!

David Krut and Dryad Press

Listen to a podcast of David Krut in conversation with Michèle Betty on the long collaboration between the two companies and on the complexities of being a poet, publisher and editor.

Podcast: Editor and poet, Michèle Betty

Dryad Press is delighted to be attending the Vrystaat Kunstefees in July 2018

Come join us on Thursday, 12 July at 13:00 for the Bloemfontein launch of Tony Ullyatt’s debut poetry collection, An Unobtrusive Vice. Tony Ullyatt will be in conversation with renowned poet and writer Kobus Moolman.


Dryad Press invites you to the launch of Joan Hambidge’s, The Coroner’s Wife:
Date: Wednesday, 20 June 2018
Venue: David Krut Projects
Address: Montebello Design Centre, Newlands Avenue, Newlands
Time: 18:00 for 18.30
Interview: Joan Hambidge will be in conversation with publisher, Michèle Betty


Dryad Press is excited to announce that poets from the Dryad Press Living Poets Series will be reading from their work at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

Join Tony Ullyatt and Michèle Betty at 14:00 on Saturday, 19 May 2018 for a reading and discussion titled, The Threshold Between and then stay to listen to Beverly Rycroft read with poets Karin Schimke and Kerry Hammerton, at their reading, They f*ck you up your Mum and Dad.

The Franschhoek Literary Festival provides poets, authors and literature lovers alike with a unique opportunity to celebrate their craft. As the venues are cosy, seats will sell out fast, so book your tickets early online at www.flf.co.za to avoid disappointment.


Thanks to Exclusive Books for hosting such a successful reading.

Thanks also to Nielen Prinsloo, Emma Rycroft and their band for providing such excellent music beforehand and to Stephen Symons, Michèle Betty and Beverly Rycroft whose readings were so engaging and to everyone who supported the event and were bold enough to read at the open mic session afterwards. Watch this space for the next Dryad Press reading at Exclusive Books!


Join Dryad Press and Exclusive Books, Cavendish for a reading by poets from the Dryad Press Living Poets Series

Join us at 18h00 for 18h30 on Wednesday, 28 March 2018 at Exclusive Books, Cavendish to hear poets Beverly Rycroft, Michèle Betty and Stephen Symons read from their collections both featured and forthcoming in the Dryad Press Living Poets Series.

If you are a poet, come a little early to add your name to read at the OPEN MIC SESSION!


Thank you to everyone who attended the launch of Tony Ullyatt’s An Unobtrusive Vice.  The illuminating interviews by Joan Hambidge and the insightful readings by Tony Ullyatt, contributed toward two special events.


Dryad Press is delighted to announce the launch of Prof Tony Ullyatt’s debut collection, An Unobtrusive Vice on 20 & 21 February 2018.

“Tony Ullyatt is that rare thing: a poet’s poet, but at the same time utterly accessible. His poems are deliciously dense, his images rich and sharp, and his tone ironical lightly seasoned with humour. Poetry itself is his unobtrusive vice.”– Johann de Lange

Join us  to hear renowned poet and critic Joan Hambidge in conversation with Tony Ullyatt on:

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 at David Krut Projects, Montebello Design Centre, 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands, Cape Town at 18.00 for 18.30. RSVP to elize@davidkrut.com.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018 at Haas Collective, 19 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town at 18h00 for 18h30. RSVP to francois@haascollective.com and emma@haascollective.com.


Launch of David Griessel’s, The Little Book of Mystery

Michèle Betty will be the opening speaker at the launch of David Griessel’s new exhibition. Join us for an evening celebrating the complementary nature of art and literature.

Beverly Rycroft’s, A Private Audience

Thank you to everyone who attended the two launches for Beverly Rycroft’s collection, A Private Audience. The evenings were well attended (full!) and a great success and the interviews by Joan Hambidge and Finuala Dowling brought fascinating insights into the life and work of this masterful poet.

Launch details for Beverly Rycroft’s, A Private Audience

The McGregor Poetry Festival 2017

The McGregor Poetry Festival is taking place from 24-27 August 2017.  See their website http://mcgregorpoetryfestival.co.za/2017-programme/ for a detailed programme.  Listen to Michèle Betty and Kobus Moolman read new poetry on 26 August 2017 and attend Michèle Betty’s workshop on 27 August 2017 on how to optimise your submissions to literary journals for acceptance.

Live Canon International Poetry Competition 2017

Live Canon International Poetry Competition: Michèle Betty’s poem, in the misperception of my life, has been long listed for the Live Canon International Poetry Prize 2017. Follow this link for the shortlist, which is to be announced on 18 August 2017: www.livecanon.co.uk/poetry-competition . Michèle’s poem will feature in the coming 2017 anthology, which will be available online on the Live Canon website.

Read Poem

Forthcoming Publication

Publication of Unearthed

Dryad Press is pleased to announce the launch of Unearthed:  A Selection of the Best Poems Published in 2016  on Thursday, 29 June 2017The anthology is edited by Joan Hambidge and Michèle Betty.  The following poets will be in conversation with Joan Hambidge and will read from their work:  Stephen Symons, Juanita Louw, Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese and Helen Moffett.

Click here for more details



Publication of Metaphysical Balm

Metaphysical Balm was launched at David Krut Projects in Newlands on 23 March 2017. Here is the interview between the author and renowned poet, critic and writer Joan Hambidge, which was conducted at the launch. It provides many insights into the collection that the reader will find interesting and informative in the context of many of the sub texts contained in the collection.

Click here for more details.


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