Out of Africa and back to the Lang Toun ...

Kirkcaldy artist Antosa Isherwood
Kirkcaldy artist Antosa Isherwood

A KIRKCALDY woman has set up her own publishing company to reprint the children’s books she penned while living in Africa.

Antosa Isherwood wrote and illustrated her first African story for children in 1992 and this was followed by three more over the next few years.

But she never saw any royalties - despite selling 200,000 copies of her first published works.

Now Antosa feels the time is right to republish her books after securing the legal publishing rights and copyright to all her art work.

The town artist has always enjoyed sketching and painting, but it was only after a family tragedy that she began to focus more seriously on her art work.

She said: “My late husband Ian was tragically killed when we lived in Africa, I was only 32 and we had four sons and seven businesses. After this happened art became my therapy. I ran my own kindergarten in Mombasa and I used to tell stories to the children and sing songs to them.

‘‘The parents used to ask me where the books were and it just evolved from there. Before I knew it my first book “Don’t Run Rhino” was published.”

Antosa’s other stories followed namely “Run Poachers Run!”, “The Tale of Ole Saidimu and The Toothless Lion” and “The Crocodile Who Went To Sea.” She signed a contract with a firm in Africa to publish her books, but following the death of her husband, she had been trying to continue their businesses and bring up their sons before realising her publishers had not been sending her a penny for her work.

In 1999, Antosa came back to the UK after living in Africa for 30 years. She went back to education and achieved an MA in in art history and this year she decided it was time to return to her beloved children’s books.

She said: “I lost all the money I had, but I felt this was the time for me and through finding ways to raise cash I started my own publishing company, Jambo Books Ltd, and have reprinted my books.

“They are being sold locally in Rejects and can also be found in the National Library of Scotland.

‘‘I have a fifth book which I haven’t published yet but I am intending to.”

She added: “I’m now very excited about what’s going to happen next.”