Isobel Dixon – champion for Vuyani Safe Haven’s children

Vuyani Safe Haven is always extremely grateful and excited when a new person proposes to become a champion for our children.

Isobel Dixon, MD and Head of Books at the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, and a renowned poet in her own right, did several Zoom events about her poetry with schools in Argentina and the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She asked the schools to donate to Vuyani Safe Haven instead of her receiving a fee.

Isobel previously also donated the honorarium paid for her poignant poem, Matshepe’s Dance, published in the April issue of The Johannesburg Review of Books.

Isobel was born in Mthatha and grew up in Graaff-Reinet, where her Scottish father Reverend C. Harwood Dixon taught first at Union High, then was principal at Nqweba Secondary. She went to school at Union Prep and Union High for her whole school career, then studied at Stellenbosch and got a scholarship to Edinburgh University, where she completed Master’s degrees in English Literature and Applied Linguistics. Since her leap into publishing in London twenty-five years ago she lives happily in two worlds, returning to her hometown several times a year (when that is possible, though sadly not in 2020).

Isobel’s poetry collection A Fold in the Map features poems about her childhood in Graaff-Reinet and her parents Ann and Harwood Dixon. In particular, a poem called ‘Plenty’, about drought in the Karoo and her mother, is on the international IGCSE English examination syllabus and is studied by young students around the world. Isobel is passionate about promoting reading and educational opportunities for all, and happy that her poetry about the Karoo can travel further afield, but also serve to support young people back home.