Bloomer Anne Schlebusch The South African exclusive interview

Author Anne Schlebusch unpacks the story behind her revolutionary new novel ‘Bloomer’. Image: Supplied.

Local author sheds light on silenced voices in groundbreaking novel

In an exclusive interview, author Anne Schlebusch unpacks the story behind her latest novel ‘Bloomer’ and dives into why elderly voices matter.

Bloomer Anne Schlebusch The South African exclusive interview

Author Anne Schlebusch unpacks the story behind her revolutionary new novel ‘Bloomer’. Image: Supplied.

Capetonian author Anne Schlebusch recently released her first adult fiction novel Bloomer. With the enigmatic character of 70-year-old Maggie at the helm, Bloomer is a revolutionary work celebrating the stories of those most ignored in our modern world.

Anne is no novice when it comes to the world of fiction. She has written several young adult novels and she was the 1995 Joint Winner of the “Young Africa Award”. In 2020, one of her short stories was longlisted in the Kwela Corona Competition.

In an exclusive interview with The South African, Anne unpacks her writing process, her inspiration for her stories, her future writing plans and much more!

Read our review of Bloomer HERE: Capetonian author celebrates overlooked voices in latest novel


Image via Twitter @roeliareads.

In her interview, Anne unpacked the experiences shared by old people during lockdown. She states that they were seen as a big problem because they were more susceptible and because of this, they needed to be contained and locked away.

“When the first statistics came out and people saw that it was mostly older people who were most affected, the world breathed a sigh of relief and tried to lock them away”, Anne explains. This inspired her to write a story of older people saying, “We are not dead yet, so we might as well live the lives we want”.

In Bloomer, the characters show that life does not stop when you are over 60. In fact, life still holds romance, fun, heartbreak and the chance for reinvention.


Image via Twitter @nancyvee.

When Anne was asked about her writing process with Bloomer, she laughs and says that it was chaos initially but that she soon had all her chapter headings mapped out. As a 70-year-old herself, she felt that her writing about the elderly was authentic and real. Even though the main character of Maggie is not based on Anne herself, she wanted to keep the characters as true to life as possible. “I felt comfortable writing about aging because I am aging”.

In the midst of hard lockdown, Anne wrote and wrote. While on the daily allotted walks, she planned the plot of the story. She states that it was “a journey of the mind as I wanted to write something realistic but also thought-provoking and fun”.


But Anne is far from being done with writing. She is currently busy working on another young adult novel. She will also have a new short story out later in the year that will be published by Tattoo Press.

In an exciting turn of events, an agent took Bloomer to the London Book Fair has suggested that Anne get writing on a sequel as soon as possible. There is also the possibility of a TV series for Bloomer in the future, so watch this space!


Image via Twitter @anne_schlebusch.

When asked about her favourite authors and books, Anne states that she reads far and wide. “I have a very eclectic reading taste. I read everything”.

Some personal favourites of Anne include famous page-turners by Liane Moriarty and she is currently reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Anne also loves diving into African fiction, current fiction as well as a good ol’ crime novel.


Like Maggie, the protagonist in her exciting debut novel for adults, Anne Schlebusch is 70 years old. This deft author is no stranger to writing though, having been a co-author of language textbooks and a curriculum guide. She has also written 3 young adult novels. In 2020, her short story was longlisted in the Kwela Corona Competition.

Anne has always been one for the world of words. After completing her MPhil in Applied Language Studies at UCT in 1995, Anne left teaching to join the Western Cape Education Department. She concluded her long and illustrious career with a decade as Director for Business Strategy.

Bloomer is published by Modjaji Books and is available for purchase from Exclusive Books stores for R330.