My father Jack Cope and his twin brother Tom were born in this house on the 3rd of June 1913.
A journalist and writer, he started as a reporter, worked in Fleet St during the 1930s, and joined the staff of The Guardian, South Africa’s communist paper, where he remained until 1955. Leaving jouralism for a literary career, he published eight novels, 3 books of poems and over fifty short stories. A leading figure in South African literature in the 1960s and 1970s, he edited Contrast, the SA literary journal for many of those years. He nurtured many writers, including the likes of Ingrid Jonker, (his lover in the early 1960s) Richard Rive and Mark Swift. He was a part of South Africa’s Sestiger literary movement, and friends with most of the South African writers of that time.
He lived in Clifton, Cape Town from 1953 to 1971, when he moved to Onrust, then a small village in the Southern Cape. In 1981 he moved to Hitchin in the UK, where he lived until his death in 1991.
Jack as a young man. Mid-1930s.
A portrait of Jack by Lesley, his wife from 1942 – 1960.
Jack in the late ’80s
Some books by Jack Cope:
- Marie: A South African Satire (1948)
- The Fair House (1955)
- The Golden Oriole (1958)
- The Road To Ysterberg: A Novel (1959)
- The Penguin Book Of South African Verse (Co- editor) (1968)
- The Dawn Comes Twice (1969)
- The Rain-Maker (1971)
- My Son Max (1977)
- The Adversary Within: Dissident Writers In Afrikaans (1982)