‘Up close with Cape Town-based author Qarnita Loxton’ – profile by Joy Watson

Her ‘Being’ series is reminiscent of ‘Sex and the City’, giving that same salubrious dose of feel-good endorphins that comes with a group of women who are there for each other through thick and thin.

Qarnita Loxton’s Being Dianne, launched in 2021, is the fourth book in a series about the lives of four feisty friends (Kari, Lily, Shelley and Dianne) – the stories of their loves and losses, and the way in which they have each other’s backs when the rubber hits the road. It is reminiscent of Sex and the City – giving that same salubrious dose of feel-good endorphins that comes with a group of women who are there for each other through thick and thin.

In Being Dianne, Dianne is struggling to navigate her relationship with her daughters, particularly the elder one, Kate, who has become withdrawn and seems to be harbouring a secret. Dianne’s first post-divorce relationship has fallen apart. She meets a younger woman, Faye, on Tinder. The prickly thing is that the only people who know that Dianne is bisexual are her friends in the awesome foursome group. And while Faye seems to be planning the wedding cake in her head, Dianne, on her side, is nowhere near ready to commit. 

The Being series started with Being Kari, which was published in 2017, a year after Loxton’s mother died. “It was a bit of a midlife crisis. I was a lawyer and when I had my first son, I quit my job to start consulting. I found that I needed more – something challenging and creative. I did an online creative writing course and it opened my mind as to what I was able to do. At the time, I had come to realise that female friendships were a big part of my support system. They told us on the writing course to write about something that would sustain us for a year, so I decided to write about the friendships between women.”

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Qarnita Loxton: Winner of the Philida Literary Award in 2021

Today, on the sixth anniversary of André Brink’s death, we pay tribute to his life and work and announce that the Philida Literary Award, established in his memory in 2020, goes to Qarnita Loxton and is awarded to her for an oeuvre of literary excellence.

Qarnita Loxton by Retha Ferguson

Qarnita Loxton was born and lives in Cape Town. She has practised as an attorney in the financial services industry. Her first novel, Being Kari (Kwela, 2017), was longlisted for the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature and shortlisted for the 2018 Charles Bosman Prize. Being Lily (Kwela) followed in 2018, and Being Shelley (Kwela), the third book in the series, a year later.

Qarnita Loxton on accepting the Philida Literary Award: “You have brought the very best news! Thank you and the judges so much for considering me, I am beyond thrilled. It will be my absolute pleasure and honour to accept the Philida Literary Award for 2021.”

2017 Being Kari

2018 Being Lily

2019 Being Shelley

‘Funny and poignant, with characters so believable I feel I know them.’

– Pamela Power about Being Lily

‘I loved crazy, funny Shelley even when I wanted to strangle her.’

– Dudu Busani-Dube about Being Shelley

The 2021 Philida Literary Award judges were Desiree-Anne Martin, Helen Moffett, Joanne Hichens, Karina M. Szczurek and Sara-Jayne Makwala King.