Making covers for Modjaji’s books: Fourth Child by Megan Hall

Working on covers with artists and illustrators has been one of the deep joys of the work I have done over the past 13 years. I’ve wanted to show those who are interested how we choose the final cover and how sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is more complicated.

The very first cover was Megan Hall’s debut poetry collection, Fourth Child. Hannah Morris, who I already knew as an artist, and who had done the Masters in Illustration at Stellenbosch University made the cover. It was relatively easy to get to it. You would have to read the whole collection to understand why it is called Fourth Child and also what our thinking was behind the cover. Dressmaking, sewing, mending, her grandmother’s love, terrible loss days are all key elements of Megan’s exquisite collection of poems.




Not surreptiously,
but so as to make the darns and patches
themselves the focus of the light.

I hope to do this
over the hole in my soul
you made.

As you can see the image with the dressmaker’s dummy was a draft, not fully realised. I love the detail of the cover we chose, the quality of fabric, and feathers, wings, and Hannah Morris’s beautiful hand lettering, which at the time was unusual for poetry collections in South Africa.



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