product about the author

Amy Shelver was born in Johannesburg in the early 80s, an ongoing extension of the Clan McEwan and Emslie families, who arrived in South Africa as colonizers and settlers more than 200 years ago. She is both of the Cape and the world. A journalist, anthropologist, and development specialist, Amy plies her trade in words and by making meaning out of life’s complexity. Over her 15 year career, she has worked on major development and communications projects, campaigns, and strategies to drive narrative change, tell compelling stories, influence opinion, and manage crises and reputation, taking her from creative industry basements to world industry boardrooms. Amy spent her early career as a journalist for Times Media and freelancing as both a writer and researcher. Later she moved into public relations, running Meropa Communications’ national corporate division, while also dedicating her time to her social entrepreneurship initiative, the n_mb city project, which nurtured and skilled young creative talent in Nelson Mandela Bay. Then, she joined the South African Cultural Observatory to help establish it as a statistical office for measuring the size and impact of South Africa’s creative economy. In the latter half of her career, Amy has worked at the United Nations, pivoting between substantive and communications roles, for UNCTAD’s creative economy and communications teams. Amy has not only written thousands of journalistic stories, but she has also spent the past 20 years kindling her poetry and essay writing. This led to the establishment of Onomatopoeia Publishing, a collaborative digital publishing house that brings together artists and writers, and the publication of her first poetry collection, Onomatopoeia: Observations, Moments, Poetry. Amy also co-authored Rogue, Rebel, or Revolutionary. The Life and Times of Dawid Stuurman and Feel It Forever: The 2010 World Cup in Nelson Mandela Bay, which she edited.Difficult to box, Amy is extremely creative and collaborative, and when she is not communicating about the trade and development issues of our time, Amy seeks to make meaningful connections, explore stories, and create positive social spaces in the digital dimension that nurture creativity. She has lived in Johannesburg, Gqebhera, London, Tokyo, New York, Geneva, and Cape Town, but also spends a lot of time in Berlin and San Francisco, her happy places and sources of inspiration.

Hometown:Date Of Birth:
Johannesburg, GautengMay 16
Place of Birth:Education:
Johannesburg, Gauteng Studied Socio-economic Development at Nelson Mandela University
Studied Psychology at The University of South Africa
Website:Studied TV Journalism and Anthropology at Rhodes University.
Chapter 1 Poems


Artwork: Joy (2017) l Henrique Pacini l Digital photograph l Brazil l Not for sale

It’s Friday night, and the wheels are starting to turn. There is jazz in the air and dance on the streets. The impatient stars are starting to align. Are you ready? To be up there? At the dizzying heights, moving to those sultry beats? I’m coming. As I’ve always been… You get everything you ever ask for

Upcoming Projects


Ponytales is a collection of women’s stories of mishaps and metamorphoses in a changing world where the power balance is shifting, but not always towards greater equality.

Featured Poetry


Artwork: Dolly on Dolly (2019) | Reiner Swanepoel | Digital graphic print, 21cm x 21cm | Onomatopoeia, Port Elizabeth | R50.00 per digital file
Artwork: Dolly on Dolly (2019) | Reiner Swanepoel | Digital Graphic Print, 21cm x 21cm | Onomatopoeia, Port Elizabeth | R50.00 per Digital File

Stop at the door,
you yellow dragon,
before the trapdoor opens.

Pause on the floor,
you tangerine temptress,
before the ocean deepens.

Halt by the law,
you golden gremlin,
before the coming rebellion.
I will eat you and disappear into oblivion.



Amy Shelver
Author Photograph: Frederik Jaeger (2017) | New York, New York

Emerging from a history of loss and long-suffering love, Amy is a product of an industrial erosion struggling against vast open spaces. Her dreams are its clouds, ambition her sky, her form of the earth.

In thought she cautiously opens, in the word she is ruminative, in practice, she is composed, in desire she is tacit, in disappointment she is forgiving, in rest she is pleasure, in the effort she is indefatigable.

She intuitively understands the difference between the slight of touch which nudges the people of this world toward their unfolding longing, and the load-bearing balance required to bastion a fledgling community. She moves with us all, patient, determined, carrying more than her share, and always ever forward.

Her ungrudging courage is formidable in its humility and redoubtable to those in need of its inspiration and shelter.

Amy is a sister. Amy is a family. Amy is a beating heart. Amy is a home.

Through the blinding dust on this road of life, Amy is alongside you.

Amy Shelver delivers.

Featured Art


Artwork: Almost free (2019) | Michael Barry | Monotype, A4 | Almost free | Sold
Artwork: Almost Free (2019) | Michael Barry | Monotype, A4 | Almost Free | Sold
A Bathing

Cry beloved country,
Cry beloved country,

Cleanse the open plains
With gentle tears.
Wash the grime from the kranse
Water the sun-dried tomato fields
And bring them to life again.

Kiss our weary land
With life-giving
And restore breath
To our weary lungs.

Cry beloved country,
Rid your soul of terror.
Expel the reigning torment
And breathe.

Quiet night kisses you
And leaves an embrace
Of black stillness.

Rest, beloved country,
Sweet South Africa,
Strong fortress,
Now clean.