Allow me to tear you away from that downpour of digital noise on your endless social feed. Let me whisk you away to a stifling hot African hut. 

Your destination... Basutoland, in the heart of Southern Africa.

The sun’s burning down on your head, there’s barely a breath of wind sneaking between the trees, yet, only meters away, elephant hunters are stalking the arid Savannah close to a little boy's mud hut.

Scared? That’s how 12-year-old Tiki Penrose Matsile felt when, in 1922, his innocent world of looking forward to his manhood initiation was ripped apart. Instead of taking the long-awaited ceremony, Penrose was enslaved as a goat herder and spent the rest of his life searching for his identity.

Permit me to fast-forward you to that boy's incredible story...

 Finding Penrose paperback and eBook

Chapter 1

Basutoland 1922

Tiki Penrose Matsile jolts awake with a gasp, an icy fist squeezing his lungs. A serpent coils in his belly, piercing him with a chill colder than death, hissing: Today.

Tiki snaps his eyes open. Dust motes pirouette above his head as they shaft through gaps in his thatched roof. He rises from his floor mattress and creeps to the door.

Outside, the air hangs heavy with the smoky sweetness of cooking fires, mingling with the damp kiss of dew on the earthen floor. A rooster's brazen squawk rips through the sleepy African village, shattering the peace.

A few feet from the door, a giant of a man, all elbows and knees, hunches over a hide, scraping with a rhythmic rasp. The dim light catches the silver streaks in his beard, momentarily illuminating a wide, toothy grin as he glances up. But a flicker of tension crosses his features, barely perceptible, as a faint rumble, like distant thunder, echoes from the direction of the plains. He blinks it away.

'Dumela, my son,' the deep voice booms. [Good morning, my son.]

Warmth floods Tiki's chest, pushing back the frantic drumming within. 'Dumela, Baba,' he replies, a small wave the only response his suddenly leaden limbs can muster. [Good morning, father.]

He is about to go and hug his father with his usual morning ritual, but slumps against the door frame, scratching the dirt, searching for a hidden gem.

Suddenly, thunderous hooves shatter the tranquillity. Tiki's heart lurches. His foot freezes on the threshold, caught between seeking comfort in Baba's arms and the terror that urges him to hide. His eyes narrow, piercing the sentinel trees guarding the village.

The serpent hisses again: Today, the white men come to take Baba.

Baba stops scraping and wipes his arm over his sweaty face. 'Go inside, my son,' his deep voice rumbles through the hut. He leans over and strokes a broken spear but doesn't lift it.

The African village, usually abuzz with the early morning chores, seems to hold its breath. A low murmur ripples through the huts, punctuated by the hurried thud of footsteps. An elder with eyes like polished obsidian fixes Tiki with a long, knowing stare, and then the wizened old man darts into a hut for cover.

Tiki steps backward into the shadows.

Story Synopsis

In 1922, a young African boy, on the brink of manhood, is ripped from his home, after witnessing his father's brutal murder, and escapes the clutches of slavery with amnesia and only his name: Penrose

Under the oppressive South African apartheid, every step is a risk for a young man without an identity. Haunted by the scars of trauma, Penrose finds sanctuary with a white family in apartheid South Africa, but without an identity, every step is fraught with danger.

Torn between loyalty and his burning desire for freedom, Penrose embarks on a dangerous quest to reclaim his past while risking everything to protect his newfound family. As he confronts his destiny and uncovers painful truths, Penrose's long-buried secret threatens to shatter the very foundations of his world.

With his dream of freedom within reach, Penrose must face his shadowy past to redefine his identity and embrace the man he was always meant to become. 

But can the shadows unlock the truth?


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From Boy to Goat Herder to Hero

Finding Penrose is a poignant, heart-warming tale inspired by true events and set against the turbulent backdrop of apartheid oppression in South Africa. It chronicles the extraordinary journey of an African man who lived most of his life without an official identity, constantly at risk under the brutal regime.

It honours an ordinary man's extraordinary courage and resilience.

 

Meet the real life Penrose

Meet Penrose

Penrose passed away one year after receiving his ID document and finding out his age when Miss Ad threw him his "first birthday party." To this day, he is remembered with great love and affection by all of Miss Ad's family, her children, and their children (I'm in amongst this lot, but more about me in a moment). 

When I was twenty and just learning about creative writing, I promised Penrose that I would write his story. Now, finally, forty years later, it is written (Sorry for the delay, Pen! But I hope it was worth the wait!)

It's a story told with deep respect and abiding love for my African 'grandfather', who helped to raise more than 50 children in our extended family.

A man of peace and goodwill, of kindness and generosity, of love and loyalty that went far beyond a sense of duty.  

Now it's time to share Penrose's incredible tale. His quiet courage in overcoming unthinkable hardship can inspire us today. By supporting this project, you'll help bring his real-life story from the shadows into the light. I like to think Penrose is cheering us on from beyond.

A small person. A giant of a man. Penrose Tiki Matsile will never be forgotten.

This story may resonate with you because the inequality of people around the world is still happening today. Long after Penrose's story ends. But his enduring spirit prevails.

I hope you'll join me in honouring his legacy with a story that reminds us, no matter how dark the night, the human spirit can shine bright. 

IMAGE CAPTION: Here are the real people, Penrose and Miss Ad (my grandmother, whom Penrose called Miss Ad).

Fact & Fiction in Finding Penrose

Fact & Fiction

There was a lot of weaving fiction between the facts to glue together a story of a man that I loved as a grandfatherly figure. My biggest regret is not having the time (in my younger life) to sit down with Penrose to tell the story. There are still a lot of story details that none of my family can recall, which is sad that he's not here to share it.

Some parts of Penrose's life remained unknown since he sadly could not be consulted. But I can just imagine how he's chuckling over the liberties taken to spice up the storyline.

I don’t live my life with regrets, so I'm now using my energy and passion to tell his story. And that of my grandmother - an incredible woman who didn’t know how to fight the system and instead confronted it with love for all humanity. 

I also believe that now is as good a time as any to remind the world that these stories that sneak to the surface are still out there amongst stories of similar situations in today’s world. Will humanity ever learn?!

So while imagined narrative and characters enrich the storytelling, Finding Penrose stays true to the essence of this remarkable man and the formidable Miss Ad. Their perseverance through oppressive conditions and uplifting outlook in the face of adversity are authentic. This story aims to pay respectful homage to their real-life resilience that went beyond any fiction.

Comparable Stories

Stories that explore resilience and social justice have long struck a chord with audiences and driven impactful change. Films like "12 Years a Slave" reached over 120 million viewers worldwide, sparking crucial conversations about racial injustice. Uplifting stories like "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Harriet" inspired audiences and highlighted the power of perseverance. Literary works like "To Kill a Mockingbird" have reached millions, igniting empathy and influencing education.

Recent films like "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" garnered acclaim for shedding light on critical issues like renewable energy access and women's rights in STEM.

By supporting our project, you join this legacy of impactful storytelling that entertains, educates, and empowers positive change through the power of narrative. Our goal is to inspire the same passion and progress through the tale of Finding Penrose.

 

Comparable Stories to Finding Penrose

 

Finding Penrose Kickstarter Campaign

Why This Campaign?

Beyond the simple joys of a good story, I hope that "Finding Penrose" will inspire readers to embrace their own resilience and face life's challenges with a renewed sense of courage and determination. I want readers to see a little bit of themselves in the characters' struggles and triumphs, and to feel empowered to overcome their obstacles, no matter how daunting they may seem.

I also hope that the story will encourage readers to look at the world with a little more empathy and understanding. By walking in the shoes of characters from different backgrounds and experiences, I believe we can all develop a greater appreciation for the complexity and diversity of the human experience. And who knows? Maybe "Finding Penrose" will even inspire a few readers to start penning their own stories!

My greatest hope is that "Finding Penrose" will bring a little more light, laughter, and inspiration into the world. If it manages to do that, even for just a handful of readers, I'll consider it a resounding success. And if it happens to become a bestseller and spawn a Hollywood movie, well, that's just the cherry on top! 

I imagine Penrose beaming with quiet appreciation at the chance to uplift others.

Your support helps transform Penrose's story into one of inspiration and hope that resonates across cultures and generations.

By backing this campaign with any rewards down the right-hand side of this page, you become part of sharing an eternal testament to the human capacity for courage. Let's keep Penrose's spirit thriving! Every little bit counts!

Paula Sheridan author and screenwriter of Finding Penrose

About Me

My name is Paula Sheridan, though I grew up as Paula Hawkins (not that girl on the train!), and I also write novels under the name of Paula Wynne. There are three Paula's wriggling around inside me!

Why have I waited so long to introduce myself? Quite simply because this story is not about me. It's about Penrose!

I'm a passionate animal advocate and have rescued over 50 cats and 10 dogs since my husband, Ken, and I moved to our Writing Retreat home in Andalusia ten years ago.  If you'd like to get to know me a little more, you can read more about me (and the other Paula's inside me).

It was during my childhood and youth in South Africa that I was blessed to have Penrose Matsile in my life. He was a guiding light - a grandfatherly presence who profoundly shaped me during the country's darkest times.

Storytelling has always been my passion. From an early age, I started sharing stories with my siblings and even ruined our parent's antique coffee table. Find out how we did this!

I've been fortunate to with a career as an award-winning entrepreneur, novelist, screenwriter, and author. A fascination with screenwriting led me to pursue a film director course, further broadening my narrative lens. Beyond any professional success, what truly drives me is creating uplifting narratives that celebrate our shared humanity.

See my fondest memory of Penrose.

What's The Campaign?

By supporting our project, you join the legacy of impactful storytelling that entertains, educates, and empowers positive change. Your contributions will enable an extended global promotional campaign, ensuring Penrose's story reaches audiences worldwide.

The novel will be published on my budget, but the funds raised will go towards a global outreach campaign to ensure Penrose's story reaches every corner of the globe. For example, it will be great to see the story translated into different languages and to have it as an audiobook to ensure diversity.

To open the curtain, here are some future Stretch Goals...

The Novel

  • £10,000 to produce an audiobook version and expand distribution so readers who are unable to read the story can listen to it.
  • £40,000 to translate the story into several languages, so people around the world can also enjoy Penrose's story of courage and hope.

See what I mean about streeeeetttttccchhh goals! Before the inflation of the 'stretch' bursts, it leaves me with one last thing to say...

Thank You Gifts for backing Finding Penrose

Thank You Gifts for backing Finding Penrose

Please see the exciting range of thank-you gifts, rewards, and perks on offer for this campaign, either down the right side or click on the 'Rewards' tab at the top of the page to see full details. 

Available Perks for Readers and Writers

1. Perks for Readers

Thank You Card
Ambassador Badge
Deluxe Foil Bookmark
Your Name On Finding Penrose Website
VIP Club
Finding Penrose eBook
Finding Penrose Paperback
Finding Penrose Hardback
Finding Penrose T-Shirt
Your Name in a Review Quote
Boxset of 8 eBooks
Finding Penrose eBook & Paperback
Special Limited Edition Hardback Book
Virtual Tea With the Author
Name Penrose’s Goat
Name a Character
Name a Speaking Character
Book Dedication

Writers, if you want to follow the same route I am taking with producing your own story, or if you want the know-how behind pitching to a producer, ensuring your story will engage a producer plus lots more that you need, please read on to find out the rewards you will receive for supporting my campaign for Finding Penrose.

Writer perks are designed with writers in mind - writers who believe in your story and can see it on the big screen, and readers of heart-warming books that touch the hearts of even the toughest people around the world.

2. Perks for Writers

Writers' Toolkit Bundle
Logline Rewrite
Critique
Book Adaptation Mentorship
Script Pitch Prep Mentorship
Page Turning Techniques Mentorship
3-Month Writing Mentorship
Book Promotion Mentorship
Virtual Writing Retreat
Spanish Writing Retreat
 

Of course, all the Readers perks are also available to writers.

Be A Finding Penrose Hero

Other Ways to Help

Even if you can't contribute financially, you can still be a hero for Finding Penrose by sharing our campaign on social media using #FindingPenrose. As a special thank you, we'll feature the names of top sharers in our updates!

Thank you for reading the full details of this campaign!

Get Involved & Notified!

The time is now – take action today and be part of this extraordinary journey from the very beginning! Help bring 'Finding Penrose' to the world stage!

Please share Penrose's story!

Here are a selection of Supporter Sharing Messages and Images

Praise for Finding Penrose

We're thrilled to announce that Finding Penrose has already captured the hearts of readers and industry professionals alike! The story has garnered significant interest, with two producers expressing their desire to bring it to the big screen. We've even received endorsements from some amazing celebrities who believe in the power of this narrative. By supporting this Kickstarter campaign, you'll be among the first to get your hands on this captivating story and help us lay the groundwork for exciting future adaptations!

Check the praise for Penrose's story - including celebrities who love the story!