Old New Worlds

A missionary’s wife leaves Regency England to minister to the Khoikhoi in South Africa. Two hundred years later, her great-great granddaughter leaves Africa to immigrate to the United States. Across time and place, two immigrant stories begin to touch and entwine.

Old New Worlds is a work of creative nonfiction that is both timeless and timely. The narrative arc follows the life of Sarah Barker, who left England with her missionary husband in 1815 to minister to the indigenous Khoikhoi in pre-apartheid South Africa. Interwoven with this immigrant story, and looking at it through the lens of hindsight, is that of Sarah Barker’s great-great granddaughter, Judith Krummeck, whose own immigration from South Africa to America almost two hundred years later drew as many parallels as distinctions.

The intimate lives of these two women in their different times and places are thrown into relief against the larger social issues of colonialism and immigration, ethnic prejudice and genealogical roots, which are as urgent and universal today as they have ever been. The book is a combination of rigorous research, based on original diaries, letters, and archives, and of lyrical imaginings, as the author immerses herself in the pioneering life of her great-great grandmother and comes to love her as a soul mate.

Praise for Old New Worlds

Judith Krummeck’s writing combines delicacy with vividness, restraint with passion. It is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. —Tony Peake

Krummeck answers these questions and many more … with flowing prose, too, that makes her gem of a tale an easy read while bringing the main characters to life. —Bill Hughes for Baltimore Post-Examiner

“In this cross-genre work, Krummeck (Beyond the Baobab, 2014) interweaves a memoir of her immigration to America with a creative imagining of her great-great-grandmother’s journey to South Africa as a missionary’s wife. … Krummeck’s own story is written as a memoir, but Sarah’s reads like a historical novel, with factual material and imagined dialogue side-by-side. These forms elegantly dovetail when the author inserts her first-person perspective into Sarah’s narrative: “Sarah had conceived her fourth child around the time of their third wedding anniversary—I like to think on their wedding anniversary.” Krummeck also evocatively describes the landscape through her ancestor’s eyes: “The clean air was pure and rich, the redolent earth a tawny ochre.” The present and past meld well, creating a sense that the author has a foot in both worlds.” —Kirkus Reviews

Judith Krummeck’s OLD NEW WORLDS is a beautiful, elegantly written story of two brave immigrant women: Judith and her great-great grandmother, Sarah Barker. From apartheid in South Africa to the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore, from migrating on wagons with oxen, to learning how to drive on the “wrong” side of the road on the beltway, this story reminds us that the human journey toward freedom, equality and love, is an ongoing thread that reaches toward a better future while connecting us to our troubled past. —Jessica Anya Blau, author of the nationally bestselling novel The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and the critically acclaimed Drinking Closer to Home

Judith Krummeck steps into the fascinating story of her great-great grandmother with a wonderful combination of authority and self-reflection. A beautiful braiding of the lives of two women separated by two centuries. —Jane Delury, The Balcony

Articles & Media

Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors shed light on their recently released books by comparing them to weird things. This week Judith Krummeck writes about her memoir, Old New Worlds... Read the feature at Monkeybicycle

Judith Krummeck’s new book, “Old New Worlds” (Green Writers Press, 360 pp., $24.95), occupies a unique spot on the spectrum of creative non-fiction. —Marion Winik Q&A with Judith Krummeck for Baltimore Fishbowl 

Author’s note about the book:

  • My new book interweaves two immigrant stories from different times and places, creating a dual biographical and memoirist narrative, to explore shared experiences of migration, colonization, racism, and the familial connections of genealogy.
  • I did on-site research at the National Library of South Africa in Cape Town; at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) at the University of London; at the Cory Library at Rhodes University in Grahamstown; and I visited the site of the Theopolis Mission station in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. I have photographic and electronic documentation from all these research sites.
  • I employed a genealogist to help me trace Sarah’s story. 


About the Author
Judith Krummeck is a writer and broadcaster living in Baltimore. Prior to emigrating from South Africa to the United States, Judith was a professional actor and the arts editor for SAfm at the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Since 1998 she has been the evening drive time host for Baltimore’s classical music station WBJC, where she also hosts the monthly series Booknotes. Judith graduated summa cum laude with an MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore, and she holds a BA from the University of Cape Town. Judith is the author of Beyond the Baobab, a collection of essays about her immigrant experience.

Visit the author’s website: https://judithkrummeck.com


300 pages  I  6.00 x 9.00 in.
Price: $24.95 (CA $33.95)
ISBN: 978-1-9505840-9-3
EPUB, $12.95 (US $12.95) (CA $16.95)
ISBN 9781950584413

Pub date: October 15, 2019

Keywords: autobiography; personal history; women’s studies; immigration

Distributor: IPG. Visit IPG’s website for more information and ordering.
Individuals can order via IPG, Indiebound.org, online, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
Booksellers, libraries, colleges/universities, gift shops, etc., can order through IPG:
Independent Publishers Group
814 N. Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Order Placement: (800) 888-4741

Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & publicity contact Dede Cummings, publisher: dede@greenwriterspress.com