The South African Author’s Website
about the author a guide to south africa's mountain passes and poorts share the stage look back with pride! the flying lady


Patrick Coyne, who is a retired Headmaster, is in his own words, both a classic car fanatic and a passes fanatic. When he and his wife Helen decided to drive over fifty of the country’s mountain passes, it went without saying that they would tackle them in their classic 1960 Rover - though some of their friends gloomily suggested that their first stop should be ‘an AA-recommended psychiatrist’. Yet the journey was both fascinating and completely successful. Once it was over, the work began, and his book

A Guide to South Africa’s Mountain Passes and Poorts ) is the result of years of research into finding out the intriguing history and origin of each pass and poort. This book has received complimentary reviews in many major South African newspapers and magazines and continues to sell well across the country.

It won the South African Writers’ Circle ‘Quo Vadis Award’ at the 2011 annual prize-giving.

Patrick’s career as a writer began in 1959 with an article published in CAR magazine about the Coynes’ car trip to Lesotho,

then Basutoland. He had many more articles published in both the South African CAR and CARAVAN magazines, and also in GETAWAY magazine.  In 1997 he published his first book, Cross of Gold, the story of his old school founded in 1848, St George’s Grammar School, Cape Town (Ampersand Press), which had a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


In 2006 his book Ten Years of Being Slightly Serious, was published by Writers’ Circle Publishing, its second edition being published in 2008 by Osborne-Porter Literary Services.  In 2009 this company published his book Share the Stage!

Play Production in Primary Schools. In 2012 the same company published his next book: Look Back With Pride!. In 2013 his latest book The Flying Lady was published by BK Press.

During all this, Patrick has been prolific in the writing of successful stage and radio plays. He has three times won First Prize in the Science Fiction SA’s annual short story competition, and he has won many competitions organised by the South African Writers’ Circle, of which he is a past Vice-Chairman.      

LIST OF PATRICK’S BOOKS ON SALE (to order, contact Errol:
Available from BK Press ( or phone the author on 082 484 6900.
Price: R160 including Tracking p&p.

As an author, and reader, of full-length novels I’m reminded by Patrick Coyne’s The Flying Lady of just how satisfying short stories can be in the hands of a talented writer. Coyne tells them in a straight line from start to finish as befits the genre – no meandering or padding, keeping the tales taut and absorbing. Highly charged, inventive ‘excerpts’, so to speak, from ordinary people’s lives, with a beginning, middle, and end, providing bite-sized, pleasing reads. Short stories are easy to read – one of the nice things about this book – but far from easy to write. Just as quatrains and sonnets require maximum discipline in poetry so do short stories and one-act plays in prose. Something this author clearly understands and achieves. With twenty-one stories created over many years and each an entity in itself, it is inevitable that some will rise above the others. It doesn’t make this book any less worthwhile. With The Flying Lady no one can say they don’t have the time to read quality fiction. - acclaimed author Gustav Preller

Pat Coyne is no stranger to Durban writing circles and this latest offering will be welcomed by those who know and enjoy his light fiction. The Flying Lady and 20 other short stories is indeed a collection to “read when time is short…” as described on the cover. If you prefer to read “the real thing” rather than the somewhat soulless electronic version, this little book makes the perfect companion for tucking into a suitcase for a weekend away. It’s barely larger than a Kindle and no heavier. The stories range across South Africa from the Cape to Kruger, from sci-fi to the San people. Some raise a smile, while others, like The Miracle Makers, provide pause for thought. - Phillida Ellis in the Sunday Tribune 30 June 2013

The story of Gordon Road Girls’ School, Durban - Celebrating the Centenary 1912 – 2012
Hard Cover Price: R230.00 P&P not incl.       Soft Cover Price: R160.00 P&P not incl.
ISBN - 978-0-9869919-8-1    This book available direct from the school:

In the words of the School Song, this book invites the past and present pupils, teachers, parents, and friends of a famous Durban school to walk down the corridors of its history and view them with justified satisfaction, self-esteem, and excitement. But the book is far more than that. It is also a nostalgia trip for anyone who has lived in Durban at any time during the last hundred years - for this is a celebration of the Centenary of Gordon Road Girls’ School, whose foundation year of 1912 coincided with the year of the first official use of Durban’s coat of arms - and each chapter begins with a look at the Durban of those days. No school is an island, and the history of GRGS is part of the history of Durban.

‘The book "Look Back with Pride!" is beautifully written, with wonderful school history, combined with information about our well remembered old Durban . This sets it above every other school history that I have read. The illustrations and in fact, the whole general presentation is something of which you may be justifiably proud.’ - Mary Hudson, Author

ISBN - 978-0-9814276-3-8     Price: R195 incl. P&P

Patrick explains in simple, practical terms how to produce plays for children aged 8 to 13 years. This book will show any person starting out in drama how to avoid mistakes with their often amusing, but sometimes embarrassing or even disastrous consequences. Topics covered include Finding the Right Play, with the possibility of writing your own, Casting the Play, Rehearsals, the Producer’s role during rehearsals and performances, and a chapter on Inter-House One-Act Play Competitions. The Second half of the book is devoted to the Author’s successful 3-act play The Star Children, together with notes on how he devised the play, his reasons for the choice of plot, setting, and characters, and how the names of the characters could be adapted to suit any racial group.

‘This little gem should be prescribed reading for every primary school language and drama teacher in the country -  and it wouldn’t do their high school colleagues any harm to follow suit either.’  - Frank Graham, well-known Stage Actor, Producer & Radio Actor

Hierdie boek sal binnekort ook in Afrikaans beskikbaar wees.

ISBN - 0-9584978-3-4     Price: R90 incl. P&P

Patrick has been writing his Slightly Serious Column for the South African Writers’ Circle newsletter for the past ten years. In them he comments on matters ranging from slang down the ages to technological frustrations and written and spoken bloopers. As a wise, funny and insightful writer, his monthly missives are what most people turn to when first receiving their newsletters. They may have disagreed hotly or nodded their heads sagely, but there is no doubt that Patrick’s words left you with a smile on your face, and something to think about in your head. Slightly Serious is a mischievous observation of life in South Africa and, from time to time,  the rest of the world. Our morals and mores - the famous and infamous and the general hoi polloi do not escape his scrutiny.

‘Slightly Serious is a light read that fans of  writing and anyone with a sense of humour can enjoy - it is the sort of book you can dip into at any chapter for relaxing reading.’- Garth Johnstone, The Mercury

ISBN - 978-0-9814489-0-9     Price: R245, or R250 incl. P&P

South Africa's roads are rich in magnificent mountain passes and poorts, any one of which can turn a journey into a memorable experience. Passes were formidable obstacles for vehicles of the past, but nowadays we can enjoy them without worrying whether we shall be able to make it to the top. Information about passes and poorts is not easily available to travellers. Very often it is buried in awkwardly large reference books, or in separate Internet addresses that are inconvenient, even on your laptop. Hence this book, which is compact enough to fit into a bag or car cubby-hole.

‘When Patrick Coyne’s book appeared on my horizon I devoured it in three days. I found it spell binding… In a very short time I have come to think of it in much the same way as I think of my bird book – I want to go back and consult it, day after day. I say get a copy.’ - Peter Dearlove,  Montagu Mail