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Dec. 10, 2020

Engeli Haupt, "Signature Dish"

Engeli Haupt,

Engeli Haupt was born in South Africa and grew up in the capital Pretoria. She studied linguistics at UNISA, the biggest university of the country, that counts amongst its alumni Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

16 years ago Engeli moved to Mexico due to her love for the Spanish language and, most of all, due to her adventurous and curious nature. During this time, she has been working in English language teaching in various roles. At the moment she works as a materials writer, i.e. she develops the reading and study material for language students. But this is only the commercial side of Engeli’s work.

Engeli is a gifted poet and creative writer. Her poems are like word sculptures; what I mean by that, is that the visual placement of words on a blank page is as important as the semantic arrangement. In that sense, Engeli forms a shape of meaning out of the preconceived pattern of language to offer infinite interpretational space and infinite views of the same, old thing.

Engeli finds beautiful ways to pacify opposites in her work. One example is how she explores the blindspots in science while, at the same time, aestheticizing science itself. She manages to reconcile measurable data with a plea for the unruly mysticism of nature and its existence outside of human projection as a force on its own. This is a strong, recurring theme in Engeli’s work. 

Her short stories are wonderful examples of creative nonfiction writing - always self-reflective and bent on personal insight. It is by maintaining a healthy and critical distance to her own thought process, that her stories unfold their universal power. It is Engeli’s search for meaning that is most inspiring, placing a state of perpetual examination above the state of short-lived certainty.

Right now, Engeli is part of the Writer’s Studio Program at the Canadian Simon Fraser University, where she is being mentored in Creative Nonfiction Writing by the author Claudia Cornwall, an accomplished author especially well-known for her memoir works in which she examines personal as well as collective memory.

I personally can’t wait to reap the fruits of their collaboration as an enthralled reader of Engeli’s works.
Engeli’s and my story goes back 20 years, when we met in London and lived in the same house for a couple of months. Her warmth and gentleness got me through the bleak London winter days - the experience laying the groundwork for a lifelong friendship.

If you want to find out why Engeli thinks of her mother as an exceptional cook despite having little love for her dishes, stay with us in the Yellow Van.

Show Notes:

Engeli's Online Portfolio
Engeli's Instagram

Virgin Chili Mojito

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