what you set your heart upon…

dear friends,

as you may know already, i’ve decided that i’m going to be a writer.

and, specifically, i’ve decided to write a biography about rick turner, a south african anti-apartheid activist that i have been inspired by. this page is dedicated both to making information about rick turner available more broadly, as well as providing updates on my progress researching, writing and promoting this story. i will update this page regularly with news of talks or workshops that i’m offering to teach about Rick Turner.

included here some of the stories and images, notes, wonderings, poems and letters that come out of this process. this is – and has been for some time – a work in progress. however, there are, already, some ‘finished products.’

in the fall of 2013, the book was published in South Africa, by Jacana Media. That version is available, here.


in the fall of 2014, in collaboration with Eberhardt Press, and with a new foreword by Josh MacPhee, a new edition has come out for the U.S. It will be sold here on this site, as well as through AK Press and Justseeds.


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i have done some essay writing about rick turner, and produced a short ‘zine.’ a friend has made a linoleum block print poster. as this is a totally self-initiated and self-driven project, the products will be available for sale, if you are interested and able. but at the same time, i have also included here a great deal of the documents i acquired in the research process, so there is tons of information available for free here.

but most importantly…

one of the most difficult things about a writing project of this size, which requires years of concerted effort, is that it is, on some level, a very personal, or isolated journey.

so, i invite you to join me on this meandering journey to tell the story of a man’s life – a man i never had the chance to meet, but whom nonetheless continues to inspire me and motivate me.

perhaps you will be similarly inspired.

with love and gratitude,

taylor sparrow

“‘be careful what you set your heart upon,” someone once said to me,

“for it will surely be yours.”

well, i had said that i was going to be a writer,

God, Satan, Mississippi notwithstanding, and that color did not matter,

and that i was going to be free.

and, here i was, left with only myself to deal with.

it was entirely up to me.”

– james baldwin

One thought on “what you set your heart upon…

  1. Hi Billy,
    haven’t read your book yet, though I guess I will. Wondered if the name Dolincheck came up anywhere. (It’s the name the detective came up with, the one hired by Foszia, Michael Nupen, some more of his friends. Including me.) I still have some letters from him/to him, plus some texts. (You’ll have picked up the reference to to that same guy in the Petrus Swanepoel book, ‘Really inside Boss’ – in case not: on p. 50.) We both had scholarships to Germany – I was waiting for him when the news broke.

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