Author Shirley Grabinsky, 81, has compiled personal memoirs into her first volume entitled Queen of the Potato Patch. All proceeds of 100 books donated will go to support Grannies a Gogo: the Vernon-South African Connections’ mission to aid South African grandmothers. (Contributed)

Author Shirley Grabinsky, 81, has compiled personal memoirs into her first volume entitled Queen of the Potato Patch. All proceeds of 100 books donated will go to support Grannies a Gogo: the Vernon-South African Connections’ mission to aid South African grandmothers. (Contributed)

Grannies a Gogo host virtual book launch

All proceeds from new title go to support South African grandmothers

Local businesses are adapting to a new reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and several charitable organizations are following suit, including Grannies a Gogo.

Grannies a Gogo: the Vernon-South African Connection, like millions of others, are self-isolating and following the provincial and federal government’s directives to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, but that hasn’t slowed them down from trying to continue supporting Gogos — which is Zulu for grandmothers.

The Vernon-based organization is launching a book entitled Queen of the Potato Patch, by Shirley Grabinsky, with a virtual book launch on YouTube.

“We had planned a big, splashy book launch party, but that has been postponed for now,” spokeswoman Susan Fenner said.

Grabinsky has donated 100 of her books to the Grannies with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to support needy Gogos who care for their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren in Sabie, South Africa.

All fundraising events have since been postponed or cancelled, “so it is especially important that we get the word out about Shirley’s book,” Fenner said.

The “gentle book,” she said, will be appreciated by many during these times of uncertainty and seclusion.

Grabinsky, 81, has written memoir stories for several years, and Queen of the Potato Patch is the first volume. The Grannies is an organization near and dear to her heart as she was one of the founding members and she’s served two years as president.

The stories in the first volume were illustrated by Robin Jacobsen and was edited by Anne Clarke.

“B.C. writer Shirley Grabinsky pulls at the heartstrings of all those readers born and fled from the harsh Prairies, hooking them with references to crawling through barbed-wire fences, meadowlark song, jellied salads and travelling salesmen,” one reviewer said.

“It made me nostalgic, made me laugh, made me gasp a couple time and had me in tears at others,” another said.

To purchase the book and support South African grandmothers, visit or email

The book is $15.

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READ MORE: Okanagan’s latest lotto winner looks to travel once COVID allows


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