Old New Worlds

A Tale of Two Immigrants

Fall 2019 from Green Writers Press


Three countries, two immigrants, one woman’s search to find her ancestral soul mate

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.

“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 aparthied 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

“In her skillful interweaving of past and present, Judith Krummeck’s writing combines delicacy with vividness, restraint with passion. It is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.”

—Tony Peake, North Facing and Derek Jarman: A Biography


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