The Viney Agency


Alex Crawford Dan Newling is a British freelance journalist based in South Africa. He has written about South and southern Africa for almost all the major UK newspapers and has helped produce television documentaries about the region for both the BBC and ITN. Before moving to South Africa Dan worked as a news reporter for the Daily Mail where his investigation into the UK's then Attorney General won him a finalist's nomination for Scoop of the Year at the British Press Awards. A Bitter Dawn is his first book, sold to Jonathan Ball on proposal for delivery summer 2014.

LATEST BOOK: A BITTER DAWN A Search for the Truth about the Murder of Anni Dewani

Alex CrawfordDan Newling became intimately involved in Anni Dewani’s tragic murder story two days after her death when he was the first journalist to interview her widower, Shrien, at a Cape Town hotel.  Since then he has reported the truth about this grim and sometimes luridly fascinating case for almost every British newspaper.   Dan has also helped produce two Panorama programmes on the subject in March 2012 and September 2013, both to over 5 million viewers.  For his tenacity and determination to dig beneath the lies in this case he has been threatened and accused of being a liar, a traitor, even of being Shrien’s lover. Newsweek’s Joshua Hammer, in his own coverage of this case, described Dan as a ‘tenacious reporter…with a sharply analytical mind’ and columnist Amit Roy wrote that Dan’s work on the case was ‘exceptionally brave.’

This is a murder story which defies the media’s wishes to have goodness and evil clearly defined. At first it seemed a cautionary tale about holidaying abroad.  Very quickly, however, and as evidence about Shrien’s past leached into the press, the message morphed into one far more conspiratorial.  But, as Dan Newling will reveal, however much the South Africa authorities may wish us to believe it is, this is not the story of an evil groom who coldly planned the murder of his inconvenient new bride.

Now, for the first time ever, Newling tells the whole story, revealing information which has never been printed or aired before, about what he believes really happened that terrible night in a Cape Town township, and afterwards, in the police stations and offices of the South African authorities, as well as in the UK, and the subsequent international media feeding frenzy.  Every fact is sourced. Shrien, who is suffering from PTSD and depression, has lost his fight against extradition to South Africa (where his family believe he will not get a fair trial) and returns there on 8 April. After a brief court hearing he will be sent for psychiatric treatment and may be tried as soon as September this year. Bitter Dawn is a gripping work of investigative journalism, which also casts a long shadow over a country so desperate to be accepted internationally.  It is a deeply fascinating human interest story about two tragedies: the first, Anni’s murder, and the second, her husband’s persecution.  It is a hugely compelling and important book.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: A Bitter Dawn, Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2014.