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Congratulations to Alex Smith (@africa_alex), whose Devilskein & Dearlove has been nominated for a Carnegie Medal!

Fiction Friday: Excerpt from Wamuwi Mbao’s “The Ninth Wave”, from Adults Only

Adults OnlyBurnet Media has shared an excerpt from Wamuwi Mbao’s “The Ninth Wave”, from this year’s Short.Sharp.Stories anthology Adults Only.

In an interview with Adults Only editor Joanne Hichens, Mbao said his story was inspired by Tennyson, and how love or lust can become a destructive force.

“‘The Ninth Wave’ is a story about the currents that pass between people in moments of desire,” Mbao says, “and about how those currents have the potential to express themselves as destructive energy. The title draws from a section of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King – specifically the coming of Arthur –

“Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame”

Which I thought beautifully captured the energy I was trying to convey in the story.”

* * * * *

Read an excerpt from “The Ninth Wave”:

Excerpt from Wamuwi Mbao's The Ninth Wave, from Adults Only by Books LIVE


About the Short.Sharp.Stories Awards:

The Short.Sharp.Stories Awards for South African short-story fiction are presented each year by the National Arts Festival. An anthology of selected stories is published annually, with the theme set for writers differing from year to year. The winning stories, selected from the stories to be published, by a panel of independent judges, are announced at an annual launch event at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. It is the aim of these awards to encourage, support, and showcase established and emerging South African writing talent. The Awards are curated by Joanne Hichens.

The title, and theme, for the 2015 competition is Incredible Journey

From Short.Sharp.Stories: Think road trip, or futuristic ride, or a journey of the mind. Or think more laterally. But whether the story moves purely through the sheer force of the imagination or ambles along on dusty, pot-holed South African roads, whether the protagonists stay in the country or venture forth into new terrain by train or boat or plane (or foot), the story must retain a South African nuance and sensibility. The title INCREDIBLE JOURNEY allows the writer the scope to create a pulsing narrative with forward-moving momentum, though some journeys may be less fast-moving and powered more by reflection. We’ll be looking for stories which move us from A to B – or from A to Z with any number of letters in between. We’re looking for the what-happens-next factor, but also for stories that move us emotionally. Mainly, we want to be enthralled and intrigued by a sense of change that cannot fail to be experienced as we get to the last lines of your story. Your incredible journey can be one of political or personal change; it can be inspirational or can focus on a small challenge. The landscape may alter radically … but please, we’re not looking for descriptive essays. As ever, we want uniquely South African voices – voices, in this case, that capture roller-coaster rides of incredible experience.

The author of the Best Story prize will win R20 000, out of a total of R35 000 in prize money. The deadline is 30 November.

Book details

NaNoWriMo 2014: Write a Novel in 5 Easy Steps

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and starting 1 November aspiring novelists will rise to the challenge of writing a 50 000 word novel in 30 days. No pressure.

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organisation that started in 1999 with a meagre 21 wannabe authors in the San Francisco Bay Area. The project steamrolled from there, and there were 310 095 recorded participants in 2013.

The very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That first year there were 21 of us, and our July noveling binge had little to do with any ambitions we might have harbored on the literary front. Nor did it reflect any hopes we had about tapping more fully into our creative selves. No, we wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twenty-somethings start bands. Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn’t have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists.

So sad. But so, so true.

The first year’s trials and tribulations are laid out in the introduction to No Plot? No Problem! But the short version is that our novels, despite our questionable motives and pitiful experience, came out okay. Not great. But not horrible, either. And, more surprising than that, the writing process had been really, really fun.

According to their mission statement, NaNoWriMo is dedicated to the cause of global self-expression:

National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

So, your’re sold. How does it work?

Write a 50 000 word novel by 11:59 PM on 30 November 2014. Register on the NaNoWriMo website to record your progress. Become part of the NaNoWriMo community in five easy steps:

1. Create your novel.

Head to My Novel to get going. Your aim: a 50,000-word rough draft in the 30 days of November.

2. Earn badges.

You earn badges by interacting with the NaNoWriMo community. Use My NaNo to jump-start your noveling network.

Still not sure what’s going on? Here is a list of frequently asked questions:


Where do I write my novel? Do I type it on the NaNoWriMo website?

How do I update my word count? How often should I update it?

How do I win NaNoWriMo? What are the prizes? Is there an entry fee?

How do I add or remove a writing buddy?

Can I participate if I’m not American? Can I write a novel in any language?

There you have it. For more details visit the NaNoWriMo website.

More power to your elbow!

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Join John Orr for the Launch of Beyond the Baobab by Judith Krummeck in Cape Town

Beyond the Beobab Invite

Beyond the BaobabThe Book Lounge and New World Notes would like to invite you to the launch of Beyond the Baobab by Judith Krummeck.

In this collection of essays, broadcaster, writer, and immigrant Krummeck explores the emotional complexities of becoming an American citizen – from learning which way to turn the light switch on to the ephemeral sense of belonging.

The launch is being held at The Book Lounge on Thursday, 6 November, at 5:30 PM for 6 PM. Krummeck will be in conversation with John Orr.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 6 November 2014
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland Street
    Corner of Buitenkant Street
    Cape Town | Map
  • Guest Speaker: John Orr
  • RSVP:, 021 462 2425

Book Details

The Canadian Gift Guide Reviews Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersVerdict: carrot

Broken Monsters is an interesting book in that it borrows elements from thrillers, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and murder mysteries to craft something wholly different. The story is told in alternating viewpoints (including the killer’s) that eventually twist themselves up into one big knot.

Book Details

Monique Bisschoff resenseer Die verhuising deur Sophia Kapp

Die verhuisingUitspraak: wortel

Wat met die lees van Kapp se Die Verhuising opval, is haar fyn aanvoeling vir die menslike emosie waarmee sy skryf. Sy het die vermoë om die hele spektrum van emosies fyn en meesterlik weer te gee sodat jy presies saam met die karakter voel en identifiseer. Verder is dit duidelik dat sy die menslike psige baie goed verstaan. Sy maak geen verskoning vir haar karakters se optrede nie, inteendeel, sy wys wat lê agter soveel handelinge van die mens: selfsug, manipulasie, selfbejammering, ’n magspel. Hierdie aspekte wat sy aanraak word soms ’n spieël waarin die leser moet kyk en die ongemaklike waarheid moet raak sien.


Gerda de Villiers resenseer Fragmente uit die Ilias deur Homeros, vertaal deur Cas Vos

Fragmente uit die IliasUitspraak: wortel

Maar meer oor die boek self. Die meeste ouer lesers het op skool reeds met Homeros en sy werke kennis gemaak, en ofskoon baie detail vervaag het, is baie van die name en gebeure nie onbekend nie. Baie van die jonger geslag het egter nog nooit hiervan gehoor nie. Daarom is Cas Vos se inleidende hoofstuk van sy Ilias vir almal van onskatbare waarde, vir dié wat niks weet nie, maar ook vir dié wat al ‘n bietjie vergeet het. In hierdie hoofstuk wat hy ‘Homeros se afdrukke’ noem, stel hy die hedendaagse leser aan Homeros se wêreld bekend. Hy toon aan watter ongelooflike impak hierdie ‘blinde ongeletterde’ digter se werke gehad het, nie net op sy eie tyd nie, maar eeue en eeue later – en nie net op die Griekse wêreld nie, maar wêreldwyd.


Halloween Special: #ScaryStoriesIn5Words Trending on Twitter

Halloween has prompted a bookish response from Twitter this year, with the hashtag #ScaryStoriesIn5Words trending in South Africa.

We’ve rounded up some of the best responses below. If you feel inspired to add your own, tag us on @BooksLIVESA – we’ll be dishing out retweets like it’s Christmas.

Devilskein and Dearlove by Alex Smith Nominated for 2015 Carnegie Medal

Alex Smith

Devilskein and DearloveAlert! Devilskein and Dearlove by Alex Smith has been nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal, the oldest and most prestigious children’s book award in the UK.

The Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children. It was created in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) who resolved, “If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries.” He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English speaking world and, by the time of his death, over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries. The award was established in 1936.

This is the first round of nominations, made by members of CILIP (the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). The prize is £500 worth of books donated to a library of the winner’s choice and a beautiful gold medal from CILIP.

South Africans are rarely nominated for this award, so grand congratulations to Smith!

Press release

Nominations published for the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals 2015

Nominations have been published for two of the most prestigious prizes in writing and illustrating for children. The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually by CILIP for an outstanding book for children and young people while the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

Often described by authors and illustrators as the “one they want to win”, the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards are the gold standard in literature and illustration for children and young people. Previous winners of the CILIP Carnegie Medal include Sally Gardener, Patrick Ness, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and C.S. Lewis whilst previous winners of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal include Levi Pinfold, Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes and Quentin Blake.

Nominations are made annually by members of CILIP. All nominations published have been checked and verified for their eligibility and have received at least one nomination from a CILIP member. From these nominations the judging panel will meet to decide longlists, based on the official medals criteria, including consideration of plot, characterisation and style. From the longlists our judges will decide the official shortlists and finally, the 2015 medal winners.

91 books have been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and 71 nominated for the Kate Greenaway medal. The official long and shortlists identify a range of outstanding books for children and young people of all ages and interests and enable the 100,000 pupils in our 5,000 shadowing groups to engage with world-class literature and illustration from new and established authors and illustrators.

CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominated Titles

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Nominated Titles

Key dates

Nominations announcement: Monday 20 October 2014
Longlist announcement: Tuesday 10 February 2015
Shortlist announcement: Tuesday 17 March 2015
Winners announcement: 22 June 2015 (TBC)


Book details

Call for Entries for the New Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize

The Etisalat Prize for Literature has announced a new flash fiction competition.

The Nigerian telecommunications company, which launched the Etisalat Prize for Literature for debut fiction in 2013, is now branching into short form storytelling.

Director, brands and communication of Etisalat Nigeria Enitan Denloye said: “In today’s fast paced world, communication is right at our fingertips through the use of smart devices, phones, tablets and the likes, and people prefer to consume information on the go and in small bits. The flash fiction category therefore seeks to marry these concepts, providing added value to mobile device users across Africa.”

The winning author will receive prize money of £1 000, and a Samsung Galaxy Note or iPad, and have their published ebook promoted online. Two runners up will receive £500 each and Samsung Galaxy Note or iPad.

To enter, writers must submit a piece of not more than 300 words before 4 November, 2014.

The public will vote for the best story from 5 to 25 November; the top 20 entries will be announced on December 7, and the shortlist in January 2015.


Nalini Naidoo Reviews The New Radicals: A Generational Memoir of the 1970s by Glenn Moss

The New Radicals: A generational memoir of the 1970sVerdict: carrot

PLENTY of the liberation history written so far has focused on the African National Congress’s (ANC) role in the struggle — the sixties and earlier; the exile years and post-1990. There has been a sense the seventies were uneventful.
Glenn Moss shows this was far from the case and that in universities across the country, the seventies were a time of revolt, renewal and intense intellectual debate.
His book fills a valuable gap in unpacking details of an extraordinary time.

Book Details