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Bloody Parchment 2011: Gripping Psychological Terror at The Book Lounge

Bloody Parchment 2011: SA Partridge, Lauren Beukes, Sarah Lotz

On Wednesday the annual Bloody Parchment horror-themed literary event, which forms part of the South African Horrorfest Halloween festival, was once again held at The Book Lounge in Cape Town. After the informal and snack-filled meet and greet, with wine from Leopard’s Leap and juice from Quali Juice, local writers read macabre tales to fans and fiends, many of whom dressed up for the occasion.

Paul Blom, who organises Horrorfest every year with Sonja Ruppersberg, welcomed everyone to the gathering before turning over the event to author Nerine Dorman, who organises Bloody Parchment, to act as MC, introducing each speaker and then moderating the panel discussion that followed.

Bloody Parchment 2011: Zombies

This year the stories centred around human experiences, playing with psychological horror rather than ghosts and ghouls, though those were present too. Up first was a newcomer to the festival, Brett Bruton, who read his flash fiction piece A Crowd Gathered (the text is online here), which is gruesomely told from the perspective of a police officer who has just been shot in the face.

The MallZoo City (SA edition)Dark Poppy's DemiseKhepera RisingAs jy 'n ster sien verskietNext Maya Fowler read The Highs And Lows Of Golf, in which a freak mishap occurs on the 17th hole of a golf course, with seemingly horrific results for a group of golfers.

Third to read was Carine Engelbrecht, whose often amusing, yet always chilling, stories are an annual highlight of Bloody Parchment. In this year’s story a woman who was molested by her uncle as a child escapes into her mind where she constructs a premium television channel that features a lottery in which “contestants” are forced to kill each other in the quest for another week of survival.

Next SA Partridge read Apartment 415. It is included in the first Bloody Parchment anthology, which was published in June in anticipation of this year’s event, and features the winners of, as well as notable entries received for, last year’s short-horror-fiction competition. Bloody Parchment Volume 1 includes works by Carine Engelbrecht and Liam Kruger and is available as a free download from Goodreads.

Sarah Lotz then read an excerpt from SL Grey‘s The Ward, the creepy follow-up to The Mall, which will be released in June next year.

Lastly, Lauren Beukes read a shortened version of her contribution to the new anthology Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse, a collection of stories with “the end of the world” as the central theme. The book is being launched on Friday at Tate Britain in London. Stories by SL Grey, Sam Wilson, and Charlie Human also feature in the anthology.

Bloody Parchment 2011: The Audience

After the readings book prizes from Penguin and bottles of Sambuca were awarded to members of the audience who had dressed up for the occasion. The costumes and makeup effects were well done and zombies and witches were especially well represented.

To end the evening a horror panel discussion commenced, featuring Joe Vaz, publisher and editor of Something Wicked, authors Sarah Lotz and Lauren Beukes, and filmmakers Ronnie Belcher and Thomas Dorman of BlackMilk Productions. After introducing themselves and their horror-based backgrounds they discussed, from the perspectives of the respective fields that they represent, the state of horror in South Africa and what the future holds, as well as what personally scares them. The discussion was intelligent and informative and the audience was invited to ask questions, allowing for a lively interactive conclusion to another successful Bloody Parchment event.

The 2011 South African HorrorFest runs until Thursday. Visit the web site for the schedule of events. You also have a year to prepare a written entry for the next Bloody Parchment short-story competition, so get writing!

Bloody Parchment 2011: Nerine DormanBloody Parchment 2011: Spooky SnacksBloody Parchment 2011: The Book Lounge StaffBloody Parchment 2011: Horror Books On DisplayBloody Parchment 2011: Carine Engelbrecht And Joe VazBloody Parchment 2011: Decorations At The Book LoungeBloody Parchment 2011: In CostumeBloody Parchment 2011: Maya Fowler

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