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Margaret Daymond Reviews SA Lit Beyond 2000 Edited by Michael Chapman and Margaret Lenta

SA Lit Beyond 2000Verdict: carrot

This survey of recent South African literature has 17 chapters in which the contributors consider how the new dispensation in SA is being represented by the country’s writers and received by its critics. The inquiry into whether, since the momentous changes of the 1990s, South African writing has turned a corner, is inaugurated by Leon de Kock who asks whether fiction’s once urgent focus on questions of national identity is changing by, for example, expanding into the ‘transnational’. Chapman, in the Introduction, glosses this term as “the nation caught in movement – possibly transformational movement – ‘in-between’ local and global demands”.

Responses to this question are mostly given via writing in English, but there is also a chapter on recent writing in Zulu and Louise Viljoen writes on Afrikaans poetry. Other chapters focus on writing by Indian South Africans, by black and white women (Eva Hunter and Siphokazi Jonas), by debut novelists (Margaret Lenta) and the familiar genres of written literature are represented: Michael Chapman on poetry, Annie Gagiano on autobiography, and Marcia Blumberg and Miki Flockemann each have a chapter on drama.

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