On a night that snow fell in Johannesburg, breeding dubious new forms of life -
– a very respectable crowd turned out at De la Creme, the bakery and cafe next door to Bookdealers of Melville, for the launch of several indie works, including The Best of Donga, an important compilation from new imprint BLeKSEM (in association with Dye Hard Press and Botsotso).
Your Correspondent missed most of the event, he regrets to report, having failed to take into account the snow factor before traveling from the city’s northern wilds (Rivonia) to the urban paste-bijoux precinct of Melville.
Arriving very late indeed, and puffing cold breath, I caught a whiff of a reading by Arja Salafranca, sipped half a glass of Glen Carlou chardonnay (which sponsored a tasting part-way through the programme), listened to a few arias courtesy a songbird in attendance – I should have jumped in for a Baby it’s Cold Outside duet – and marveled at Leonard the Mime, who played backdrop to all the performances:
Allan Kolski Horwitz read a semi-sweet poem from There Are Two Birds at My Window, one of two new publications of his also launched on the night (along with Botsotso 16), and I slipped back out for a smoke with the snowman, then on to the next engagement, which was with the nearest supplier of firewood, Blitz and matches.
As noted on the first page of The Best of Donga, “donga was published online from 2000 to 2003. This is a selection from the website.” It’s a grand selection indeed: Lauren Beukes, Robert Berold, Joan Metelerkamp, Kelwyn Sole, Aryan Kaganof and Toast Coetzer are among the Books LIVE members included, who are joined by the heavyweight likes of Ivan Vladislavic and Lesego Rampolokeng.
The Best of Donga is available directly from BLeKSEM and, at R65 plus postage, is a b-a-r-g-a-i-n. Scratch that, it’s a m-u-s-t h-a-v-e. To get it, send an order to Alan Finlay: email@example.com.
When you run out of firewood, you can use it to – hey, how could you possibly even consider that! You can use it to warm the cockles of your SA Lit-loving soul. I certainly did.
- The Best of Donga edited by Alan Finlay, Paul Wessels
Order directly from firstname.lastname@example.org