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Fiction Friday: “Space”, Masande Ntshanga’s PEN International New Voices Shortlisted Story

This week, Masande Ntshanga was shortlisted for the inaugural PEN International 2013 New Voices Award for his short story “Space”. Ntshanga, who is currently working on a novel under a Mellon Mays Creative Writing Fellowship at UCT’s MA Creative Writing programme, joins two other writers, from Mexico and Canada, on the shortlist.

While we hold thumbs for Ntshanga to be announced the winner of the prize on 11 September, read his shortlisted story, made available on the PEN International website. In “Space” a group of boys in Bisho are told by their friend about “a man who isn’t a man, one sent down to Earth from a distant place”:

I guess you won’t believe him, either, but this is what CK tells us, this morning. He says there’s a grey man living in the shed behind Ma Thano’s spaza shop on Miya Street, a man who isn’t a man, one sent down to Earth from a distant place.

Where we are is the local, the name our parents give to the local primary school they pack us off to each morning here in Bisho, and the way CK is saying this, it’s the last day of school and the four of us, that’s him, Thando, Thobela and me, we’re slouching at the back of our Afrikaans classroom, again, our bodies turning to slushed ice from the promise of having failed yet another take home test in die taal.

Image courtesy PEN International


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">margie</a>
    August 16th, 2013 @18:04 #

    We - South AFrican PEN and me as vice-president - are so thrilled about this. There were so many entries from around the world - and the South AFrican competition was very tough. SA PEN will be publishing a few of the very best South AFrican entries.

    So poets, essayists, editors, novelists - PEN - all of you who love literature and believe in freedom of expression do visit our website. And join the organisation.

    SA PEN is hosting a couple of great events at Open Book too - the two sessions on Fifty Shades of Feminism - global and South AFrican.
    And there will be a conversation between Nic Mhlongo and Gillian Slovo (president of English PEN).


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