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Proofreading Competition to Correct the Manuscript of Ivan Vladislavic’s The Restless Supermarket

Ivan Vladislavic

Attention pedantic souls! Africa in Words are holding an online ‘Proofreading Derby’ to celebrate the re-publication of Ivan Vladislavić’s The Restless Supermarket and Double Negative in the United Kingdom.

The FollyDouble NegativeThe Restless Supermarket

This follows the re-release of Ivan Vladislavić’s classic first novel, The Folly, in South Africa earlier this year. Read an excerpt here.

The ‘Proofreading Derby’ involves a short, sharp burst of competitive proofreading, during which participants will have to spot amusing errors from the original manuscript text of The Restless Supermarket, provided by Vladislavić – who will also judge the winner.

The competition opens at 9 AM tomorrow morning (Thursday, 19 June). Entries will close at midnight on Saturday, 21 June, and the championship award will be presented at a ceremony at the University of Sussex, in the UK, on Monday, 23 June.

The winning edit receives 10 000 Vlads (that’s Ivan Vladislavić “points”, which are redeemable at any Dumbo liquor store … just kidding, all you get is the admiration of your fellow grammarians) and will also provide the opening for a conversation at the university about balancing the mechanics and creativity of writing (Not a joke! This will actually happen!), as well as Vladislavić’s role in contemporary South African fiction.

Questions inspired by the experience of the Derby will be put to Vladislavić, so send yours through to

Press release

And the gauntlet is down …

Register for the 2014 Restless Derby (June 19-21)!

Championship to be judged by The Restless Supermarket author Ivan Vladislavić.

Whether amused or aghast at absurdities of error, or in need of flexing your editing muscles, the Restless Derby – inspired by the ‘Proofreader’s Derby’, a central conceit of Ivan Vladislavić’s riotously strange and wonderful novel The Restless Supermarket – will challenge your eye and find you your place in the deep grammar of a changing world.

Vladislavić, recognised as one of the great prose stylists in the world today, will announce the winner of the 2014 Restless Derby on Monday 23rd June, where he will also be reading, and will be in conversation about the subtleties of balancing editing and creativity, the mechanics and the artistry of making written work, with a Q&A to follow.

The event will be transcribed and highlights presented on the blog Africa in Words.

Questions for Vladislavić prompted by the experience of the Derby warmly welcome. Please send by email to:

For more information and to register for the Derby, see
or email

Ivan Vladislavić at the University of Sussex, Brighton
Monday 23rd June, 15.30
Arts B274 (English Social Space)

Compiled from a lifetime’s collection of errors spotted by The Restless Supermarket’s bad-tempered, conservative Aubrey Tearle, a retired proofreader of telephone directories, the Proofreader’s Derby is Tearle’s gauntlet thrown down at declining standards everywhere as his world rapidly recedes from grasp.

Featuring as yet unseen, un-corrected text from Vladislavić, the 2014 Derby will be a short sprint, released from the blocks at 9am (BST) on the 19th June with completed entries to be received in no later than midnight (BST) on the 21st.

The winner will be judged and announced by Vladislavic at an awards ceremony at the University of Sussex on Monday 23rd June, 15.30.

For more info. and to sign up see
Register from 9am June 19th

Restless Derby Awards, University of Sussex, Brighton
Monday 23rd June, 15.30, Arts B274 (English Social Space)

@africainwords #proofreadersderby

With thanks to And Other Stories


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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    June 19th, 2014 @10:45 #

    Good luck to all galloping along in the Proofreader's Derby today. Many moons ago, I had the great pleasure of editing The Restless Supermarket. It must rank as my easiest edit ever -- it mostly consisted of me and Ivan thinking up terrible puns -- and I only realised later how much he had taught me in the process. I have always thought TRS was a SA classic, and am thrilled that it and IV's other works are AT LAST being admired and studied on a wider stage.


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