uHlanga New Poets series, a poetry publisher founded and run by Nick Mulgrew, was launched recently, with the aim of becoming a platform for the publication of debut collections from South Africa’s most promising young voices.
uHlanga was launched last year as an annual magazine of poetry in English and isiZulu from and about KwaZulu-Natal, however, supported by a grant from the Arts & Culture Trust, has since changed focus to publishing poetry.
“Poetry magazines and anthologies are undoubtedly important,” says Mulgrew, who is also the associate editor of literary magazine Prufrock and deputy chair of Short Story Day Africa. “But a focused collection is the mark of a serious poet.
“There, however, aren’t enough opportunities for poets – young or more experienced – to take that step. So that’s where uHlanga comes in – a small press dedicated to beautiful collections.”
Cape Town-based Gardini is the winner of the 2012 DALRO/New Coin Award for poetry, and a 2013 Mail & Guardian Young South African. Her plays WinterSweet (2012) and Scrape (2013) both won Standard Bank Ovation Awards at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.
Jijana, based in Port Elizabeth, is the winner of the 2011 Anthony Sampson Foundation Award, as well as the 2014 Sol Plaatje/European Union Poetry Award. His first book, the memoir Nobody’s Business, was published by Jacana Media in 2014.
“In Gardini and Jijana we have two of South Africa’s brightest young poets,” Mulgrew says. “I could scarcely think of two stronger books with which someone could launch something of this nature.”
Both collections are set to be released at the end of October/early November 2015. Pre-orders are open now, from the uHlanga website.