By Michele Magwood for the Sunday Times
There’s a parade of heavy hitters warming up in the wings for 2016: weighty award winners, buzzed-about first-timers and perennial favourites. There’s even a Hollywood actor throwing his hat into the ring: Gary Oldman teams up with producer Douglas Urbanski to write the first in a Dracula series, Blood Riders (Sphere).
Man Booker winner Yann Martel is back with The High Mountains of Portugal (Canongate), three tales winding through the 20th century, and fellow Booker laureate Julian Barnes focuses on the composer Dmitri Shostakovich in The Noise of Time (Jonathan Cape).
Jonathan Safran Foer comes out of an 11-year hibernation with Here I Am (Hamish Hamilton), set in Israel, while Annie Proulx has completed Barkskins (4th Estate) after 10 years, her story of the taming — and ruining — of the wilderness. Zero K is billed as “the wisest, richest, funniest, and most moving novel in years” from Don DeLillo, and fans of Karl Ove Knausgaard can expect Some Rain Must Fall (Harvill Secker), the penultimate volume of his six-book autobiographical series.
Closer to home, there’s Yewande Omotoso’s The Woman Next Door, an endearing story of two Cape Town matrons which was snapped up by British publisher Chatto & Windus. Also look out for the film of Cynthia Jele’s Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word — there’ll be a new edition from NB Publishers on its release. Also from NB Publishers comes Niq Mhlongo’s acute collection of short stories, Affluenza. Ekow Duker hits his stride in his third novel The God Who Made Mistakes (Pan Macmillan), set in Joburg.
Pan Macmillan will publish Cold Case Confession, Alex Eliseev’s untangling of the Betty Ketani murder case. And Ray Hartley will burst open a briefcase of worms in The Bribe — How SA Stole the World Cup (Jonathan Ball Publishers).
Murder at Small Koppie (PRHS) by photojournalist Greg Marinovich is a definitive account of one of the darkest days in South Africa’s history, the Marikana massacre. A book that’s sure to be talked about is Jessica Pitchford’s Switched At Birth (Jonathan Ball), the true story of the boys who were swapped at an East Rand hospital.
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