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Archive for the ‘Academic’ Category

Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole win the 2016 Sunday Times Literary Awards

Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole win the 2016 Sunday Times Literary Awards
Alan PatonBarry Ronge
RapeHunger Eats a Man

 
Alert! Pumla Dineo Gqola and Nkosinathi Sithole have been announced as the winners of the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Awards.

The winners were announced at a black tie event in Sandton. Apart from receiving the prestigious Sunday Times Literary Awards accolade, each author is also awarded prize money of R100,000.

Debut novelist Nkosinathi Sithole was awarded the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for his book Hunger Eats a Man, published by Penguin Books.

Pumla Dineo Gqola received the Alan Paton Award for her book Rape: A South African Nightmare, published by MF Books.

Advocate Thuli Madonsela was the guest speaker at the event.

 
The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize was judged this year by Rustum Kozain (chair), Angela Makholwa-Moabelo and Stephen Johnson.

 
Of Hunger Eats a Man, Kozain says, “This is something entirely new in South African literature, in terms of its language and style. The writing is exceptional in the way it bends English to its own purpose. It’s a beautiful, disturbing, highly original novel with touches of unexpected humour.”

The story is set in KwaZulu-Natal and highlights the plight of rural South Africans. Sithole has a PhD in English Studies and teaches at the University of Zululand.

The Alan Paton Award judging panel was chaired by Achmat Dangor, supported by judges Tinyiko Maluleke and Pippa Green.

 
In Rape: A South African Nightmare, Gqola investigates the history and causes of the epidemic of sexual violence in the country. “This is a fearless book that speaks a powerful truth of our times. Nuanced and cogently argued, it tackles the subject from every possible aspect in an attempt to deal with the unspoken,” Dangor says.

Gqola is a professor of African Literature at Wits University.

Sunday Times books editor Jennifer Platt says: “The Sunday Times Literary Awards have always acted as a sort barometer of the nation’s preoccupations, highlighting books that pick up and explore our concerns.

“There is an urgency reflected in the themes of the winning books this year: of poverty, hunger and the vapid promises of politicians and religion in one, and in the other the overt threat of toxic masculinity that pervades South Africa.”

Last year’s winners were Jacob Dlamini and Damon Galgut.
 
More about the books:

Hunger Eats a Man by Nkosinathi Sithole

Rape: A South African Nightmare

 

Book details


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2016 Open Book Festival: Confirmed international and local authors announced

2016 Open Book Festival: Confirmed international and local authors announced

 

Alert! The Open Book Festival has announced the first group of confirmed international and local authors for this year’s event.

The sixth annual Open Book will take place from 7 to 11 September in Cape Town.

This year’s festival will comprise more than 100 events, at The Fugard Theatre, the District Six Homecoming Centre and The Book Lounge.

The final programme will be available in early August, and tickets will be available on Webtickets.

“We are thrilled to be announcing the first group of authors for Open Book Festival 2016,” festival director Mervyn Sloman says. “We have confirmed participants joining us from Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Ghana, Holland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Reunion, United Kingdom and USA.

“As always we look forward to an outstanding collection of powerful South African writers talking about their work on the international stage that Open Book provides.

“I can’t wait to see the impact the likes of Pumla Dineo Gqola, Fred Khumalo, Bongani Madondo, Mohale Mashigo and Yewande Omotoso are going to have on Cape Town audiences. These writers are the tip of a very exciting iceberg that gives us cause for celebration in the SA book world that has many real and difficult challenges.”

RapeBitches' BrewSigh The Beloved CountryThe YearningThe Woman Next Door

 

Check out the confirmed international authors:

null
Adeiye “MC Complex” Tjon Tam Pau is a coach and workshop master for Poetry Circle Nowhere – a collective of writing performers in the Netherlands – and is active in the Dutch and international hip-hop scene.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullReacher Said Nothing
Andy Martin is a lecturer in French literature and philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Most recently he published Reacher Said Nothing, a book about Lee Child writing his 21st Reacher novel, Make Me
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Bear's Surprise
Benjamin Chaud was born in Briançon in the Hautes-Alpes and he studied drawing and applied arts at the Arts Appliqués in Paris and the Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg. His award-winning books have been translated into over 20 languages.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Fishermen
Chigozie Obioma was born in Nigeria and is currently the professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut novel, The Fishermen, was an international hit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullWhat Belongs to You
Garth Greenwell‘s novella Mitko won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and a Lambda Literary Award. What Belongs to You is his debut novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullDaydreams of Angels
Heather O’Neill is a Canadian novelist, poet, short-story writer, screenwriter and essayist. Lullabies for Little Criminals, her debut novel, was published in 2006 to international critical acclaim. She has since published the novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and the short story collection Daydreams of Angels.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullDracula
Hippolyte resides in Reunion but was born and raised in the Alps, where he got his interest in comics by reading old American comic books. He gained success with his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in two volumes by Vents d’Ouest in 2003 and 2004.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

nullThree Words
Indira Neville is a New Zealand comics artist, community organiser, editor and commentator. She has been making comics for over 20 years. Recently, she co-edited the anthology Three Words, a collection of Aotearoa/New Zealand women’s comics.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe World According to Anna
Jostein Gaarder is the author of several novels, short stories and children’s books, including Sophie’s World, which was translated into 60 languages and has sold over 40 million copies. His most recent novel translated into English is The World According to Anna.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

nullThe Prophets of Eternal Fjord
Kim Leine is a Danish-Norwegian novelist. He received the Golden Laurel award and the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize for his novel, The Prophets of Eternal Fjord.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Scattering
Lauri Kubuitsile lives in Botswana. She has written children’s books, short stories, novellas and several romance novels. The Scattering, her most recent novel, was published this year.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Gonjon Pin and Other Stories
Martin Egblewogbe is a short story writer, lecturer in Physics at the University of Ghana and the co-founder of the Writers Project of Ghana. His short story “The Gonjon Pin” is the title story in the 2014 Caine Prize collection.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullBorderline
Journalist Michela Wrong has spent nearly two decades writing about Africa. In 2014 she was appointed literary director of the Miles Morland Foundation and is a trustee of Human Rights Watch Africa, the Africa Research Institute and the NGO Justice Africa. She is the author of a number of non-fiction books. Borderlines is her first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullNemesis
Misha Glenny is a distinguished investigative journalist and one of the world’s leading experts on cybercrime and on global mafia networks. He is the author of several books, most recently Nemesis: One Man and the Battle for Rio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullWhen the Moon is Low
Nadia Hashimi‘s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. She was raised in the United States and in 2002 made her first trip to Afghanistan. Her debut novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, was an international bestseller. When The Moon Is Low followed in 2015 and her latest novel is due in 2016.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullBinti
Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Her novella, Binti, recently won a prestigious Nebula Award.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullThe Winter War
Philip Teir is considered one of the most promising writers in Finland. His poetry and short stories have been included in anthologies, including Granta Finland. The Winter War is his first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullCarnival
Rawi Hage was born in Beirut and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 1980s. He emigrated to Canada in 1992 and now lives in Montreal. His first novel, De Niro’s Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His most recent novel, Carnival, won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullStalin's Daughter
Rosemary Sullivan is the author of 14 books, including biographies, children’s books and poetry. She is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in Ontario and was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada (Canada’s highest civilian award) for outstanding contributions to Canadian Literature and Culture.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
nullYour Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
Sunil Yapa is the son of a Sri Lankan father and an American mother. He received his MFA from Hunter College in New York City in 2010, was awarded the Alumni Scholarship & Welfare Fund Fellowship, and was twice selected as a Hertog Fellow. He is the recipient of the 2010 Asian American Short Story Award. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist is his first novel.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Alan Paton Award shortlist: Interview with Pumla Dineo Gqola on her book Rape: A South African Nightmare

Published in the Sunday Times

Alan Paton Award shortlist: Interview with Pumla Dineo Gqola on her book Rape: A South African Nightmare

 
RapeRape: A South African Nightmare
Pumla Dineo Gqola (MF Books Joburg)

Why this book, and why now?

I wrote the book because rape is endemic in this country and elsewhere, and yet we seem no closer to reversing the tide. This is largely because we have a collective public discourse that is repetitive; so we express the same frustrations, sense of hopelessness and mystification about its causes. The book is an attempt to contribute on how to shift our sense of hopelessness as a country to thinking through how certain patterns of behaviour enable rape culture and a rape crisis.

Has rape always been a problem in South Africa or has the incidence of it increased in recent years?

Rape is not new in South Africa or elsewhere. In South Africa, we have a clearer sense of its high occurrence, but this does not mean that the occurrence of rape is significantly lower in places where survivors report less.

Can you explain the notion of “the female fear factory”?

I coined [the phrase] to explain how women’s fear is manufactured, created, in societies such as ours, with high levels of violence. In the chapter in which I explain it, I show how it is premised on devaluing women, and making us more controllable, and less likely that we’ll stand up for ourselves. I also show what conditions and processes make it a “factory”. The product is fear in women and girls, but also in all vulnerable people, like gender non-conforming people.

What is the source of the “toxic masculinity” prevalent in the country today?

The source of toxic masculinity in South Africa and globally is patriarchal power.

Is our culture complicit in enabling sexual violence?

Yes, it is. It creates the conditions that enable the manufacture of female fear.

Who should read this book?

Everybody who is interested in ending rape culture; everyone who wants to know what individually and collectively we can do to change and to interrupt the female fear factory.

In what way do you think your book “illuminates truthfulness”?

It confronts many of the lies and excuses we keep repeating that help a rape culture to flourish. It forces us to recognise that we can all do better.

Do you believe we can create a future free of rape and violence?

Yes. Sets of behaviour make rape possible and pervasive. Behaviour and consequences for raping can be changed. I believe all oppressive violence can end. History shows we don’t live like we used to in medieval times with the kinds of violence that were normal then, or even 300 years ago. So, yes, I believe a future without rape is possible. But it has to be created.

 
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A brief, ephemeral encounter between two people long ago: The meeting of Qing and Joseph Orpen

By Stephen Coan

On the Trail of Qing and OrpenBeneath the blank-windowed office block cliffs of downtown Johannesburg an unusual exhibition offers a rare opportunity to consider the echoes of a series of conversations held between two men in the remote high Maloti-Drakensberg nearly 150 years ago.

In 1873 Joseph Orpen, a colonial administrator, was commissioned to track down the Hlubi chief Langalibalele kaMthimkhulu who had fled into Basutoland to escape the Natal authorities. Orpen recruited local scouts, among them a man named Qing, a Bushman who lived in the Maloti mountains. Orpen was impressed by Qing and interviewed him about his people’s stories and rituals. The two also discussed the rock art they encountered at several sites.

William Howard Schröeder's portrait of Joseph Millerd Orpen, 1872Orpen later published an account of these interviews in the Cape Monthly Magazine and this article has since come to be regarded as “one of the most thrilling documents in the archive of Bushman ethnography,” according to Jeremy Hollmann, a specialist in southern African hunter-gatherer rock art.

“The meeting between Qing and Orpen in the Maloti-Drakensberg in what is now Lesotho, is widely agreed to be a unique moment,” exhibition curator Justine Wintjes says, “and the only recorded instance in which the meanings of certain rock art scenes were discussed between an outsider, Orpen, and Qing, a man whose community may have still been making rock art.”

The meeting of Qing and Orpen, which occurred during a key episode of colonial oppression in the late nineteenth century, and its outcome forms the subject of the exhibition On the trail of Qing and Orpen: from the colonial era to the present, currently showing at the Standard Bank Art Gallery.

Qing
Although there are no pictures of Qing, this figure on horseback painted on the wall of Melikane Shelter stands in for Qing in both book and exhibition. It may have been painted during Qing’s lifetime. Source: Jeremy Hollman.

 
The exhibition coincides with the publication of On the trail of Qing and Orpen, authored by a multidisciplinary team of scholars: José Manuel de Prada-Samper, Menán du Plessis, Jeremy Hollmann, Jill Weintroub, Justine Wintjes and John Wright, who are also the contributors to the exhibition which was curated by Wintjes, assisted by Wright and Weintroub.

“Six people worked on six different issues,” Wintjes says. “Our approach has been even-handed. Qing and Orpen have equal status.”

Despite such statements the exhibition and the book are not without an element of controversy – notably in the use of the term “bushman”. Some “San” groups use the term “San” as a self-designation while others reject the term and prefer “Bushmen”. Some descendants of Bushmen accept the generic label “Khoisan” which Khoisan activists are fostering; others say this marginalises them.

As is pointed out in the book and in the brief texts accompanying the exhibits, the word “San” was adopted by academics in the 1960s to describe southern Africa’s hunter-gatherer peoples, an all-embracing term incorporating both the present and, crucially, the past. It was seen as a suitable replacement for “bushman” which had come to have a pejorative meaning, denoting not only difference but inferiority. But, as it turns out, “San” is also a contested word, and in certain contexts probably just as disparaging.

Quite apart from scholarly usage, “San” has come to be used as an expression of identity among certain groups seeking their rights as southern Africa’s “first nation”. “In this sense the word ‘San’ equates and strengthens a sense of ethnicity,” Weintroub says. “It symbolises a way of fighting for resources, but to project it back into the past is an anachronism.”

Accordingly, since the 1980s some scholars have gradually returned to using the word “bushman” though rock art specialists still use the term “San”.

“It’s not just the word that is contested, but the whole idea of making it a category of people,” says Wright, a historian who has been working on the history of the bushmen of the Maloti-Drakensberg since 1965. “It is used as a blanket description for a whole range of peoples with different languages. San is a 20th century term; to use it now is an anachronism. Just as it makes no sense to talk of Zulus 500 years ago; Zulu was a term that only began to be widely used after the emergence of the Zulu kingdom in the 1820s.”

Wintjes says the term is used in the exhibition and the book to denote a specific identity. “We simply didn’t have a better term in this context than ‘bushman’. There is no replacement for that word – but we have worked towards using it in more nuanced ways. We also use this term for its continuity with eighteenth and nineteenth-century sources, and to connect back to a time of searching for categories. We use it in a non-ethnic, non-tribal sense.”

Wright agrees: “San is a modern ethnic term – echoing an imagined tribal past. It’s part of the whole tribal paradigm that South Africa is currently caught up in, which in itself is highly problematic.”

Over the years Bushmen have also accrued a layer of romanticism, seen by some as living fossils from some Edenic golden age when human beings lived in harmony with their natural environment. Wright is having none of that: “The whole notion of ‘ancientism’ is rubbish, they are as much a part of modern history as we are.”

Some conversations are always going to be difficult, especially when different levels of discourse – popular, activist, and academic – intersect but are talking at cross-purposes. Qing and Orpen relied on interpreters and Orpen’s article arose out of that problematic process. Now comes the book and the exhibition.

“Both are primarily on the backstory, production, and afterlife of a particular text – Orpen’s crucial article on the stories that Qing told him,” Wright says. “We are trying to open up historical questions.”

And both go further than previously in looking at the text, Weintroub says. “The published text is taken as authoritative. But there are differences between the published text and Orpen’s original manuscript.”

These discrepancies have been scrutinised by folklorist De Prada-Samper. His findings, drawn from both the manuscript and the published text, feature in what is the largest section of the book and present much new information. Of particular note are his interpretations regarding beliefs surrounding snakes, the nature of the rain-creature, and another dimension that relates to a complex of beliefs “very widespread in southern Africa and beyond, about an underwater world that very often, though not always, is connected with the world of the spirits of the dead”.

“José’s work is the central element of the book,” Wright says. “José’s rethinking will attract attention.”

According to Wintjes the book and exhibition serve to fill a gap in scholarship, as few of the studies on Orpen’s article place it within a wider historical context.

The book came first. “It existed as a project five years ago,” Wintjes says. “When Barbara Freemantle, curator of the Standard Bank Art Gallery, heard about it she said it would make for a great exhibition. So, in part, the exhibition facilitated publication of the book – but it also extended the content of the book into a different mode of exposition. The book is illustrated in service of the text, but with the exhibition we move out of a textual mode.”

The exhibition features rarely seen examples of rock engravings, paintings and bushman artefacts, as well as activist T-shirts side by side with nineteenth-century artworks by Thomas Baines, Andrew Anderson, George Angas and others, some especially restored by Standard Bank for the exhibition.

Also on display are a variety of manuscripts, including a reproduction of Orpen’s original, books, and some spectacular photographs by Hollmann of the rock art sites where Qing and Orpen held their conversations.

Men Catching Snake
A digitally enhanced photograph of an image from Sehonghong Shelter identified by Qing as depicting “men … under water” catching a “snake” with “charms” and a “long reim” (sic). Another nineteenth century informant said the paintings depict “rainmaking”. Source: Jeremy Hollman.

 
Objects and artworks are placed in interesting juxtapositions, adding further layers to Qing and Orpen’s interaction. “There are objects from the Wits Art Museum and these are in a cabinet that is an echo of the nineteenth-century ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Next to them is a display of a selection of the many the books that have come out of their encounter. So this library display situated next to a museum storage mode of display generates new meanings, for example turning books into objects of material culture. We are asking questions in that kind of way.”

The exhibits are interspersed with short texts, often inconclusive and open-ended. “They throw questions back to the engaged viewer,” Wintjes says.

Exhibition and book explore the encounter of Qing and Orpen from various perspectives: history, archaeology, folklore and ethnography, linguistics, art and art history.

Both book and exhibition pivot on Orpen’s text and the agreement among the scholars involved that there was far more to be mined from it.
Linguist Du Plessis teased out the linguistic evidence “while attempting occasionally to ‘walk the text back’ in an effort to uncover particular words that may have been used either by Qing or the interpreters”.

“The information that Orpen transmitted for us includes around two dozen words from Qing’s ‘own language’,” Du Plessis says, and from these “small shards” she was able to ascertain that Qing’s language “was suffused with elements from both Khoekhoe and southern Bantu languages … while others must have been present from the outset in the broader !Ui family to which his language probably belonged”.
Weintroub sifted the history of the text and its place in knowledge production. “Scholars tend to use it as a repository of information to back up certain interpretative material,” she says. “But I wanted to look at its history as an archival object with a trajectory of its own in relation to epochs or paradigms of thought at different times.”

“This text came out of a brief, ephemeral encounter between two people long ago, but look at what it has given. The scholarly work on it is massive. That encounter was very short but it has inspired so much.”

Doubtless it will inspire more. Wright says: “This book and exhibition are not the final word on the subject. This is not a closed account.”

The exhibition is showing at the Standard Bank Art Gallery until the end of the year. The book On the Trail of Qing and On the trail of Qing and Orpen – From the Colonial Era to the Present Orpen is published by Standard Bank.

 
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Book details
On the Trail of Qing and Orpen

  • On the Trail of Qing and Orpen by José Manuel de Prada-Samper, Menán du Plessis, Jeremy Hollmann, Jill Weintroub, Justine Wintjes, John Wright
    EAN: 9780620688451
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Dorothea Bleek


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Alan Paton Award shortlist: Interview with David Attwell on his book JM Coetzee and the Life of Writing

Published in the Sunday Times

David Attwell

 

JM Coetzee and the Life of WritingJM Coetzee and the Life of Writing: Face to Face with Time
David Attwell (Jacana Media)

What prompted you to write the book?
Eva Cossee, JM Coetzee’s Dutch publisher, approached me eight years ago to write a short biography that she could publish alongside Summertime, the third of Coetzee’s fictionalised memoirs. I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the job. In the end, John Kannemeyer took care of the biography on a grand scale, but Eva and I kept in touch. When the manuscripts became available at the University of Texas, I discovered the book I could write – a study of Coetzee’s creative process.

The subtitle of the book is “Face to Face with Time”. Can you explain this reference?
The phrase comes from a draft of Life & Times of Michael K. Michael escapes into the Swartberg mountains and when he is beyond reach of his pursuers, he thinks, “Now at last I am face to face with time.” I use that image to discuss how Coetzee uses fiction as a way of confronting one’s existence.

How is your book different to a biography?
Biographies parcel up writers and put them on the shelf. Often they do this by reducing the writer’s work to the personal life. Coetzee himself once remarked that biographers write about what writers are doing when they are not writing. I’ve tried to do something different by starting with the work, rather than the life, and by showing how the life is transformed in the work as it takes shape.

What insight do we gain of Coetzee through his writing, and how?
The public image of Coetzee is that he is austere, remote, inscrutable, and a bit judgmental of ordinary mortals. The Coetzee who appears from his writing – the papers and the published novels – is vulnerable, fallible, anxious. Having said that, no one is as hard on himself as Coetzee is. He is incredibly demanding of himself, disciplined, and totally committed to his craft.

Who should read your book?
Anyone who has read a novel by Coetzee and is curious to know more. The critics will find useful material, but it’s written for the general reader. I suspect that the readers who would get most from it will be other writers, because they will be most anxious to find out how it’s done.

Writing about a writer’s writing – what lessons did you learn about your own writing?
That the autobiographical impulse is not a bad starting point after all. Coetzee almost always starts with something personal. It’s the discipline that comes later – the writing and re-writing – that really counts.

How has your feeling about Coetzee and his novels changed?
I’ve admired Coetzee’s fiction for 40 years, since I read his first novel, Dusklands, as a student. (Incidentally, Dusklands is about decolonisation; better still, it enacts decolonisation. It requires a bit of stomach to read, but the violence speaks to the present.) Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate something of the journey Coetzee has been on. Having started as an admirer of his books, I’ve come to appreciate more the creativity and the processes that produce them.

Has Coetzee’s absence from South Africa affected his work?
Yes, I believe it has. South Africa tortures our ethical being, and the imagination. Coetzee was able to use the discomfort to create beautiful, compelling novels. He once made an odd comparison between Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick, and Samuel Beckett, most famous for Waiting for Godot. Coetzee said that what Beckett lacked was a whale. He was implying that although in spirit he was closer to Beckett, he, Coetzee, did at least have a whale. The whale is being in a state of crisis, or feeling history under one’s fingernails. In Australia he is more at peace with himself, and that sense of crisis has gone.

 
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Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka to speak at Soweto Theatre in celebration of Africa Month

Invitation to a talk by Wole Soyinka
The Lion and the JewelAkeYou Must Set Forth at DawnThe Open Sore of a ContinentOf AfricaSelected Poems

 

Alert! One of Africa’s most important literary figures, Wole Soyinka, will be at the Soweto Theatre to give a talk in celebration of Africa Month.

The Nobel Laureate is being hosted by Department of Arts and Culture in conjunction with the African Independent Newspaper and Press Club South Africa.

Soyinka will discuss “Politics, Culture and the New African” at the Soweto Theatre on Monday, 30 May:

Professor Wole Soyinka is one of Africa’s most famous literary figures. He was the first African to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Soyinka has been a strong critic of successive Nigerian governments, especially the country’s many military dictators, as well as other political tyrannies. Much of his writing has been concerned with “the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it”. He has taught at several international universities including Oxford, Harvard and Yale.

See you there!

Event Details

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New JM Coetzee novel announced

JM Coetzee
The Good StoryJM Coetzee: Two ScreenplaysThe Childhood of Jesus

 
Alert! A new novel by JM Coetzee has been announced, according to The Bookseller.

The book is titled The Schooldays of Jesus and will be a sequel to Coetzee’s 2013 novel The Childhood of Jesus, following the same characters.

Coetzee’s long-time editor Geoff Mulligan told The Bookseller: “The Schooldays of Jesus is an intriguing and wonderful novel and we are delighted to be publishing it.”

Liz Foley, publishing director at Harvill Secker, said: “The Childhood of Jesus was one of my favourite books of 2013 so I am over the moon that we have this brilliant new novel following the same unforgettable characters to look forward to.”

The Schooldays of Jesus will be out from Harvill Secker in September.

Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003. He was also the first writer to be awarded the Booker Prize twice, for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983 and Disgrace in 1999. Peter Carey and Hilary Mantel have since earned the same honour.

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Ekow Eshun reviews Secure the Base: Making Africa Visible in the Globe by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Secure the Base: Making Africa Visible in the GlobeVerdict: carrot

The West was founded on the slaughter of millions of people of colour, from the genocide of Native Americans in the US to Europe’s various acts of butchery and repression in Algeria, Kenya, the Congo and elsewhere in Africa. For Ngugi, the horror of such violence is made all the more bitter by being dressed up in narratives of progress and enlightenment. “The fact is, for the last 400 years, Europe and the West have been Africa’s hell, with Africa a European heaven,” writes Ngugi. The West has always insisted that the opposite is true. Secure the Base aims to make visible the real state of affairs.

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The 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award longlist

Published in the Sunday Times

The 2016 Sunday Times Literary Awards longlists

 
Alert! The longlist for the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award for non-fiction has been announced, in association with Porcupine Ridge.

This is the 27th year the Alan Paton Award will be bestowed on a book that presents “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it that are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power”, and that demonstrates “compassion, elegance of writing, and intellectual and moral integrity”.

This year’s Alan Paton Award judging panel is Achmat Dangor (chair), Tinyiko Maluleke and Pippa Green.

 

Chairperson Achmat Dangor’s remarks on the Alan Paton Award longlist:

The 2016 Alan Paton Awards longlisted books examine topics that cover almost the whole spectrum of macro subjects – culture, race, politics, economics – that impact on South Africa today.

There are personal stories about very high-profile figures as well as ordinary people such as street kids and women sangomas in patriarchal rural environments, all of whom deal with the challenging realities of their lives in different ways. Questions are asked: what is race and racism; how is inequality defined; is a true democracy solely embedded in its political order; and how can the constitution be made to work for the true liberation of all citizens.

The books selected for consideration are those that are honest, do not hesitate to challenge power and convention, and are engaging enough to reach a broad general readership.

Finally, whatever the writer has to say, his or her book will achieve enduring impact because of how well he or she can write.

Last year’s Alan Paton Award winner was Jacob Dlamini for his book Askari: A Story of Collaboration and Betrayal in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle (Jacana Media). Damon Galgut was awarded the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize for his novel, Arctic Summer (Umuzi).

The shortlists will be announced on Saturday, May 14 at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. The winners of the 2016 Alan Paton Award and Barry Ronge Fiction Prize will each receive R100 000.

 
2016 Alan Paton Award longlist

Empire, War & Cricket in South AfricaEmpire, War & Cricket in South Africa by Dean Allen
Book homepage
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Jacob Dlamini and Imraan Coovadia among the winners at the inaugural NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital Awards

Jacob Dlamini and Imraan Coovadia among the winners at the inaugural NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital Awards

 

Alert! The inaugural National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) Book, Creative and Digital Awards ceremony took place last night in Parktown, Johannesburg.

Winners included Jacob Dlamini for Askari (Jacana Media); Imraan Coovadia for Tales of the Metric System (Umuzi); the 2014 Short Sharp Stories Award anthology Adults Only, edited by Joanne Hichens; and recent UKZN Press publication Class in Soweto.

AskariTales of the Metric SystemAdults OnlyClass in Soweto

 

Awards were also handed out in the categories Digital Humanities and Creative Collections. Each award is valued at R60,000.

Submissions for the awards were open to academics from the humanities and social sciences, as well as creative curators and artists based at South African universities, in any of South Africa’s official languages.

The NIHSS is funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

From the NIHSS:

The awards will honour and celebrate outstanding, innovative and socially responsive scholarship, creative and digital contributions that advance in the humanities and social sciences fields. The awards are consequently a platforms to laud outstanding contributions to the humanities and social sciences through scholarly and creative work.

Through its core functions of enhancing and coordinating scholarship, research and ethical practice in humanities and social sciences, the NIHSS seeks to redress existing deficits and also coordinates programmes, projects, collaboration and activities in the humanities and social sciences disciplines through existing public universities.

Ashraf Garda was the master of ceremonies, and the keynote address was given by Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande.

Jacob Dlamini and Imraan Coovadia among the winners at the inaugural NIHSS Book, Creative and Digital AwardsNzimande expressed his delight at the overwhelming response and high standard of entries that the awards received from academics and other practitioners in the field.

“A renewed focus on the importance of the humanities and social sciences is absolutely critical in a world that increasingly values the Sciences, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) as the only measure of development and progress,” Nzimande said.

“The role of the humanities and social sciences must not only assist us in analysing and interpreting the world we live in, but it must enable us to change the material conditions and lived experiences of those most marginalised and alienated in society.”

The judges summations were given by Joyce Myeza (Digital Humanities), Thembinkosi Goniwe (Creative Collections), Shireen Hassim (Books: Non-fiction), and Pumla Dineo Gqola (Books: Fiction)

Winners: Books

Winner Best Non-fiction Monograph:

Jacob Dlamini for Askari

(Shortlisted: Isabel Hofmeyr for Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading, Stephanus Muller for Nagmusiek, Corrine Sandwith for A World of Letters: Reading Communities and Cultural Debates in Early Apartheid South Africa)

Winner Best Non-fiction Edited Volume:

Class in Soweto, edited by Peter Alexander, Claire Ceruti, Keke Motseke, Mosa Phadi and Kim Wale

(Shortlisted: Peter Delius, Laura Phillips and Fiona Rankin-Smith for A Long Way Home: Migrant Worker Worlds 1800-2014, Salim Vally and Enver Motala for Education, Economy and Society)

Winner Best Single Authored Fiction (novel, short stories, poetry, drama):

Imraan Coovadia for Tales of the Metric System

(Shortlisted: Antjie Krog for Mede-wete, Bishop Makobe for Tsa Ngweding wa Letopanta)

Winner Edited Fiction Volume:

Adults Only, edited by Joanne Hichens

(Shortlisted: Amitabh Mitra and Naomi Nkealah for Splinters of a Mirage Dawn: An Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa)

Winners: Digital Humanities

Best Digital Humanities Tool or Suite of Tools:

Nirma Madhoo-Chipps for Future Body: Technological Embodiment in Digital Fashion Media

Best Digital Humanities Project for Community Engagement:

Shirley Walters and Astrid von Kotze for Popular Education

Creative Collections

Best Public Performance:

Jay Pather for Live Art Festival

Best Musical Composition/Arrangement:

Sazi Dlamini, Neo Muyanga, Sumangala Damodaran, Ari Sitas (produced by Jürgen Bräuninger) for Insurrections

* * * * *

Watch a video from the event:

YouTube Preview Image
* * * * *

View some tweets from the event:

Book details


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