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Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

“I was surprised by how emotionally exhilarating looking at the past can be,” writes Vusi Thembekwayo of his biography-cum-business manual

Published in the Sunday Times

Vusi Thembekwayo, author of Vusi – Business & Life Lessons From a Black Dragon.
Pic: supplied.

 
There are few endeavours as daunting as writing a book; the idea that you are penning your thoughts, experiences and views for the world to critique and consume.

When the publisher first approached me to do a book on “the life and lessons of Vusi” project, I resisted the idea.

In fact, I rejected it outright, partly because of the idea that my life is just my collective set of experiences but also because I look at my life as a story in the making.

It is “being” every day. Writing about “the life of” seemed very final. But I love the idea that I get to share thoughts that stretch my perspective to colour the lenses of others.

I was inspired by the opportunity to inspire others. There can be no greater gift than the opportunity to inspire others into seeing themselves differently.

I was surprised by how emotionally exhilarating looking at the past can be. Remembering who you once were, parts of yourself that you’d forgotten, lost or minimised in the quest to grow into the person you are today.

As a group, entrepreneurs are notoriously bad at writing long books. We live in a world of instant action, ideation, collaboration and creation. Sprints, not long-winded marathons.

Every day we test, try, fail, and learn only to do it all over again, just a little smarter. Sitting down for an extended period to write or think through your thoughts is not only daunting, it is frankly foreign to our natural disposition.

Conquering this was a test of fortitude and discipline.

The book took two years and almost 100 three-hour sessions with my co-conspirator, Gus Silber, to complete. Every session we had the same set of emotions; deep introspection and reflection, anger at the state of affairs, and sometimes (admittedly seldom) an excited burst of excitement when I came upon a realisation.

I keep several pitbulls and leaving Gus on my outside patio unattended to refill our juice glasses was amusing. He would sit perfectly poised and still until I came back.

Eventually we decided that meeting at my clubhouse was a better bet. Indeed it was. From there we could enjoy the sights of the mountains pointed at Rustenburg. A wondrous and relaxing sight. Perfectly inspiring.

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RIP V.S. Naipaul (17 August 1932 – 11 August 2018)

Via Times Select

By Andrew Donaldson

There has been a flood of tributes and career appraisals following the death at the weekend of VS Naipaul, arguably the greatest and most infuriating figure in post-colonial literature. For more than five decades he gave his readers often searing and withering portraits of societies in the developing world.

That honesty earned him severe criticism – and not just for his particular point of view on the colonialism and post-colonialism so unequivocally detailed in his novels and travel writing. He was just as brutal when it came to his own failings as a man, so much so that his violent behaviour threatened to overwhelm his literary reputation.

He spared his biographer, Patrick French, nothing – so much so that the latter’s The World Is What It Is: The Authorised Biography of VS Naipaul (Vintage, 2009) is a gobsmacking page-turner.

Naipaul was fairly open about the humiliation he caused his first wife, Patricia Hale, and the 20-year affair he conducted with Margaret Gooding, a women he regularly assaulted. When the affair began, his editor Diana Athill rebuked him for his behaviour. He told her: “I am having carnal pleasure for the first time in my life, are you saying I must give it up?”

Pleasure meant degrading Gooding in bed. As Naipaul told French: “I was very violent with her for two days with my hand; my hand began to hurt … She didn’t mind it at all. She thought of it in terms of my passion for her. Her face was bad. She couldn’t appear really in public. My hand was swollen. I was utterly helpless. I have enormous sympathy for people who do strange things out of passion.”

What to read, though, of the 29 books that Naipaul produced? His first collection of short stories, Miguel Street (1959), details the lives of ordinary Trinidadians in a run-down corner of Port of Spain. The novels A House for Mr Biswas (1961), The Mimic Men (1967) and A Bend in the River (1978) are pretty much essential. Of his non-fiction work I recommend The Loss of El Dorado (1969), his India travelogues, An Area of Darkness (1964), India: A Wounded Civilisation (1977) and India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990), Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981) and Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples (1998).

He was particularly scathing about South Africans in The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief (2010). An uncomfortable experience, you could say.

The World is What it Is

Book details
The World is What it Is: The Authorized Biography of VS Naipaul by Patrick French
EAN: 9780330455985
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Miguel Street

Miguel Street by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780435989545
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A House for Mr Biswas

A House for Mr Biswas by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522892
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The Mimic Men

The Mimic Men by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522922
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A Bend in the River

A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522991
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The Loss of El Dorado

The Loss of El Dorado by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522847
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An Area of Darkness

An Area of Darkness: His Discovery of India by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522830
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India: A Wounded Civilization

India: A Wounded Civilization by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522717
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India: A Million Mutinies Now

India: A Million Mutinies Now by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330519861
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Among the Believers

Among the Believers by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330522823
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Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330517874
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The Masque of Africa

The Masque of Africa by VS Naipaul
EAN: 9780330472043
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Glen David Gold’s mother has overtaken the field in the Mad Maternal Stakes, writes Michele Magwood

Published in the Sunday Times

Glen David Gold became a successful writer despite his pitiable, maddening mother. Pic: supplied.
 
I Will Be Complete
****
Glen David Gold, Sceptre, R300

In the Flaky Mater Olympics – a hotly contested subsection of memoirs – Glen David Gold’s mother is the new leader. She’s overtaken Jeannette Walls’s mother in The Glass Castle, who was free-spirited to the point of criminal neglect, and has nosed past Augusten Burroughs’s mother who gave him away as a child to her psychiatrist, as he described in his memoir Running With Scissors.

Gold, best known for his bestselling novel Carter Beats the Devil, was born and raised in California as the ’60s swung into the ’70s.

The family was wealthy for a while, living in a vast ranch house in a shiny new suburb, with “a living room conversation pit with hidden television cabinet, executed by contractors who’d worked on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland”.

His engineer father was proud of his success, showing off his smart modern art and his ethereal British wife who used to be mistaken for the actress Linda Evans.

Gold was an anxious, precocious child who his parents labelled as gifted; so serious that someone commented “that’s not a child, it’s a 36-year-old midget”.

His father’s business tanked and his parents separated when he was 10. His father quickly met and married a much younger woman and moved to Chicago to start a new family. Gold’s mother (she is never named) dreamed of being a novelist but slipped into a life of spiralling failure, starting off with a decadent conman in San Francisco then an abusive fashion designer in New York and a violent, illiterate meth addict who dragged her through various states.

Even when reduced to living in a woman’s shelter she always believed her ship was about to come in. She is a pitiable figure, but a maddening one. The faultline in Gold’s life was the day she went off to New York for a few days and left him in their apartment in San Francisco to fend for himself.

She was gone for months. He was 12 years old.

And fend for himself is what he did, making himself fit in, first at boarding school, then at college, working in a rackety bookstore to make ends meet and trying to fill in the emotional chasms that his adolescence had opened in him. How many times could he rescue his mother? How much longer could he believe she just had bad luck rather than that she was the architect of her own failure?

It would be years of rejections (from both publishers and women) before Gold achieved success with Carter Beats the Devil and he married the novelist Alice Sebold (they have since divorced). It would be years before he could revisit his fractured past with the clear eyes that he does in this superb memoir.

“I’m looking for my mother, or what remains of her,” he writes. “There is not going to be redemption here; nor am I going to indict her as a monster. There is another way to go for those of us who can no longer love our mothers.”

One needs to stay with him through his neuroses and compulsive emotional auditing which slow things down. When he finally reveals, at the end of the book, the faultlines he uncovers in his mother’s own life, it’s like a physical blow. @michelemagwood

Book details
I Will Be Complete by Glen David Gold
EAN: 9781473620179
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Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing a tour de force of biography writing and self-discovery, writes Karina M. Szczurek

Published in the Sunday Times

Doris Lessing, née Taylor, born in 1919. Photographed here in 1958. Picture: Getty Images.

 
Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing
*****
Lara Feigel, Bloomsbury, R540 (hardcover)

“There were too many weddings that summer,” writes Lara Feigel in the opening line of her brilliant and daring Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing. At the end of the first paragraph she promises herself that she “would work out why I minded it all so much”.

The resulting quest is a tour de force of biography writing and self-discovery. Literary scholars are often drawn to topics that are of interest and consequence for their own lives. Yet, even if that spark of private recognition is openly acknowledged, it is seldom explored in the official research.

The inclusion of intimate, personal reflections by the author when writing a biography of someone else is usually frowned upon. And it can be risqué. To do so anyway is heroic.

Feigel is a Reader in Modern Literature and Culture at King’s College London. In her most recent books, The Love-charm of Bombs and The Bitter Taste of Victory, she traced the public and private lives of writers and intellectuals during and after World War 2.

Published to great critical acclaim, they established Feigel as a cultural historian and literary critic of note. Both books are focused on the intersection of life and literature in history.

Free Woman follows in their footsteps, but this time Feigel herself becomes one of the book’s subjects. While exploring Lessing’s work and dedication to, in the words of one of her famous characters, “living as fully as I can”, Feigel searches for what the “right to live fully” would entail in her own life and writing.

“It seemed that Lessing was a writer to discover in your 30s; a writer who wrote about the lives of grown-up women with an honesty and fullness I had not found in any novelist before or since.”

We are mysteries, even to ourselves, and not many have had the ability to penetrate the silences shrouding our lives. In 1931, Virginia Woolf spoke about not having solved the problem of articulating “the truth about my own experience as a body… I doubt that any woman has solved it yet.”

Feigel’s attempt to do just that is fascinating. Facing her own sense of claustrophobia, frustration and lack of fulfilment as a woman, sexual being, wife and mother, Feigel seeks to understand what it means to be a truly “free woman” – most importantly, one “who is also happy”.

The journey she embarks on and the inner truths she discovers about herself through the lens of Lessing’s striking, often contradictory, life demand a lot of courage. And reading Feigel’s account is equally empowering. Outside of her writing, Lessing is remembered for two facts: that she abandoned two of her children and that she had an awkward affair with communism. Feigel goes into the details of both these relationships.

No matter what else can be said about Lessing, there is little doubt that she was bold. She was not afraid to reach for what she felt she required to live a meaningful life as a woman and writer.

“It seems true of all enduring novelists … that they illuminate our lives, and that we live differently as a result of reading them,” Feigel states. Confronting her own body – its realities, longings and failures – as well as the relationships in her life and the need to be her own person, Feigel is just as fearless in trying to define what is crucial in making her own existence worthwhile.

Free Woman is simultaneously an incisive book of scholarship and a brave, liberating memoir. It will not only bring further, highly deserved recognition for its author, but undoubtedly inspire many readers to turn to Lessing’s work, afresh or for the first time. @KarinaMSzczurek

Book details
Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing by Lara Feigel
EAN: 9781635570953
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Becoming Iman: a media personality tells of her religious conversion, before being born again in the light of reason, writes Gillian Anstey

Published in the Sunday Times

Becoming Iman ****
Iman Rappetti, Pan Macmillan, R285

Iman Rappetti an award-winning journalist who has been involved in print, radio and television. She worked as a young journalist in South Africa and then abandoned it (along with all her worldly possessions) when she became Muslim. She lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran for two years, where she also worked on a current affairs TV show for the state broadcaster before returning to South Africa and resuming her life here. Now In her memoir, Iman shares stories and what she has learned from her colourful journey through life. Pic: Moeletsi Mabe. ©Sunday Times.

Iman Rappetti is likable. Convivial, affable, charming – describe it as you wish, she’s all of those and more. She engages with people as if they are the only other being in her universe. Combine that with supreme eloquence and it’s no wonder she is such a hit on TV (she recently left eNCA after 11 years) and her morning radio show on Power FM.

So the idea of Rappetti publishing a memoir is appealing, a chance to find out what helped create her effervescent personality.

Except nothing prepared me for Becoming Iman. Within a few pages, I was gasping with shock, and though that intensity became mild surprise at times and, at others, disbelief tinged with sadness, it also provoked much raucous laughter – all in all, a most satisfying read.

Her publishers were similarly taken aback. Rappetti says when she approached Terry Morris of Pan Macmillan, hopeful she’d be interested in a book compilation of the popular philosophical introductions to her radio show, Morris and her colleague said they made them want to discover more about Rappetti. They knew her career, of course, and “they know my background, a little bit, but they didn’t know (she pauses for a second) My Story. And then afterwards they were like ‘What?’”

It is this “story” that makes Rappetti’s memoir so extraordinary. Though even without its crucial elements, her life has not been mundane. There have been dramas aplenty, such as two siblings appearing from nowhere during the course of her childhood; another she barely knew because he lived with their affluent paternal grandparents; and the father she adored who found the Lord and transformed from an abuser to a loving husband.

Rappetti’s “story” is revealed in her memoir’s title; she literally became Iman. She was born Vanessa, a name her family still uses, and chose Iman, which means “faith” in Arabic, when she became Muslim, which she describes as “the descent into obsessive observance”. She says she was “an extremist Muslim, and for me extreme means following it 100%, not the negativity associated with extremism”.

Her husband, whom she never names, also converted and they followed the same “journey of discovery and adventure” to Iran to study their new religion further, a devotion which often saw her fast for an extra month of Ramadan, “to make up for the years I had lost in unbelief”.

So orthodox, she even shaved off her hair to not have to worry about tendrils escaping from her headscarf. “I wanted nothing to take my eyes off the book that was my oxygen and my reason for living,” she writes.

Rappetti lived like this for about six years. Then she found herself pretending to pray. Feeling suffocated, she writes: “As the laws began to have a material impact on how I was able to live, progress and aspire in society, as I began to live in a lesson, I realised that despite my best hopes, the truth was that I would never be an equal citizen in that construct and that it is the fragility of men it seeks to scaffold and muscularise.”

Today she declares: “I do not believe that God exists, I don’t.” And she is raising her three children without formal religion.

“My children have always grown up in a house where we strive for moral consciousness … for employing our ability to reason. It’s up to them to make the decision whether they want faith one day,” she says.

And her ex-husband? He is a “virulent atheist” also living back in South Africa.

Perhaps her daily inspirational radio message is a type of sermon but she doesn’t believe she has substituted faith with something else. If anything, “it’s the ritual of cooking, the ritual of self-indulgence and of having fun. I always joke and say my true north is joy. So whatever takes us there, if it is a good pot of curry, if it’s horsing around with the kids or eating something delicious or being with people, that’s what I have, if you want to say, replaced things with.”

At the time of her conversion she signed a paper written as a contract, titled “Reasons why you should not drive”. Her turnaround is that she is now a self-confessed speed demon. “Give me a Bugatti Veyron, give me a Lamborghini Aventador, give me a BMW i8 and, by the way, Rolls-Royce have just come out with a brilliant new SUV! Can I please have one of those? Apparently it hauls ass… I love speed, I do. It makes me feel free!”

Becoming Iman

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Open Book Festival announces first group of authors

Via Open Book Festival

Throwback to a panel discussion at Open Book Fest 2016. ©Retha Ferguson

 
The first group of authors has been announced for the eighth Open Book Festival taking place from 5 to 9 September this year.

Brought to you by the Book Lounge and the Fugard Theatre, Open Book Festival offers a world-class selection of book launches, panel discussions, workshops, masterclasses, readings, performances, and more. The festival also hosts the popular Comics Fest, #cocreatePoetica and various children’s and outreach programmes. Venues for the event include the Fugard Theatre, District Six Homecoming Centre, the A4 Arts Foundation, and The Book Lounge in Cape Town, and are all within walking distance of one another. Selected events will also take place outside the city centre, such as at Elsies River Library and Molo Mhlaba School.

Open Book Festival has established itself as one of the most innovative literature festivals in South Africa. It has twice been shortlisted for the London Book Fair Excellence Awards. Last year, nearly 10 000 people attended the festival’s record 140 events, with ticket sales from previous years surpassed in the first two days. Open Book Festival is committed to creating a platform to celebrate South African writers, as well as hosting top international authors. The festival strives to instill a love of reading among young attendees, with the programme designed to engage, entertain and inspire conversations among festival goers long after the event.

“We are once again compiling a phenomenal line up of authors, across a wide range of genres, to join us at the festival,” says Festival Director Mervyn Sloman. “We’ve put together a short preview of some of the authors joining us, to help plan your reading.”

The international authors include:

Author: Lesley Arimah (Nigeria / USA)
Books include: What it Means when a Man Falls from the Sky
Why we’re excited: Lesley has been a finalist for the Caine Prize and a winner of the African Commonwealth Short Story Prize among other honors. She was selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 and her debut collection What it Means when a Man Falls from the Sky won the 2017 Kirkus Prize.

Author: Jonas Bonnier (Sweden) joining us courtesy of the Swedish Embassy
Books include: The Helicopter Heist, Stockholm Odenplan
Why we’re excited: Jonas Bonnier is a novelist, screenwriter and journalist. His latest book, The Helicopter Heist is a gripping suspense thriller about the Västberga helicopter robbery. It has been sold to 34 territories.

Author: David Chariandy (Canada) joining us courtesy of Canada Council of the Arts
Books include: Brother, Soucouyant
Why we’re excited: David Chariandy won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2017 for Brother. The Guardian UK described it as ‘breathtaking…compulsive, brutal and flawless’. David’s debut novel, Soucouyant, received nominations from eleven literary awards juries.

Author: Anna Dahlqvist (Sweden)
Books include: It’s Only Blood
Why we’re excited: Anna Dahlqvist is a leading voice writing about women’s and girls’ rights. She is editor-in-chief of Ottar, a Swedish magazine focusing on sexuality, politics, society and culture.

Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn (Jamaica/USA) with thanks to the University of Stellenbosch for assisting with her joining us
Books include: Here Comes the Sun
Why we’re excited: Her debut novel, Here Comes The Sun, received a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a NPR Best Books of 2016, an Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Entertainment Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2016, a BuzzFeed Best Literary Debuts of 2016, among others.

Author: Guy Deslisle (Canada) joining us courtesy of Canada Council of the Arts
Books include: Hostage, Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea, Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, Burma Chronicles, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City
Why we’re excited: Guy Deslisle is a cartoonist and animator, who is acclaimed for his graphic novels about his travels. His most recent book, Hostage, was longlisted for Brooklyn Public Library’s 2017 literary prize.

Author: Frankie Edozien (Nigeria/USA)
Books include: Lives of Great Men
Why we’re excited: Frankie Edozien is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of AFRrican Magazine. Lives of Great Men was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. The Financial Times called the book ‘a fine contribution to the important work of pursuing equality and social justice on a global scale’

Author: Mariana Enriquez (Argentina) joining us courtesy of the Embassy of Argentina
Books include: Things We Lost in the Fire
Why we’re excited: Stories by Mariana Enriquez have appeared in anthologies of Spain, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia and Germany. The New York Times Book Review called Things We Lost in the Fire, ‘[P]ropulsive and mesmerizing, laced with vivid descriptions of the grotesque…and the darkest humor’.

Author: Aminatta Forna (Scotland/Sierra Leone/USA)
Books include: Happiness, The Hired Man, The Memory of Love.
Why we’re excited: Aminatta Forna’s award-winning work has been translated into eighteen languages. Her essays have appeared in Freeman’s, Granta, The Guardian, LitHub, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, The Observer and Vogue. She has written stories for BBC radio and written and presented television documentaries.

Author: Adam Smyer (USA)
Books include: Knucklehead
Why we’re excited: Adam Smyer’s debut novel Knucklehead is a refreshingly honest, fierce, intelligent, and often hilarious read.

“By setting his novel in the ’90s, Smyer, has crafted some brutal deja vu. As Marcus reflects on Rodney King, the Million Man March and the Oklahoma City bombing, we think of Freddie Gray, Black Lives Matter and school shootings that have become a way of life… Here we are more than 20 years on, and it’s only gotten worse. We should all be furious.” San Francisco Chronicle

Author: Mariko Tamaki (Canada) joining us courtesy of the Canada Council of the Arts
Books include: Skim, Emiko Superstar, This One Summer.
Why we’re excited: Mariko Tamaki is an acclaimed graphic novelist and author. In 2016 she began writing for both Marvel and DC Comics.

“A key objective of Open Book Festival is to celebrate the wealth of South African talent,” says Sloman. “We have a selection of the most insightful minds and compelling storytellers joining us. Here are a few.”

“We are looking forward to The Last Sentence, a psychological thriller and the debut novel from Tumelo Buthelezi and also to welcoming Ijangolet S Ogwang, whose novel An Image in a Mirror, is a richly told African coming-of-age story.”

Clinton Chauke’s Born in Chains: The Diary of an Angry ‘Born Free’ is a story of hope, where, even in a sea of poverty, there are those that refuse to give up and, ultimately, succeed. Journalist Rebecca Davis, author of Best White and Other Anxious Delusions will talk about her new memoir and journey on a spiritual quest.

Sorry, Not Sorry author Haji Dawjee joins us to discuss this revealing experience of moving through post-Apartheid South Africa as a woman of colour. “We are delighted to welcome back Judith February of the Institute for Security Studies, and author Pumla Dineo Gqola, whose book Reflecting Rogue was the best selling title at last year’s Festival,” says Sloman.

Nozizwe Jele has recently released her new novel, The Ones With Purpose. Happiness is a Four-Letter Word was Jele’s debut novel and won the Best First Book category (Africa region) in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2011, as well as the 2011 M-Net Literary Award in the Film category. Playwright and theatre director Craig Higginson whose novels include The Dream House also joins the line-up to talk about his new novel, The White Room.

Siya Khumalo’s debut memoir, You Have to be Gay to Know God, is a powerful book dealing with gay identity. In Becoming Him, Landa Mabenge explores his own journey that includes being the first transgender man in South Africa to successfully force a medical aid to pay for his surgeries.

The Blessed Girl by Angela Makholwa sees an unraveling of the life that ambitious, social climber Bontle Tau was aiming for. Makholwa’s previous books include Black Widow Society, The 30th Candle and Red Ink. The Gold Diggers is the latest novel by Sue Nyathi (The Polygamist).It is a simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming chronicle of immigrant experiences.

Singer-songwriter and author Mohale Mashigo (The Yearning) returns to talk about her new collection, Intruders while in Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree, another festival regular Niq Mhlongo brings the complexities of Soweto to life on the page.

Zuki Wanner’s books include Men of the South which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize Africa Region for Best Book; London – Cape Town – Joburg and children’s book Refilwe. Her recent Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts explores the politics of nations, and the ‘burden’ of travelling on an African passport.

SAPS Major General Jeremy Vearey also joins us to talk about Jeremy Vannie Elsies which chronicles his journey of growing up in Elsies River, from rough-and-tumble youngster to the head of the anti-gang unit in the Western Cape. Along the way he mastered the Communist Manifesto in Afrikaans, joined MK, and was sent to Robben Island for his role in the struggle.

The eighth Open Book Festival will take place from 5 to 9 September at the Fugard Theatre, D6 Homecoming Centre, The A4 Arts Foundation and The Book Lounge from 10:00 to 21:00 each day. For further information and the full programme, which will be available in early August, visit www.openbookfestival.co.za

Bookings can be made at Webtickets: www.webtickets.co.za

Open Book Festival is organised in partnership with the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum, The A4 Arts Foundation, The Townhouse Hotel, Novus Holdings, The French Institute, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Embassy of Sweden, The Embassy of Argentina, The Dutch Foundation for Literature, UCT Creative Writing Department, University of Stellenbosch English Department and Central Library and is sponsored by Leopards Leap, Open Society Foundation, Pan Macmillan, NB Publishers, Jonathan Ball and Penguin Random House.

An Image in a Mirror

Book details

 
 
 
Born in Chains

 
 
 
 
 
Best White and Other Anxious Delusions

 
 
 
 

Sorry, Not Sorry

 
 
 
 

Reflecting Rogue

 
 
 
 

The Ones With Purpose

 
 
 
 

The Blessed Girl

 
 
 
 
 
The Gold Diggers

 
 
 
 
 
The Yearning

 
 
 
 
 
Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree

 
 
 
 
Jeremy vannie Elsies


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Make way for great South African Books: Exclusive Books celebrates local books and writing this June with its 2018 Homebru Campaign and free in-store catalogue

Exclusive Books, South Africa’s leading bookseller, celebrates South African authors this June with the launch of its annual Homebru campaign. There are more than 50 books in this year’s Homebru selection, and the languages represented include, in addition to English and Afrikaans, isiZulu, seSotho, isiXhosa and Sepedi.

Homebru 2018 features great fiction, biography, history, politics and current affairs, engaging children’s books, comics for young adults, poetry, cookery and more. Fanatics members earn double points on all titles, and the official 2018 Homebru catalogue is available to all members of the public for free in stores.

The books and authors featured represent a true slice of South African writing and include Mandy Wiener’s fascinating and disturbing Ministry of Crime, Schalk Bezuidenhout’s hilarious Truitjie roer my nie, Mpho Dagada’s inspiring Mr Bitcoin, Refiloe Moahloli’s delightful new children’s book, Tullula, Lukhanyo and Abigail Calata’s sobering memoir My Father Died for This, Nozizwe Cynthia Jele’s fantastic second novel, The Ones with Purpose, and Dudu Busani-Dube’s epic romance Zulu Wedding, among dozens of other titles.

“Without local writers there would be far fewer local readers,” said Ben Williams, GM: Marketing for Exclusive Books. “It’s a great privilege to be able to promote these titles, and Homebru is always one of the most exciting times of the year for those who love great reads.”

Browse the 2018 Homebru selection at Exclusive Books Online:

https://www.exclusivebooks.co.za/page/homebru-2018-great-books-made-in-sa

Exclusive Books is planning more than 30 events during the month of June to showcase its Homebru selection: watch out for invitations to its stores in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Bloemfontein. The full list of events will be online here:

http://blog.exclusivebooks.co.za/homebru-events/.

Select Homebru 2018 events:

Gauteng

Mandy Wiener: Ministry of Crime Book Signing
EB Bedford Centre
DATE Saturday, 02 June 2018
TIME 11:00 – 12:00
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Schalk Bezuidenhout: Truitjie roer my nie
EB Rosebank Mall
DATE Tuesday, 05 June 2018
TIME 18:00 vir 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Vimla Naidoo and Sahm Venter: I remember Nelson Mandela
EB Hyde Park Corner
DATE Wednesday, 06 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Mpho Dagada: Mr Bitcoin
EB Rosebank Mall
DATE Wednesday, 06 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Mpho Dagada: Mr Bitcoin
EB Menlyn
DATE Thursday, 07 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Refiloe Moahloli: Tullula – Children’s Reading
EB Mall of the South
DATE Saturday, 09 June 2018
TIME 10:00 for 10:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Lukhanyo and Abigail Calata: My Father Died for This
EB Hyde Park Corner
DATE Tuesday, 12 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Clinton Chauke: Born in Chains
EB Menlyn Park
DATE Tuesday, 12 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Nozizwe Cynthia Jele: The Ones with Purpose
EB Rosebank Mall
DATE Wednesday, 13 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Kwa-Zulu Natal

Dudu Busani-Dube: Zulu Wedding
Bessie Head Library, PMB
DATE Saturday, 02 June 2018
TIME 10:00 – 12:00
RSVP email cheryln@exclusivebooks.co.za

Free State

Marinda van Zyl: Dors
NALN, Bloemfontein
DATE Wednesday, 06 June 2018
TIME 17:30 vir 18:00
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Western Cape

Clinton Chauke: Born in Chains
EB Cavendish Square
DATE Wednesday, 06 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Joanne Jowell: Winging It
EB Cavendish Square
DATE Thursday, 07 June 2018
TIME 18:00 for 18:30
RSVP email events@exclusivebooks.co.za

Ministry of Crime

Book details

 
 
 

Truitjie roer my nie

 
 
 

Tullula

 
 
 

My Father Died for This

 
 
 

The Ones With Purpose

 
 
 

Zulu Wedding


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Hermanus FynArts 2018 (8 – 17 June): authors who journey to unravel issues

Festival goers can expect ten exhilarating days celebrating the arts at Hermanus FynArts, the annual arts festival and winter school that will take place from 8 – 17 June 2018. A unique and quality event on the South African Arts Calendar, this classic-feel festival showcases top South African artists, speakers, chefs, wine makers of note, and more. With something for everyone, the programme is filled with exhibitions, music, talks, demonstrations, workshops, tastings, films and events for children.

Knowing where you come from, understanding and experiencing diverse cultures and communities are topics for discussion at the sixth annual Hermanus FynArts festival, from 8 to 17 June. During the Strauss & Co lecture and presentation series, five authors will be interviewed about their books from which they will also read in a separate session.

In his newly-published book, The Café de Move-On Blues, the long-awaited sequel to White Boy Running, Christopher Hope travels to find out just who South Africans think they are and where they think they’re going. He recounts his great trek around South Africa to visit toppled and assaulted statues and monuments, ranging from Cecil Rhodes to Saartjie Baartman. Fellow-writer and journalist Bryan Rostron will talk to him about this, his latest book. In a separate session Christopher will read selected tales from an earlier work, The Love Songs of Nathan J. Swirsky, described by reviewers as a ‘little jewel-box’ of a book. These stories were originally commissioned and recorded by the BBC and read by the author.

Sindiwe Magona, writer, storyteller, actress and motivational speaker, will talk about her books and her remarkable life, with Nancy Richards, well known as a former presenter on SAfm Literature. Sindiwe’s jouney from domestic worker in the suburbs of Cape Town to the United Nations in New York where she worked for 20 years, and her substantial oeuvre of writings for both children and adults form the basis of the discussion. In a separate session, Storytime with Sindiwe Magona, children will be in for a special treat when they are invited to doss down on blankets on the stage of the Auditorium while Sindiwe reads them stories.

Small towns and the Afrikaans culture are common threads in the work of Sally Andrew and Jennifer Friedman. Sally, author of the Tannie Maria mystery series set in the Klein Karoo, and Jennifer, whose book Queen of the Free State, is about growing up Jewish in a small town in the 1950s and ’60s, will talk to Petrovna Metelerkamp, a publisher and an authority on the life of Ingrid Jonker. Sally and Jennifer will also join forces for a book reading.

The Keeper of the Kumm – Ancestral Longing and Belonging of a Boesmankind is the spiritual journey of Sylvia Vollenhoven in search of her roots, telling the story of a battle-hardened, 21st century journalist who has to journey with her 19th century ancestor to delve into the hardest story of them all: Who am I really? In the process of writing she is cured of a debilitating illness that had left her bedridden. Sylvia will be interviewed by media personality Shado Twala. In a separate session she will read extracts from her book.

Award-winning poet Alfred Schaffer, who is partly Dutch, partly Aruban and a lecturer in Afrikaans-Nederlands at Stellenbosch University, will read from his poetry in Dutch, with English and Afrikaans translations. He will also read poems by other Dutch and Belgian poets, with English translations.

The full FynArts programme, also in e-booklet format, is at hermanusfynarts.co.za. Bookings can be made at Webtickets, also at selected Pick n Pay stores and on 060 957 5371.

The Café de Move-on Blues

Book details

 
 

White Boy Running

 
 
 

The Love Songs of Nathan J. Swirsky

 
 
 

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery

 
 
 
Queen of the Free State

 
 
 

Keeper of the Kumm


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Bridget Jones Dries Out: Clare Pooley was amazed women were blogging about alcoholism, writes Jennifer Platt

Published in the Sunday Times

The wine witch is not someone that people want in their lives, writes Clare Pooley in her memoir, The Sober Diaries. Illustration: Keith Tamkei.

 
The Sober Diaries
Clare Pooley
Hodder & Stoughton, R315

The wine witch is not someone that people want in their lives. As Clare Pooley writes in her memoir: “The single most telling sign that you are no longer in control of alcohol, but it is in control of you, is when you instinctively understand the concept of the ‘wine witch’. Some people refer to her as the ‘inner addict’ or the ‘monkey on my back’ … But, for many of us women in the sober online world, ‘wine witch’ describes her perfectly.”
 
The Sober Diaries is the account of the year Pooley decided to quit the booze: her drink of note – more than a bottle of wine a day. The bottles of vino piled into her life: first partying like only a student can (obscene binge drinking) at Cambridge and then as managing partner of the world’s biggest advertising agencies in London where “drinking was part of the work culture as well as the play culture. In fact … we had a bar in the office.”

Then she quit the rat race when she had her third child to be the Perfect Mom. Wine became her “oasis of sanity, a release from the stress of toddler tantrums and the boredom of nappy changing”. Fast forward six years and Pooley realises: “The wine witch is not Mary Poppins”. Deciding that she couldn’t go to Alcoholics Anonymous for a variety of reasons, Pooley googled how to stop drinking and became aware that women were blogging about alcohol addiction. She decided to write as well, and called her blog Mommy was a Secret Drinker. Pooley had no idea that her honesty would strike such a chord.

The Sober Diaries is not just a sober read. Pooley is hilarious and shows that being sober is not depressing. Fact is, alcohol is a depressant and when the brain is exposed to the drink, Pooley writes, “its natural systems of craving and reward are screwed up”. When we drink, our brain’s reward system is artificially activated and it produces dopamine – a feel-good chemical. The brain thinks it is producing far too much, so it compensates by decreasing the chemical. “Gradually drinkers feel more and more depressed, and start to believe that only alcohol will make us feel better.” This vicious cycle is then created.

Beating the addiction is not the only problem that Pooley has to grapple with. Several months into her year of sobriety she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Fact is, alcohol is linked to cancer. Alcohol is a carcinogen and causes at least seven types of cancer.

Pooley decides not to drink when she gets the news. She writes a list of reasons to be positive. No 3 is: “One of the best ways to ensure that you don’t get breast cancer (or in my case) don’t get it again, is to not drink alcohol. And I’ve ticked that one off already.”

At the end of the year she is cancer-free and booze-free. This has driven Pooley to help people: writing this book, and giving the inspiring TEDx talk: Making Sober Less Shameful. Now she has partnered with Janet Gourand – who founded the World Without Wine workshops in Cape Town and Joburg – to run a workshop in London. World Without Wine (worldwithoutwine.com) offers workshops, coaching and support to help those trying to cut down on or quit alcohol. It’s also an online support.

Pooley’s story is one of many about dealing with alcohol addiction but it is relatable, funny and honest. As the blurb says: “This is Bridget Jones Dries Out”. @Jenniferdplatt

Book details


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Kingsmead Book Fair programme and authors announced!

Authors, editors, poets and publishers will congregate at Kingsmead College on Saturday 12 May from 8:30 AM to 6 PM for the seventh annual Kingsmead Book Fair.

Bibliophiles can expect an assortment of literary discussions including deliberations on political unrest in South Africa, culinary conversations with some of South Africa’s most prolific food-writers, and the mysterious processes authors go through to get their stories onto the page.

Authors you can look forward to include Achmat Dangor (Bitter Fruit, Dikeledi), Sisonke Msimang (Always Another Country), Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Stay With Me), Claire Bisseker (On the Brink), Fred Khumalo (Bitches’ Brew), Fred Strydom (The Inside-Out Man), Glynnis Breytenbach (Rule of Law), Gregg Hurwitz (HellBent), Ishay Govender-Ypma (Curry), Kate Mosse (The Burning Chambers), Jacques Pauw (The President’s Keepers), Sally Partridge (Mine), Zinzi Clemmons (What We Lose), Pumla Dineo-Gqola (Reflecting Rogue), Redi Tlhabi (Khwezi), Tracy Going (Brutal Legacy), Rehana Rossouw (New Times), Peter Harris (Bare Ground), Mandy Wiener (Killing Kebble), and many, many more…

Kingsmead Book Fair supports numerous literary projects across the country, encouraging and instilling a love of reading and contributing to South African literacy rates across the board. The Link Reading Programme, Alexandra Education Committee, Sparrow Schools, Read to Rise, and St Vincent’s School for the Deaf are all supported by this singular book fair.

The full programme for this year’s fair is available here.

Tickets can be purchased online via WebTickets.

‘Til May 12th!

Bitter Fruit

Book details

 
 
Dikeledi

 
 
 

Always Another Country

 
 
 

Stay With Me

 
 
 

On the Brink

 
 
 

Bitches' Brew

 
 
 

The Inside-Out Man

 
 
 

Rule of Law

 
 
 

HellBent

 
 
 

The Burning Chambers

 
 
 

The President's Keeper

 
 
 

Mine

 
 
 

What We Lose

 
 
 

Reflecting Rogue

 
 
 

Khwezi

 
 
 

Brutal Legacy

 
 
 

New Times

 
 
 

Bare Ground

 
 
 

Killing Kebble


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