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.@TheFolioPrize 2015 Longlist Revealed, Including Damon Galgut, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor and @dinawmengestu:

Archive for the ‘Book Excerpts’ Category

Free Sunday Times eBook: Food Weekly Readers’ Recipe Collection 2014

Just in time for Christmas lunch, the Sunday Times presents another free ebook, containing 66 of the best recipes from Sunday Times Food Weekly readers.

Keen-eyed gourmands will remember the free Sunday Times ebook Food Weekly 50 Best Chocolate Cakes – Readers’ Recipes from mid-December. Now, the Sunday Times is giving away a full recipe collection.

The Sunday Times Food Weekly Readers’ Recipe Collection contains everything from soups and salads to curries, pies, pastas, and of course desserts.

View your free ebook here (or download it directly here):

Sunday Times Food Weekly Readers' Recipe Collection 2014 by Books LIVE

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Sunday Read: An Excerpt from The Globe by Terry Pratchett, Co-Written with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen

The GlobeWhat happens to magic in a world ruled by logic?

The second novel in Terry Pratchett’s The Science of Discworld-series is set to appear in the US on 20 January 2015. Co-written with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, The Globe shows you what happens when wizards mess with magic, especially when they create alternate universes!

The wizards of Unseen University didn’t quite know what they were getting themselves into when they first created Roundworld. In a world filled with humans, elves and other ghastly creatures, it’s once again up to our unsung heroes Rincewind and the Librarian to save the day. Together with Ridcully and Ponder Stibbons they travel to the Dark Ages to set humanity straight, or to try in any case.

Tor shared an extract from the first chapter of The Globe. Rincewind receives a message of elves entering Roundworld and certain doom that is sure to follow. Read the extract:

Message in a Bottle

In the airy, crowded silence of the forest, magic was hunting magic on silent feet.

A wizard may be safely defined as a large ego which comes to a point at the top. That is why wizards do not blend well. That would mean looking like other people, and wizards do not wish to look like other people. Wizards aren’t other people.

And therefore, in these thick woods, full of dappled shade, new growth and birdsong, the wizards who were in theory blending in, in fact blended out. They’d understood the theory of camouflage – at least they’d nodded when it was being explained – but had then got it wrong.

For example, take this tree. It was short, and it had big gnarly roots. There were interesting holes in it. The leaves were a brilliant green. Moss hung from its branches. One hairy loop of grey-green moss, in particular, looked rather like a beard. Which was odd, because a lump in the wood above it looked rather like a nose. And then there was a blemish in the wood that could have been eyes …

But overall this was definitely a tree. In fact, it was a lot more like a tree than a tree normally is. Practically no other tree in the forest looked so tree-like as this tree. It projected a sensation of extreme barkness, it exuded leafidity. Pigeons and squirrels were queuing up to settle in the branches. There was even an owl. Other trees were just sticks with greenery on compared to the sylvanic verdanity of this tree…

Book details

Image courtesy of The Guardian

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The New Yorker Features New Fiction by Nuruddin Farah: “The Start of the Affair” (Excerpt, Interview and Podcast)

Nuruddin Farah

Hiding in Plain SightCrossbonesFrom a Crooked RibMapsKnotsSecrets

The latest issue of The New Yorker features new fiction by Nuruddin Farah, and an interview with the author about his life and work.

The story, entitled “The Start of the Affair”, is about a retired professor of politics at Wits who owns a North African restaurant in Pretoria. Farah says the idea for the story came to him soon after he had finished his most recent novel, Hiding in Plain Sight, “More or less out of the blue, you might say.”

Farah, along with Njabulo Ndebele, was recently presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the South African Literary Awards. He was born in Somalia, but now divides his time between South Africa and New York, where he teaches at Bard College. He still travels frequently to Somalia, but tells The New Yorker it has been a “deliberate decision” to set his novels outside of his home country, both for political and stylistic reasons. However, although he agrees that he now feels at home in New York, he says he is unlikely to set his work there.

Read the interview:

It is one thing to feel at home in a place; it is altogether another matter to set one’s fiction there. After all, there are stages of feeling at home in a place. Anyhow, I doubt I will set my fiction in upstate New York in the near future. My attitude towards setting my fiction anywhere in Africa is entirely different, because it is as if the continent is mine to write about.

Listen to Farah reading the story:

Read the story on The New Yorker website:

“The Start of the Affair”

At a fire sale a few years ago, James MacPherson, a retired professor of politics at Wits, Johannesburg, known for his seminal work on the Frontline States’ war of attrition against the apartheid regime, bought a restaurant in Pretoria specializing in North African cuisine. His knowledge of Africa was extensive, a result of having lived in various places around the continent for a number of years, most notably Zambia and Tanzania, and of having travelled frequently to the neighboring states.

Now he spends much of his time at a corner table in the restaurant, surrounded by the papers on which he has scribbled notes for a book he intends to lick into shape. He seldom interferes with the business side of the restaurant, allowing the manager, Yacine, a Moroccan, full authority to deal with most problems. And, on the rare occasion that Yacine seeks his input, James defers to him, saying, “It is your call.”

Book details

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Free Sunday Times eBook: Food Weekly 50 Best Chocolate Cakes – Readers’ Recipes

Warning: High Deliciousness Factor. The Sunday Times presents the following free ebook, containing the 50 best chocolate cake recipes from Sunday Times Food Weekly readers.

The recipes include old favourites like Chocolate Ganache Cake, and more adventurish recipes like Chocolate Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Peanut Butter Custard and Salted Caramel Popcorn.

View the book here (or download it directly here) – but beware, do not attempt to read on an empty stomach:

Sunday Times Food Weekly 50 Best Chocolate Cakes: Readers' Recipes by Books LIVE

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Fiction Friday: Excerpt from Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse by Lee Herrmann

A Journal of a South African Zombie ApocalypseLee Herrmann’s new book Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse is our Fiction Friday this week.

Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse follows the story of 16-year-old Kon, his brother and his father as they flee zombie-infested Pretoria and make their way to Robben Island, a reported safe haven.

Read the excerpt, in which the family collect together weapons and gardening tools to fight the zombie apocalypse:

Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse

About the book

A mysterious virus breaks out and suddenly it turns ordinary people into flesh eating zombies. The police and army are powerless to stop its spread and soon the entire country is consumed.

This might read like a scene from a Hollywood flick and you might think you have heard it or seen it all before. The only difference is that the outbreak happens in South Africa, right on your doorstep. The beautiful landmarks you know, some with their manicured gardens and beautiful architecture, are lying desolate and derelict. Once busy towns like Johannesburg with their dense population and noise are quiet and have virtually become ghost town. The Government has fallen. The army and the police have failed. And now half dead infected people roam the streets converging on any survivors and savagely tearing into them.

After running out of supplies 16-year-old Kon, his brother and father leave their Pretoria home and embark on a journey across the country to Robben Island, a reputed safe haven. Along the way they befriend other survivors, and face an unrecognisable new world filled with new unpredictable dangers.

Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse, a chronicle of Kon and his family in a South Africa that has become a zombie-infested and volatile country, is the newest by Pretoria author Lee Herrmann. This is the second novel by Herrmann and a departure from the light-hearted mystery tale he penned in 2011.

Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse is a coming-of-age story in a very different South Africa, and chronicles one family’s fight for survival against the undead. The book, a light read of 180 pages, will have you turning page after page as you are enthralled with the journey and survival of the survivors as they make their way to the island of hope. Oh, and there’s lots and lots of zombies.

“Not only am I a zombie fan but I’ve always debated what would happen if an outbreak happened in South Africa and so it made sense to turn it into a book,” Herrmann says.
Book details

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Sunday Read: A Review of and an Excerpt from Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love by James Booth

Philip LarkinThis week’s Sunday read is Michael Dirda’s review of Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love by James Booth for The Washington Post, as well as an excerpt from the book.

Larkin has been called the best-loved English poet of the 20th century. His poems are approachable and profound, and seem to acquire more meaning and more truth every time they are reread. His work remains relevant and fresh even three decades after his death.

Booth, a scholar who was also Larkin’s colleague, has written a biography that traces both the events of Larkin’s life and his development as a poet. According to Dirda, Booth paints a portrait of Larkin “as refracted in his writing”.

Read the review:

Philip Larkin (1922-1985) is as famous a poet as any in the second half of the 20th century. In England he holds a roughly comparable position to Robert Frost in the United States — a beloved, curmudgeonly figure, with dark corners in his private life, who produced clear, accessible poetry that, once read, could never be forgotten. “Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three/ (which was rather late for me). . . . What will survive of us is love. . . . Age, and then the only end of age. . . . Never such innocence again.” Unlike Frost, with his shock of windblown hair and openly bardic manner, Larkin — balding, heavily bespectacled, nattily dressed in checked sport coats and bow ties — looked precisely like a bachelor-librarian at a provincial university. That is, of course, just what he was. Nowadays, he seems an early icon of geek-chic.

But appearances tell only half the story, which is what one might say about James Booth’s “Philip Larkin: Life, Love and Art.” Given its overall heft, this book looks like a new biography — following the pioneering work of Richard Bradford and Andrew Motion — and, indeed, does track the major events of Larkin’s 63 years. Booth’s real concern, however, is — to borrow a Wordsworthian phrase — “the growth of a poet’s mind.”

In his biography, Booth suggests that the poetry and personality of Larkin have been misinterpreted by decades of academics. He attempts to put forward a faithful portrait of the man and the poet using information gleaned from years of research and from Larkin’s friends and acquaintances.

In the introduction to Philip Larkin: Life, Art and Love, Booth sets out the facts and controversies of Larkin’s life, and explains his massive impact as a poet.

Read the excerpt:

Larkin is, by common consent, the best-loved British poet of the last century. Phrases and lines from his poems are more frequently quoted than those of any other poet of his time: ‘What are days for?’; ‘Sexual intercourse began / In nineteen sixty-three’; ‘What will survive of us is love’; ‘Never such innocence again’. Already during his lifetime the publication of a Larkin work was a n event. Within days of the appearance of a new poem in the New Statesman, the Listener or the Times Literary Supplement, ‘people would have it by heart and be quoting it over the dinner table’. A recent blogger speaks for many when he recalls reading his slim volume ‘to tatters’. Since his death Larkin’s poetic reputation has become even more secure.

Book details

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Excerpts: SJ Naude and Mark Gevisser Featured in the Latest Issue of Granta

Granta 129Lost and Found in JohannesburgThe Alphabet of BirdsThe latest issue of Granta includes work by Mark Gevisser and, for the first time, SJ Naudé.

The issue, Granta 129: Fate, features a piece by Gevisser entitled “Self-Made Man”, about a young transgender man, and the title story of Naudé’s collection The Alphabet of Birds, which was recently translated into English from the Afrikaans, Alfabet van die voels. The Afrikaans collection won the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and the Jan Rabie Rapport Prize.

South African authors have been full of praise for Naudé’s debut collection. Damon Galgut said: “Cool and intelligent, unsettling and deeply felt, Naudé’s voice is something new in South African writing.” Ivan Vladislavić said: “Naudé writes compellingly about South Africa and its dilemmas, but he is equally at home, or perhaps not at home, in many other places, in Hanoi, Phoenix, London, Tokyo.” At the launch of the book at The Book Lounge in Cape Town, author and award-winning translator Michiel Heyns said: “It’s wonderful. You’re not losing out by reading this work in translation.”

In her introduction to Fate, Granta owner Sigrid Rausing compares Naudé to JM Coetzee:

“[Naudé] describes a former nurse going for Aids training in the South African outback. Naudé writes in Afrikaans, but like many Afrikaans speakers he is bilingual, and translates himself into English. There is something reminiscent of JM Coetzee in his language, and in the vision of the fate of South Africa, hanging in the balance.”

Read an excerpt from The Alphabet of Birds on Books LIVE:

Sandrien is the only white woman in Bella Gardens. She is in fact the only white person in town. An establishment for the accommodation of women travellers, reads the website of Bella Gardens. The most luxurious home for females, reads the brochure in the dim entrance hall. One could mistake it for a refuge for unwed mothers.

Her hostess is Mrs Edith Nyathi, who introduces herself as a widow and retired matron of Frere Hospital. She never stops talking about her ‘second life’. She raises her eyebrows and drops her head forward when pronouncing the phrase. The guest house is her pension, she says, ‘my little egg’. The number of maids in her employ permits her to relax with a cigarette on the veranda during the day; sometimes, late in the evening, with a cigar. Mrs Nyathi does not raise her voice to any of the maids – a phalanx of demure village girls, ready to fry up sizzling English breakfasts or to polish baths and wooden floors to a high gloss. When she calls to one of her girls, it is in the same cooing voice she uses to address her guests.

Gevisser’s piece is available to read online:


Waking up with a headache – kinda sucks.
Waking up with a flat chest – priceless.

Liam Kai, eighteen years old and just graduated from high school in a town near Ann Arbor, Michigan, tweeted these words on 18 June 2014. It was nine days after his breast surgery and the day after he had had the dressings and drains removed. On the same day he also posted a video on Instagram in which we watch the doctor unwrapping his bandages: Liam looks down over his newly boyish chest and whoops, ‘Dude !’ In a few weeks he will begin injecting the testosterone that will – finally – vault him out of the purgatory of an extended androgynous childhood into the manhood of body hair and a deep voice.

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Sunday Read: A 1980s Vision of Cyberpunk in William Gibson’s Latest Novel, The Peripheral

The PeripheralFrom the pen of prolific science fiction author William Gibson comes a novel set in not one, but two futures.

In one of the futures in The Peripheral, gamer Flynne Fisher and her ex-Marine Corps brother witness a gruesome murder. Fast forward to another future where a London publicist Wilf Netherton discovers that her client’s sister has disappeared. The two futures become connected by means of a peripheral, “a telepresence avatar” that allows Flynne to travel between the two eras.

William Gibson has shared an excerpt from the first four chapters of The Peripheral on his website. In the first and second chapter the reader meets Flynne, her brother Burton and Wilf and the strange worlds they inhabit. It’s been 20 years since Gibson released his seminal science fiction novel, Neuromancer, and some critics say The Peripheral harks back to his original 1980s vision of cyberpunk.

Read the extract:


They didn’t think Flynne’s brother had PTSD, but that sometimes the haptics glitched him. They said it was like phantom limb, ghosts of the tattoos he’d worn in the war, put there to tell him when to run, when to be still, when to do the bad- ass dance, which direction and what range. So they allowed him some disability for that, and he lived in the trailer down by the creek. An alcoholic uncle lived there when they were little, veteran of some other war, their father’s older brother. She and Burton and Leon used it for a fort, the summer she was ten. Leon tried to take girls there, later on, but it smelled too bad. When Burton got his discharge, it was empty, except for the biggest wasp nest any of them had ever seen. Most valuable thing on their property, Leon said. Airstream, 1977. He showed her ones on eBay that looked like blunt rifle slugs, went for crazy money in any condition at all. The uncle had gooped this one over with white expansion foam, gone gray and dirty now, to stop it leaking and for insulation. Leon said that had saved it from pickers. She thought it looked like a big old grub, but with tunnels back through it to the windows.

Coming down the path, she saw stray crumbs of that foam, packed down hard in the dark earth. He had the trailer’s lights turned up, and closer, through a window, she partly saw him stand, turn, and on his spine and side the marks where they took the haptics off, like the skin was dusted with something dead- fish silver. They said they could get that off too, but he didn’t want to keep going back.

“Hey, Burton,” she called.

“Easy Ice,” he answered, her gamer tag, one hand bumping the door open, the other tugging a new white t‑shirt down, over that chest the Corps gave him, covering the silvered patch above his navel, size and shape of a playing card.

Book details

Image courtesy of The Guardian

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Fiction Friday: An Excerpt from the First Issue of New KZN Poetry Magazine uHlanga

Cover of uHlanga, a new KZN poetry magazineuHlanga, a new project of literary magazine Prufrock aiming to publish work in English and isiZulu, was launched at the 18th Poetry Africa festival in Durban recently.

The first issue is titled “Stella Natalis”, and features writing from debutant poets Previn Pillay and Bob Perfect, as well as more established voices like Chris Mann, Genna Gardini, Joe Spirit and Rosa Lyster.

“uHlanga hopes to address a lack of representation for the artists, cultures and languages of KwaZulu-Natal in South African literature,” uHlanga’s editor and publisher Nick Mulgrew said at the launch. “I hope it will also become a new place for writers to find their voice and to get their names in print.

“The response to our call for submissions was incredible. We had people sending in work from just about every small town in KZN, as well as from places as far afield as the Caribbean, Kenya and New Zealand.”

Over 250 writers submitted work for the first issue, and Mulgrew says he hopes to attract even more, especially those who work in isiZulu, for the next. uHlanga aims to be an annual publication.

“The scope, quality and variety of the submissions shows how healthy writing as an art is at the grassroots,” he said. “It also shows us how important it is that there are more platforms for writers to write for.”

Copies retail at R50 each online, as well as at stockists in KZN, including Adams Booksellers and the Factory Café. Stockists in the Western Cape and Gauteng will be named soon.

Orders can be placed at, or through

Read an excerpt from the first issue, including writing by Johannes Mzwandile Spirit, Genna Gardini, Musawenkosi Khanyile and Thabo Jijana, who recently won the 2014 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award.

Read an Excerpt from uHlanga, a new KZN poetry magazine

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Fiction Friday: Diane Awerbuck’s New Short Story Day Africa-winning Story (Plus: Cover Reveal!)

SSDA new logo
Diane Awerbuck

Short Story Day Africa has organised a special treat for us this Fiction Friday: Diane Awerbuck’s winning story from the new SSDA anthology, Terra Incognita, and a cover reveal!

Awerbuck was announced as this year’s Short Story Day Africa winner last Friday, for her short story “Leatherman”, which judges Richard de Nooy, Samuel Kolawole and Jared Shurin called “dark, twisted and visceral”. You can read the full story below.

But before you do, feast your eyes on this year’s anthology cover, which was designed by Nick Mulgrew.

SSDA Terra Incognita cover

Mulgrew says: “I’d like to say that the design is about subverting colonial cartographic tropes, and as well as about undermining ideas of Africa as a dark, impenetrable continent, in order to reclaim and reposition them in a more modern, Afrofuturist context – and, sure, it is about that – but mostly I think it just looks nice.”

We’re delighted to announce that Short Story Day Africa has joined the Books LIVE community. Read more about the design of the cover on their blog at

Read Awerbuck’s story:

Diane Awerbuck's short story Leatherman by Books LIVE


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