Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category
Nigerian author Elnathan John has been shortlisted for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story “Bayan Layi”, published in Issue 25 of Per Contra. John is up against fellow Nigerians Tope Folarin, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Chinelo Okparanta, as well as Pede Hollist from Sierra Leone, for the £10 000 prize, the winner of which will be announced on 8 July.
While you await the announcement of the award, we invite you to read “Bayan Layi”:
The boys who sleep under the Kuka tree in Bayan Layi like to boast about the people they have killed. I never join in because I have never killed a man. Banda has, but he doesn’t like to talk about it. He just smokes wee-wee while they talk over each other’s heads. Gobedanisa’s voice is always the loudest. He likes to remind everyone of the day he strangled a man. I never interrupt his story even though I was there with him and saw what happened. Gobedanisa and I had gone into a lambu to steal sweet potatoes, but the farmer had surprised us while we were there. As he chased us, swearing to kill us if he caught us, he fell into a bush trap for antelopes. Gobedanisa did not touch him. We just stood by and watched as he struggled and struggled and then stopped struggling.
- A Life in Full and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2010 by The Caine Prize for African Writing
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Image courtesy Flash Point News
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South African author Gareth Crocker goes from strength to strength and he certainly does not believe in being predictable.
His first book, Finding Jack, dealt with the relationship between a traumatised American GI and his service dog in Vietnam.
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Ben Viljoen se boek is ’n roman wat uit ’n reeks kortverhale opstaan. ’n Nuwe wildernis behoort heelwat aandag te trek.
Dit sal tot baie spreek: oudsoldate (van die SAW sowel as die struggle), jong mans, heldhaftiges sowel as meer skroomvallige lede van die manlike spesie, en almal wat in oorlog, mans en geweld belangstel.
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Yesterday we reported on the release of the first issue of Prufrock, a new literary magazine, which features an article by Anton Harber on JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer’s opposing reactions to Salman Rushdie’s cancelled visit to South Africa in the 1980s. Today, we bring you an article by Harber, published online by The Guardian’s Africa Network, on this topic.
Anton Harber describes how in 1988 the Weekly Mail was organising a Book Week themed “Censorship under the State of Emergency”, with Salman Rushdie set to be the main attraction, in discussion with JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer. However, a week before the event, Salman phoned to inform them of the death threats against him due to his criticism of the Qur’an in his book The Satanic Verses.
After a meeting between Muslim leaders, the anti-apartheid writers’ union, Cosaw, and Weekly Mail, Cosaw withdrew their support of Rushdie’s visit to South Africa. Gordimer, as Cosaw’s representative, “phoned London to convey the view that, to avoid violence and division within the liberation movement, he [Rushdie] should not come”.
At the Book Week, Gordimer and Coetzee took to the stage alone and Coetzee lambasted the Weekly Mail, the booksellers and Cosaw for their decision, which, Harber says, meant “by implication” that he was also criticising Gordimer.
Harber quotes some of the harsh words spoken by Coetzee and what Gordimer said in her defense. He writes that Coetzee, “ended with a powerful questioning of the values of the liberation struggle, one which resonates powerfully today”.
Harber goes on to put the incident into context with threats to freedom of expression today:
It started on a Thursday midday, when the organiser of the Weekly Mail Book Week put the phone down, walked across the newsroom and interrupted me and my co-editor. “I think we might have a problem,” she said. It was October 1988 and the “problem” was Salman Rushdie, due to arrive a week later to headline the event. “He says his book has been banned in India, he is getting death threats,” she said. “I asked him what he wrote about and he said, ‘I ripped into the Qur’an’.”
Ours was a small, anti-apartheid newspaper, the Weekly Mail. Gail Berhmann was an artist who was organising our annual literary event, with Rushdie billed as this year’s star guest.
We had other problems too. A few months earlier, we had received a five-page letter from the government warning that we would be closed down under State of Emergency regulations if we continued to muster support for revolutionary organisations and foment feelings of hatred for the security forces. Shortly after that they closed another “alternative” newspaper, the New Nation, for 13 weeks, and we thumbed our noses at them by running articles New Nation had intended to publish under the front page headline “What New Nation Would Have Said”.
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Images courtesy Contrary Magazine and Britannica
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LIESL Jobson is an internationally acclaimed South African writer, winner of the Ernst van Heerden Award for her writing of “flash fiction”, which is apparently extremely short 400 word stories. She is also a musician and poet, having won the 2005 People Opposing Women Abuse Poetry Competition. Her fiction and poetry is published internationally.
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PEN Afrikaans bied ’n opwindende kortverhaalkompetisie vir skrywers tussen die ouderdomme van 18 en 30 jaar aan.
As jy gou speel en voor of op 10 Junie 2013 ’n getikte kortverhaal van tussen 2000-4000 woorde vir die kompetisie inskryf, kan jy dalk een van twee wenners wees wat $1 000 in die sak gaan steek, na die internasionale PEN-konferensie in Reykjavik, Ysland, gaan reis, en in die PEN International-tydskrif gepubliseer gaan word.
PEN Afrikaans, die Afrikaanse afdeling van PEN Internasionaal, soek twee jong kortverhaalskrywers tussen 18-30 jaar oud om te benoem vir ’n internasionale kompetisie waarin die wenner $1000 en ’n reis na die internasionale PEN-konferensie in Reykjavik, Ysland, wen.
Geakkrediteerde PEN-sentra mag elk twee skrywers, ’n man en ’n vrou, vir hierdie kompetisie benoem. Skrywers mag nie op eie stoom vir die kompetisie inskryf nie en slegs benoemings deur PEN-sentra sal aanvaar word.
PEN Afrikaans sal op eie koste die twee wenskrywers se kortverhale in Engels, Frans en Spaans laat vertaal en hul kortverhale vir die kompetisie inskryf. PEN Internasionaal se beoordelaars kies dan uit al die sentra se inskrywings drie finaliste om in September 2013 die PEN Internasionaal-konferensie in Ysland by te woon.
Die wenner kry $1000 en die weninskrywing word in die PEN International-tydskrif gepubliseer. Selfs indien finaliste nie wen nie, kry hulle waardevolle blootstelling deurdat werk gelees word deur die invloedryke beoordelaarspaneel. Carole Blake van die literêre agentskap Blake Friedmann, wat internasionaalbekende Afrikaanse skrywers soos Deon Meyer, Marlene van Niekerk en Etienne van Heerden verteenwoordig, is een van die beoordelaars.
Om deel te neem moet skrywers voor of op 10 Junie 2013 ’n getikte kortverhaal van tussen 2000-4000 woorde stuur aan email@example.com. Hulle moet ook ’n kopie van hul ID saamstuur asook volle naam, woonadres, en kontaknommers. Verhale wat nie die voorgeskrewe lengte is nie, word gediskwalifiseer.
“Hierdie is ’n wonderlike geleentheid waarvoor selfs gevestigde skrywers hul kiestande sou gee,” het Sonja Loots, voorsitter van PEN Afrikaans, gesê. “Die enigste probleem is dat die sperdatum om die draai is, so jong skrywers sal moet opskud.”
1. Deelnemers moet op 20 Junie vanjaar 18 jaarof ouer; en jonger as 30 jaarwees (let egter op die sluitingsdatum van 10 Junie).
2. Die kompetisie is slegs oop vir skrywers wat nog nie ’n boek gepubliseer het nie. Bydraers tot bloemlesings soos Nuwe Stemme en Nuwe Stories mag wel inskryf, mits hulle aan die ouderdomsvereiste voldoen.
3. PEN Afrikaans behou die reg voor om ’n wenner of wenners aan te wys slegs indien die gehalte van inskrywings dit regverdig.
4. Kortverhale moet in Afrikaans wees.
5. Kortverhale moet getik en in Word-formaat wees.
6. Kortverhale moet tussen 2000 en 4000 woorde lank wees. Inskrywings wat nie aan hierdie vereiste voldoen nie, sal gediskwalifiseer word.
7. Slegs een inskrywing per deelnemer. Indien meer as een inskrywing ontvang word, sal slegs die eerste gelees word.
8. Die sluitingsdatum is Maandag, 10 Junie om 14h00, Suid-Afrikaanse tyd. Geen laatinskrywings sal aanvaar word nie.
9. Slegs e-pos-inskrywings word aanvaar.
10. Inskrywings moet vergesel word van ’n afskrif van die skrywer seID of paspoort.
11. Inskrywings moet vergesel word van deelnemer se volle naam, woonadres en kontaknommers (telefoonnommers).
12. Die beoordelaars se besluit is finaal en geen korrespondensie sal daaroor gevoer word nie.
13. PEN Afrikaans se beslissing sal geneem word deur ’n beoordelaarspaneel wat uit die PEN Afrikaans-bestuurslede saamgestel is.
14. Aangesien daar min tyd is om die vertalings te laat doen, sal die vertalers se oordeel vertrou word en sal daarby volstaan word.
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LIVING in a city and dealing with rush-hour traffic and urban crime can cause a hankering for the simpler life.
The urge to move to a small town, to experience a close-knit community and to get back to “real” values, whatever they may be, is a strong one.
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Nadine Gordimer and Ben Okri joined other bestselling authors in donating an annotated copy of a first edition of one of their books to an auction in aid of English PEN.
Okri’s comments on The Famished Road included his thoughts on the first paragraph: “Worked a lot on the opening paragraph: everything is in it: all came out of it; thinking of music; the opening notes; had to get the words absolutely right or the rest won’t follow….Odd that the beginning was written last, when I knew what the work was dreaming…”
View Okri’s annotations:
Gordimer annotated The Conservationist with a long note that concludes: “I am no prophet but as a writer, the nature of a writer’s subconscious does, I seem to have seen that the “land issue” rising, growing from the past, would culminate as it exists now, in the 21st Century of dispossession. The question of equality of rights for the people of South Africa.”
View Gordimer’s annotations:
The auction was held on Tuesday in London and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone “fetched a record price of $228,000″ according to the International Business Times:
Even as the series stopped with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, the magical charm of JK Rowling’s writing has not ceased. The unique, author-annotated edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” fetched a record price of $228,000 at the auction held at a Sotheby’s auction in London on Tuesday.
The Guardian have listed the annotations made by the various authors:
Amsterdam to Wolf Hall, Booker winners and bestsellers – authors including JK Rowling, Hilary Mantel, Philip Pullman, Nick Hornby and Ian McEwan annotate their own first editions. The books will be auctioned at Sotheby’s next week in aid of English PEN.
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Verdict: a critical carrot
Niq Mhlongo fans have waited for a while for his third novel and here it finally is – Way Back Home.
Mhlongo received acclaim for his previous novels, Dog Eat Dog and After Tears, in South Africa and abroad and was hailed as a great new voice of South African writing – the literary version of the kwaito generation, if you will. This is because the protagonists in those novels were young black men who represented a social paradox. On one hand there was early post-apartheid euphoria imbued with the perfume of liberation and the promise of wealth and improved social standing, while on the other these young men were members of a group that carried the stigma of being responsible for crime, violence, absent-fatherhood, laziness and lack of employability. With acerbic humour, Niq writes about how these men navigate their way through their young lives in the midst of these bewildering circumstances. He doesn’t create romantic heroes; he gives the reader human beings in all their messy colourfulness.
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There’s no substitute, really, for reading these short stories yourself, since any attempt to summarise, categorise and otherwise describe them will fall far short of the actual dinkum works themselves.
But let me say that Liesl Jobson has been published in many short story collections and that this, her first solo collection, is a book worth reading — and owning, so that you may have the pleasure of rereading it.
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