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Archive for the ‘Independent’ Category

Fiksie Vrydag: lees Jacques Myburgh se kortverhaal, ‘Die Paartjie op Touwsrivier’

Hierdie storie het oorspronklik op Myburgh se blog, Woordtsotsi, verskyn (21/02/2018)

©123RF/merydolla

 
Net buite Touwsrivier het hulle 1993 wit Toyota Camry sy laaste gulsige hap uit die brandstoftenk gevat. Oom Daan het geweet hy en sy vrou Ansie gaan by die Engen op die dorp se soom moet stop.

Die rit van George was stil. Bedees. Oom Daan het net so nou-en-dan vir Ansie gevra om die klein koelersak agter die passasiersitplek aan te gee. Sy het die oggend vir die laaste keer in haar ruim plaaskombuis, met die teëlrangskikking van wit ganse bo haar stoof, gekookte eiers, tamatie-en-kaastoebroodjies, droëwors en ’n fles koffie gepak. Sy sou so sit in die kar en kyk hoe die landskap verander. Van tuinroete se lowergroen tot die dorre Karoo se meedoënloosheid van klip en jakkalsskedels.

By die vulstasie het oom Daan vir die soveelste keer sy kaart in die OTM gedruk. Hy het eers gehuiwer. Weer sy Blackberry uitgehaal en gekyk of daar nie dalk ’n kennisgewing van die bank is nie. ’n Klein greintjie hoop. Net ’n paar sente om hom en sy Ansie veilig tot in die Kaap te bring. Hy het vir sy dogter gevra om ’n paar rand oor te betaal en vir haar gelieg. Hy het gesê dit is om sy nuwe lisensieskyf te gaan kry. Nie omdat hy geld nodig het omdat hulle dros nie.

Niks. Hy sug en vryf met sy ruwe duim van jare se werskaf op die plaas die foon se skermpie skoon.

Hy besluit om die kaartjie tog in te druk. Wie weet? Banke kan nie vir al sy kliënte 24 uur per dag SMS’e stuur nie? Nie eers die bank het so baie geld om op airtime te spandeer nie.

Hy druk versigtig sy pinkode in. 193105. Ansie se geboorte maand en jaar. 5 Mei. 1931. Hy lees die bedrag. Sug. Neem sy kaart en gooi die strokie in die klein asblikkie en stap terug na hulle motor.

Oom Daan sien ’n jong man in ’n silwer klein motortjie langs sy Camry stop. Een van daai Koreaanse karre. Hy het nooit iets vertrou wat hy nie eers behoorlik kan uitspreek nie.

Hy stap bedees na die jong man toe. Hy daal nooit so laag om vir geld te vra nie, maar as hy dit nie doen nie, gaan hulle dit nie maak tot in die Kaap nie. Daar wag ’n job as ’n hyskraanoperateur by die hawe vir hom.

Hy gaan vra skaam en versigtig vir die man. Hy is lank en skraal. Inkepe op sy voorkop wys dat hy binnekort daai bruinlokke van hom koebaai gaan roep.

“Jammer, meneer,” hy kom agter sy stem is skielik hees. So asof die snare van sy stembande skielik styfgespan word. Die jong man draai om. Hy dra ’n leerbaadjie met stywe noupypjeans. Oom Daan wonder of hy in die oggende van die kas af moet spring om in daai broek in te kom.

“Ja, Oom?” Die man frons effens, maar sy gesig is gemoedelik. Oop. Dit lyk soos ’n verstandige seun, dink hy.

“Ek en my vroutjie is op pad Kaapstad toe.

“Ek het soos my pa en sy pa se pa op ons plaas geboer op George, maar die droogte het ou bene van die boerdery gemaak. Ons sit nou met die paar goedjies in ons kar.

“My kinders sit almal oorsee. Ek het nog nie vir hulle gesê daar is nie meer ’n familieplaas om Krismis by te kom kuier nie.

“Ons probeer op die volgende dorp kom, maar daai ou Camry is mos maar ’n gulsige masjien as dit by petrol kom.”

Oom Daan kan voel sy linkerbeen raak rusteloos. Hy vryf sy arm en wag vir ’n antwoord van die man. Dit voel soos ’n ewigheid.

Die man se frons verdwyn. Sy bruin oë versag.

“Jis, Oom… ek is self op pad Kaap toe. Ek het ook nie veel geld nie, maar ek is seker ek kan ietsie vir oom-hulle gee. Ek sal kyk hoeveel ek kan trek.”

Die seun verdwyn met sy kierie-beentjies in die Quick Shop in.

Oom Daan gaan staan by die kar. Hy sien Ansie is besig om uit die Bybel te lees.

Ag jirretjie, dink hy. Die vrou het geen meer hoop vir ons nie, maar ten minste is sy nog gelowig. Job se geduld, dink hy. Dit is al wat Ansie nou nodig het. Hy sal weer vir hulle ’n pragtige plaasopstal kry.

Een daar in die Matroosberge se wêreld sodat hulle die Here se wit laken op die berg se toppe kan dop hou terwyl hulle op die voorstoep sit.

Oom Daan se oë volg die man deur die winkel se glasvensters soos wat hy by die OTM geld trek en na die Steers toe stap.

Nou voel hy nog meer soos ’n charity case. Die man kom met twee koppies koffie terug.

Dalk kry hulle weer ’n paar werfkatte wat kom en gaan soos hulle lekker kry. Dalk is daar tarentale. Sy oupa het altyd na hulle verwys as polisiehoenders oor hulle koppe soos dié van ’n polisiekar se sirenes lyk.

“Hierso, Oom. Vir die pad, sodat Oom nie agter die stuur aan die slaap raak nie.”

Hy gee twee koppies koffie vir hom en plak ’n R100-noot in Oom Daan se hand.

“Dit is nie baie nie, Oom, maar dit sal oom-hulle op ’n plek kry wat nie so godverlate is nie.”

Tannie Ansie breek haar stilte.

“Die Here seën jou, my kind.” Sy het ’n gehekelde kombersie oor haar bene. Die Bybel nog voor haar oop.

Die man se oog vang ’n stukkie in die Bybel wat sy onderstreep het. Steek vas asof hy dit lees en loop dan na sy motor.

Oom Daan wag eers dat die jong man ry voor hy die Camry na die petrolpompe vat. Hy wuif vir hom.

Die gesuis van die Camry se wiele op die teerpad kalmeer vir oom Daan. Vir die eerste keer sedert hulle uit George gery het, begin hy weer ’n toekoms vir hom en Ansie sien.

Die Moederstad. Dit was vir hom altyd so lekker om daar by die Waterfront te gaan rondloop. Skilderagtig-mooi het sy oudste dogter, Rachel , altyd gesê. Die berg ingeëts aan die eenkant en die see aan die ander.

Ansie sit en staar by die ruit uit. Bybel op die skoot. Hande oor die boek gevou. Dit lyk vir hom of sy ook begin droom oor hulle nuwe lewe.

Skielik is daar ’n harde geknars van metaal op metaal. Hulle torring en kantel. ’n Pyn skiet deur oom Daan se nek. Hy klou vas aan die stuurwiel.

Oom Daan het om ’n haarnaalddraai nie die aankomende motor gesien wat ’n ander een probeer verbysteek het nie.

Die windskerm ontplof in miljoene glasstukkies. Hy kan die doodskyk op Ansie se gesig sien soos wat die motor tuimel en draai.

En toe, die niksseggende donkerte. So asof die Here ’n swart kleed oor Oom Daan se kop gegooi het soos toe hulle as kinder op Naboomspruit donkerkamertjie gespeel het. Hy hoor net die gejaag van sy asem en uiteindelik ’n oorverdowende stilte.

Die N1 is afgesper. Die Camry is net ’n verinneweerde homp metaal. Die voorkant in sy maai. Die blou en rooi ligte van nooddienste glinster op die N1 soos wat ’n jaloerse reënbuitjie uitsak. Soos tarentale wat in gelid marsjeer staan die polisievoertuie in ’n ry.

Die een konstabel loop verby die motor. Sy oë wat afkyk grond toe. Hy wil nie sien hoe die twee liewe ou mense ná so ’n ongeluk hul einde gesien het nie.

Hy merk ’n vel papier op wat moedswillig in ’n fynbos deur die wind rondgepluk word. Dis ’n bladsy uit die Bybel uit, sien hy.

Hy tel dit op. Daar’s ’n streep bloed op die papier en ’n versie wat onderstreep is. Hy lees dit:

“Korintiërs 4:8, 9

“In alles word ons verdruk, maar ons is nie terneergedruk nie; ons is verleë, maar nie radeloos nie; vervolg, maar nie verlate nie; neergewerp, maar nie vernietig nie.”

***

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“I think a child without anyone to tell them stories is an abandoned child” – a Q&A with author and JRB City Editor, Niq Mhlongo

Nal’ibali Column 6, published in the Sunday World (18/02/2018), Daily Dispatch (19/02/2018), Herald (22/02/2018)

By Carla Lever

Niq Mhlongo, author and City Editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books

 
How do you think storytelling helps us understand place – can it make sense of where we are from?

It’s really fundamental. If Joseph Conrad didn’t write Heart of Darkness I don’t think people like Donald Trump would have had the audacity to call African countries ‘sh*tholes’. Perhaps is he had been forced to read Emecheta, Laye, Mphahlele, Ngugi and others he would have had a clear understanding of Africa.

So much of our cultural geography is imported – TV shows and novels glamorise places like New York or Paris. At the same time, African cities tend to be written about, often in negative terms, by outsiders. Why is it important that we write about African places and cities and create our own literary maps?

Someone once told me that the biggest commodity that America was able to sell to Africa was its culture. I agree. Cultural geography, as you call it, is a very powerful tool that powerful countries have used to dominate other countries. When South Africans today talk about ‘decolonization’ I think it is a legitimate appeal to break away from, among other things, the shackles of cultural dominance. So when authors write about African places and cities they contribute a lot in creating our own literary maps that have been disregarded by the imposed colonial narratives of places and spaces that we live in.

Your upcoming book Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree, takes us into the places you were born and raised in. Can you tell us a little about why you wrote the book and how it felt to be making a place meaningful to people through your writing?

I wrote Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree because I could not find a good written story about Soweto that I could read and actually identify with. I was tired of the meaning of Soweto always being confined to Vilakazi Street and the Twin Towers. I decided to write that story I was searching for myself – in fact, as an insider, it made perfect sense that I do it!

You have weaved African oral traditions, cultural practices and storytelling traditions into your previous novels, too – I’m thinking here particularly of your novel Way Back Home. What does it mean to you to be called an African author? Is that a useful description or one you find unnecessary?

There is no problem being called an African author. It all depends on the context in the context in which the name is used. If it means that my writing is inferior compared to the so-called ‘European author’ or ‘American author’, then such a name is already loaded with negativity.

I know you write adult fiction, but you have written for children too! Can you tell us a little about writing for the TV series Magic Cellar and why projects that get young people excited about stories are so important?

Ah, let me not exaggerate my involvement with Magic Cellar. In fact, I only wrote one script for them. But the project trained me as a children’s story writer. During the same period I actually wrote a script for children based on African folktales. It was animated for a children’s program on SABC 2…so I suppose I learned something!

I think a child without anyone to tell them stories is an abandoned child. Stories make all of us happy, and give us a sense of belonging in society. They guide us and give us hope in the world. Any project that give young people that kind of wholeness deserves full support from everyone.

What changes would you like to see in the South African literary scene? Are there things (maybe organisations, new spaces for writers or publishing initiatives) that you find exciting?

I would like to see a full government involvement in the South African literary scene by supporting any literary project, especially projects that make children read. I would like to see government officials and schools reading and prescribing more South African literature. I would like to see more political leaders at the ABANTU Book Festival this year and years to come. The JRB, ABANTU, Nal’ibali, Longstory Short are some of the most important literary projects in South Africa today which give me a right to write.

How can we get more children excited about reading, particularly proud of our own, rich African literary heritage?

We need to prescribe more South African books and make things like Shakespeare optional in our school curriculum. In that way we can show them our rich African literary heritage.

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.

Book details
Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree

 
 
 

Way Back Home


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Asymptote’s Winter 2018 issue celebrates the journal’s seventh year and 100th language!

Via Asymptote

Asymptote’s Winter 2018 issue celebrates the journal’s 7th year and 100th language! This edition includes a Microfiction Special Feature full of glittering allegory, along with uncompromising fiction confronting today’s grim realities.

Winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative Award, Asymptote is the premier site for world literature in translation. We take our name from the dotted line on a graph that a mathematical function may tend toward, but never reach. Similarly, a translated text may never fully replicate the effect of the original; it is its own creative act.

Our mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world. (Watch a video introduction of Asymptote here.) To date, our magazine has featured work from 105 countries and 84 languages, all never-before-published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and interviews by writers and translators such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Junot Díaz, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Ann Goldstein, and Deborah Smith.

In our five years, we have expanded our offerings to include a daily-updated blog, a fortnightly newsletter, a monthly podcast, and educational guides accompanying each quarterly issue; we’ve also organized more than thirty events on five continents. In 2015, Asymptote became a founding member of The Guardian’s Books Network with “Translation Tuesdays”, a weekly showcase of new literary translations that can be read by the newspaper’s 5 million followers. This means that Asymptote is the only translation-centered journal that can boast of a genuinely international readership – reaching beyond niche communities of literary translators and world literature enthusiasts.

Always interested in facilitating encounters between languages, Asymptote presents work in translation alongside the original texts, as well as audio recordings of those original texts whenever possible. Each issue is illustrated by a guest artist and includes Writers on Writers essays introducing overlooked voices that deserve to be better-known in the English speaking world, as well as a wildcard Special Feature that spotlights literature from certain regions or cutting-edge genres such as Multilingual Writing and Experimental Translation. To catalyze the transmission of literature even further, Asymptote also commissions translations of texts into languages other than English, thereby engaging other linguistic communities and disrupting the English-centered flow of information. All the work we publish is then disseminated for free via eight social media platforms in three languages, through a dedicated social media team as well as our ever-expanding network of editors-at-large in six continents.

George Bernard Shaw famously said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange those ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” It is in this spirit of sharing ideas that Asymptote invites readers to explore work from across the globe.

Incorporated neither in America nor in Europe, unaffiliated with any university or government body, Asymptote does not qualify for many grants that other like institutions receive. If you enjoy our magazine, help us continue our mission by becoming a sustaining member at just $10 a month. In return for pledging at least a year’s support, you’ll receive an Asymptote Moleskine notebook!


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Die ware Taalstryd speel hom af in die linies van die Afrikaanse underground-beweging: Koos Kombuis oor die wonder van Ons Klyntji

“Is jy ’n Taalstryder?”

Hierdie vraag word met gereelde tussenposes aan my gestel.

’n Ander moeilike vraag is: “Hoekom neem jy nooit deel aan die ‘Afrikaans is Groot’-konserte nie?”

Dis nie vrae waarop ek ’n maklike antwoord het nie.

Afrikaans is een van elf amptelike tale in Suid-Afrika.

Ons is eintlik nie moerse groot nie.

Ons durf nie onsself aanmatig deur die koning van die mishoop te probeer wees nie. So sal ons nie oorleef nie. Dit sal vyandigheid ontlok by mede-Suid-Afrikaners. Dit ontlok reeds vyandigheid.

So maak mens nie vriende nie. En so oorleef mens nie in ’n harde en kompeterende omgewing nie.

Gedurende die tagtigerjare het ek en my vriende – ons was toe nog jonk en voortvarend – tientalle sogenaamde ‘little magazines’ die wêreld ingestuur. Van hierdie tydskriffies, meesal gefotostateer en vasgekram, het name gehad soos Donga, Die Tagtiger, Koerant, Work in Progress, Kabelkarnimfe, Taaldoos en Graffier. Die inhoud van hierdie tydskrifte was meesal baie alternatief en uitdagend. Omdat hulle anti-N.P. was, is party van hierdie publikasies verbied.

Die laaste ‘little magazine’ is in 1996 gestig. Ek het ’n beperkte oplaag laat druk met ’n borgskap van vyftig rand, bygedra deur my pel One-Love.

Die naam van hierdie tydskrif was Ons Klyntji. Dit was veronderstel om ’n voortsetting te wees van die tydskrif met dieselfde naam wat in die laaste jare van die neëntiende eeu ’n subversiewe rol gespeel het in die bewuswording en tot-standkoming van Afrikaans as volwaardige taal.

Ons Klyntji is vandag die enigste sogenaamde ‘little magazine’ wat nog bestaan. As mens in aanmerking neem dat die eerste uitgawe inderdaad honderd-een-en-twintig jaar gelede verskyn het, het Ons Klyntji die rare onderskeiding dat dit nie slegs die langslewende tydskrif uit die ‘little magazine’-era is nie, maar dat dit amptelik die oudste bestaande Afrikaanse publikasie is. Dis ouer as Die Huisgenoot!

Vir my voel die ontstaan en voortbestaan van ’n tydskrif soos Ons Klyntji werklik soos ’n wonderwerk. Die manier hoe dit gebeur het, en die sinchronisiteit van alles, byna te merkwaardig om waar te wees. Vir ’n volledige geskiedenis van hoe hierdie tydskrif herleef en oorleef het in moderne tye, gaan lees gerus Mila de Villiers se deeglike stuk navorsing getiteld Van ‘Leesstof vir die Afrikaanse Volk’ tot ‘Iets Cools in Afrikaans’.

As ek ’n Taalstryder is, is ek nie een van die groot taalbulle wat raas en blaas vir die toekoms van Afrikaans nie. Ek is die ou wat die klein vlammetjies hier onder aanblaas.

Wie weet; dalk sien die volgende geslag hierdie pogings raak, en bou daarop?

Daar is alreeds vandag twee weergawes van die tydskrif, een wat fisies gedruk is en ’n online-weergawe. Die fisiese tydskrif, met die titel Ons Klyntji, is onder redaksie van Toast Coetzer, Erns Grundling en Alice Inggs, en dit word gedruk met ’n klein borgskap van Oppikoppi. Bydraes – enigiets van gedigte tot kort stories en tekeninge – kan gestuur word aan toast@weg.co.za.

Die aanlyn-weergawe, getiteld Klyntji, is onder die redaksie van Francois Lion-Cachet. (As sy van bekend klink, hy is inderdaad ’n direkte afstammeling van ene J. Lion-Cachet , wie ’n leeue-aandeel gehad het in die Taalbewegings van die laat neëntiende eeu!)

Hierdie tydskrif kan gratis gelees word by http://klyntji.com/ .

Hoewel daar ’n losse samewerking tussen die redaksie van die fisiese en aanlyn-weergawes is, en die inhoud soms oorvleuel, word die aanlyn-weergawe meer gereeld opgedateer.

Ek het die 23-jarige Francois uitgevra oor sy motivering vir die stig van Klyntji, en hy het as volg geantwoord:

Vir my was die hoofrede met die stig van Klyntji om ’n publikasie te skep wat ek wou lees. Internasionaal vind ek aanklank by, onder meer, Dazed, iD en Vice, almal afsonderlik aan die verslaggewende voorpunt van progressiewe wêreld jeugkultuur. Afrikaanse publikasies haak dikwels vas by die “bevordering” of selfs “oorlewing” van die taal, waar dit vir my belangrik was om ’n post-Afrikaanse aanslag na te volg, minder gepla met die “Taal”, en meer gefokus op wat die kultuuragenda is en behoort te wees. Klyntji is nie hoogheilig nie, maar wel edgy en vars.

Dit is my vermoede en hoop dat geskiedskrywers wat eendag terugkyk na die literatuur van die vroeë een-en-twintigste eeu, sal besef dat die ware Taalstryd homself afgespeel het, nie in die rookgevulde sale van die Taalbulle of op die verhoë van ‘Afrikaans is Groot’-konserte nie, maar in die klein en minder opvallende linies van die Afrikaanse underground-beweging. - @KoosKombuis


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The six best independent bookstores in South Africa

Carina Claassens recently compiled a list of the best independent bookstores in the country. Her article, written for The Culture Trip, features six indie gems from dorpies as remote as Nieu-Bethesda, to the big bad city of Johannesburg.

Have you been to any of the following?

Dustcovers, Nieu Bethesda
This quaint bookstore is somewhat unexpected in the small Karoo town and visitors easily spend hours inside. From collectables and coffee table books to classics and new releases, most books are second-hand but are in immaculate condition, and sell for a fraction of the original price.


The Book Lounge, Cape Town

This independent bookstore in Cape Town opened in 2007 and hosts an array of book-related events, and stocks an eclectic range of titles. It’s also the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon, sipping on freshly brewed coffee while reading in the lounge area. Ideal also for those with children, as every Saturday morning at 11AM it hosts entertaining readings for youngsters.


Fables Bookshop, Grahamstown

Fables Bookshop in Grahamstown was founded in 1990 and deals mainly in out-of-print, academic and specialist, Africana titles. Fables also sells fascinating hand-painted maps of the Cape Colony and Eastern Cape, as well as almost impossible-to-find genealogy CDs.

 
Click here to read about numbers four, five, and six.


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Submit your manuscript for publication by Modjaji Books


 
Modjaji Books is a singular publishing house which only publishes work by women and people who identify as women, and only those who live in southern Africa, or who are originally from southern Africa, or whose work reflects a major relevance to southern Africa.

This independent feminist press is currently seeking manuscripts for publication.

If you are a southern African woman, or identify as a woman, and have recently written a novel, collection of short stories or poems, or a work of creative non-fiction, you are eligible to submit your manuscript for possible publication by Modjaji Books.

Interested? Click here for more.

Submissions for entries close on April 30.


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uHlanga open to unsolicited submissions of poetry manuscripts in February 2017

uHlanga New Poets Series Launches with Collections by Genna Gardini and Thabo Jijana
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Calling all poets!

For the first time, uHlanga will be open for submissions of unsolicited manuscripts of poetry for the month of February 2017.

The press will be accepting submissions of any book length in English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, or a combination of those languages. Poets must either be South African or permanent residents of South Africa.

uHlanga are the publishers of Nick Mulgrew, Genna Gardini, Thabo Jijana, Helen Moffett, Stephen Symons and Rosa Lyster.

Jijana won the 2016 Ingrid Jonker Prize for his collection, Failing Maths and My Other Crimes.

Read: uHlanga Press Poetry Special, Featuring Thabo Jijana, Genna Gardini and Nick Mulgrew

* * * * *

Read the submission guidelines:

uHlanga does not accept unsolicited poems or manuscripts for publication outside of our announced reading periods.

Our first open submissions period for original chapbooks and collections of poetry from South African poets, or poets living in South Africa, will take place from 1 February to 28 February 2017. Manuscripts must be predominantly written in English, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, or a combination of those languages. Every manuscript will be read, and all will be considered for publication.

There is no indicated length for manuscripts, although most books published by uHlanga contain 20-40 poems. (Manuscripts envisioned as chapbooks, for example, may be shorter, while epic poetry may contain very few poems.) The more coherent, structured and economical your manuscript is, the higher the chance of it being published – so do not simply include every poem you have ever written. Successful manuscripts will be published in the manner and format – eg full collection, chapbook – that uHlanga deems most appropriate for the content.

Please note that anthologies or retrospective collections will not be accepted. Manuscripts containing poems previously published in magazines, anthologies, journals, or online will be accepted, as long as each previously-published poem is acknowledged in the manuscript, and as long as the writer has the rights to reprint such poems. Manuscripts that have already been published previously as a whole will not be accepted.

We accept manuscripts from writers of any experience, whether they have published a collection of poetry before or not. The only criterium for eligibility is that writers either be South African, or a permanent resident of South Africa.

Only writers of successful submissions will be replied to, and will be offered our standard contract. Please note that this is not a competition: we reserve the right to publish none of the manuscripts received during this submissions period.

Submissions will only be accepted through our email address, submissions@uhlangapress.co.za, as either .doc or .pdf attachments, with all text in Times New Roman. Include your name and contact information on a cover letter attached alongside the manuscript. Being familiar with our books is essential: feel free to mention to us why you think your manuscript will be a good fit for uHlanga.

There is no reading fee. Agented submissions are discouraged, but not strictly disallowed.

Do not submit your manuscript before 1 February 2017 or after 28 February 2017 – it will be discarded without being read. Good luck!
Where can I publish poetry outside of reading periods?

Your best way to get noticed by us is to be an active poet, publishing as many poems in as many places as you can. There are a number of excellent periodicals and websites in South(ern) Africa that accept unsolicited poems for publication. Here are the periodicals that uHlanga reads most often:

Prufrock
Aerodrome
New Contrast
Stanzas
New Coin
The Kalahari Review

You likely won’t publish any poems, however, if you don’t read poems! Support local literary magazines.

Ends

 
Related stories:


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2016 Man Booker Prize shortlist announced – JM Coetzee doesn’t make the cut

The SelloutHot MilkHis Bloody ProjectEileenAll That Man IsDo Not Say We Have Nothing

 
Alert! The shortlist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize for Fiction has been announced.

JM Coetzee, who was the only African author longlisted (although he is now an Australian citizen), has not made the final cut.

Coetzee was longlisted for his new book The Schooldays of Jesus, which is not due out until 26 September.

 
The 2016 Man Booker Prize shortlist of six novels

 

The only previously shortlisted author on the shortlist is Deborah Levy, for Swimming Home in 2012, while the onlydebut novelist featured is Ottessa Moshfegh.

Independent publishing houses Granta, Saraband and Oneworld – who published last year’s winner Marlon James – feature alongside industry giant Penguin Random House.

Chair of judges Amanda Foreman comments: “The Man Booker Prize subjects novels to a level of scrutiny that few books can survive. In rereading our incredibly diverse and challenging longlist, it was both agonising and exhilarating to be confronted by the sheer power of the writing.

“As a group we were excited by the willingness of so many authors to take risks with language and form. The final six reflect the centrality of the novel in modern culture – in its ability to champion the unconventional, to explore the unfamiliar, and to tackle difficult subjects.”

Foreman is joined on the 2016 panel of judges by Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. The shortlist was chosen from 155 submissions, published in the UK between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016.

The 2016 winner will be announced on Tuesday, 25 October in London’s Guildhall, at a black-tie dinner.

The shortlisted authors each receive £2,500 (about R47,500) and a specially bound edition of their book. The winner will receive a further £50,000 (about R951,000) and can expect international recognition.

Related news:

 

Press release:

The judges remarked on the role of the novel in exploring culture and in tackling unfamiliar and challenging subjects, and on the shortlisted authors’ willingness to play with language and form. The shortlist features a variety of voices, from new names to award winners. The books cover a diverse range of subjects, from murder in 19th century Scotland to classical music in Revolutionary China.

In the third year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, the shortlist is an even split between two British, two US and two Canadian writers. Three novels from Penguin Random House are shortlisted alongside three from small, independent publishers.

Oneworld is in the running again this year with Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, following Marlon James’ win with A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015, which has gone on to sell over 360,000 copies in the UK and Commonwealth, as well as 120,000 in the US.

Granta makes the list with Do Not Say We Have Nothing after its success with Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, which won in 2014. Eleanor Catton is adapting The Luminaries for the BBC, which will commence filming in New Zealand in 2017.

Fellow independent publisher Saraband appears on the shortlist for the first time with His Bloody Project, a significant achievement for the tiny Glasgow-based house run by two people.

For the first time ever, RNIB has ensured that braille versions of the shortlisted books are available in time for the announcement. The Booker Prize Foundation has a longstanding partnership with RNIB to provide Man Booker Prize books to the tens of thousands of blind and partially sighted members of the RNIB Library.

Ends

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Practical Action to Decolonise the “White Literary System”: The African Flavour Books Case Study

Bridget Impey, MD of Jacana Media, and Fortiscue Helepi, the founder and owner of African Flavour Books

 
Fortiscue Helepi, the founder and owner of African Flavour Books, an independent bookshop in the Vaal, gave a presentation at the Jacana Media offices in Johannesburg last week as the first in the publisher’s series of talks titled “Continuing the Debate – Decolonising South Africa’s Literary Landscape”.

I Write What I LikenullCoconutLondon – Cape Town – JoburgWay Back HomeRachel’s Blue

 

Bridget Impey, MD of Jacana, opened the discussion with some background, and explained why the publisher wanted to continued the conversation.

“We were in the audience when Thando [Mgqolozana] made that declaration that he was leaving white literary festivals, and it was so goddamn brilliant,” she said. “There was such a good energy, there was such a good connection with all the people that were there. So we thought we had to keep the momentum going. It would be disappointing if we had Franschhoek and then we all went home and forgot about it.

“So we want to look at the practicalities. A lot of what happened at the follow-up event at Wits was people saying, we’ve got a situation – how do we change it?

“There are certain people who think we should go in, Stalin-style, and wipe out Franschhoek in one fell swoop. I’d rather build up new things.”

Forthcoming events include a discussion around the Google Mapping of all the independent booksellers in Johannesburg – including hair salons and street vendors – which is being undertaken by journalist Griffin Shea, and a talk by Mofenyi Malepe – author of the self-published book 283: The Bad Sex Bet, which has now sold almost 5 000 copies. Contact Jacana to find out more.

When asked where he stands on the “literary apartheid” debate, Helepi says the one message he is trying to preach is that black people must not sit back and wait for change.

“There are things that are very important to us, and we cannot sit on the fence and say, ‘people are not doing this for us’, when we don’t invest in it. I took R400 000 of my family’s money, that we saved the last three years, and I invested in this thing. Because it’s very important. I’m very passionate about it. You can’t point if you didn’t try. We need to invest our money. Where are our entrepreneurs?

“We have to ask ourselves what kind of legacy we are going to leave for our kids. We can’t leave that legacy of ‘we are not readers’. That’s not right.”

The story of African Flavour Books

Helepi, a chemical engineer, entrepreneur and author, opened African Flavour Books in February this year, after three years of research.

“It was a very long journey,” he says. “We always wondered why we didn’t have bookshops with African literature. I think most people come to this continent to get to the literature, and they still find American authors and European authors in the front of our bookshops.

“The other thing is that I am staying in the Vaal, and I had to travel every weekend an hour, at least, to come to Joburg, only to get to a bookshop that doesn’t have the books that I want.”

Helepi said he and his wife researched bookshops all over the country, and decided that there were so many authors, such as Zakes Mda, Niq Mhlongo, Zukiswa Wanner, that “this country needs to know about”.

The joys of starting a bookshop

“The nice thing that we found in the Vaal is that everyone wants a bookshop in their mall,” Helepi said. “So we could really negotiate prices. Some people cut their rental by R5 000!”

Helepi said he also wanted the design of his shop to attract any young kids that were walking by: “We wanted them to think it was an ice-cream shop! We wanted beautiful colours. We also have a nice kids’ area to encourage them.”

With the international trend of bookshops closing down, Helepi says a lot of people asked him why he was opening one. “We believe that it’s going to take a long time to get our lesser known authors on Amazon. In South Africa, people are still buying books in bookshops. And everyone is very excited about our bookshop.”

The challenges of starting a bookshop: Authors

Helepi says he always tells authors: “You need to market yourself as if you are self-published.”

He says he believes book events are vital to familiarise people with the work: “Most authors were not particularly excited at first, because our events were not really sponsored by their publisher, so we struggled and we are still trying to get authors to see the value of connecting with people. It’s a very new market and it needs to be encouraged.

“In our area there are a lot of students and they are very interested in the events, and they come. But it’s very difficult to get the authors there. Self-published authors are willing to work with us more, because have invested their own money.

“For us to create demand for the books, authors need to be out their marketing their material. If you don’t do that, your book will just collect dust.”

The challenges of starting a bookshop: Publishers

Helepi says publishers should also do more to market their authors.

“People cannot believe the collection of books that we have,” he says. “But I had to study. It took three years, and I researched on each and every website. Not every customer will have that passion. We need to make information available very, very easily.”

He was also disappointed that publishers always referred him to the distributor instead of handling his queries directly.

“The distributor doesn’t understand my needs; my needs are totally different. I want to see people who are not out there. I’m not trying to look like someone else, I’m not trying to be like Exclusive Books, I want to be totally different. I want someone who published a book in 2001 and it’s sitting there collecting dust – that’s the book I want. I want the material that people don’t know about. People are still trying to sell me Grey. I don’t want Grey. I don’t want it!

“I want to get the point where I have a 100 percent African bookshop. At the moment we are sitting at around 80 percent, to 20 percent international. Because you can’t say ‘no’ to a customer. If a customer says they want Grey, you need to give it to them.”

The challenges of starting a bookshop: Distributors and Booksellers

Helepi says his main frustration was with the distributors, from hard-to-navigate websites with outdated book catalogues, to bad communication, to poor tracking of payments.

“Because I’ve only been operating for four months, I’m working on a cash basis. So if I give you money, I want to get that money back as quickly as possible. When you are an independent bookshop, time is everything. Without cash flow, you will not stay afloat.”

The challenges of starting a bookshop: Readers

“With the market that I’m targeting there is that perception that people do not read,” Helepi said. “But you will find that actually people read.”

However, Helepi says the issue of “book travelling”, where one copy of a book is shared and passed along, is something he is trying to combat – and not chiefly for his own gain.

“What I’m trying to do now, is I’m stressing to everyone that comes into the shop the importance of keeping the copy. Because, yes, you might access it easier now, but in a couple of years later you will not have it. It’s better to make sure you have your own home library and keep all these books so that your kids can access them very easily.

“I want people to understand the value of buying books and keeping them, otherwise publishers don’t think people are reading.”

Helepi says theft is a big problem too, but that he designed to shop to be a big open space, which does help.

A lack of knowledge about local authors is another challenge Helepi faces, and he says he makes a point of taking his customers through the authors, because readers can be intimidated: “sometimes people want to read, but they don’t know where to start”.

He says his mother gave him Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country and a few other volumes, “and from there, I never stopped”.

“Someone needs to introduce you to reading, and we try to do that. We make sure we invest a lot of time in teaching young people about the authors that we have. We recommend books they can relate to, Kopano Matlwa is a good example, and from there they come back for more.

“We don’t want to start everyone on Long Walk to Freedom.

“We try to make sure the budget is in the right place. If you are buying Grey, the money is taken away from buying Kopano Matlwa or someone else.”

Helepi says people are shocked at the books they are able to get at his store, but he always makes sure he has a wide variety to suit all tastes.

“Our customers buy books either because they can relate to them or because they can learn from them. They don’t buy books just for the sake of buying books.”

The bestselling book at African Flavour Books is Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like, with Gayton McKenzie’s A Hustler’s Bible coming in second.

Incredibly, Helepi says fiction is the most popular genre. “I think people find it hard to get. We have everything, and people get excited.”

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Jennifer Malec tweeted from the event:


 

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Short-Changed? South Africa since 1994Steve BikoSouth Africa at War, 1939-1945Umkhonto weSizweGovan MbekiThe Soweto UprisingSan Rock Art

The ANC Women's LeagueSouth Africa's Struggle for Human RightsShakaThe ANC Youth LeaguePlague, Pox and PandemicsThe Idea of the ANCIngrid Jonker

 

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Oh BLeKSEM, I Missed (Most of) the Launch of Donga

On a night that snow fell in Johannesburg, breeding dubious new forms of life -

Melville Snowman

The Best of Donga – a very respectable crowd turned out at De la Creme, the bakery and cafe next door to Bookdealers of Melville, for the launch of several indie works, including The Best of Donga, an important compilation from new imprint BLeKSEM (in association with Dye Hard Press and Botsotso).

Your Correspondent missed most of the event, he regrets to report, having failed to take into account the snow factor before traveling from the city’s northern wilds (Rivonia) to the urban paste-bijoux precinct of Melville.

Arriving very late indeed, and puffing cold breath, I caught a whiff of a reading by Arja Salafranca, sipped half a glass of Glen Carlou chardonnay (which sponsored a tasting part-way through the programme), listened to a few arias courtesy a songbird in attendance – I should have jumped in for a Baby it’s Cold Outside duet – and marveled at Leonard the Mime, who played backdrop to all the performances:

Leonard

Allan Kolski Horwitz read a semi-sweet poem from There Are Two Birds at My Window, one of two new publications of his also launched on the night (along with Botsotso 16), and I slipped back out for a smoke with the snowman, then on to the next engagement, which was with the nearest supplier of firewood, Blitz and matches.

As noted on the first page of The Best of Donga, “donga was published online from 2000 to 2003. This is a selection from the website.” It’s a grand selection indeed: Lauren Beukes, Robert Berold, Joan Metelerkamp, Kelwyn Sole, Aryan Kaganof and Toast Coetzer are among the Books LIVE members included, who are joined by the heavyweight likes of Ivan Vladislavic and Lesego Rampolokeng.

The Best of Donga is available directly from BLeKSEM and, at R65 plus postage, is a b-a-r-g-a-i-n. Scratch that, it’s a m-u-s-t h-a-v-e. To get it, send an order to Alan Finlay: alan@openresearch.co.za.

When you run out of firewood, you can use it to – hey, how could you possibly even consider that! You can use it to warm the cockles of your SA Lit-loving soul. I certainly did.

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  • The Best of Donga edited by Alan Finlay, Paul Wessels
    EAN: 9780620527798
    Order directly from alan@openresearch.co.za

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