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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The SA Book Fair returns with a stellar programme showcasing 120 authors

Released on behalf of the South African Book Fair by OnPoint PR (Johannesburg)

The 2018 South African Book Fair, which will run from 7 to 9 September at Johannesburg’s Newtown Cultural Precinct, will present a diverse programme of topics and activities for visitors from all walks of life.

The three-day programme of events, just released, is brimming with things to do and see for everyone from pre-schoolers to the most dedicated book lovers, including a vault of books with industry experts showcasing books that entertain, educate, empower, inform and advance. No-one is left out, as the South African Library for the Blind showcase tactile books, promoting a positive reading experience for the blind and visually impaired.

Celebrating #OURSTORIES on the page, mic and stage, the 2018 Book Fair also promises a feast for lovers of the spoken word as a giant of the South African literary world will be honoured. The late Professor Keorapetse Kgositsile, affectionately known as Bra Willie, will be celebrated through intergenerational voices in indigenous languages, a commissioned tribute poem and more.

The inaugural Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Café at the SABF will feature some of the most recognised names in the realm of spoken word.

The Book Fair, as part of the National Book Week campaign which runs 3-9 September 2018, kicks off with an exciting Schools Programme, where learners, librarians, teachers, caregivers and parents will be treated to a delectable offering of storytelling in the vernac, The Little Prince and other theatre productions, and a host of activities in The National Book Week Magic Tent.

The literary programme runs from Saturday to Sunday with an exciting line-up – from panel discussions with leading movers and shakers to a Philosophy Café, facilitated by prominent thought leaders, and sessions dealing with some of the most pressing social, economic and political issues facing our country today.

Meet Mandy Wiener, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Ralph Mathekga, Christi van der Westhuizen, Mpho Dagada, Dudu Busani-Dube, Jan-Jan Joubert, David Higgs and more.

The Fair also features a wealth of experts from the publishing industry who’ll be ready to assist with learning and support materials, the best research and non-fiction books from the university presses and SMME publishers from all provinces.

The South African Book Fair, which is a relative newcomer on the local arts and culture scene, lists some highlights of their offering:

  • #OURSTORIES Storytelling Festival where stories of past and current times will be told, shared and sung.
  • African Superheroes, where young authors such as Loyiso Mkize, Bontle Senne, Clyde Beech and Benoit Knox will take the audience into the world of graphic novels.
  • African Philosophy Café, where Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala and Prof. Adekeye Adebajo will discuss the tale of two hegemons: SA and Nigeria in Africa.
  • In Original Sin, panellists such as Adv. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Dr. Nomkhosi Xulu-Gama and Dr. Marek Hanusch will explore the complex issue of land disposession in South Africa.
  • A Celebration of Giants remembers the timeless contributions of Albertina Sisulu and Nelson Mandela as the country celebrates their centenaries.
  • Skin Deep with Rosie Motene, Sarah-Jayne King and Thuli Nhlapo looks at adoption across racial lines.
  • Writers Are Our Conscience explores how writers and readers influence society. Do writers steer the course of a country’s socio-political passage? Dr. Sindiwe Magona, Siphiwo Mahala, Melinda Ferguson, Antjie Krog, Maishe Maponya, Peter Harris and many more will unpack this topic.
  • Step Into My Womanhood is where diverse woman authors such as Malebo Sephodi, B Camminga, Anne Dahlqvist and Melanie Judge will discuss their expressions of womanness.
  • Exposed! South Africa’s Hidden Web of Crime will feature three journalists; Mandy Wiener, Anneliese Burgess and Pieter-Louis Myburgh; who will give unprecedented insights into political and underworld figures, as well as exposing how these criminal networks have infiltrated the South African enforcement authorities and agencies.
  • Bus Tour: Hop On, Hop Off will explore Johannesburg’s uneasy relationship with its past and future. Three local authors; Terry Shakinovsky, Harriet Perlman and Nechama Brodie; will take audiences on a journey through the city’s historical, political, cultural and culinary sites, as depicted in their writings.
  • A production of The Little Prince will be performed by the Market Theatre Foundation’s brand new theatre company, Kwasha! This performance will be a magical re-telling of the book, mixing storytelling and circus in multiple languages to create a unique South African inspired production of this French masterpiece, for adults and children alike.

The full programme for the 2018 South African Book Fair, which is the final event on the National Book Week calendar, can be accessed at Booking is essential and tickets for all sessions are priced at R40 and are available through WebTickets at Entry into the exhibition, poetry performances, the storytelling festival and the Family Zone will be free of charge.

The South African Book Fair (SABF), is presented by the South African Book Development Council, in proud association with the Fibre, Processing and Manufacturing SETA (FP&M)

For further information about the South African Book Fair, please visit:
Twitter: @SABookFair
Instagram: @sabookfair

About the South African Book Fair
The South African Book Fair (SABF) is held under the auspices of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) and is the culminating event of the annual National Book Week. Comprising a dedicated children’s day, a book exhibition, a literary festival, it provides a unique opportunity for engagement with writers, publishers and thought leaders, as well as an excellent platform for trade and promotion.

The SABF aims to:

  • Engage children of all ages in the joy of reading;
  • Present a lively and engaging literary festival;
  • Provide a platform for untold stories to be told;
  • Facilitate robust engagement on a range of topical issues;
  • Showcase books, publishers, authors, booksellers and related industries;
  • Forge and promote partnerships across the book publishing and bookselling industries, both locally and throughout Africa
  • Provide a channel for SMME development; and
  • Facilitate skills and enterprise development across the entire book industry value chain.

About the South African Book Development Council
The South African Book Development Council (SABDC), formerly known as the Print Industries Cluster Council (PICC), is the representative body for the South African book publishing industry. Its members include all key stakeholders in the book publishing and bookselling value chain. Further information about the Council and its work is available at

About National Book Week
National Book Week is the largest national reading awareness campaign, which kicked off in 2010 as an intervention campaign in response to the 2007 study by the SABDC, whose findings showed that only 14% of the South African population are avid readers of leisure books and that 5% of the population reads to their children. Now in its ninth year, National Book Week will be celebrated across all nine provinces from 3-9 September 2018.

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Cape Town Poetry Slam returns to the Mother City in 2018

This year in another collaboration between InZync Poetry, the Stellenbosch University Museum, the Bellville Public Library, Cape Town Central Library, the Fugard Theatre and Open Book Festival, the Cape Town Poetry Slam returns to Cape Town, with three prelim slams and a final slam at the Fugard Theatre on 8 September.

In 2018 we are looking for the second Cape Town Poetry Slam Champion! There will be three prelim slams, one in Stellenbosch, the second in Bellville and the third in Cape Town.

The top three poets from each of the prelims will move onto the second round, which is the final, at the Fugard Theatre in collaboration with the Open Book Festival, and the poets will battle it out for the title of Cape Town’s Poetry Slam Champion!

All of the prelims and the final will be hosted by amazing local poets such as Allison-Claire Hoskins, Roché Kester, Samora Magwa, Quaz Roodt and there will be live beats by DJ Deco.

The judges for this year’s slam are Cape Town rapper Jitsvinger, poetry slam champion, writer and performer Siphokazi Jonas and Lingua Franca spoken word movement director Mbongeni Nomkonwana. The final will also include a short performance by each of the judges.

MCs and judges at Cape Town Poetry Slam 2017

There are lots of prizes up for grabs for the winners of the prelims and the final, all to the value of R14 200. Cape Town’s Poetry Slam Champion will walk away with R2 500 in cash, a R500 Book Lounge voucher and a video poem to be produced by InZync!

The winners of each prelim will also participate in a workshop to prepare them to battle it out for the title of Cape Town’s Poetry Slam Champion. Budding poets can sign up on the day of each prelim, it is first come first serve, with a maximum of 25 sign ups per prelim.

The details of the three prelim slams are as follows:

Prelim 1: 11 August – Stellenbosch University Museum, 13:00
Prelim 2: 18 August – Bellville Public Library, 13:00
Prelim 3: 25 August – Cape Town Central Library, 13:00

The final is on 8 September at the Fugard Theatre at 20:00.

Tickets will be on sale for R50. Bookings will be open from early August and can be made at Webtickets.

For more details check out the InZync Poetry Sessions social media platforms:
Facebook – InZync Poetry Sessions, Instagram – @inzync_poetry, Twitter – @InZyncPoetry

About InZync Poetry

InZync Poetry is a Non-Profit Organization based in the Western Cape dedicated to the expansion of multilingual and multimodal poetry platforms in the Cape.

Our founders are Adrian ‘Diff’ van Wyk and Pieter Odendaal and together our team run poetry workshops with emerging poets called the INKredibles, and host poetry shows. In 2016 InZync collaborated with Koleka Putuma to create a video for her poem ‘Water’ and released an EP of poems called InterVerse. In 2017 InZync Poetry hosted the Cape Town Poetry Slam, and in 2018, we published the multilingual poetry anthology ConVerse in collaboration with Woordfees.

InZync has collaborated with many local and international poets to bring multilingual poetry to Cape audiences.

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Crime and derangement: William Saunderson-Meyer reviews Dirk Kurbjuweit’s Fear

Published in the Sunday Times

Dirk Kurbjuweit, Orion, R275

The theme is as old as the psychological thriller. An ordinary man commits what he persuades himself to be a rational, morally justified killing and gets away with it. Afterwards, he is wracked with anguish, remorse and a need for repentance, confession and punishment. Think of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Then fast forward 150 years and turn Dostoyevsky’s impoverished St Petersburg student into a middle-class Berlin architect, and there you have the basics of Dirk Kurbjuweit’s Fear.

Randolph Tiefenthaler, his beautiful wife, Rebecca, and their son and daughter live in a large suburban house converted into a few apartments. This is the quintessential existence of the successful professional: fine food, fine wine and fine friends to complement the ideal family.

The snake in paradise comes in the form of Dieter Tiberius, who rents the basement flat. Initially, they have a pleasant, nodding acquaintance, but soon Tiberius starts making lascivious comments about Rebecca and writes her love letters. His actions escalate and he falsely reports the parents to the police and social services for abusing and molesting their children.

The societal supports that the bourgeoisie take as a given fail the family; the police and lawyers can do little.

The allegations are persistent and insidious, undermining family cohesion. Though they rationally know it to be absurd, in the minds of both Randolph and Rebecca there spring seeds of doubt. Could their spouse just possibly be doing something vile?

We already know how this ends. Fear opens with the incarceration of Herman – Randolph’s father, a lifelong firearm enthusiast – for killing Tiberius with a bullet to the head. But as in Crime and Punishment, the book is not a whodunit but a whydunit. A clever exposition of how violence lurks just below the veneer of even apparently the most civilised, intellectually sophisticated person. William Saunderson-Meyer @TheJaundicedEye

Book details

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Madiba Magic celebrates Nelson Mandela’s centenary

The Jakes Gerwel Foundation and Tafelberg Publishers will commemorate Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday on 18 July 2018 by relaunching the classic Madiba Magic, an anthology of folk tales selected by Madiba, at fifteen primary schools across the country. Experienced storytellers will visit schools in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng to bring these stories to life – through dancing, storytelling and music. Learners will benefit further from a donation to their school library by NB Publishers.

Primary schools included are: Kwa-Faku (Phillipi), Molo Mhlaba and Intshayelelo (Khayelitsha), Blue Mountains (Altydgedacht outside Durbanville), Westcott (Diep River), Mountain Road (Woodstock), Hillcrest (Mowbray), Wallacedene, Groenheuwel (Paarl), Tshatshu (King Willliam’s Town), James Ntungwana (Kwa Nobuhle outside Uitenhage), Kei Road Combined, Gilbert Xuza (Somerset East), Melpark (Melville) and Norwood Primary School (Johannesburg).

The popular Madiba Magic, a special reissue for the Mandela centenary celebrations, is a feast for the eyes, and includes stories from Southern Africa and the rest of Africa – Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco. This kaleidoscope of a book refracts Africa in its myriad facets and hues: the dizzying glare of the hot African sun, the blue haze of the mountains on the horizon, the wiles of the creatures, both animal and human. Here are to be found tales as old as Africa itself, told around the evening fires since time immemorial.

Madiba Magic has sold more than 100,000 English copies in South Africa and is available in translation in countries like Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, the USA, France, Italy, Mexico and Portugal.

“Madiba’s great heart for children struck a chord with many people and this book reflects something of those ideals. These are the stories Madiba would have told,” says Michelle Cooper, publisher at Tafelberg.

With Jakes Gerwel as director-general in the presidency of Nelson Mandela’s first democratic government, as well as his role in the selection of stories for Madiba Magic, the Jakes Gerwel Foundation is proud to be a part of this project in partnership with NB Publishers.

“The Jakes Gerwel Foundation is committed to promote reading and to expose learners to the wonder of books, and therefore we are honoured to partner with Tafelberg in this project,” says Theo Kemp, executive director of the Jakes Gerwel Foundation.

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Short Sharp Stories Award announces panel of judges for 2018

Via Short.Sharp.Stories.

Our panel of judges for this year’s Short Sharp Stories Award are drawn from different literary arenas, with expertise ranging from poetry and prose to journalism and creative non-fiction.

They are currently reading the shortlisted stories and we will be announcing the winning stories soon. Each of our judges selected five entries to make up the twenty stories in the final collection, and they will also select the winning entries for this year’s competition.

Diane Awerbuck wrote Gardening at Night, which was awarded the Commonwealth Best First Book Award (Africa and the Caribbean). Her short story collection Cabin Fever was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize. Her story ‘Leatherman’ won the 2015 Short Story Day Africa competition. She co-writes a frontier-fiction series with Alex Latimer (under the nom de plume Frank Owen).

Rustum Kozain is one of South Africa’s most acclaimed poets. He has won both the Ingrid Jonker prize and the Olive Schreiner Prize for his debut poetry collection, This Carting Life.

Megan Ross is the author of Milk Fever, an acclaimed poetry debut published by uHlanga. She won the 2017 Brittle Paper Award for Fiction in 2017. She is an alumni of the Iceland Writers Retreat, and her work has featured in numerous publications (including the Short Sharp Stories anthologies).

Bongani Kona is a writer and editor at Chimurenga, a pan-African publication of arts, culture and politics. His writing has appeared in a number of anthologies and collections. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Caine Prize for a story which appeared in the 2016 Short Sharp Stories anthology Incredible Journey, and he is the co-editor of Migrations, a short story collection that was published in 2017.

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Inskrywings vir die vierde US Woordfees-kortverhaalbundel word ingewag

Via die Woordfeeskantoor

Skrywers kan nou inskryf vir die vierde US Woordfees-kortverhaalbundel, wat by die 2019 Woordfees bekend gestel sal word. Du Toitskloof Wyne borg weer die prysgeld van R30 000 vir die wenverhaal. Een van die gepubliseerde verhale sal ook weer met die ondersteuning van kykNET vir die Silwerskermfees as kortfilm ontwikkel word.

“Die Woordfeeskortverhaalbundel se statuur het in die afgelope drie jaar tot dié van literêre instelling gegroei,” sê Saartjie Botha, direkteur van die US Woordfees. “Die hoeveelheid inskrywings groei jaarliks saam met die gehalte van die skryfwerk en die tematiese verskeidenheid in die verhale. Ons is opgewonde om te sien waarmee skrywers vir die 2019-bundel vorendag kom.”

Die skrywers wat in dié bundel opgeneem word, het in die verlede elkeen R4 000 vir hul verhale ontvang, maar danksy Du Toitskloof sal elkeen volgende jaar R5 000 in die sak steek.

“Sedert die verskyning van die eerste Woordfeesbundel in 2016 word van die beste kortverhale in Afrikaans op hierdie wyse gepubliseer,” sê die uitgewersredakteur en sameroeper van die kompetisie, Suzette Kotzé-Myburgh, wat sedert 2016 by dié projek betrokke is. “Die wedstryd het laas jaar gegroei tot ’n rekordgetal van 237 inskrywings, met stewige prysgeld sowel as ’n prestigeryke filmprys wat skrywers kan inpalm. As jy nog altyd jou hand aan ’n kortverhaal wou waag, is hierdie jou kans!”

Die 2018-wenner, Clari Niemand, se verhaal Non (kompos) mentis word in ’n kortfilm omskep wat by die 2018 Silwerskermfees vertoon sal word.

Oor Du Toitskloof Wyne se betrokkenheid sê Marius Louw, uitvoerende hoof, dat Du Toitskloof die jaarlikse Kortverhaalkompetisie as een van die kalenderjaar se hoogtepunte beskou: “Daar waar kreatiwiteit heers, wil ons graag betrokke bly, want só deel ons in die ontdekking van die skrywers se goud, skuur ons skouers met die kunste en blink ons saam agterna. Ons deelname as borg inspireer ons tot groter vindingrykheid in elke volgende avontuur wat ons aanpak.”

Skrywers wie se verhale in die bundel opgeneem gaan word, sal by die Woordfeesprogrambekendstelling in November 2018 bekend gemaak word. Die wenverhaal asook die verhaal wat vir ’n verwerking tot kortfilm gekies is, sal eers tydens die bekendstelling van die bundel, gedurende die Woordfees van 1-10 Maart 2019, aangekondig word.

Die sluitingsdatum vir inskrywings is 30 September 2018 om 16:00.

Diegene wat belangstel om meer oor die kompetisie te wete te kom of wat wil inskryf, kan gaan na en volg dan die skakels. E-pos met navrae kan ook gestuur word aan – slegs skriftelike navrae sal beantwoord word. Die US Woordfees word van 1-10 Maart 2019 in Stellenbosch aangebied. Die feesprogram word in November bekend gemaak.

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Leopard’s Leap, in collaboration with Open Book Fest, announces ‘Message on a Bottle’ competition!

Leopard’s Leap’s enthusiasm for literature is celebrated through its support of the Open Book Festival as well as an exciting annual competition focusing on an inventive way of combining the world of words with the world of wine. Entrants in previous years designed wine labels (2015), wrote haikus (2016) and shared delightful micro-stories in the 2017 flash fiction challenge.

The 2018 competition with the theme Message on a Bottle brings words and wine together in a way that is slightly nostalgic and promises the winning entrant exciting prizes and exposure.

“We love involving our supporters in our wine stories,” says Leopard’s Leap CEO Hein Koegelenberg.

“Sharing stories is at the heart of literature and is also such a big part of the hospitality around wine. We are delighted about our involvement with Cape Town’s Open Book Festival and would like to invite those who share our excitement for wine and words to enter the Message on a Bottle competition!”

Your challenge:

Combine words and wine and write a message for a bottle, using maximum 40 words, including at least three of the words below:

Share, Quality, Story(ies), Time, Mellifluous, Taste, Vellichor, Aroma, Journey, Serendipity

Your inspiration: Words and Wine

Have you always wanted to send your words into the world? Send us your entry as a Message on a Bottle – and stand a chance to win the following prizes:

• Cash prize of R5 000
• The winning Message on a Bottle will be the label for a specific Leopard’s Leap wine.
• 12 cases of Leopard’s Leap wine labelled with the winning Message on a Bottle.
• Winning Message on a Bottle to be displayed at Open Book Festival venues
• Winning Message on a Bottle to be displayed at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards in Franschhoek
• Winning Message on a Bottle to be used by Leopard’s Leap and Open Book Festival on digital platforms
• Two Open Book Festival passes
• R500 Book Lounge voucher

Share a message on a bottle with someone who enjoys what is in the bottle!

Here are the rules:

• Competition opens for entries on Monday 16 July 2018
• Entries close on Sunday 5 August 2018 at midnight
• Judging to take place on Wednesday 15 August 2018
• Winner to be announced at the Open Book Festival Opening Bash on Tuesday 4 September 2018
• Share a message on a bottle with someone who enjoys a glass of wine! Use 3 of the following words to create a message on a bottle for our back label of 40 words or less
• Words: Share, Quality, Story(ies), Time, Mellifluous, Taste, Vellichor, Aroma, Journey, Serendipity
• No limit to number of entries per person
• E-mail your entry with contact details to:
• Competition details and terms and conditions available at
• The winning MESSAGE will be used as back label copy on a specific Leopard’s Leap wine that will be available to consumers in the domestic market
• MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE entries must be in English in order to comply with Leopard’s Leap back label regulations and requirements for sale in South Africa
• MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE entries may be used by Leopard’s Leap and Open Book Festival on digital platforms (Facebook headers and posts, Twitter headers, website homepage, blog articles, newsletter and e-mail banners)
• MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE entries may be printed on various promotional items including posters, canvass and leaflets
• MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE entries may be displayed at Open Book Festival venues
• MESSAGE ON A BOTTLE entries may be displayed at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards in Franschhoek
• Judges: Hein Koegelenberg, Paige Nick, Mohale Mashigo and Pieter-Dirk Uys

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2018 READ Word Warrior Competition: encouraging creativity, raising literary warriors

Written on behalf of READ Educational Trust


A wise man once quipped: Creativity is contagious. Pass it on: Albert Einstein certainly knew what he was speaking about, and when it comes to encouraging creativity and imagination in our youth, just think of the untold treasure waiting to be discovered!

This is one of many reasons why READ Educational Trust is particularly encouraged to talk about the annual READ Word Warrior Competition: a platform used to promote literacy, reading and the art of creative writing among young South Africans.

Open to learners from the ages of nine through sixteen, our 2018 READ Word Warrior Competition requires entrants to write a fiction story incorporating a colourful character, Detective WW Inkomba. (‘Inkomba’ means ‘clue’ in Zulu and Xhosa). Our Word Warriors are required to produce a Fun, Fact-Finding (FFF) mission that draws readers in, and captivates them right up to the very last word!

The entry form is filled with tips and questions aimed at getting those creative juices flowing and bringing out the best in our budding Agatha Christies! All good detectives must be wondering what’s in it for them? Not only will their work be showcased on the READ website; the winner will receive a R1000 cash prize, and their school will receive R5000’s worth of books!

Last year’s Word Warrior Competition drew a host of interesting entries and READ is pleased to announce that the READ Word Warrior of 2017 is Lolo Legoabe from Boskop Primary School! The 2017 Word Warriors had to describe their idea of ‘My Treasure’, and Lolo gave us wonderful insight into her family of five … always there for each other, no matter what they face in life!

2017 Word Warrior winner – Lolo Legoabe

READ encourages learners, educators and parents alike to inspire participation in this competition.

“This is one of many vehicles we use, to harness that very weapon our patron the late Nelson Mandela was passionate about: education,” Lizelle Langford, PR and Fundraising Manager at READ Educational Trust, explains.

“Together we can sharpen the literary skills of South Africa’s future leaders. A noble cause and one that is worthy of supporting every step of the way!”

For more information about the 2018 READ Word Warrior Competition, contact READ Educational Trust on 0872377781, or visit

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Author interview: Peter Swanson

Published in the Sunday Times

Peter Swanson, author of All The Beautiful Lies. (Author photo: unknown.)

What’s the one book our world leaders should read?

I’d have them read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s the bleakest vision I’ve read about a post-apocalyptic world. Maybe it would do its part in preventing one of our leaders from reaching for the nuclear button. If not, it’s still riveting fiction.

Which book changed your life?

The first Agatha Christie novel I read was Sleeping Murder. It’s not her best, but I fell in love with mystery novels because of her, and I’ve never turned back.

What music helps you write?

I listen exclusively to movie soundtracks when I write. They create a mood but they also fade into the background. Lately, I’ve been listening to Jonny Greenwood’s score for Phantom Thread and James Newton Howard’s score for Red Sparrow.

The strangest thing you’ve done when researching a book?

I’m always looking up information on Google about how to murder someone, questions such as “How long do you need to hold someone under water for them to drown?”.

You’re hosting a dinner with three writers. Who’s invited?

Stephen King, Kate Atkinson and David Mitchell. If I was allowed to invite dead writers it would be Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett and Kingsley Amis.

What’s the best book you’ve received as a gift?

On the occasion of the UK publication of my second novel, The Kind Worth Killing, my wife bought me a first edition of Darker than Amber, my favourite Travis McGee novel by John D MacDonald. I love the book, but I also love the memory of that night.

What books are on your bedside table?

I’m reading The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson. The next book I’m hoping to read is James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss and then next on the pile is Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, because I never like to be too far from my favourite novel.

What would you tell your younger writing self?

Stop trying to be the next Hemingway and start writing thrillers. Another way of phrasing this would be to tell myself to write the books that I’d want to read.

What did you edit out of this book?

I write extensive histories for all of my main characters. Sometimes those histories make it into my books and sometimes they don’t.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I have used multiple ways to select names, including baby name books, genealogy sites, plus just scanning my own bookcase. Lately, I’ve found a couple of good surnames by taking walks through cemeteries and reading the headstones.

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson is published by Faber & Faber, R275

Book details

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Book Bites: 1 July

Published in the Sunday Times

When She Was GoneWhen She Was Gone
SA Dunphy, Hachette, R285

David Dunnigan is in turmoil when a shoe belonging to his niece, Beth, is delivered to his doorstep. Thing is, she was wearing the shoes when she was kidnapped 18 years earlier, while she was with him. He has never forgiven himself and that has ruined his relationships and his career as a criminologist. Who left the shoe and why? Is Beth still alive? Dunnigan’s hopes revived, he delves into Dublin’s seedy underworld where his quest takes him to a chilling psychiatric asylum run by a mad shrink and his psychotic sidekick. Then to an Inuit village in frozen Greenland where trafficked slaves are worked to the bone in a fish factory. A thrilling read that takes you to the extremes of human cruelty. Gabriella Bekes @gabrikwa

The Long ForgottenThe Long Forgotten
David Whitehouse, Pan Macmillan, R285

A cantankerous professor discovers a black box flight recorder of a plane that went missing 30 years ago, and unlocks a story that spans decades, generations, and continents. A young man named Dove works in an emergency dispatch call centre until he starts getting excruciating headaches that present themselves as flashes of someone else’s memories. Twenty years hence a cleaner by the name of Peter Manyweathers discovers a love letter with a list of rare flowers in a library book, and sets off on a quest for adventure – and love. How do these stories fit into each other? Beautifully intertwined and skilfully crafted, Whitehouse spins a narrative that leaves the reader aching for more. Anna Stroud @annawriter_

The ReckoningThe Reckoning
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Hodder & Stoughton, R300

There is something relentlessly grim about Sigurðardóttir’s Icelandic noir novels. The setting is a cold, mostly unfriendly atmosphere of grimy police stations, dimly lit parking garages and a country that is as isolating as it is small and claustrophobic. The characters are unfathomable yet fascinating. This is the second book in the Children’s House series. The detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja’s careers have both suffered because of the last case they worked on and now they are investigating a chilling case – family secrets and gruesome murders with severed hands and feet found in odd places. Their feelings for each other also complicate matters. Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

Book details

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