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Archive for the ‘Penguin’ Category

Jacket Notes: Tim Noakes on his new book, Lore of Nutrition: Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs

Published in the Sunday Times

Lore of Nutrition: Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs
Tim Noakes and Marika Sboros
Penguin Random House, R290

In July 2015, I became one of few scientists in history to be publicly prosecuted for expressing my opinion.

The “hearing” (more accurately, a full-on legal trial) that the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) and Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) brought against me lasted 25 days over more than three years. It concluded in April 2017 when the independent panel found me innocent of all charges.

But, despite the massive costs on all sides, the HPCSA has chosen to appeal the verdict. The “hearing” reconvenes in February 2018.

Lore of Nutrition: Challenging Conventional Dietary Beliefs, co-written with investigative journalist Marika Sboros, explains how the hearing came about. It had nothing to do with my tweet. That was just a pretext. It was the inevitable outcome of my decision in December 2010 to change my diet from the high-carbohydrate, low-fat one I had advocated and followed for 33 years, to one high in fat.

In so doing, I turned my back on all I had been taught about optimum human nutrition. I have learned much from my Damascene moment, as I call it. In particular, that the 1977 US Dietary Guidelines, which encouraged us to “make starchy foods the basis of most meals”, are the direct cause of the obesity and diabetes pandemics that now threaten the financial sustainability of medical services globally. The evidence we present (and on which I built my defence in the HPCSA “hearing”) establishes beyond doubt that excessive dietary carbohydrate, not fat, is the real nutrition villain.

The book explains how the publication of The Real Meal Revolution in November 2013 spawned the HPCSA trial. It initiated a debate across all segments of the South African community, which had never before happened in this country, and perhaps in few other countries, if any. And when the public started questioning what they should be eating to be properly healthy, they began to threaten diet orthodoxy. One solution was to silence the messenger – hence the HPCSA hearing.

The first third of the book details actions of colleagues and organisations as they sought to discredit me and my “Banting” diet after my Damascene moment. I have included every single published criticism over six years, in the authors’ own words. I also provide the science to show that all are without foundation. I answer all criticisms fully and transparently.

Sboros writes the middle third of the book, summarising key details of the 25 days in court: The prosecution’s case and their expert witnesses, including their cross-examination; my testimony and cross-examination and that of the “Three Angels” – Nina Teicholz, Dr Zoe Harcombe and Dr Caryn Zinn; leading to the comprehensive not-guilty judgment by Advocate Joan Adams and her committee.

In the book’s final third, I present the evidence that until very recently, perhaps as recently as 60 years ago, humans were much healthier than we are today. I show the key driver of our ill-health: the adoption of the high-carbohydrate diet, which the 1977 US Dietary Guidelines promoted, by persons intolerant to carbohydrates – which turns out to be the majority of humans.

In the final chapter, Sboros summarises the many and glaring “imponderables” that should have prevented this “hearing” from ever happening.

The book is about the distortion and corruption of science that has led to our current state of global ill-health. It provides clear scientific evidence of what we need to do to regain our formerly healthy state.

Book details


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Book Bites (3 December)

Published in the Sunday Times

My Absolute DarlingMy Absolute Darling
**
Gabriel Tallent, HarperCollins, R250

It wasn’t the repulsive violence of this novel that defeated me. By now everyone knows that it features incest between a father and his 14-year-old daughter. It was never going to be a comfortable read, but judging by the euphoric reviews one expected something trenchant and thought-provoking. Instead the characters are straight out of central casting — ghastly gun-toting father spouting undigested philosophy before raping his daughter; she the tough tomboy with little interiority; kindly grandfather, caring-but-puzzled teacher. Tallent ladles on description with a palette knife, perhaps in an attempt to lift it to the heights of “literary fiction”, but ultimately it’s a hollow, crassly prurient book. – Michele Magwood @michelemagwood

The Dying Game
***
Asa Avdic, Penguin Books, R295

Set in 2037, a faceless government coldly manipulates its citizens into overworking at the expense of their personal lives. The central character is Anna Francis, emotionally damaged from a mission on the border between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. On her return to Stockholm she is promised freedom if she completes one final mission – a high-pressure exercise to test the character of citizens being vetted for a top-secret intelligence post. Anna must travel to an island with an alcoholic colonel, a shallow TV host, one of Sweden’s richest men, a hyper-sensitive HR specialist and a key figure from her past who she thought she’d never encounter again. On the first night she will fake her death then monitor the reactions of the candidates. This well-paced Scandi Noir will certainly keep most readers captivated until the final chilling scene. – Efemia Chela @efemiachela

The Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic
****
Alice Hoffman, Simon & Schuster, R285

Hoffman’s prequel to her bestseller Practical Magic is the delightful backstory of the magical Owens sisters’ eccentric aunts, Jet and Frances, and their mysterious brother Vincent. It’s late ’50s New York and the three children are brought up in a strictly no magic house by their parents. But their power cannot be harnessed and when they find out who they are, disaster happens. They realise they can’t love without consequences due to an ancestral curse. A fantastical tale of doomed love. – Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

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Philip Pullman revels in writing about bad guys and dark forces, like the ones we have now, writes Jennifer Platt

Published in the Sunday Times

La Belle Sauvage
***
Philip Pullman
Transworld, R290

His Dark Materials is not as famous as the Harry Potter series – maybe because there’s something much more insidious and dark in Philip Pullman’s multiverse than in JK Rowling’s magical world. (Also, only one book was made into a movie – The Golden Compass, which was not successful.)

La Belle Sauvage is the first volume in the new trilogy, The Book of Dust, which is a prequel to His Dark Materials. But over the phone from the UK, Pullman is quick to remind me of his book ’s motto: “It’s not a prequel or sequel, it’s an equal.”

It’s been 22 years since the first Dark Materials novel, Northern Lights, where we were introduced to his heroine Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. (Daemons are a person’s soul, externalised as an animal.)

The trilogy begins 10 years before Northern Lights, and in La Belle Sauvage we’re taken back to the beginning, when Lyra is just six months old. She is taken to a priory to be hidden from the power-hungry religious force, The Magisterium, that will do anything to control the world.

In His Dark Materials, Lyra went on a quest to save children from having their daemons sliced from them by The Magisterium. She became a saviour. She gets to know that there is something called Dust (with a capital D, not the stuff that needs a feather duster) and that she would somehow expose the truth and let the world know what Dust is. But His Dark Materials ends before everything is neatly solved – before we find out what Dust is. Pullman promises we’ll know more about Dust in this trilogy.

“I was writing about Lyra for the past 10 years because there’s all these things to still happen,” Pullman says. “How did Lyra develop? How was she placed in Jordan College? There is still so much more to tell about Lyra and it’s all very exciting.”

But there’s not much of Lyra in this first book. Pullman focuses mainly on his two new characters who need to save Lyra from the Magisterium. They are 11-year-old Malcolm, curious, bright and oh-so-good, who works in his family’s pub called the Trout. His daemon is Asta – not yet settled in form as he is still a child. And then there’s Alice, 15, a dishwasher, difficult yet steadfast and an annoyance to Malcolm. This sets up the two protagonists – male and female – which is integral to Pullman’s writing; everyone’s daemon is also of the opposite sex.

“It creates a pubescent dynamic, a very basic human dynamic,” he says. “This is all about living and growing up. It’s a form of discovery and change. The characters have to learn and finally come into adulthood.”

But the Magisterium is tightening its grasp – afraid of what the scholars of the world are saying. The church uses whatever means necessary to control and destroy those with opposing opinions. It has formed the League of St Alexander, which is brainwashing children into feeling that it is their duty to spy on their parents, teachers and friends. This is what gets Pullman so excited.

“The League of St Alexander was a way of including the way communist societies asked children to spy on people. It’s based in truth.

“In the last year and a half we have seen lies, fraud and stupidity take over the world and governments. We have allowed a stupendous folly to happen, one that we can still scarcely believe – Brexit. This great European project was ravaged by lies and stupidity. A reckless decision. And then what happened in the US.”

But there’s not just the church that Malcolm and Alice have to save Lyra from. There’s a far darker, more disturbing look at the evil of men found in the character of Gerard Bonneville. He seems indestructible, a sinister presence that keeps on coming after them even though they thought he was dead. His daemon is a one-legged hyena. He has escaped prison and is after the six-month-old Lyra as well. Revenge against her mother, perhaps?

“He was a great surprise to me, a great gift,” says Pullman. “I could never have based this character on anyone … I do enjoy writing the bad characters.”

To make things even worse, Malcolm and Alice have to survive an epic flood that sweeps the country. They take refuge in Malcolm’s boat, La Belle Sauvage.

Pullman says he based this trilogy on the model of The Faerie Queene, the Edmund Spenser poem first published in 1590.

“It’s this classic poem that is told in multiple different ways. This is epic storytelling. The structure is what I really want to take with me on how to write the books.” The poem is allegorical, which fits in with the layers in La Belle Sauvage. We learn more about the universe that Lyra has to survive in and about the forces of evil that try to control her world.

As for the second book in the trilogy: “I have written it, and it is being edited now.” – @Jenniferdplatt

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Book Bites: 22 October

Published in the Sunday Times

A Gap in the HedgeA Gap in the Hedge
Johan Vlok Louw, Umuzi, R230
***
Amnesia is a strange thing. How do you remember how to drive a car or make a casserole but you can’t remember what your own name is? In this novel it sometimes feels as if Johan Vlok Louw is leading us up the garden path as Karl gets closer to knowing who he is. The only clues to guide him are an old grey Ford, and a taste for Coke, whisky and Paul Revere cigarettes. As he proceeds, step by step, through his sleazy, bewildering world, you are either drawn along through curiosity or, if you are less indulgent, you leave him to his own devices. – Yvonne Fontyn

The Floating Theatre
The Floating Theatre
Martha Conway, Zaffre Publishing, R295
*****
When the steamer she is travelling on sinks, May Bedloe finds herself, for the first time, in charge of her own destiny. Joining a travelling theatre on the Ohio river, the divides between North and South and between freedom and slavery become apparent and divisive and May is drawn against her will into a dangerous war. She begins to realise that everyone makes a choice and those choices come with costs that can be hard to bear. The book starts off a little slowly, but May is captivating as she stumbles through her discovery of the complexities of life. A beautiful coming-of-age novel. – Jem Glendinning @jemathome

Did You See Melody?
Did You See Melody?
Sophie Hannah, Hodder & Stoughton, R275
*****
Hannah easily transports you to sunny Arizona, to the Swallowtail – a sprawling resort spa with luxury three-bedroomed casitas surrounded by swaying cacti, sparkling pools and seemingly super-friendly staff. There’s an underlying atmosphere of menace and a group of dubious folks (residents, staff, police, and a talkshow host) – all with some sort of agenda. One of the twists is that there is no murder per se, rather a supposedly murdered girl named Melody who has been spotted by the unwitting heroine, Cara Burrows. Burrows herself has things to resolve as she has just run away from her husband and two kids in the UK. This novel works best as a binge read – Hannah is such an accomplished storyteller that solving the mystery of Melody becomes urgent. – Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt
 

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Prince Albert Leesfees: 3 – 5 November

Book lovers it’s almost time to head for Prince Albert in the Karoo.

The town’s sixth Leesfees takes place over the first weekend of November, with a list of writers, books and performers in a programme that offers something for everyone.

The theme this year is ‘The Soul of the Karoo ~ In die Gees van die Karoo’, with writers, poets, artists, musicians, a comedian and films in the lineup. The talks, presentations and stage experiences include discussions with crime and suspense writers, Rudie van Rensburg (Kamikaze) and Mike Nicol (Agents of the State), debut writers Mohale Mashigo (The Yearning) and Sara-Jayne King (Killing Karoline), as well as academic and novelist, Cas Wepener (Johanna).

Matters legal and political are the subject of Glynnis Breytenbach’s memoir, Rule of Law; she will be in conversation with Tim Cohen.

Our visiting author from Europe this year is Bart de Graaff whose book on the KhoiKhoin: Ik Yzerbek/Ware Mense (translated by Daniel Hugo) traces the experience of the earliest peoples of our land.

Artist Elza Miles has made a major contribution to the art scene of SA, with her historical works on various visual artists, she will be in conversation with writer and journalist Johan Myburg who will also speak about his new poetry anthology Uittogboek.

Rapper, Hemelbesem, Simon Witbooi will discuss his autobiography, God praat Afrikaans with Anzil Kulsen.

Joyce Kotzè and her translator, Daniel Hugo speak about her Anglo-Boer War novel: The Runaway Horses/Wintersrust, fiction based upon fact. Joyce relates how her forebears fought on different sides during the War. They will be in conversation with Carel van der Merwe, author of Donker stroom.

Local ornithologist Dr Richard Dean will launch his book, Warriors, dilettantes and businessmen – Bird Collectors during the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries in South Africa.

Karel Schoeman’s contributions to South African literature will be the focus of a panel discussion with Nicol Stassen and Cas Wepener (author of van Die reis gaan inwaarts- die kuns van sterwe in die werke van Karel Schoeman) co-ordinated by Prof Bernard Odendaal.

New food celebrity Nick Charlie Key will reveal banting tips and how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle whilst indulging in decadent desserts, from his book Jump on the Bant Wagon with food-lover Russell Wasserfall.

Poets Gaireyah Fredericks, Daniel Hugo, Johan Myburg and local raconteur Hugh Forsyth will read some of their favourite poems in English and Afrikaans literature.

Two music and word highlights will be Tribal Echo with Huldeblyk aan Adam Small/Tribute to Adam Small and Afrika my verlange/Afrique mon désir: Laurinda Hofmeyr, Schalk Joubert, with six West African singers, in collaboration with the Cape Town Music Academy.

Our programme includes two films. Director and producer, Roberta Durrant, will attend the Karoo premiere of her award-winning film Krotoa. Eerstewater is a documentary film set in and around Prince Albert based on Hélène Smit’s book, Beneath.

We’ll look at the state of children’s book publishing in South Africa, enjoy an evening in the company of comedian Nik Rabinowitz, enjoy delicious meals at the on-site restaurant and generally savour the Soul of the Karoo.

The 2017 Leesfees is a festival you cannot miss. The full programme can be found on the festival website - www.princealbertleesfees.org – and the Facebook page www.facebook.com/princealbertleesfees – offers daily updates on the people, books, poetry and experiences which make up this great cultural event.

Tickets can be bought online at www.princealbertleesfees.org and at the Prince Albert Library, Church Street, Prince Albert. Tel: 023 5411 014. For information and enquiries: princealbertleesfees@mweb.co.za and WhatsApp: 073 213 3797.

Agents of the State

Book details

 
 

The Yearning

 
 
 
 

Killing Karoline

 
 
 
 

Rule of Law

 
 
 
 

Ware Mense

 
 
 
 

Uittogboek

 
 
 
 

God praat Afrikaans

 
 
 

Wintersrust

 

Die reis gaan inwaarts

 
 

Jump on the Bant Wagon


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Jacket Notes: Frans Rautenbach on how a conversation with his son motivated him to write South Africa Can Work

Published in the Sunday Times

South Africa Can Work
Frans Rautenbach, Penguin Random House, R250

My son’s statement hit me like a blow to the gut. We were enjoying dinner at a Mexican restaurant. We debated the #FeesMustFall movement, and I ventured the view that the problem was the government’s economic policies. I reiterated my mantra that free enterprise was the way to go to save South Africa.

That’s when Stefan said it: “I no longer believe in your arguments. Trickle-down economics does not work…”

While I battled to suck air into my lungs, protesting that I had researched the topic for years, Stefan added that I only read that which confirmed my prejudices.

I realised that no sensible continuation of the discussion would be possible without a thorough re-examination of my premises. Thus the book was born.

The soul of the book is freedom, in particular economic freedom – a policy many might see as less than politically correct. So shoot me, I’m a contrarian. In the introduction I confess: “As a lawyer I still marvel at the beautiful words of Lord Justice Megarry in the case of John v Rees: ‘As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not: of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; with inexplicable conduct which was fully explained …’”

As in law, so in life. But while often against the mainstream, I am not so just for the sake of being otherwise. As a student politician I relished the thought of pulling both apartheid and capitalism from their pedestals. Intellectually the former proved easy, but nowadays the thought of defending communism or socialism fills me with despair.

People often ask me how I managed to spend so much time and energy writing a book arguing that a free market will save South Africa. My best answer is that I cannot do otherwise.

Seeing our society being led to serfdom while the evidence of a better way is so abundant, is like observing a patient with a mental disorder self-inflicting pain, day by day. I cannot keep quiet…

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Wenners van kykNet-Rapport-boekpryse 2017 bekend

Die wenners van die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse – die grootste pryse van hul soort in Afrikaans – is op Saterdag 30 September 2017 in Kaapstad bekend gemaak. Die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys vir die beste debuutroman in Afrikaans asook die twee kykNET-Rapportpryse vir boekresensent van die jaar is by dieselfde geleentheid oorhandig.

Hulde is gebring aan ontslape skrywers soos Karel Schoeman en PG du Plessis, maar die aand het behoort aan die huidige geslag skrywers, wat sulke geleenthede moontlik en gedenkwaardig maak. Hettie Scholtz, sameroeper van die drie hoofboekpryse, het die skrywers geloof vir boeke wat diep sny, diep delf, en ’n aar raak boor. “Dit het by my ’n insig van Chesterton opgeroep, sy geloof dat daar één ding is wat ’n helderheid aan dinge verleen: die vermoede van iets nét om die draai. Ek kan werklik nie wag om te sien waarmee hierdie skrywers volgende vorendag gaan kom nie! Hierby sluit ek die inskrywings vir die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys in.”

Die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse met ’n gesamentlike prysgeld van R500 000 is toegeken aan die volgende skrywers:
- Fiksie: Huilboek, Ryk Hattingh (Human & Rousseau)
- Niefiksie: Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde Verraaier, Elsabé Brits (Tafelberg)
- Film: Al wat ek weet, Marita van der Vyver, (Lapa)

Die keurders het die fiksiewenner, Ryk Hattingh, geloof “vir sy sagkense behandeling van groot dinge, die subtiliteit van segging, die beskeie toon en algehele gebrek aan selfkoestering. Die manier waarop hy persoonlike pyn uiteindelik, sonder politieke grandstandery, vestig in die konteks van ’n hele land se trauma, is uitsonderlik en maak van Huilboek ’n prestasie in hoe groot kragte in beweging gestel kan word deur ’n minimum aan woorde en vertoon.”

Waardering is ook uitgespreek vir die niefiksiewenner, Elsabé Brits, se herbesoek aan ou bronne oor Emily Hobhouse “wat ons in staat stel om opnuut in hierdie merkwaardige vrou die eienskappe te sien wat aan die kern lê van ons universele menslikheid – die vermoë om te empatiseer met die onderdruktes, op te staan vir reg en geregtigheid selfs teen ’n hoë persoonlike en politieke prys, om nood en lyding te verlig ongeag waar dit voorkom. Sy skets Hobhouse as die vergestalting van verset soos dit in die woorde van die Nederlandse digter Remco Campert gedefinieer word: Om aan jouself ’n vraag te vra, daarmee begin verset – en om dit dan aan ’n ander te vra. Dit noop ons om in die Suid-Afrika van vandag weer hierdie kritiese vrae te vra oor menswaardigheid, gelykheid, en weerstand.”

Marita van der Vyver se jeugboek Al wat ek weet het van die prysaand ’n behoorlike rap-aand gemaak. Sy is geloof vir die ligte, vaardige hand waarmee sy die sensitiewe verhaal van ’n seun van gemengde afkoms stuur tot waar hy sy plek in die groter bestel van die lewe vind. En dit deur die skryf van rap songs waarmee hy sy verliese en woede transendeer en sy eie stem vind. “Dis ’n verhaal wat getuig van besondere vakmanskap, een wat smeek om verfilm te word,” sê keurder Herman Binge. “Dink – nét vir ’n oomblik – aan die nuwe Afrikaanse treffers wat hierdie film gaan oplewer, die eerste volwaardige hip-hop-fliek in Afrikaans!”

Die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys ter waarde van R35 000 is vanjaar toegeken aan Valda Jansen vir Hy kom met die skoenlappers (Human & Rousseau). Volgens die keurders is Jansen se debuutroman in vele opsigte meer as “’n elegie aan verlore liefde”, soos dit op die omslag bestempel word. Dit word “’n pynlik intieme en deurtastende verkenning van al die maniere waarop ’n hele lewe soos een byna noodwendig verspeelde kans kan voorkom . . . Jansen kleur nie dit wat persoonlik is ooit met groot politieke stellings nie, maar wys hoe onontwarbaar die persoonlike en die politieke in Suid-Afrika verstrengel is. Haar debuut gee ’n aangrypende en ontstemmende blik op ’n bevreemdende, bruin middelklas-ervaring van apartheid; ’n genuanseerde perspektief op ’n benarde posisie wat nog bitter min in Afrikaanse fiksie belig is.”

Die kykNET-Rapportpryse vir boekresensent van die jaar, vir die beste Afrikaanse resensies wat in 2016 oor ’n Afrikaanse fiksie- of niefiksiewerk onderskeidelik verskyn het, is ook oorhandig. Die wenners, wat elk R25 000 ontvang het, is:
- Fiksie: Danie Marais vir “Die ‘Kook en Geniet’ van oneerbiedigheid” (oor Anton Kannemeyer en Conrad Botes se Bitterkomix 17, Media24-dagblaaie, 4 Julie 2016), en
- Niefiksie: Emile Joubert vir “Die afkook van ’n vol lewe vind hier beslag” (oor Wat die hart van vol is deur Peter Veldsman met Elmari Rautenbach, Media24-dagblaaie, 31 Oktober 2016).

Die keurpanele vir die onderskeie pryse was: kykNET-Rapport-fiksieprys: Frederik de Jager, Elmari Rautenbach, Steward van Wyk en Gerrit Schoonhoven; kykNET-Rapport-niefiksieprys: Herman Wasserman, Irma du Plessis, Darryl David en Herman Binge; kykNET-Rapport-filmprys: Herman Binge en Gerrit Schoonhoven; kykNET-Rapport-boekresensentpryse: Bibi Slippers, Alfred Schaffer, Jomarié Botha en Yvonne Beyers; Jan Rabie-Rapportprys: Elna van der Merwe, Danie Marais en Kerneels Breytenbach.

Die seremoniemeesters vir die aand was Karen Meiring van kykNet en Waldimar Pelser van Rapport. Die prysfunksie is by die Dapper Coffee Company restaurant in Kaapstad gehou.

Boekbesonderhede

Huilboek

 
 
 
 
Emily Hobhouse

 
 
 
 
Al wat ek weet

 
 
 
 
Hy kom met die skoenlappers

 
 
 
 
Bitterkomix 17

 
 
 
 
Wat die hart van vol is


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Man Booker Prize 2017 shortlist announced

The six authors shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize have been announced. First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading prize for high quality literary fiction written in English. Its list of winners includes many of the giants of the last four decades, from Salman Rushdie to Hilary Mantel, Iris Murdoch to Ian McEwan. The prize has also recognised many authors early in their careers, including Eleanor Catton, Aravind Adiga and Ben Okri.

As per the Man Booker’s website release:

Paul Auster, Emily Fridlund, Mohsin Hamid, Fiona Mozley, George Saunders and Ali Smith are today announced as the six shortlisted authors for the 2017 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Their names were announced by 2017 Chair of judges, Lola, Baroness Young, at a press conference at the offices of Man Group, the prize sponsor.

The judges remarked that the novels, each in its own way, challenge and subtly shift our preconceptions — about the nature of love, about the experience of time, about questions of identity and even death.

The shortlist, which features three women and three men, covers a wide range of subjects, from the struggle of a family trying to retain its self-sufficiency in rural England to a love story between two refugees seeking to flee an unnamed city in the throes of civil war.

In the fourth year that the prize has been open to writers of any nationality, the shortlist is made up of two British, one British-Pakistani and three American writers.

Two novels from independent publishers, Faber & Faber and Bloomsbury, are shortlisted, alongside two from Penguin Random House imprint Hamish Hamilton and two from Hachette imprints, Weidenfeld & Nicolson and JM Originals.

The 2017 shortlist of six novels is:

4 3 2 14321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)

Listen to Michele Magwood’s interview with Auster on 4321 here
 
 
 
 
 
History of WolvesHistory of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton)
 
 
 
 
 
 
ElmetElmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Autumn
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
 
 
 
 
Lola, Baroness Young comments:

With six unique and intrepid books that collectively push against the borders of convention, this year’s shortlist both acknowledges established authors and introduces new voices to the literary stage. Playful, sincere, unsettling, fierce: here is a group of novels grown from tradition but also radical and contemporary. The emotional, cultural, political and intellectual range of these books is remarkable, and the ways in which they challenge our thinking is a testament to the power of literature.

Ali Smith makes the Man Booker shortlist for the fourth time (she was previously shortlisted for Hotel World in 2001, The Accidental in 2005 and How to Be Both in 2014). This year also sees a repeat shortlisting for Mohsin Hamid, who made the list in 2007 with The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Hachette imprint JM Originals makes the shortlist for the first time with Fiona Mozley’s Elmet, which was the first ever acquisition of assistant editor Becky Walsh. Mozley is also the youngest author on the shortlist, aged 29, and one of two debut writers to make the list – the other being 38 year-old American Emily Fridlund with History of Wolves.

The other two American authors on the shortlist are Paul Auster and George Saunders. 4321 by Auster, who turned 70 this year, is the longest novel on the shortlist at 866 pages and, according to the author, took three and a half years, working 6 and a half days a week, to write. Lincoln in the Bardo, the first full-length novel by Saunders — an acclaimed short story writer and Folio Prize winner — completes the list.

Luke Ellis, CEO of Man Group, comments:

Congratulations to each of the authors who have been shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. The list represents a celebration of exceptional literary talent, ranging from established novelists to debut writers, that we are honoured to support. As well as playing an important role in recognising literary endeavour, the prize’s charitable activities underscore Man Group’s charitable focus on literacy and education and our commitment to creativity and excellence.

The judging panel, chaired by Lola, Baroness Young, consists of: the literary critic, Lila Azam Zanganeh; the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novelist, Sarah Hall; the artist, Tom Phillips CBE RA; and the travel writer and novelist, Colin Thubron CBE.

The 2017 winner will be announced on Tuesday 17 October in London’s Guildhall, at a dinner that brings together the shortlisted authors and well-known figures from the literary world. The ceremony will be broadcast by the BBC.

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The House of Truth now available in book form

The House of Truth is a bioplay inspired by the life of distinguished South African writer and journalist, Can Themba, written by Siphiwo Mahala.

The House of Truth was Can Themba’s single room bachelor flat located at 111 Ray Street, in Sophiatown of the 1950s. With the House of Truth, Themba was opening a platform for candid debate, and all those who were interested in intellectual engagement, black and white, were welcome. According to Stan Motjuwadi, Themba’s former student, the House of Truth was “Can’s way of cocking a snook at snobbery, officialdom and anything that smacked of the formal. Everybody but a snob was welcome at the House of Truth.”

After successful performances at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Market Theatre and Soweto Theatre, the play is now available in book form. The book is published by Iconic Productions, a new black-owned production house, with support from the Centre for the Book.

 
Who was Can Themba?

Daniel Canodoce Themba (Can Themba) was born on 21 June 1924, in Marabastad, Pretoria. He grew up partly in the township of Atteridgeville and did his schooling at Khaiso Secondary School, a boarding school situated near Polokwane. He was the first recipient of the Mendi Memorial Scholarship with which he studied at the University of Fort Hare from 1945-1947, graduating his BA degree with a distinction in English. He later returned to University to study towards the University Education Diploma. He worked as a teacher at various schools, including Madibane High in the Western Township, as well as the Central Indian High School in Fordsburg. In 1953 he won the inaugural Drum short story competition and joined the magazine as a reporter and later became the associate editor. He left Drum in 1959 and later went into exile in Swaziland. In 1966 he was banned under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. He died of coronary thrombosis while in his flat in Manzini on 8 September 1967. His work was published posthumously in The Will to Die (1972), The World of Can Themba (1985) and Requiem for Sophiatown (2006). He has received numerous accolades posthumously, including the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for “Excellent Achievement in Literature, contributing to the field of journalism and striving for a just and democratic society in South Africa,” which was awarded by President Thabo Mbeki in 2006.

Author profile

Siphiwo Mahala is a prominent novelist, short story writer and a great admirer of Can Themba’s work. His books include the novel When A Man Cries, which he translated to his native Xhosa language as Yakhal’ Indoda, and African Delights, a collection of short stories which includes one of his most celebrated works, “The Suit Continued,” a rejoinder to Can Themba’s “The Suit.” In January 2016, The Guardian newspaper in the UK listed African Delights as one of the top ten must-read books in the world. The House of Truth, his debut play, was first performed by the venerable actor Sello Maake kaNcube at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival to rave reviews and sold-out shows. Born in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape province, Mahala is a graduate of the University of Fort Hare and holds a Master of Arts degree in African Literature from Wits University. He is a doctoral candidate at UNISA with Can Themba as the focus of his research. He served as the head of Books and Publishing at the Department of Arts and Culture for a period of over ten years. He was recently announced as one of the judges for the 2018 edition of the 9Mobile Prize for Literature (formerly known as the Etisalat Prize), the biggest literary prize for new writers on the African continent.

The Will to Die

Book details

 
 

The World of Can Themba

 
 

Requiem for Sophiatown

 
 

When a Man Cries

 
 

African Delights


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Kortlyste vir die kykNET-Rapport Boekresensent van die Jaar-toekennings 2017 bekendgemaak

Die Afrikaanse resensiebedryf kan homself op die skouer klop te oordeel na die gehalte van inskrywings wat vir vanjaar se kykNET-Rapport Boekresensent van die Jaar-wedstryd ontvang is.

Die kortlyste is pas bekend gemaak vir dié pryse, wat ingestel is om die belange van boeke en die leesgenot van boekliefhebbers te bevorder deur die wêreld van Afrikaanse boeke vir die breë Suid-Afrikaanse publiek toeganklik te maak. Dit dien ook as aanmoediging om hoë standaarde in die Afrikaanse boekjoernalistiek te handhaaf.

Altesaam 33 van die voorste resensente in Afrikaans het vanjaar ingeskryf, tien meer as verlede jaar. Twee pryse van R25 000 elk word toegeken vir die beste Afrikaanse resensie wat in 2016 oor Afrikaansie fiksie en niefiksie onderskeidelik verskyn het. Die kortlyste, wat uit 90 inskrywings saamgestel is, is soos volg:

Fiksie

Danie Marais: “Die ‘Kook en Geniet’ van oneerbiedigheid” (oor Anton Kannemeyer en Conrad Botes se Bitterkomix 17, Media24-dagblaaie, 4 Julie 2016)
Charl-Pierre Naudé: “Digterlike afdruk van ‘n lewe verbeeld” (oor Bibi Slippers se Fotostaatmasjien, Media 24-dagblaaie, 5 Desember 2016)
Elmari Rautenbach: “Debuut se stiltes ’n elegie aan verlore liefde” (oor Valda Jansen se Hy kom met die skoenlappers, Media 24-dagblaaie, 18 Julie 2016)

Niefiksie

Reinhardt Fourie: Vlam in die sneeu: Die liefdesbriewe van André P. Brink en Ingrid Jonker (geredigeer deur Francis Galloway, Tydskrif vir letterkunde, September/Oktober 2016)
Daniel Hugo: “Een van die heel grotes” (oor Om Hennie Aucamp te onthou, saamgestel deur Danie Botha, Rapport, 14 Februarie 2016)
Emile Joubert: “Die afkook van ’n vol lewe vind hier beslag” (oor Wat die hart van vol is deur Peter Veldsman met Elmari Rautenbach, Media24-dagblaaie, 31 Oktober 2016)

Die keurders was boekjoernalis en digter Bibi Slippers (sameroeper), senior joernalis en skrywer Jomarié Botha en digter en dosent Alfred Schaffer. Aangesien ’n werk van Slippers geresenseer is, is sy vir die finale keuring deur die redakteur van Huisgenoot, Yvonne Beyers, vervang.

Die keurders was dit eens dat die inskrywings deur die bank van ’n baie hoë gehalte was en werklik leeslus aanwakker.

“Daar was heelparty gevalle waar ek nie noodwendig onder normale omstandighede in ’n sekere boek sou belangstel nie, maar die resensent se entoesiasme en insigte het my genoeg geprikkel om dit ’n kans te wil gee,” sê Slippers.

“Dit was ook veral heerlik om verskillende resensies van belangrike boeke soos Die na-dood, Vlakwater en Koors te lees, en uiteenlopende interpretasies en leesbenaderings te kan ervaar via die resensente.”

Daar was vanjaar heelwat nuwe name onder die resensente wat ingeskryf het. “Ek hoop dat ons deur inisiatiewe soos dié die poel selfs verder kan vergroot. Hoe meer ingeligte, intelligente menings uit verskillende perspektiewe verteenwoordig is, hoe beter vir alle rolspelers in die boekbedryf,” sê Slippers.

Die wenners word op 30 September 2017 saam met die wenners van die kykNET-Rapport-boekpryse in Kaapstad aangekondig.
 

Bitterkomix 17Boekbesonderhede

 
 

Fotostaatmasjien

 
 

Hy kom met die skoenlappers

 
 

Vlam in die sneeu

 
 

Om Hennie Aucamp te onthou

 
 

Wat die hart van vol is


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