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Announcing the Inaugural André Brink Memorial Lecture, to be delivered at this year's @FranLitFest

Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Damon Galgut Included on the Longlist for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction

Arctic SummerAlert! Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut has been nominated for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

The Walter Scott Prize is one of the largest literary awards in the UK and is named after the author of Waverley, largely considered to be one of the first proper works of historical fiction. The total value of the prize is £30 000 and is a unique reward for writing of exceptional quality set in the past.

Galgut is included on the longlist, which has been revealed to the public for the first time since the award’s inception in 2010, along with Anna Hope, Sarah Waters, Adam Foulds, Martin Amis and 10 other writers.

Past winners of the Walter Scott Prize are Robert Harris, Tan Twan Eng, Sebastian Barry, Andrea Levy and Hilary Mantel.

The shortlist will be announced on 24 March, at an event to be held in London, while the winner will be announced at the Melrose Borders Book Festival in June.

Congratulations, Damon!


Press release

The Chairman and Judges of the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction today announced a longlist of fifteen books for 2015. In a change to prize protocol this year, the longlist is made public for the first time, and a shortlist announcement event in London will be held on 24th March. These new developments have been prompted by an increase in entries to the prize (of 40% from 2014), and the high quality of historical fiction being currently published, reflecting the gathering prestige of the prize as it enters its fifth year.

The longlisted books for the 2015 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction are:

The Zone of InterestThe Temporary GentlemanThe MiniaturistThe LieViper Wine
In the Wolf's MouthMr Mac and MeArctic SummerWakeThe Wake
The UndertakingA God in Every StoneThe Architect's ApprenticeTen Thousand ThingsThe Paying Guests


The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
The Miniaturistby Jessie Burton
The Lie by Helen Dunmore
Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre
In The Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds
Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud
Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut
Wake by Anna Hope
The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth
The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
The Ten Thousand Things by John Spurling
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters


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Harriet Alexander Reviews Chase Your Shadow by John Carlin and Reeva by June Steenkamp

Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar PistoriusReeva: A Mother's StoryVerdict: carrots

Oscar Pistorius, writes John Carlin at the end of his book on the fallen star, is “an enigma – a man of many masks”. And this account of Pistorius’s life and trial lays bare the conflicting sides of the athlete’s character.


June Steenkamp’s Reeva: a Mother’s Story is more of a surprise – for its startling candour, and for pulling no punches in her criticism of Pistorius. Steenkamp says she had never heard of Pistorius until her daughter mentioned she was dating him.

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Adéle Nel resenseer Maar wie snoei die rose in die nag? deur Abraham H de Vries

Maar wie snoei die rose in die nag?Uitspraak: wortel

Die twaalf verhale in Maar wie snoei die rose in die nag? is ’n waardige toevoeging tot die indrukwekkende oeuvre van Abraham de Vries. Dit bied leesgenot, maar steeds ook stof tot nadenke.


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Herman Lategan resenseer Askari deur Jacob Dlamini

Askari: A story of collaboration and betrayal in the anti-apartheid struggleUitspraak: wortel

In dié boek verken die voormalige Business Day-joernalis dr. Jacob Dlamini die sielkundige motiewe agter so ’n politieke bollemakiesieslanery.

Hy vertel ook van die verval aan albei kante: Die gefuif en gedrink in van die ANC se politieke kampe, die gerinkink op Vlakplaas, die volslae alkoholisme, veelwywery, vuisslanery en moorddadigheid van die veiligheidspolisie, Askari’s én vryheidsvegters.

Askari is beklemmend, maar ook paradoksaal verruimend.


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Help Nal’ibali and Gcina Mhlophe Set a New Reading Record on World Read Aloud Day (and Win)

Celebrate World Reading Aloud Day

Alert! Nal’ibali invites you to participate in World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday, 4 March.

The national reading-for-enjoyment campaign is attempting to break their read-aloud record of 2014 and needs all parents, teachers, grown ups and older brothers and sisters to read the same story at the same time to the little ones in their lives.

Legendary storyteller and 21 Icon Gcina Mhlophe has written a beautiful story for the occasion that is available from various platforms in all 11 official languages.

On World Read Aloud Day Mhlophe will read her story entitled, “Sisanda’s gift”, to over 400 children at the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School Nal’ibali Reading Club in Orlando West, Soweto.

“For me, the most important thing is for children to feel loved in many different ways and sharing a story with them is a beautiful way of showing that you care. Of course the secret is that reading for pleasure isn’t just fun for children, it feels tremendously good for us adults too!” Mhlope said.

The Singing ChameleonOur Story MagicSongs and Stories of Africa: An Audio CDStories of Africa
Hi Zoleka!21 Icons

To participate, simply visit the Nal’ibali website or mobisite, sign up and download “Sisanda’s gift”. On World Read Aloud Day read the story to your child or the children in your neighbourhood and tell Nal’ibali how many children listened to the story.

When you sign up you stand a chance to win two aeroplane tickets, courtesy of South African Airways.

In addition to the various online platforms the story will also be published in the special Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment supplement in these Times Media newspapers:

KwaZulu-Natal: Sunday World (English and isiZulu) on Sundays

Gauteng: Sunday World (English and isiZulu) on Sundays

Free State: Sunday World (English and Sesotho) on Sundays

Western Cape: Sunday Times Express (English and isiXhosa) on Sundays

Eastern Cape: The Daily Dispatch on Tuesday and The Herald on Thursdays (English and isiXhosa).

For a full list of participating SABC radio stations, visit the Nal’ibali website.


Press release


Nal’ibali, the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, is calling on all South Africans to join them in celebrating one of the most important dates in the literacy calendar, World Read Aloud Day, on Wednesday, 4 March,. Raising awareness of the importance of reading aloud for children’s literacy development, and attempting to break its read-aloud record from 2014, the campaign is asking adults across the country to read aloud the same story on the same day to the children in their lives. Each year, Nal’ibali commissions a new story to share on this day, and makes it available in all 11 official languages. This year’s story has been written by one of South Africa’s best-loved storytellers, Gcina Mhlophe.

“Last year, through a huge and wonderful collaboration between many partners – librarians, teachers, parents and NGOs, just under 48 000 children were read aloud to. This year we hope to break that record and share another day of reading and story with even more children and adults,” comments Carole Bloch, director of PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign together with partners.

“Listening to a well read story, nourishes our minds by stimulating thoughts and ideas, and stimulating language,” continues Bloch. “It is also a great motivating force for children to feel the power of story and to want to learn to read,” she explains.

“And, it’s so important to share stories with children in their home languages because access to mother tongue literacy materials offers children the solid base from which to learn a second language, and other school subjects,” adds Smangele Mathebula, Nal’ibali Campaign Driver.

This year’s special World Read Aloud Day story, “Sisanda’s Gift”, will be issued in all 11 official South African languages and will be freely available for download (as a print or audio story) in any of these languages via the Nal’ibali website, mobisite and Mxit app from the end of February. Those participating will also be able to sign up on these platforms to share how many children they will be reading to.

The story, together with additional information and activities, will also appear in a special edition of the campaign’s weekly reading-for-enjoyment supplement. Produced in partnership with Times Media, the Nal’ibali supplement is the only bilingual literacy resource of its kind, offering literacy tips, stories and reading activities in English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho and Afrikaans. Broadcast partner, SABC Education, will also ensure that the story is read aloud on air in all official languages (see participating titles and stations below).

Further assisting the campaign to reach as many children as possible, the following partners have already signed up to help put the story in the hands of even more caregivers:

Corporate partners, South African Airways and Ackermans, will be distributing the story to their staff nationwide, reaching a collective of more than 17 000 staff members. For those who sign up to read the story via the Nal’ibali web- and mobisites, SAA has also donated a prize of two domestic airfare tickets for one lucky winner.

The Free State, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal arms of the Department of Basic Education will be ensuring the story is read aloud at schools in their respective provinces and access to relevant materials will be made available to all provincial departments.

The Family Literacy Project will be sharing the story with its KwaZulu-Natal based family literacy groups, while The Bookery, University of Cape Town’s Schools Improvement Initiative, Rotary District 9350 and False Bay College will be promoting and hosting read aloud sessions in the greater Western Cape. Sikhula Sonke, a community-based organisation addressing the need for quality early childhood development, and Harare Library, have also pledged to promote the event in Khayelitsha.

Fellow literacy organisation, The Shine Centre, as well the National Professional Teacher’s Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) will also be distributing the story via their networks of teachers and volunteers. And, online, LIASA and the SA Booksellers Association will be promoting the day through their digital platforms and, FunDza will be offering the story to users via its mobile Mxit app. Global NGO, WorldReader, has committed to sharing it with its audiences in parts of the world that primarily have access to only low-end phones.

Finally, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors will be hosting read-aloud sessions with members of the campaign’s network of over 300 reading clubs. And, giving her own special reading, Mhlophe will be visiting the Mbuyisa Makhubu Primary School Nal’ibali Reading Club and reading aloud to over 400 children at the school in Orlando West, Soweto.

“For me, the most important thing is for children to feel loved in many different ways and sharing a story with them is a beautiful way of showing that you care. Of course the secret is that reading for pleasure isn’t just fun for children, it feels tremendously good for us adults too!” shared Mhlope.

To sign-up, download, or to print out Nal’ibali’s special World Read Aloud Day story for yourself, your school, crèche, staff or others in your area, visit, or email


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Introducing a New Independent Publishing Organisation: African Narratives

African Narratives

As part of the Indie Book Fair, taking place in Johannesburg from 20 – 21 March, Porcupine Press will officially launch their new imprint, African Narratives.

ZenzeleAnswered Prayer

At first, African Narratives was an imprint of Porcupine Press, but it has now been registered as a non-profit Section 21 company.

African Narratives aims to introduce some levels and standards into the world of self-publishing, and by the use of subsidies caters for prospective authors who cannot afford to self-publish on their own.

View the application form here, or scroll down for more information:

African Narratives Independent Publishing Application Form by Books LIVE

Press release

AFRICAN NARRATIVES is in the news as the organising agency for the upcoming INDIE BOOK FAIR. But what is AFRICAN NARRATIVES, or AfNa for short?

It began life as an imprint of the independent publisher PORCUPINE PRESS. Early on, the Porcupine people recognised a need to assist writers who couldn’t afford to self-publish. The assistance came in the form of subsidies on in-house production processes to assist promising writers to contribute to the growing volume of worthwhile writing flowing into the Porcupine office. So far, nearly ten titles have been published under the AfNa imprint.

But there’s a great deal more to AFRICAN NARRATIVES than that. Recently formed into an independent not-for-profit Section 21 company, AfNa is now rapidly developing into ‘the voice for independent publishing’ in South Africa. AfNa will be officially launched at the INDIE BOOK FAIR as a membership-based organisation which will offer a great deal to independent writers and publishers and everyone connected to the independent publishing industry.

In particular, AfNa will provide:
• Increased lobbying power
• Subsidised training in all spheres of writing, publishing and distribution
• A dedicated interactive website
• Expert advice
• Selected specialist services
• Competitions
• Subsidised publishing services in exchange for author distribution
• Centralised marketing and distribution opportunities

The vision underlying all AfNa’s activities is the development of a thriving local literature and increased local economic development opportunities in South Africa. The basic ingredients are already there, but they exist very largely beneath the radar of the commercial publishing world. This doesn’t mean to say these ingredients – the writers and publishers and distributors – are inferior. They’re just less organised and visible. And that’s where AfNa comes in.

The dream is for eventual financial self-sufficiency for independent writers and publishers. Exciting new models are being developed. Meanwhile, AfNa is looking for funders interested in seeing the unique small-scale properties of independent publishing used for the development of writing and reading and the accompanying benefits of communal and individual self-realisation and its impact on the democratic processes.

Come to the INDIE BOOK FAIR. Attend the official launch of AFRICAN NARRATIVES on Friday, 20 March 2015 at the Sunnyside Park Hotel at 14:00pm. You’ll be amazed at what’s happening and what is possible for the future. For more information on the book fair, please visit our website at


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Carl Peters Reviews The Missing Piece: Solving South Africa’s Economic Puzzle by Kevin Lings

The Missing Piece: Solving South Africa's Economic PuzzleVerdict: carrot

Lings, chief economist at Stanlib and formerly from JP Morgan’s macroeconomic research team, does not just rant away about all the negatives in an arrogant manner across his 204 pages. He gives room to the positive economic developments since liberation in 1994, some of which have been exceptional by world standards.

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William Kentridge’s Magnificent Installation The Refusal of Time Comes to Cape Town in Time for Design Indaba

The Soho Chronicles : 10 Films by William KentridgeSix Drawing LessonsThe Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG) in association with the Goodman Gallery will be hosting The Refusal of Time – an installation by Six Drawing Lessons author and renowned artist William Kentridge – from February to June 2015.

Join Kentridge on 26 February for the opening of this installation, a five-channel video installation with a moving sculpture and immersive soundscape made in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh, Dada Masilo and Peter Galison, at the SANG at 6 PM.

To complement this remarkable work the Cape Town City Hall and Design Indaba in association with Goodman Gallery will be presenting three performances of the chamber opera Refuse the Hour, the theatrical accompaniment to Kentridge’s installation. Witness the beauty of the international cast of 11, including dancers, musicians, performers and vocalists, with Kentridge himself and the dancer Dada Masilo at its centre on 26, 27 and 28 February, at 8 PM at the Cape Town City Hall.

In addition to all of this, Matthew Kentridge, the artist’s brother, will be launching his book The SOHO Chronicles: 10 Films by William Kentridge on the 28th in conversation with William at the Design Indaba. See below for details.

Don’t miss these opportunities to engage with the work of one of South Africa’s most important artists!

Opening of The Refusal of Time

Watch a video of Kentridge discussing this instillation:

YouTube Preview Image

Performance of Refuse the Hour

  • Dates: 26, 27 and 28 February
  • Time: 8 PM
  • Venue: Cape Town City Hall,
    City Street
    Cape Town City Centre,
    Cape Town | Map
  • Cost: R650
  • Buy tickets: Computicket

Watch a short clip of this wonderful chamber opera performance:

YouTube Preview Image


Launch of The Soho Chronicles and book signing

  • Dates: 28 February
  • Time: 3 PM
  • Venue: Design Indaba Expo,
    Cape Town International Convention Centre
    Convention Square
    1 Lower Long Street
    Cape Town City Centre,
    Cape Town | Map
  • Matthew Kentridge and William Kentridge in conversation
  • Buy tickets for Design Indaba

About The Soho Chronicles : 10 Films by William Kentridge by Matthew Kentridge:

Over the last 20 years, William Kentridge has built a worldwide reputation as a contemporary artist, best known for his series of ten animated films created from charcoal drawings. The films introduced a significant character in contemporary fiction: Soho Eckstein, a Highveld mining magnate and Kentridge’s alter ego. Set in his hometown of Johannesburg, the films use South Africa’s political transformation from apartheid to democracy as a backdrop to the story while tracing a different and parallel arc—Soho’s gradual awakening from capitalist blockhead and cuckold to sober penitent, coming to terms with his own frailties and the first signs of his mortality.

In The Soho Chronicles, Kentridge’s brother, Matthew, who has witnessed the evolution of William’s technique, themes, and ideas, shares a never before seen perspective on both William and Soho that sheds new light on the creator and his alter ego. Richly illustrated and offering a special feature that connects with smartphones and tablets, The Soho Chronicles is a valuable contribution to the study of William Kentridge’s body of work.

Book Details

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Gavin Evans Reviews The New Radicals: A generational memoir of the 1970s by Glenn Moss

The New Radicals: A generational memoir of the 1970sVerdict: carrot

The history of the National Union of South African Students (Nusas) that my generation received tended to start around 1976. Perhaps it was the solipsism of youth, prompting the assumptions about who invented the wheel, but we lacked curiosity about those who preceded us. Their world was, at best, opaque.

Which is one reason why I found The New Radicals to be such an important addition to “struggle” history – a book that fills in a decade-long gap in impressive detail, ­leaving no doubt about the immense achievements of this innovative generation.

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Phil van Schalkwyk resenseer Kom in, dit vries daar buite deur Alfred Schaffer, vertaal deur Daniel Hugo

Kom in, dit vries daar buiteUitspraak: wortel

Daniel Hugo se vertaalstyl leen hom tot hierdie projek waarin gids en gasheer so sentraal staan. Hy is reeds bekend daarvoor dat sy vertalings baie naby aan die oorspronklike bly en eerder ontsluitend gerig is. As gids en gasheer, op sy beurt, skep Hugo in Kom in, dit vries daar buite Afrikaanse weergawes wat toegang tot die Nederlandse tekste verleen en nie vir hulself aandag opeis nie. Ek het algaande die gevoel gekry dat die Afrikaanse vertalings as uitgebreide “eindnotas” by die Nederlandse grondtekste dien. In die kollig bly staan die Nederlands gedigte wat, soos abstrakte kleurveldkuns, aandagtigheid ryklik beloon.


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