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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

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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Launch: Milk Fever by Megan Ross (26 July)

In an extraordinary debut, Megan Ross writes the uneasy truths about unexpected motherhood and all its emotional detritus. In deftly and experimentally navigating the angst, joy and self-reckoning that comes with the choices and misadventures of young womanhood, this is a collection that brings together the evocative with the provocative, and the feminist with the personal, in a bold and startling poetic style. Hallucinatory, image-wet, and navigating the eternal tides of spirit and body, Milk Fever is a chimeric dreamscape in which a woman reconfigures, remembers and rebirths herself.

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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 www.woordfees.co.za en volg dan die skakels. E-pos met navrae kan ook gestuur word aan danie_marais@sun.ac.za – 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: mailto:messageonabottle@leopardsleap.co.za
• Competition details and terms and conditions available at www.leopardsleap.co.za/messageonabottle
• 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

ENCOURAGING CREATIVITY; RAISING LITERARY WARRIORS

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 www.read.org.za.

Join the conversations on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/READEduTrust
Twitter: www.twitter.com/READEduTrust
Instagram: www.instagram.com/read_educational_trust


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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

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And our sunshine noir author for July is … Karin Brynard!

A new month calls for a new sunshine noir author sending shivers down the spines of local thriller fans…

This month, the co-author of the popular Detective Kubu series, Michael Sears, had the opportunity to interview Karin Brynard for The Big Thrill – the magazine for international thriller writers.

Karin Brynard, author of Our Fathers. ©Penguin Random House.

 
 
 
Here’s what the two thriller aficionados chatted about:

Karin Brynard grew up in the Northern Cape and many of her books are set in that dramatic, semi-arid landscape. She was a journalist and editor for several of South Africa’s major newspapers before she became freelance to concentrate on her writing.

Her novels – originally written in Afrikaans – have been translated into several languages, and she has won a variety of literary and crime fiction prizes. Her next book, Tuisland (the Afrikaans version of Homeland), shot up to number one on the South African best seller list when it was released in 2016.

We chatted about Our Fathers, her latest book available outside South Africa.

Our Fathers is a book that tackles big themes in South Africa – the decay of family units, alienation by place as well as race, and different views from different groups as to the relationship between races in the country. Did you set out to address these, or are they the issues that will almost inevitably arise in contemporary South African crime fiction?

If you try and shadow one ordinary cop in the South African Police Service for a day, you will most likely stumble across every one of the “big themes” of this country.

Cops stand at the coal face of all the realities of life here, ranging from racism to the rape of babies and beyond. And that’s where my stories happen too, so addressing the “issues” becomes sort of inevitable.

The question everybody keeps asking is why. Why do we see so much violence, so much brutality accompanying crime? We realize that this is a deeply complex society and that we’re continuously grappling with major challenges, ranging from poverty to greed, massive urbanization and the accompanying disintegration of cultures and belief systems. It is a society constantly under pressure, exposing all the cracks.

It would be almost impossible to ignore these issues. But: in the midst of all this, there is always redemption: relief in the beauty of the place and of the unexpected warmth of the diverse people who live here, their creativity and vibrant cultures.

What better background for storytelling, especially crime? The bad, the ugly, and the good all in one go.

You ask about “alienation by place as well as race.” Placing Sergeant Johannes Ghaap, a man of Griqua origin, in a predominantly black city like Soweto gave me the opportunity to showcase some of the diversity of our society and how challenging it can be on the personal level. It was such a rewarding exercise doing so, and allowed for wonderful suspense through Ghaap’s stumbling about.

The idea for Our Fathers arose from an interview I did with a man whose son had been accused of murder – bludgeoning his gorgeous girlfriend to death with a hammer.

She was a promising student at the University of Stellenbosch and he a handsome postgraduate with an open, youthful face. It became a sensational case and the family of both the victim and the accused refused to talk to the press.

I tried very hard to get an interview. And then got lucky.

The father of the young man agreed cautiously to talk. We met on a cold winter night and talked for hours. I will never forget the man’s despairing tears as he told me how he was torn from his bed in the middle of the night with the terrible news, and of his feelings of powerlessness as the investigation became a nightmare, his growing frustration with not being able to protect his son from this horror.

After the interview, driving back through the dark, wet streets of this beautiful student town, I thought how lucky this young boy was to have a father such as this.

Which set me to thinking about the role of fathers in the life of a family – and for that matter in the bigger family of a society. In psychological terms, the father is the constant guard at the gate, often sacrificing himself to protect his family and to provide for them. He keeps things stable, provides reason, reflection, order and wisdom, according to the myths of old.

What happens in a household where the fathers are absent? Research shows that more than half of SA children grow up without fathers. It also shows the detrimental effects on the psychological health of those kids, how it impacts on male violence, on suicide, promiscuity, even academic performance.

As the writing of this story progressed, this theme in particular, grew in importance.

Continue reading their conversation here.
 

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The xenophobic violence of 2008 inspired me to write The Gold Diggers, writes Sue Nyathi

Published in the Sunday Times

The inspiration for writing Gold Diggers was derived largely from the xenophobic violence that erupted in South Africa in 2008. Coincidentally, this is also the time I relocated here. The violence itself was not inspirational, it was depressing. Rather, the provocative conversations that arose following the conflicts stimulated the decision to write this book.

As much as there was sympathy and outrage from some corners, there was also antipathy from those who felt the violence was justified. I often heard the following assertions being articulated:

“What are they doing here?”

“Why don’t they go back to their own countries?”

Then there was the total disengagement from some quarters, which often arises because we feel it’s not our problem; it’s their problem. We then become complicit in our own silence. So I chose to confront this issue the best way I knew how, which is through a story.

The xenophobic violence affected various nationalities but I decided to tell the Zimbabwean story because that is the country of my birth. It is also a story I felt I could tell with great understanding and authenticity. I was born and raised in Bulawayo, which provides the opening scene for the book. My paternal grandfather, Stephen, was also a gold digger. He worked in the gold mines in Johannesburg for the greater part of his life so it is also a story that is close to my heart.

I started writing the book in 2013 and only finished it to my satisfaction in 2016. The writing process was longer because there was greater research involved. As much as I was pregnant with creativity, I also became pregnant with my son, which slowed my progress but did not stop me. I remember being eight months pregnant doing a walking tour in Hillbrow. It was important for me to understand the history of the place. It was not just enough to read about it, I needed to walk and breathe the air, which adds texture and colour to my writing.

After giving birth I took a hiatus from writing Gold Diggers and returned to it in 2015. I remember re-reading the first draft and thinking the hormones had certainly taken over! The writing was mushy and so I began rewriting a lot.

This was a harrowing story but I felt it needed to be told. Writing it was also cathartic as I wrote through my own pain. However, even in the darkest moments of pain there are moments of profound pleasure. Through my characters I try to narrate the stories of the migrant experience, weaving together a colourful tapestry.

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An imagined extension of a real past makes for a riveting novel, writes William Saunderson-Meyer of Anton Svensson’s The Sons

Published in the Sunday Times

The Sons
*****
Anton Svensson (Sphere, R295)

Anders Roslund and Stefan Thunberg, authors of The Sons. Picture: Supplied.

 
This powerful epic of a Swedish family whose lives are blighted by crime is riveting. Though this is part of the Made in Sweden series and is following on Svensson’s earlier book The Father - an enormous critical success – it can be read as a stand-alone.

Anton Svensson is the pseudonym of Stefan Thunberg and Anders Roslund. Thunberg is a celebrated screenwriter, responsible for the Wallander television series, based on Henning Mankell’s novels. Roslund is an award-winning investigative journalist and crime writer, who is also half of the Roslund and Hellstrom writing duo, whose books have sold more than five million copies.

The novel takes strands of fact from the past and with aplomb weaves them into a tapestry of what might have happened next. What constitutes the past in The Sons is inspired by the real events that form the basis of The Father.

The impetus for The Father came directly from Thunberg’s life. Though he and his mother lived conventional lives, his father and three brothers moonlighted as Sweden’s most notorious bank robbers. Dubbed the Military Gang for their precision strikes and their readiness to use violence, they netted millions of kronor before being captured.

It was only then that their mother discovered that the apparently successful construction business that the family ran was, in reality, a front. Stefan, though privy to some of their crimes, never participated.

The Sons, which is now fiction and not based on real events, begins with the eldest brother, Leo, being released from prison and trying to reconstitute the gang for one last heist.

Much of the psychological tension comes from the interplay between the innocents of the family and the father, Ivan, and Leo, who take familial loyalty as an absolute given. Failing it being given voluntarily, they are willing to enforce it with unflinching brutality.

Stefan, centre, with his brother Carl and his father, Boris. Picture: Anna-Lena Ahlström.

 
A seminal event in their early lives is when Ivan beats his wife nearly to death, if not for then 14-year-old Leo’s intervention. Leo washes out the blood and explains to his brothers: “What happened here has to stay here. That’s how it works in a family.”

Here is the core of this family’s tragedy: domestic and child abuse, alcoholism, violent crime and terrible secrets. The surprise is not that the family is shattered by a tsunami of pain, but that any of them later manages to pick up the pieces of their lives.

The theme is of the father’s sins being visited upon the sons. Leo’s plan is to steal, for a second time, the millions seized during their arrest, which is now housed in the Stockholm police station.

John Broncks is the detective who put the gang behind bars in the first novel and now suspects Leo of planning another job. But Broncks is to discover that it is his own brother, Sam, also freshly released from prison, who is Leo’s key accomplice.

Broncks is now in a quandary, as he owes his brother an enormous debt – a life-saving intervention that protected Broncks from their abusive father. @TheJaundicedEye

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