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Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Wenners van Media24-boekpryse vir 2017 bekend

Die wenners van die Media24 Boeke Literêre Pryse vir 2017 is Donderdag, 22 Junie 2017 in Kaapstad bekend gemaak.

Nagenoeg 80 boeke wat in 2016 by uitgewerye in die Media24-stal verskyn het, is ingeskryf in vyf kategorieë met ’n gesamentlike prysgeld van meer as R175 000.

Die oorhandiging van die pryse het saamgeval met ’n groot mylpaal – die viering van 100 jaar van boekuitgewery binne die Naspersstal.

Die wenner van die W.A. Hofmeyr-prys vir Afrikaanse fiksie is Dan Sleigh met sy historiese roman 1795, uitgegee deur Tafelberg. Dit is die derde keer dat Sleigh hierdie belangrike prys ontvang. 1795 is deur die keurders beskryf as ’n “ambisieuse museale roman waarin Sleigh se uitsonderlike kennis van die VOC-geskiedenis indringend verhaal word. Sleigh laat oortuigend sien dat gebeure uit 1795 relevant en aktueel is, veral wanneer dit gaan om verset teen verraad en korrupsie en om opstand teen die verlies van kultuur en taal.”

Die ondersoekende joernalis en etnograaf Sean Christie het die Recht Malan-prys vir niefiksie verower met sy Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard: Life Among the Stowaways oor jong Tanzaniese skeepsverstekelinge wat onder ’n oorwegbrug op die Kaapstadse strandgebied woon. Dit is uitgegee deur Jonathan Ball Publishers. Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard is volgens die keurders ’n buitengewone prestasie en ’n verruimende leeservaring. “Met groot en uitdagende kwashale gee Sean Christie ’n verrassend vars en uitdagende blik op ’n stad wat iedereen gedink het hulle ken.”

Bibi Slippers is met die Elisabeth Eybers-prys vir poësie beloon vir haar debuutbundel Fotostaatmasjien (Tafelberg), wat deur die keurders geloof is vir die omvang en verskeidenheid van die materiaal wat tot samehang gebring word en vir sy “innovering-met-gehalte”.

Die M.E.R.-prys vir jeugromans is toegeken aan Edyth Bulbring vir Snitch, uitgegee deur Tafelberg, en die M.E.R.-prys vir geïllustreerde kinderboeke aan Ingrid Mennen en Irene Berg (illustreerder) vir Ink, ook uitgegee deur Tafelberg. Dit is die tweede keer dat Mennen en Berg hierdie prys wen.

Die keurders was: Vir die WA Hofmeyr-prys: Ena Jansen, Danie Marais en Francois Smith; vir die Recht Malan-prys: Jean Meiring, Elsa van Huyssteen en Max du Preez; vir die Elisabeth Eybers-prys: Henning Pieterse, Louise Viljoen en Marius Swart; vir die M.E.R.-prys vir jeugromans: Louise Steyn, Verushka Louw en Wendy Maartens; en vir die M.E.R.-prys vir geïllustreerde kinderboeke: Lona Gericke, Paddy Bouma en Magdel Vorster.

Die Herman Charles Bosman-prys vir Engelse fiksie is nie vanjaar toegeken nie en staan oor tot volgende jaar.

Boekbesonderhede

Under Nelson Mandela Boulevard - Life In Cape Town's Stowaway Underground

 
 
 
 
Fotostaatmasjien

 
 
 
 

1795

 
 
 
 
Snitch

 
 
 
 
Ink


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Nal’ibali celebrates diversity with drag queen story hour in Soweto

Thiart Li/Shenay O’Brien

 
Capturing the imagination of children and working towards a more just society that recognises and accepts gender fluidity during childhood, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign will be hosting South Africa’s first drag queen story hour with Thiart Li, performing as Shenay O’Brien, and children from two Nal’ibali reading club Ikageng Austrian Embassy Library in Soweto on Saturday 24 June.

The programme is just as it sounds like – an engaging drag queen reading stories to children in a library, and is a response to similar activations which have been taking place in the USA with great success. During these story hours, children get the opportunity to see adult reading role models defy rigid gender restrictions, and are invited to imagine a world in which all people are truly equal, and accepted for who they are.

The Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, which works to spark the potential of all children through reading and storytelling in home languages as well English, supports the initiative which is in line with the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Sustainable Development Goal number five highlights and promotes the need for gender equality, stating that is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.

Further addressing the locally identified issue of abuse in schools, Li will be reading for Roald Dahl’s Matilda which features a young girl who escapes her unbearable environment by teaching herself to read and taking refuge in her school’s library.

Says Righardt le Roux, the Nal’ibali Provincial Support Coordinator responsible for the event: “The story hour ties in with Youth Month and children’s basic rights: The right to play, to education and a safe environment. We hope that through this reading we’ll begin to foster an awareness and inclusive appreciation of all our children by creating safe places of acceptance within community spaces such as libraries and reading clubs.”

Event details:
Venue: Ikageng Library
Address: 8299 Corner of Mahalefele and Khumalo, Orlando West, Soweto
Date: 24 June 2017
Time: 10:30

For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access our growing collection of free children’s stories in a range of SA languages plus tips and ideas on how to read with children, visit: www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali.mobi or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter: @NalibaliSA.


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Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre to again host the Lowveld Book Festival

Due to the success of the inaugural Lowveld Book Festival last year, the festival will once more take place at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River, Mpumalanga, from 18 to 20 August 2017.

The Lowveld is not only home to many of South Africa’s literary talents, but is also the setting for a vast array of books and poems.

The response from publishers, authors and visitors was overwhelmingly positive last year, and this year visitors can look forward to a host of interesting authors, including Karina Szcuzurek (The Fifth Mrs Brink), Tony Park, Adam Cruise, Athol Williams, Bridget Hilton-Barber, Elaine Pillay, Tracy Todd, Mercy Dube, Mario Cesare, Jayne Bauling, Derick van der Walt, DJ Sbu and Isabella Morris to name a few, as well as a socio-political discussion, various workshops and poetry readings.

Tony Park
Tony is the author of 13 novels, set in Africa, and six biographies. His 14th novel, The Cull, about an elite anti-poaching squad, is due for release in October 2017.

Adam Cruise
Adam is a conservation and travel writer, who works for a variety of magazines and newspapers. His books include the well-received Louis Botha’s War in 2015 and In the Pursuit of Solitude (2012). Adam has just moved back to South Africa, to Sabie, after spending a few years writing and indulging in the Mediterranean culture on the French Riviera.

Athol Williams
Athol is an award-winning poet and social philosopher. He is the author of Pushing Boulders: Oppressed to Inspired, which tells of his journey from poverty to earning master’s degrees from five of the world’s top universities including Harvard, Oxford and LSE. He is the only person to be awarded the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award twice, was a winner of a poetry prize at Oxford, and was a runner-up for the 2016 SA Literary Award for Poetry. He has published three books of poetry and is the author of the Oaky series of children’s books. He is currently a doctoral candidate Oxford University.

Bridget Hilton-Barber
Bridget’s colourful career in the media spans more than two decades. Former travel correspondent for Radio 702 and former editor of South African Airways’ (SAA) magazine Sawubona, she is best known for her wild and wacky travel writing and books. Her first memoir, Garden of My Ancestors was a bestseller. Now in her ninth book, a political memoir, Bridget takes you on a poignant journey back to her life as a student activist in the final days of apartheid in the mid 80s where she was betrayed by a police spy and ended up in jail.

Elaine Pillay
Elaine has written academic books and short stories. Zwai and the Little Creature is her first children’s book. In March 2017, she represented South Africa in Fiji Islands at the Centennial Celebration of the Abolition of Indentured Labour in Fiji.

Mario Cesare
Mario’s career has taken him from Timbavati and Mala Mala to Olifants River. His memoir – Man-eaters, Mambas and Marula Madness – provides a wealth of lessons on conservation and stories of life in the bush, as it is enjoyed only by those fortunate enough to live on a Big Five reserve.

More recently, Mario wrote The Man with the Black Dog, a touching story of a man and his faithful canine companion. With a naturalist’s eye for detail and the bigger picture of managing a fragile ecosystem through years of drought and plenty, Mario brings a storyteller’s delight – and a dash of Italian passion – to sharing his world.

Jayne Bauling
Jayne’s 25th book will be published during 2017 – Game Plan, the third novel in her Soccer Season trilogy for Cover2Cover Books. Her first 17 novels were romances, published by Mills & Boon in the UK, and translated into over 20 languages. In recent years, her focus has been on writing for youth. Her YA novels have been awarded the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa, the Sanlam Gold Prize for Youth Literature and the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award. One of them, Dreaming of Light (NB Publishers), was chosen to represent South Africa on the 2014 IBBY Honour List, and was also shortlisted for the Media24 M.E.R Prize for best youth novel. Two of her novels have been DBE-approved as high school set-works. Her short stories for adults and youth have been published in a number of anthologies and literary journals, and two have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, while she has twice had stories for younger children shortlisted for the Golden Baobab prize. She has won poetry prizes from SAfm Radio and People Opposing Women Abuse. She also writes stories for FunDza Literacy Trust. A former Johannesburger, Bauling now lives in White River, Mpumalanga.

A bumper programme

The organisers’ goal is to reach out to the surrounding rural schools and expose children to the joy of stories and reading; to encourage teenagers to read more, whether electronic or printed books; and to support local writers and illustrators through workshops hosted by published authors.

“We hope to draw visitors and well-known authors from across the country to White River and introduce them to the creative talent resident here, as well as to motivate local authors and artists by uncovering their work and exposing them to a wider world of literature,” explains Louis van der Merwe, Chairman of the Lowveld Book Festival.

A balanced programme is promised, with the inclusion of poetry, folklore, workshops, storytelling and story-time for youngsters, panel discussions, historical Lowveld literature, interviews with authors, YA literature, performing art and a book fair.

South African authors will be selling and autographing their latest publications and authors will be slotted into events to ensure interesting discussions that grapple with the issues confronting South African literature and reading.

The Lowveld Book Festival is a multi-cultural event that will encourage a love of reading and acknowledge the role played by writers and poets in society, and we seek financial partners who embrace this important objective.

The full programme and information about ticket sales will be available from mid-June at www.lowveldbookfestival.co.za. For more information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or email lowveldbookfestival@gmail.com.

The Fifth Mrs Brink

Book details

 
 
 

Louis Botha's War

 
 
 

In the Pursuit of Solitude

 
 
 

Pushing Boulders

 
 
 

Garden of My Ancestors

 
 
 

Man-eaters, Mambas and Marula Madness

 
 
 

Dreaming of Light


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Exclusive Books Homebru 2017 selection announced

Exclusive Books has announced their selection of fiction, non-fiction, cookery and children’s books for their annual Homebru campaign.

This year’s slogan was ‘books by us, written for you’. According to Ben Williams, general manager of Exclusive Books, the nearly fifty titles on the list “represent a highly engaging slice of current South African writing and life.”

With titles as diverse as Fred Strydom’s work of speculative fiction, The Inside-Out Man, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s political analysis, The Republic of Gupta, and the colourful array of cookery and children’s books, including Khanyisa Malabi’s Legacy of Living and Sparkles of Taste and Carol-Ann Davids’ The Hair Fair, this year’s list certainly is representative of contemporary South African writing.

The titles which appear on the list are:

NON-FICTION

Confluence


Confluence: Beyond the River with Siseko Ntondini

by Piers Cruickshanks
 
 
 
 
 
Bending the RulesBending the Rules: Memoir of a Pioneering Diplomat
by Rafique Gangat
 
 
 
 
 
 
Making Africa WorkMaking Africa Work: A handbook for economic success
by Greg Mills, Jeffrey Herbst, Olusegun Obasanjo & Dickie Davis
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Republic of GuptaThe Republic of Gupta: A Story of State Capture
by Pieter-Louis Myburgh
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dreams, Betrayal and Hope Dreams, Betrayal and Hope
by Mamphela Ramphele
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apartheid Guns and MoneyApartheid, Guns and Money: A tale of profit
by Hennie Van Vuuren
 
 
 
 
 
 
Traces and Tracks: A Thirty-Year Journey with the SanTraces and Tracks: A thirty year journey with the San
by Paul Weinberg
 
 
 
 
 
 
FICTION

Selling Lip ServiceSelling Lip Service
by Tammy Baikie
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hlomu The Wife
Zandile The Resolute
Naledi His Love

by Dudu Busani-Dube
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dancing the Death DrillDancing the Death Drill
by Fred Khumalo
 
 
 
 
 
 
Emperor Shaka the GreatEmperor Shaka The Great (English Edition)
Unodumehlezi Kamenzi (isiZulu Edition)
by Masizi Kunene
 
 
 
 
 
 
Being KariBeing Kari
by Qarnita Loxton
 
 
 
 
 
 
Recognition
Recognition: An Anthology of South African Short Stories

edited by David Medalie
 
 
 
 
 
 
Web
Web

by Naomi Meyer
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Last StopThe Last Stop
by Thabiso Mofokeng
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Third Reel
The Third Reel

Die Derde Spoel
by S J Naudé
 
 
 
 
 
 
If I Stay Right Here
If I Stay Right Here
by Chwayita Ngamlana
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ayixoxeki NakuxoxekaAyixoxeki Nakuxoxeka
by Mbongeni Cyprian Nzimande
 
 
 
 
 
 
Akulahlwa Mbeleko NgakufelwaAkulahlwa Mbeleko Ngakufelwa
by Zukiswa Pakama
 
 
 
 
 
 
Delilah Now TrendingDelilah Now Trending
by Pamela Power
 
 
 
 
 
 
Die BergengelDie Bergengel
by Carina Stander
 
 
 
 
 
 
As in die Mond
As in die mond

by Nicole Jaekel Strauss
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Inside-Out Man
The Inside-Out Man

by Fred Strydom
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alles het niet kom wod

Alles het niet kom wôd

by Nathan Trantraal
 
 
 
 
 
 
BIOGRAPHIES

Last Night at the BasslineLast Night at the Bassline
by David Coplan and Oscar Gutierrez
 
 
 
 
 
 
Equal, but Different
Equal But Different
by Judy Dlamini
 
 
 
 
 
 
No Longer Whispering to Power
No Longer Whispering to Power: The Story of Thuli Madonsela
by Thandeka Gqubule
 
 
 
 
 
 
Being Chris Hani's Daughter Being Chris Hani’s Daughter
by Lindiwe Hani
 
 
 
 
 
 
God praat Afrikaans
God praat Afrikaans

by HemelBesem
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lied vir SarahSong for Sarah: Lessons from my Mother
Lied vir Sarah: Lesse van My Moeder

by Jonathan Jansen
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fatima MeerFatima Meer: Memories of Love & Struggle
by Fatima Meer
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Man Who Founded the ANCThe Man Who Founded The ANC: A Biography of Pixley ka Isaka Seme
by Bongani Ngqulunga
 
 
 
 
 
 
Billionaires Under Construction

Billionaires Under Construction

by DJ Sbu
 
 
 
 
 
 
CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS
 

The Elders at the DoorThe Elders at the Door (Afrikaans, English, isiZhosa, isiZulu)
by Maryanne Bester, illustrated by Shayla Bester
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Hair FairThe Hair Fair
by Carol-Ann Davids
 
 
 
 
 
 
#LoveReading
#LoveReading: short stories, poems, blogs and more
compiled by Rosamund Haden & Dorothy Dyer
 
 
 
 
 
 
Beyond the River
Beyond the River

by Mohale Mashigo
 
 
 
 
 
 
How Many Ways Can You Say Hello? How Many Ways Can You Say Hello
by Refiloe Moahloli, illustrated by Anja Stoeckigt
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dromers
Dromers

by Fanie Viljoen
 
 
 
 
 
 

COOKERY

 

HomegrownHomegrown
by Bertus Basson
 
 
 
 
 
 
Legacy of Living and Sparkles of TasteLegacy of Living & Sparkles of Taste
by Khanyisa Malabi
 
 
 
 
 
 
Johanne 14
Johanne 14: Real South African Food

by Hope Malau
 
 
 
 
 

Book details

  • Making Africa Work: A Handbook for Economic Success by Greg Mills, Jeffrey Herbst, Olusegun Obasanjo, Dickie Davis
    EAN: 9780624080275
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Shortlist for Short Sharp Stories Awards announced

The shortlist for the Short.Sharp.Stories Awards has been announced.

The Short.Sharp.Stories Awards is an annual short story competition made possible by the National Arts Festival.

This year’s theme is “Trade Secrets.”

The judges have focused in the main on how successfully the story speaks to the brief, and have chosen stories which showcase a range of South African ‘voices’.

Congratulations to the following writers whose stories will be included in Trade Secrets and who are on the short list for this year’s awards.

2017 Short Sharp Stories Awards shortlist:

Olufemi Agunbiade
Darrel Bristow-Bovey
Jumani Clarke
Linda Daniels
Frieda-Marie De Jager
Ntsika Gogwana
Amy Heydenrych
Mishka Hoosen
Bobby Jordan
Sean Mayne
Mapule Mohulatsi
Kamil Naicker
Sally Partridge
Pravasan Pillay
Megan Ross
Andrew Salomon
Stephen Symons
Philisiwe Twijnstra
Philip Vermaas
Michael Yee

Trade Secrets will be published in June/July.

One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo

Book details

 

Call it a Difficult Night

 
 
 

Sharp Edges

 
 
 

Tokoloshe Song

 
 
 

Questions for the Sea

 


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The Hate U Give speaks up loudly for an ignored, ill-treated and maligned community, writes Tammy February

Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give is a powerful and brave YA novel about what prejudice looks like in the 21st century.

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
 

Tammy February recently reviewed the novel for Women24. Read an extract here:

There are going to be a lot of people who will use the following words when recommending this book to you: “If you only read one book this year, make sure it’s this one.”

My advice to you? Listen to them (because I’m echoing their sentiment right now, and as a reader and reviewer who generally eschews reading a book because of hype, that’s definitely saying something).

We may only be three months into 2017, but I’m pretty convinced that this book will be on every bookseller and reader’s best of 2017 list, and for a very good reason.

The Hate U Give is simply brilliant. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this novel is not just a profoundly important novel providing social commentary on race, but it’s also one that raises the black community’s voice loud and proud by providing a marginalised community with an authentically black, vocal and strong female voice – one that we don’t see nearly enough of in fiction …

It’s a novel that sums up what it’s like for black communities to constantly deal with the systematic, insidious and hate-fuelled oppression they’ve been dealing with since the dawn of civilisation, and it’s one that I’m fairly sure will be eye-opening to many, even those who consider themselves the staunchest Black Lives Matter allies.

Continue reading February’s review here.
 
Book details


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Stephen Hawking has co-written a book on the universe – for children!

George's Secret Key to the Universe

George’s Secret Key to the Universe teaches children the basics of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and other principles that govern our universe. This book makes science interesting while it teaches children fun and interesting facts about astronomical objects. Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George’s parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbours: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time and the universe. With Cosmos’s help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie and Eric aren’t about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science. Garry Parsons’ energetic illustrations add humour and interest, and his scientific drawings add clarity.

Book details


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‘There is a writer, or at least a storyteller, in all of us’ – read Zakes Mda’s foreword to Amagama eNkululeko!

Zakes Mda

 
Amagama eNkululeko!!Cover2Cover has shared Zakes Mda’s introduction to their new publication, Amagama eNkululeko! Words for freedom: Writing life under Apartheid.

The collection is an anthology of short fiction, poetry, narrative journalism and extracts from novels and memoirs. It aims to frame local literature as a lens through which to engage with our past.

Pieces by RRR Dhlomo, Nat Nakasa and Oswald Mtshali are included, as well as work by contemporary writers such as Eric Miyeni.

The collection was put together and edited by Equal Education and will be launched at Bridge Books in Joburg on 11 October.

Mda is the author of the famous novels Ways of Dying and The Heart of Redness, among many others, and his work has been translated into 20 languages. He is the recipient of the Order of Ikhamanga and was the winner of the 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prize for Rachel’s Blue. His most recent book is Little Suns.

With a foreword by Zakes Mda, and a mixture of famous and seemingly forgotten struggle writers, this anthology of poetry and prose opens a window onto the ways ordinary, everyday life was shaped by the forces of history.

Read Zakes Mda’s eloquent foreword:

Today’s equalisers are heirs to generations of resistance. Some of the voices of South Africa’s struggle for freedom from colonial and apartheid rule are captured in this book. It is a rich collection with works ranging from a 1929, poignant story by RRR Dhlomo, to a 1964 Nat Nakasa non-fiction piece, to the poetry of Oswald Mtshali that gained popularity after the publication of his anthology in 1971, to the musings of the contemporary cultural commentator Eric Miyeni. These works speak eloquently of our past, but they also speak of our present, for indeed the past is a strong presence in our present.

Why do you keep harping on about the past? The past is gone, done and buried. Why can’t you just forget it and move on? You said you forgave the past, so why can’t you forget it as well?

These are questions we often hear whenever a project that explores the past, such as this one, is initiated. Some of us tend to think that forgiving and forgetting are either the same thing or should, of necessity, go together.

To forget the past is not only to have amnesia about where we come from but about who we are. Like all members of the human race we are who we are today because of who we were yesterday. We have been shaped by our past for better or for worse. Our very identities are tied in with our individual and collective memory. We are often reminded of the saying: you will not know where you are going unless you know where you come from.

Forgetting the past would be forgetting the legacy the writers in this collection have bequeathed us, and indeed all other legacies that have shaped our humanity.

However, we must not remember the past selectively. We often hear that history is actually the story of the victor. We only hear of the events in which those who triumphed and became the ruling elite participated, to the exclusion of all others who also played a crucial role in our struggle, and made those victories possible. We hear this history only from the perspective of the ruling elite, valorising themselves and toasting their heroic exploits with expensive champagne, while the masses look on and have only their saliva to swallow. The stories and poems such as we have in this collection remind us that the ordinary people who bore the brunt of colonial and apartheid oppression are the true makers of history. We forget that at our peril.

The most important thing about remembering the past is not just to honour and celebrate those who fought for liberation, it is to reflect on the inhumanity of what was done to us, so that when we have attained some power we do not do the same to others. Alas, our memories are short and the arrogance of power knows no bounds. That is why quite often yesterday’s victim and survivor become today’s perpetrator and persecutor.

We must remember the past, yes, but we must not be steeped in it and live only for it. In that instance we become immobilised by perpetual victimhood. The heroism of yesteryear does not feed your stomach today. We do not want to be like a stuck car whose tyres keep spinning in the mire, unable to move forward. We move on, we act, we achieve, we hold those in power accountable as equalisers do every day. For we are working for the future.

One way of working for that future is to keep a record – even if it is just a journal – of the present, of how things are and what you did to make them better for you and those who will come after you. Hopefully after reading the stories and poems in this collection you’ll be inspired to write your own.

There is a writer, or at least a storyteller, in all of us.

 
Related stories:

Book details


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How to cut your novel in half – Nnedi Okorafor describes the painful process of writing Who Fears Death

Nnedi Okorafor at the 2016 Open Book Festival
BintiLagoonWhat Sunny Saw in the FlamesThe Book of PhoenixChicken in the KitchenWho Fears DeathAkata Witch

 
Award-winning Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor was in Cape Town recently for the Open Book Festival, and chatted to filmmaker Wayne Thornley about writing in collaboration, the differences between writing for film and writing a novel, and her upcoming feature animation, Camel Racer.

Okorafor won the movie deal, along with her collaborator, Kenyan film director Wanuri Kahiu, in a competition held by Triggerfish Animation Studios, established with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Walt Disney Company.

During the conversation, Thornley said that in filmmaking often you experience “seismic events” where you realise you need to dump six months of work.

“If we’re serious about quality, if we’re serious about authenticity, if we’re serious about reaching a wider audience, if we’re serious about story being king,” Thornley said, “if we do go down the wrong alleyway and realise it, we have to have the courage to back out.”

In reply, Okorafor said she has never had to take something she has written and throw the whole thing away, but she did have to go through the painful process of cutting one of her novels by half – after it was finished.

How to cut your novel in half

Who Fears Death was published in 2010, and was Okorafor’s first adult novel. It won the 2011 World Fantasy Award – with Okorafor becoming the first black person to win the award since its inception in 1975 – and the 2010 Carl Brandon Kindred Award “for an outstanding work of speculative fiction dealing with race and ethnicity”. The prequel, The Book of Phoenix, was published last year, and was a top seller at Open Book.

But it didn’t come Who Fears Death didn’t come into the world without a fight.

Who Fears Death started off at over 700 pages, a Book 1 and a Book 2, and I showed it to my agent and he was like, oh this is wonderful, it’s going to win all these awards, but you need to shrink it down a lot, because this is African science fiction and it’s new, and nobody does Book 1 and 2 – what is that, a duology?

So he said, keep the same plot, keep the same everything, but get it down from over 700 pages to 300. And I did it! It took me two years, but I did it.

Okorafor said she used a method taught to her by her agent, who also happens to write books on writing.

I took the manuscript and looked at every single word and took out every single word that didn’t need to be there,” she said. “And then I combined the ‘weak phrases’ into ‘strong words’, so instead of saying ‘very big’, you say ‘huge’.

So I took the 700 pages, scattered them around, mixed them all up, and then took each page out of context and went through the whole thing. It took years, but I got it down to 389 pages, and that became Who Fears Death. Even though it had the same story, it was a completely different book.

Okorafor added that the process of making Camel Racer is very different – starting with her collaboration with Kahiu.

“With Wanuri and I, we first sit down and talk extensively about the idea and have long, long conversations. And then one of us will say, okay I’m going to write this thing, whether it’s a treatment or a piece of script, or whatever. And they write a first draft. And once that’s done and nice and typo free, they hand it over to the other person, who then has complete, open, full rein to do whatever they want with it. Then they hand it back, and we go back and forth like that. The end product is so hybrid we can’t tell which thing she wrote and which thing I wrote. It’s one thing. And it’s something that I would never have written by myself.

“Importantly, the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, and that’s another big change that I have really come to enjoy. That I can give something that I’ve just freshly written to someone else and not have to make that thing perfect. When I’m writing a novel I feel like I can’t show something to someone else unless it’s very much together. But when you’re collaborating it’s like you’re one brain.

It does have to do with chemistry. They way we work together, the honesty, and nine times out of 10 we are in complete agreement. It’s uncanny.

From there, Okorafor and Kahiu work with Thornley and three or four other people from the Triggerfish team on the more technical aspects of the project.

“During those meetings we’ll take the whole film and break it down into narrative aspects. That’s something I have never done with a novel and it was a part that was difficult for me. I’ve learned a lot. There are times when it feels like we are taking a living creature and dissecting it into pieces until it dies. But when we get to the end of the process, I see what they are trying to get me to see. And when we put it back together, it’s always better. It’s been an eye-opening experience, but it’s painful. But sometimes a little pain is necessary.

The soul of Camel Racer has stayed the same, but it keeps changing shape. The storyteller in me finds that fun, because it’s still storytelling, it’s just finding a way to tell the story in a different way.

 
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Image: Retha Ferguson

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Read an excerpt from the latest edition of Chimurenga’s ChronicThe Corpse Exhibition and older graphic stories

 
Alert! The latest edition of Chimurenga’s Chronic is now available – both in print and online – and they have kindly shared an excerpt with Books LIVE.

The pan-African quarterly gazette’s new issue is entitled “The Corpse Exhibition and older graphic stories” and explores ideas around African Science Fiction – specifically its ability to tell a story – and graphic storytelling.

“The Corpse Exhibition” includes contributions from authors such as Hussein Nassir Sallih, London Kamwendo, Nikhil Singh, Breeze Yoko, Native Maqari, Catherine Anyango, Thenjiwe Nkosi, Loyiso Mkize, Graeme Arendse, Carsten Höller, Moses März, Mac McGill, Francis Burger, and more.

The Palm-Wine DrinkardSearch Sweet CountryMurambiKwezi

The title story is Sallih’s adaptation of Hassan Blasim’s “Corpse Exhibition” which explores the concept of terrorism in a world “dominated by capital flows”.

Read the Introduction:

The latest issue of Chimurenga’s pan-African quarterly gazette, the Chronic, explores ideas around mythscience, science fiction and graphic storytelling. Like previous editions of the Chronic, this edition is borne out of an urgent need to write our world differently – beyond the dogma of growth and development and the endless stream of future projections released by organisations like the IMF and the World Bank.

In opposition to the idea of the future as progress – a linear march through time – we propose a sense of time is innately human: “it’s time” when everyone gets there.

Science fiction on the continent is always said to be nascent, always on the cusp of emerging. A fact that has little to do with literature produced by writers from the continent and more to do with the bureaucratisation of African literature as a discipline of study.

Admittedly, “African science fiction” is a much contested term and our interest is not in questions around the genre – what African science fiction may or may not be – but in its story telling capacity: its radical ability to imagine new futures and new pasts in the here and now.

Moreover, Africa has a long history of producing comics that have pushed the boundaries of time and space and rewired seemingly redundant technology into new forms, from popular photo comics such as African Film produced by Drum in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana through the 70s and 80s to guerrilla publishing initiatives such as Kinshasa’s Mfumu’Eto and Zebulon Dread’s Hei Voetsek in Cape Town that flourished in the 1990s.

Drawing on this legacy we invited artists to produce graphic adaptations of stories that speak of everyday complexities in the world in which we live, in which we imagine we will live and in which we want to live.

This issue includes the graphic story “Avions de Nuit” by Pumle April. In an article for Chronic, April explains the meaning and symbolism behind the phrase “Avions de Nuit”:

Read the article:

In the Cameroonian imaginary “Avions de nuit” (night planes) are tiny vessels fuelled by the blood of their cargo, that make nightly flights across the Atlantic (or to neighbouring oil economies like Chad, Gabon or Equatorial Guinea – nuff people in Nigeria) carrying passages into slavery. According to news reports they could be as small as an empty tin of sardines or even a box of matches – yet despite their size any one of these planes can carry as many as twenty jumbies and fly out to great distances, with a common goal – to suck dry human beings.

The shell-body that remains would be asked: “who sold you?”

In South Africa thikholoshe extract the souls of innocent victims and transport them to the mythical kingdom of Gwadana, where they are harnessed to ride baboons through the night skies as Isisthunzela, doing the bidding of their masters.

Read an extract from “Avions de Nuit”:

Avions de Nuit by Books LIVE on Scribd

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