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Trade Secrets contributor Sally Partridge on magic, being a kitchen witch, and carbomancy

Sally Partridge is a novelist and short story writer from Cape Town, South Africa. She is a three-time winner of the M.E.R Prize for Youth Fiction and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Short Story Prize in 2013. She is passionate about youth literature, and bringing words to life. Her popular first novel was adapted into a school play titled Gif. For her contribution to the creative arts, Sally was named one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans in 2011. Her fourth novel for young people will be published in February 2018. Joanne Hichens, curator of the Short.Sharp.Stories.Award, recently sat down with Sally and the two discussed her short story ‘Kitchen Witch’, magic, and the art of carbomancy.

Sally Partridge


Your story ‘Kitchen Witch’ tells the tale of a tender relationship between an elderly ‘baker’ and her protégé. What was your initial inspiration?

The story happened by accident. A typo over Whatsapp resulted in an exchange over what the arcane art of carbomancy would involve. From this “what if” scenario, it evolved into a story about the past and present, how fast time moves and how quickly the modern world can change if you stop paying attention. In a sense it’s my way of exploring a changing world. While I’m focused on the past, the present seems to have skipped ahead, and sometimes I look around and think to myself, “When did Snapchat happen?” and then, “Oh, it’s already gone.” I enjoy spending time offline, but there’s a cost attached to that – you stop keeping up with what’s happening. I wanted to create a character that’s so out of place in the modern world that she feels like she doesn’t belong anymore, and explore how she comes to terms with that.

Mrs Bailey has a charming sense of humour. Is it her age and experience which adds to this?

It was a defining characteristic. I wasn’t intending to write a caricature of an elderly woman, but rather a real character that the reader could engage and identify with.

For the uninitiated, what is ‘carbomancy’?

Carbomancy is the practice of predicting the future through baking and the reading of crumbs.

Do you personally like to bake?

Yes. Like Mrs Bailey, I’m a complete kitchen witch. For me, cooking and experimenting in the kitchen is all about how the results are going to be experienced. I’ll make pumpkin fritters because they’re a friend’s favourite, chicken soup for someone who is feeling low, a cake to make someone feel special on their birthday. I love how food is able to lift the spirits, and there’s magic in that. It’s transformative.

What is it that fascinates you about magic?

There’s an awe and wonder to magic, and a complete absence of rules and reason. I’m in love with the idea of using your imagination and creativity to make sense of things you don’t understand. I love looking at old ivy-covered buildings and imagining ghosts inside and leaves circling in the wind as some sort of impish mischievousness. It’s liberating to be able to see the world as this wild, powerful thing and not just an endless dredge of making ends meet.

Is magic a common theme in your other work?

I think so. Which is maybe why I love the young adult genre so much. Teenagers haven’t been jaded by the economic hamster wheel yet. The world is huge and full of possibilities. I like to think books can keep them believing that for a little longer.

Not only is the sense of magic enchanting, but in ‘Kitchen Witch’ the sea-side village of Muizenberg takes on an ethereal quality. Was this setting deliberate choice?

While I was writing the story I imagined that it could have taken place anywhere, but the more I built this world and added detail the clearer is became that Mrs Bailey lived in a ramshackle cottage in the old Muizenberg village. It seemed perfect somehow. Muizenberg is a place that changes slowly. Landmarks like the colourful changing booths and the water slides have stayed exactly the same for years, but change is happening. New additions like the Bluebird Market and the trendy restaurants at Surfer’s Corner show signs of a subtle gentrification, which was perfect for the theme that was developing.

What is your writing Trade Secret?

This pertains to magic again. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that magic exists and wanted to explore how and why it reveals itself to a select few.

Follow Sally on Twitter @Sapartridge

Trade Secrets

Book details

Accessing the doors to our dreams: Dave Mann reviews Douglas Reid Skinner’s Liminal

The first thing that comes to mind when reading Douglas Reid Skinner’s new collection is that writing can be a pretty tough gig. But it’s only as tough as living.

Liminal, the latest release from the South African poet, is a collection of 39 poems, broken up into four parts, and spread across 72 pages. Now depending on how you read your poetry, this could be something you enjoy over a single day, or maybe even a week. Me? I read it through the evenings and then, over the course of a few quiet days, I read it again.

Skinner is a name that’s not foreign to the South African literary scene. Liminal is his seventh collection of works and, to date, he’s had work appear in numerous local literary journals as well as in British, American, French and Italian publications. Taking his long and steady writing career into account makes it easier to understand what’s taking place on these pages.

Liminal is a pensive collection, full of small thoughts on boundless topics, crafted down to bite-sized poems. Skinner, in equal parts severity and humour, is engaging in much thinking, dreaming, and agonising on the process of writing itself. Moreover, he delves into the many pains, progressions, and pure moments of chance that serve as prerequisites to the act of sitting down and putting pen to paper and how, often, those moments can seem so dreadfully distant.

Here’s a taster:

“If I could only recall exactly what they were,”
He whispered to himself, “those words that I saw,

“Now that I’m ready with a pen and a blank page.”
But there are no doors into our dreams.
Each mutely drifts along on its own sea.

Beyond the act of writing, there are many stories and themes in Liminal, and each time you read it through, you’ll uncover more. Of the ones I’ve discovered so far, there are outings with good friends, wistful takes on travel, lonely musings over morning headlines, and reflexive takes on nostalgia (‘those relatively rich acres of time, days, turn out to be ephemeral, small spaces that keep on falling straight out the backs of our heads’).

Some read like short stories while others appear on the page as they might’ve looked when they were first typed out or scribbled down. Like all good narratives, they’re familiar in one way or another.

There’s a rigour to Skinner’s work that’s evident throughout. This is no doubt due to his long journey with writing, but it’s also evident in the quiet, pensive tributes to those who have come before him – whether they’re writers, family members or independent pieces of literature. Ultimately, form and motif are brought together through the collection’s segments – each one unpacking a particular set of narratives.

All of these elements considered, Liminal is an easy and eloquent read and it’s a collection that’s perhaps best read in motion. Take a poem or two with your morning coffee before work, or on the bus or train home. Read it when you’re longing for a hillside, but you find yourself stuck in the city. Then again, if you do happen to be on a hillside with nothing specific to do, Liminal would go down just as well. – Dave Mann, @david_mann92

Liminal is out this August. Visit uHlanga for more details.

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Theme for next year’s Short.Sharp.Stories Awards announced

Instant Exposure – stories inspired by photographs

We live in an age in which increasingly we all take or view photographs. Visual language is growing and developing every day as we record our world and our experiences in visual terms. One could go as far as to say that every one of us has, by default, become a photographer as billions of images are uploaded online at any given moment.

We invite you to find a provocative photograph which inspires a powerful story. The image can be a spontaneously captured selfie, a bold news pic, a childhood snap in an old album; perhaps a framed tribute that brings back memories of joy, or a hidden print that haunts your past. Whether the photo is a portrait of a loved one, or an evocative landscape, whether colour or black and white, as long as the photograph has meaning to you, we encourage you to ‘find your story’ – the humour, the pathos, the drama – in the image.

As ever, we’re looking for stories with strong narrative drive, and characters and settings which reflect our South African experience and diversity.

Deadline 30 November 2017

This process is in three parts:
1) Choose the photographic image that inspires you…
2) Write a caption for that image…
3) Use the caption as a springboard to create your story of between 3000 to 5000 words.

We require the photograph, the caption, as well as the story to be submitted.

Please see full rules at

Book Bites: 6 August

The Fact Of A Body
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Macmillan)
Book real

“Trigger Warning” could be the alternative title for this captivating, raw and brutal book, blending memoir with true crime. The Fact Of A Body is a tale about sexual abuse, law, truth, family, poverty, loss, secrets and memory. It is the gruesome story of Ricky Langley – a convicted child molester and murderer. It’s the case that leads the author Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich to abandon her law career. As she looks at Langley’s past, she finds that his story is extremely unsettling – so unsettling that it causes her to unearth long-buried secrets in her own family. This genre-defying book is a critical examination of storytelling: of the self, each other, and what we call truth. – Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

Chloé Esposito (Penguin Books)
Book fling

The first book in a thrilling three-part series that is likely to be in the same league as the famed Fifty Shades trilogy. Alvina Knightly is going nowhere. She’s lost her job, been kicked out of her house and has zero friends. Her twin invites her to Sicily to her lavish villa. Soon there are dead bodies, wild sex and the mafia are involved. Something has ignited in Alvina and, well, it’s all rather mad. It may take a few chapters to get into, but once the juicy bits start to emerge, you’ll pull an all-nighter to find out what happens next. Part two is entitled Bad, and if Mad is anything to go by, readers are in for one helluva ride. – Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt

Felicia Yap (Wildfire)
Book fiend

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Felicia Yap has worked as everything from cell biologist to war historian to university lecturer and catwalk model. This, her first novel, is about how people use memory to distinguish between those who are more or less worthy. This is an Earth where the majority, after the age of 18, can retain only one day’s memory. An elite can remember two days. Everyone keeps a diary: without this journal, they have no way of recalling their past. A brilliantly conceived sci-fi novel. – Aubrey Paton

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Nappy Noir: Jennifer Platt talks to Fiona Barton about her latest novel The Child

Published in the Sunday Times

The Child
Fiona Barton (Bantam Press)

The label “thriller” doesn’t do justice to the dark psycho-suspense that female crime novelists are becoming known for.

Popularised by books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, the sub-genre is called griplit by some, because that’s what it is – gripping. A cliché, but it’s stuck.

There are, however, a few novelists who prefer to call what they are writing “domestic noir”, and bestselling UK author Fiona Barton is one of them. She tells me in a phone interview: “I prefer the term domestic noir to griplit. I write about what happens to ordinary women when secrets are revealed. What happens to relationships. What happens when we have something that we don’t want people to know, when we bury them deep.”

The Child is exactly that. It has a few core questions that drove Barton to write her second book. “Why would someone bury a child? Why would they be so afraid? Why would they be so ashamed?”

Like her bestselling debut The Widow, in which she wrote about whether the wife of an accused knew that her husband was a child molester and killer, Barton also bases this on a true story that grabbed her attention during her career as a journalist – she wrote for the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

“I still remember the case. It was a mummified body of a baby found in a garden shed. I kept thinking about it. I never got to write the story. It was solved by the police immediately. I can’t remember the details but the mother was arrested.”

The case haunted Barton and she wanted to write a book that focused on the dead baby and the relationship between mothers and daughters.

She brought back her intrepid journalist Kate Waters from The Widow. Waters, like Barton, is captured by the news headline “Baby Body Found”, about the body found at a construction site in London.

Barton introduces three other women who are affected by the news, using them as narrators to tell the story in bits, each short chapter dedicated to each woman. There’s Angela, whose baby was stolen years ago from the hospital and never found, who thinks the corpse would be her baby. There’s Emma, an unreliable narrator who has an unknown link to the news story. The third woman is Jude, Emma’s rather unlikable mother.

The case unravels, the women’s lives unravel and the reader can’t wait for Barton’s next book – which will, thank goodness, feature Kate Waters again. Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

The Child

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Under a harrowing spell: Hannah Kent’s new book tells a dark Irish fairy tale, writes Michele Magwood

Published in the Sunday Times

It is as well that young Australian writer Hannah Kent ignored the old canard to “write what you know”. Her first book Burial Rites was set on a farm in remote northwest Iceland in 1829. It tells the tale of the life and death of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland. Relentlessly but exquisitely bleak, it was a rare imaginative debut.

Her second novel The Good People is also set in the 19th century and, like the first, is based on a true story. In a valley in Ireland in 1825, a farmer, Martin Leahy, drops dead. His wife Nóra is undone by his death.

The villagers are uneasy that he died so unexpectedly at the crossroads where they bury their suicides. They are poor, uneducated folk, half-starved on a diet of potatoes, milk and poitín (the Irish equivalent of witblitz), trying to control the unknowable with rituals and spells, navigating their destinies by signs and signals from the natural – and supernatural – world.

“I avoid the word ‘superstition’, as I think it implies stupidity and ignorance,” says Kent in an e-mail from her home in Adelaide. “A lot of folklore is filled with wisdom, as much as it might operate on a system of logic or rationality that can seem bizarre or nonsensical to outsiders. I have great respect for Irish folklore and folk beliefs.”

Sure enough, misfortune begins to pile up in the village. The cows’ milk virtually dries up, a baby is stillborn and a woman accidentally sets herself on fire. And then there is Nóra’s small grandson Micheál, who she is raising, and who she tries to keep hidden from the community. He is “a scragged boy, with a loose, mute jaw”. His skin has “a thinness to it, like the pages in a priest’s holy book”. He drools and screeches and gurns incessantly, and because he was a normal baby, Nóra begins to believe he is a changeling, that the Good People have stolen the real Micheál away and left this “poor cratur” behind. The villagers believe he has cursed the valley.

The “Good People” are, of course, the fairies, and are hardly good. Forget any idea of twinkling, benign little folk. The fairies of Irish folklore are darkly capricious, even evil.

“The fairies were (and, in some places, still are) thought to be the cause of both inexplicable luck and misfortune,” explains Kent. “They were capable of bestowing great gifts and favours on people, and just as quickly ‘striking’ or inflicting harm on others. It’s understandable that people therefore spent a lot of time trying to stay on the right side of the fairies, to protect themselves from their malice as much as possible. They might pour out beestings (new milk) for the fairies, warn them before throwing out dirty water (so as not to catch them in the downpour), or refer to them as ‘the good people’ or ‘the gentry’ out of respect and deference.”

Nóra turns to Nance Roach, a healer and “handywoman”, a midwife. Some call her “the herb hag”. She’s a scrawny, decrepit old woman, steeped in the old ways and loathed by the village priest.

“I didn’t want to portray Nance as the oversimplified all-knowing mystic,” says Kent, “the imperturbable mother-earth, I-am-one-with-nature healer, so I tried to focus on her flaws, on her doubt, on her mistakes. Yes, she lives in a semi-wild state, but her isolation isn’t romantic, she is poor and vulnerable.”

Together Nóra and Nance will try to “put the fairy out” of Micheál. It is a fascinating but harrowing process that will culminate in a court case. It was the report of this court case in a centuries-old newspaper that inspired Kent to reimagine the story.

The Good People is an enthralling book, queer in the original sense of the word, densely atmospheric. It sings with the cadences of the people, and pulses with the natural world. .@michelemagwood

Book details


Burial Rites

A local publisher recently attended a symposium on adding audio to eBooks. Here’s what she learned.

By Andri Johnston, Digital Sales Coordinator: Jonathan Ball Publishers

On Friday 4 August the digital publishing industry got together to attend the first CSIR ePub Symposium at their International Convention Centre, which really does live up to its international name standards. The aim of the symposium was to demonstrate the new eBook Augmentation System developed by researchers at the CSIR to the industry and gain feedback.

If eBook Augmentation System sounds like something from some techie movie, don’t fear. It is really a big name given to the process of adding audio to eBooks, in other words getting your eBook to read the text for you. Some may say that adding audio to a book completely defeats the purpose of the book – that of reading it. However, as we heard throughout the day at the symposium, this technology holds great advantages to a number of readers who have been excluded from the pleasure of reading for a long time.

The technology itself allows eBooks to be read right down to word level through highlighting the individual words and, meaning a less robotic sounding read-back voice for better comprehension. Books to audio is not new technology as we are well aware of audiobooks in both online form and CDs, even tapes in the past, as well as similar technology from the DAISY Consortium, the developers of the media overlay which can be placed in an eBook. What makes the CSIR’s technology unique however is that once completed, it will be accessible for publishers to add audio without the previous (highly specialised) technical skills needed to add a media overlay. As long as a publisher has their eBook in a ePub3 (the latest eBook format) version, the CSIR technology can add the audio and text highlighting option with one simple process. The feature of being able to add audio in Afrikaans and other African languages, and not just English, as is currently the case, makes the technology unique for the South African publishing landscape.

This might seem like just another eBook gimmick, however the CSIR made sure the audience understood that this technology is aimed to help more than just the general reading public. Speakers at the symposium included representatives from the DAISY Consortium, Tape Aids for the Blind and Pioneer Printers. All organisations working toward making books accessible to people with visual impairments. Working in publishing we sometimes forget that there are people who want to experience the texts we publish, but they cannot actually read them and these organisations shifted the attention back to the continued accessibility of books to all readers. In the education sector, we also heard from representatives from Langerug School for children with reading disabilities. The headmistress and IT teacher’s advocacy for a technology such as this from the CSIR which can allow students with reading disabilities to do self-study, as the text can be read for them, and to finally start to read with comprehension because they are seeing and hearing, was eye opening.

From the trade, there will always be the matter of viability. Will the extra cost that needs to be incurred to add this audio, recording the audio is still a huge expense for publishers, ever be justified by higher eBook sales and what are the implications for the audiobook market, which is starting to establish itself in South Africa now as well. Copyright was another issue under discussion and whether the signing of the Marrakesh treaty ( can help resolve such issues.

Overall the symposium left everyone with a lot to think about concerning new developments in the ePub format, thinking content first and then format and how audio in eBooks can specifically help advance education and academic publishing. The technology is not yet perfect, but the CSIR is making a step in the right direction to help create digital book products that are more inclusive. Ultimately it was a good day for digital publishing and for those working in the field to get together and discuss ideas and frustrations of working in digital which many others in the industry do not understand.

Thank you to the CSIR for the day and I for one am looking forward to the future developments of your eBook technologies.

Lack of NRF Chairs in teaching reading in African languages a huge disgrace in SA: a Q&A with education specialist Dr Nic Spaull

Nal’ibali’s fourth column of their third term was recently published in The Daily Dispatch and Herald and features an interview with Dr Nic Spaull, senior researcher and education specialist at Research on Socio-Economic Policy (RESEP). Here Dr Spaull discusses the accessibility of African texts to teach reading, developing stories written by home-language speakers, and the necessity of government funding to publish books in African languages:

Dr Nic Spaull

You’ve talked before about reading being South Africa’s biggest solvable problem. But the recent pre-Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) survey puts the number of Grade Four children who cannot read for meaning in any language at 58%. Where to begin turning this around?

I think there are a number of basics that we need to get in place. We need to ensure that all teachers know how to teach reading systematically and that they have the time to do so – studies have shown that teachers are only using about half of the year’s instructional time. Given that 70% of children in South Africa initially learn to read in an African language, we need to ensure that there are enough quality texts available to actually teach reading. Most series have 15 very short books per year from grades 1-3. This is simply unacceptable.

You have written how at Grade 4 level you see children being expected to transition between the phases of ‘learn to read’ and ‘read to learn’ – essentially being able to read for meaning. Yet it’s also the age when schools tend to switch children from mother-tongue education to English-language instruction. That sounds like a recipe for disaster?

It’s worth noting that a number of other African countries also transition to English in Grade 4 and have much better reading outcomes than we do. It’s hard to pinpoint South Africa’s problems, though – the best research comes from the work of Carol MacDonald in the Threshold Project, which was done in 1989! We desperately need more research to ensure that learners are not only bilingual but also biliterate.

What are some of the most interesting projects you’ve come across to encourage production of books in indigenous languages?

I think the move to develop graded readers in the African languages from scratch is a great example of progress – the Vula Bula books by Molteno, for example. Up until recently most of these for African languages were just translations from English, which doesn’t work well for grading because words and themes that may be ‘easy’ in English are actually very difficult in some African languages. I think the work of Nal’ibali is also really important – developing stories written by home-language speakers and easily accessible to children.

It’s not just hard to find published literature in indigenous languages, there’s a dearth of linguistic research too – there are no oral reading fluency benchmarks for African languages, for example. Where would you particularly like to see significant change?

This drives me crazy. Why on earth are there no National Research Foundation (NRF) Chairs in teaching reading in African languages? Why is early grade reading research not a national research priority with priority funding? This is such a huge disgrace in South Africa. While it’s great to see individual publishers and authors pushing forward and publishing books and stories in African languages, ultimately we need the funding and commitment from government that this is a national priority.

You’ve talked about making the achieving of mother tongue reading competency by grade three a prioritized national goal. What – and how long – might it take to achieve this?

To be completely honest this will take time. It takes time to train teachers, get high quality resources in every classroom and every home: I think a ten-year time-horizon is probably realistic, but even that is really ambitious.

Reading and telling stories with children in their home languages provides them with a strong foundation for language learning and increases their chances of future academic success. For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, for to access children’s stories in a range of SA languages, visit:

The judges of the 2017 Short.Sharp.Stories Award discuss the winning entries of Trade Secrets

Liesl Jobson is a writer, photographer and musician. Her collection of prose poems and flash fiction, 100 Papers, won the 2006 Ernst van Heerden Award and was translated into Italian as Cento strappi. She is the author of a poetry collection, View from an Escalator, a short story collection, Ride the Tortoise, and three children’s books. At dawn she is a single sculler. By day she is a communications officer for enterprise development specialists, Fetola, and at night she plays the contrabassoon for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra but only when the planets are aligned.

Judging is always a privilege and a challenge. The encounter with the creativity and endeavour of writers at work is humbling. The sincerity, intelligence and courage it takes to commit to the page gives one hope in the vibrancy, immediacy and relevance of the narratives. The offerings in this collection come from a wide range of external geographies and internal experiences, opening seams of contemporary experience from the most personal places of loss, violation, recovery and aspiration. Readers of this collection will find a variety of genres too: crime and pulp, chick lit and dick lit, as well as the experimental and literary. There are writers publishing their first stories, as well as experienced authors who have previously been nominated for international awards; there are experienced journalists and established poets crossing from their familiar zone into different forms. Particularly refreshing are the new voices who articulate stories that historically have not been well represented.

Phakama Mbonambi is a deputy editor at Sawubona magazine. A strong believer in the power of literature to help create bridges, he founded and edited Wordsetc, a literary journal on contemporary South African writing. While the journal may be in hibernation at the moment due to the shortage of funds and time, he hopes to revive it someday in one form or another.

I was looking for an original voice that tackled the theme of ‘trade secrets’ – directly or obliquely. I was looking for stories that are enjoyable, enlightening and entertaining – my primary reason for delving into literature. South Africa is blessed with a diverse population, ensuring that writers come from different backgrounds with their unique voices and singular world views. The richness of the writers’ imagination and the vastness of the topics tackled are something to behold. I hope readers of this anthology will be delighted and enlightened. The Short.Sharp.Stories competition is, without doubt, a powerful platform to discover new writing talent and to showcase excellence.

Tim Richman is a publisher, author and editor. He has worked closely with Joanne Hichens on all the Short.Sharp.Stories anthologies to date. In his twelve years in the South African book industry, he has authored and/or edited more than sixty titles. His next book, to be published internationally in 2017, is 50 People Who Stuffed Up The World, co-authored with Alexander Parker and with illustrations by Zapiro.

As a publisher, I hope to create books that are accessible, eye-opening and memorable, and this description applies perfectly to the ideal short story. There is sometimes the temptation to do too much, when the format’s limited length provides the opportunity for its great strength: to focus on a limited cast and setting to leave a lasting impact on the reader. As a judge, it was important to measure entries against the brief: stories shouldn’t be shoehorned to fit a brief. Some stronger stories fell down in that area, whereas the winners, in particular Wedding Henna, were often sublime in the way they incorporated a trade secret into their tale. And it’s important to reflect a genuine – though not necessarily mainstream or expected – South African-ness in a South African collection of writing; all those on my long-list hit the mark there. There is also the matter of our politics and demographics: a collection like this simply has to be inclusive and reflect the writers who have entered, as well as who we are as a country. Finally, as a reader, I value a story which keeps me turning the pages and leaves me with a sense of satisfaction at the end of it all.

Best Story
Wedding Henna
by Mishka Hoosen

“A powerful exploration of the erotic taboo behind the hijab. Tender and sensual writing that weaves a haunting tale as the narrator decorates her ex-lover’s hands before her wedding. At its core it’s about a broken heart and the longing that comes of it, but also hints at greater themes of personal ​identity and the questions of higher power. Beautifully bittersweet” – 2017 Short.Sharp.Stories Judges’ Choice


The Line of Beauty
by Mapule Mohulatsi

“This is different — courageous, intriguing, thought-provoking, undeniably South African. Mohulatsi will prove to be a strong voice on the SA short story writing scene. A literary storytelling journey of note, about a storyteller and where stories come from” – Tim Richman

Eye Teeth
by Megan Ross

“This is a lyrical psalm of recovery written from the worst type ofbetrayal. The reader is treated to a masterful rewriting of traumanarrative by a storyteller who reclaims the geography of her body to effect a re-imaging and re-imagining” – Liesl Jobson

Handle With Care
by Amy Heydenrych

“Most South Africans have horror stories about the postal service. This tale of redemption is successful at an allegorical level; it touches on fixing that which is broken in the country. The story is enlivened with a dose of magical realism and underscored by a heart-warming empathy and romantic optimism” – Phakama Mbonambi


My Cuban
by Stephen Symons

“A gripping tale, a page-turning rumination on war and its victims, with excellent craft and structure, that left me wishing this was the first chapter of a 20-chapter novel. Lovely to see a poet retain the condensed power of the short form in an expanded line” – Liesl Jobson

Home Cooked
by Ntsika Gogwana

“The unhappiness in the marriage between Sizwe and Nomafa is firmly established. A powerful read which sustains interest as it focuses on male abuse and the rage of women against that abuse. The story contains compelling descriptions of shack life” – Phakama Mbonambi

Foul Hook at the Witsand Botel
by Bobby Jordan

“Rollicking, amusing storytelling that delightfully weaves the best type of magical realism into a convincing and uniquely South African setting” – Tim Richman
by Bobby Jordan

Trade Secrets is now available at book stores.

kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse: Kortlyste is hier!

Ná maande van intense leesplesier deur die keurders is die kortlyste vir vanjaar se kykNET-Rapportpryse sowel as die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys vir nuwe skryfwerk pas bekend gemaak. Dié pryse word toegeken vir Afrikaanse boeke wat in 2016 verskyn het.

Soos verlede jaar bevat die kortlyste vir die kykNET-Rapportpryse vir fiksie die name van gevestigde skrywers sowel as van debuutskrywer Valda Jansen met haar besondere elegie aan verlore liefde, Hy kom met die skoenlappers. Laasgenoemde is ook benoem vir die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys. ’n Handvol ander sterk vrouestemme het eweneens hul kleim afgesteek met buitengewoon ryk verhale. Celesté Fritz (Verlorenkop), Ilse van Staden (Goeie dood wat saggies byt), Anneli Groenewald (Die skaalmodel) en Hester Kruger (Een nag en ’n bietjie) verdien spesiale vermelding. Krimi-skrywer Karin Brynard bevind haarself met Tuisland, ’n misdaadverhaal wat die lot van die Kalahari-San belig, ook op die kortlys van twee pryse, fiksie sowel as film.

Die verkenning van die verlede – en verre verlede – gee steeds perspektief vir die huidige generasie, soms deur die oë van ’n historiese figuur, soms deur dié van ’n gelouterde expat. Daar word veral gewoeker met die Afrikaanse Suid-Afrikaner se plek in ’n groter wêreld. Opvallend is die groeiende besef van ’n huidige geslag se verantwoordelikheid teenoor toekomstige generasies sowel as die omgewing.

By niefiksie in Afrikaans domineer temas uit en oor die geskiedenis steeds. Hoewel dit haas ongelooflik is dat die Anglo-Boereoorlog steeds, ná soveel boeke reeds daaroor verskyn het, die primêre historiese verwysingspunt bly van waar skrywers in Afrikaans hulle Afrikaneridentiteit en -geskiedenis beskou, is daar tog boeke wat iets nuuts en werklik besonders daaroor gelewer het. Daar is egter ook welkome bydraes oor die filmgeskiedenis, kosgeskiedenis, persgeskiedenis, kunsgeskiedenis. Ook die lewe van ’n gesoute geskiedskrywer word verhaal.

Die keurders van die filmprys het ’n ryk keuse gehad met die sterk temas en sprankelende dialoog wat die inskrywings opgelewer het.

Die kykNET-Rapport-kortlyste vir 2017 (alfabeties) is soos volg:

Broedertwis, Albert Blake (Tafelberg)
Emily Hobhouse: Geliefde verraaier, Elsabé Brits (Tafelberg)
Hermann Giliomee: Historikus – ’n outobiografie, Hermann Giliomee (Tafelberg)
Daar doer in die fliek, Leon van Nierop (Protea Boekhuis)
Die groot drie, Francois Verster (Penguin)

Tuisland, Karin Brynard (Penguin)
Huilboek, Ryk Hattingh (Human & Rousseau)
Hy kom met die skoenlappers, Valda Jansen (Human & Rousseau)
Op ’n dag, ’n hond, John Miles (Human & Rousseau)
1795, Dan Sleigh (Tafelberg)
Film 2017
Tuisland, Karin Brynard (Penguin)
Dorado, Tom Dreyer (Penguin)
Koors, Deon Meyer (Human & Rousseau)
Al wat ek weet, Marita van der Vyver (Lapa)
Pirana, Rudie van Rensburg (Queillerie)
Die keurders vir vanjaar se fiksietoekenning was die joernalis en koördineerder van die US Woordfees se boekeprogram Elmari Rautenbach, die ouduitgewer Frederik de Jager, prof. Steward van Wyk (UWK) en die rolprentvervaardiger Gerrit Schoonhoven. By niefiksie het dr. Irma du Plessis (UP), Darryl David (UKZN), prof. Herman Wasserman (UK) en filmvervaardiger Hermann Binge die stiplees gedoen.

Wenners in beide die fiksie- en niefiksiekategorie ontvang elk R200 000, en die wenner van die filmprys R100 000.

Die wenner van die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys vir Afrikaanse debuutromans ontvang R35 000. Ook hier het vroueskrywers hulself laat geld – agt uit die tien titels wat vanjaar ingeskryf is, kom uit ’n vrouepen. Die kortlys (in alfabetiese volgorde) is soos volg:
Verlorenkop, Celesté Fritze (Queillerie)
Die skaalmodel, Anneli Groenewald (Tafelberg)
Hy kom met die skoenlappers, Valda Jansen (Human & Rousseau)
Die keurders vir die Jan Rabie-Rapportprys was die digter en skrywer Danie Marais; die boekjoernalis Elna van der Merwe en die ouduitgewer en skrywer Kerneels Breytenbach.

Die wenners van beide pryse, sowel as dié van die kykNET-Rapport-resensiepryse, word op 30 September 2017 by ’n prysfunksie in Kaapstad aangekondig. Die kortlyste vir die resensiepryse word later in Augustus bekend gemaak.