Announcing the Gerald Kraak Award shortlist The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) and the Other Foundation are thrilled to announce the judges’ selection that will make up the resultant anthology that will be published by Jacana Media in 2018.
“We are really proud of this selection. It represents some excellent writing and thinking, and reflects the diversity of experiences across the continent. It also mirrors many of the themes that continue to dominate the lives of queer people and of African women: depression, harassment, violence, love and joy. There is a fierceness in many of the pieces we selected – a fight-back but also a quirky and authentic take on the world that manages somehow not to be defined by the larger often horribly oppressive contexts in which they were written.” – Sisonke Msimang
In alphabetical order by surname, here are the shortlisted authors and entries:
‘Facing the Mediterranean’ by Isaac Otidi Amuke (journalism, Kenya)
‘Full Moon’ by Jayne Bauling (fiction, South Africa)
‘Sailing with the Argonauts’ by Efemia Chela (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘Princess’ by Carl Collison (photography, South Africa)
‘Africa’s Future Has no Space for Stupid Black Men’ by Pwaangulongii Dauod (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘Scene of the Crime’ by Pierre de Vos and Jaco Barnard-Naude (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘The Shea Prince’ by Chike Frankie Edozien (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘The Man at the Bridge’ by Kiprop Kimutai (fiction, Kenya)
‘Site Visits’ by Welcome Lishivha (non-fiction, South Africa)
‘Portrait of a Girl at the Border Wall’, ‘6 Errant Thoughts on Being a Refugee’ and ‘Notes on Black Death and Elegy’ by Sarah Lubala (poetry, South Africa)
‘Human Settlements’ by Tshepiso Mabula (photography, South Africa)
‘Borrowed by the Wind’ by David Medalie (fiction, South Africa)
‘Your Kink’ by Tifanny Mugo and Siphumemeze Khundayi (photography, Kenya and South Africa)
‘Drowning’, ‘In Jail’ and ‘Things That Will Get You Beaten in a Black Home’ by Thandokuhle Mngqibisa (photography and poetry, South Africa)
‘XXYX Africa: More Invisible’ by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (fiction, Tanzania)
‘We Are Queer, We Are Here’ by Chibuihe Obi (non-fiction, Nigeria)
‘Reclamation’ by Hapuya Ononime (poetry, Nigeria)
The winner, who receives a cash prize of R25 000, will be announced at an award ceremony in May 2018, hosted by the Other Foundation and attended by the winning author. A special mention will be made and an invitation extended to authors who have been identified by the judges as the most commended and will also be revealed during the award ceremony. In addition, the judging panel and project partners will be attending the event.
JUDGES FOR THE GERALD KRAAK AWARD
Sisonke Msimang, author of Always Another Country, a memoir of exile and home, and a writer and storyteller whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek and a range of other international publications, stays with us for the second round of the award as head judge and series editor.
She works at the Centre for Stories as head of training where she works on projects for museums, arts organisations and other public interest cultural institutions. Before turning to writing on a fulltime basis, Msimang worked for the United Nations, focusing on gender and human rights. She also served as the executive director of the offices of the Open Society Foundation in Southern Africa until 2013. She has held a range of fellowships including at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and at the University of the Witwatersrand where she was a Ruth First Fellow.
Professor Sylvia Tamale, a leading African feminist who teaches law at Makerere University in Uganda, joins us again for the second round.
Her research interests include Gender, Law & Sexuality, Women in Politics and Feminist Jurisprudence. Prof. Tamale has published extensively in these and other areas, and has served as a visiting professor in several academic institutions globally and on several international human rights boards.
She was the first female dean at the School of Law at Makerere. Prof. Tamale holds a Bachelor of Law from Makerere University, a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and a PhD in Sociology and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota.
This year we are joined by Mark Gevisser, one of South Africa’s leading authors and journalists. His new book, The Pink Line: The World’s Queer Frontiers, will be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux (US) and Jonathan Ball (SA) in 2018. His other books include Lost and Found in Johannesburg, shortlisted for the Jan Michalski Prize for World Literature (2014), and Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred, which won the Alan Paton Prize in 2008. In 1994, he co-edited the path-breaking Defiant Desire: Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa with Edwin Cameron. His journalism has appeared in Granta, the New York Times, The Guardian, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, Public Culture, Foreign Policy and Art in America, as well as all of South Africa’s major publications. As a curator, he has worked on Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, and is responsible for ‘Jo’burg Tracks: Sexuality in the City’ (Constitution Hill and MuseumAfrica); his documentary film, The Man Who Drove With Mandela won the Teddy Documentary Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1999. He lives in Cape Town.
This project is made possible in partnership with the Other Foundation: www.theotherfoundation.org.
Compiled by TOW
Fifteen authors from across Africa and the world are coming to Durban during this year’s 21st Time of the Writer International Festival that is set to take place from 12 – 17 March 2018. The writers convene under this year’s theme of “Changing the Narrative” and will engage with this notion as it relates to their work and the direction in which literature is moving towards in this context.
Announcing this year’s line-up, the Acting-Director of the CCA, Ms. Chipo Zhou said:
We are very excited to be hosting Time of the Writer yet again and celebrating the diverse voices that make up our African literary continent. The CCA is grateful for the support from our various stakeholders, without which this festival would not be possible. In an ever changing global village, the backing of the literary giants in attendance this year, is most humbling, 21 years on. We look forward to an intellectually engaging event that will entertain and challenge our creativity.
Program and Ticket Sales
This 21st edition of Time of the Writer will consist of a day program that is hosted in four community libraries (Austerville, Westville, Chesterville Extension and Tongaat), art centres and schools around eThekwini where workshops and panel discussions will take place. In the evening panel discussions will be hosted at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at University of KwaZulu Natal, Howard College. The full program will be released on the social media channels of the festival. Tickets for the evening program are available on Computicket, however the day program is free of charge.
Theme: Changing the Narrative
Ms. Chipo Zhou, Acting-Director of festival organiser CCA, said: “Nelson Mandela once said: “The education I received was a British education, in which British ideas, British culture, British institutions, were automatically assumed to be superior. There was no such thing as African culture.” A very sad statement which to a great extent, even now, speaks the reality that is our education system in Africa. A new generation of scholars is on the rise, demanding recognition of the African intellect and its contribution to literature, an “African Renaissance” if you will. We cannot rewrite history, but we can question and maybe alter it. And most definitely, we will write the future. In the words of Kakwe Kasoma, it is time to correct this colonial hangover. As we celebrate Mandela’s centenary year, it is our hope that we can reflect fairly on this history and begin a new chapter as we own our stories and change the narrative.”
Meeting established and upcoming writers
Fifteen writers will participate during Time of the Writer 2018:
- Award winning creative author, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀, from Nigeria;
- Experimental author, Jennipher M. Zulu, from Zambia;
- Dynamic author, Kafula Mwila, from Zambia;
- Poet, performance master and author of 12 books, Lesego Rampolokeng, from Johannesburg, South Africa;
- Gritty and intense author, Luka Mwango, from Zambia;
- Author, award-winning filmmaker, recording artist, and distinguished professor, MK Asante, from the USA;
- Best-selling author, Refiloe Moahloli, from Mthatha, South Africa;
- Outspoken political commentator, scholar and musician, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, from Johannesburg, South Africa;
- isiZulu, short story and children’s author, Themba Qwabe from Durban, South Africa;
- Unathi Slasha who reimagines and subverts Nguni folklore to write the unlanguaged world that is South Africa today, from Port Elizabeth, South Africa;
- Award winning novelist and short story writer, Yewande Omotoso, born in Barbados, raised in Nigeria and based Cape Town, South Africa;
- Novelist, journalist, poet and academic, Alain Mabanckou, born in Congo, based in France;
- Professor of political economy, Patrick Bond, from Johannesburg, South Africa, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland;
- Author, politician, diplomat, poet, academic, journalist, and cultural activist Lindiwe Mabuza from Newcastle, South Africa
- Author of the University of Johannesburg Debut Fiction Prize winning novel The Yearning, Mohale Mashigo, from Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Six days of literature, books, panel discussions and workshops
Time of the Writer starts on Monday evening 12 March at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with an opening night that introduces all participating writers of the festival.
Key elements of the festival are the other evenings at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre that highlight some of the participants and engages them in a panel discussion.
As part of the day programs the writers will be visiting various art centres and community libraries, which include The George Campbell Museum, Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi and Luthuli Museum in Groutville for various panel discussions and workshops.
This year’s festival offers a special focus on children’s literature, which will see a storytelling session on Saturday 17 March and panel discussions around that during the week facilitated by Dr Gcina Mhlophe. On Saturday 17 March Dr Lindiwe Mabuza will be launching two children’s books.
High school learners are encouraged to submit their short stories for the annual short story competition held in conjunction with Time of the Writer Festival. The competition aims to encourage creative expression in young people while functioning as a springboard for the future writers of South Africa. With the festival’s long standing commitment toward nurturing a culture of reading and writing, this competition has received a wide appeal that continues to grow with each edition of the festival. Winners will be awarded with cash prices, book vouchers and festival tickets.
Meet the writers and get your books signed
Adams Book Shop will host a pop-up bookshop at the foyer of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with new and older work of the participating authors. Many of the participating writers will be available to sign books.
Various book launches will take place during the festival, details will be announced closer to the festival.
Time of the Writer is presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal), the 21st Time of the Writer is made possible by support from eThekwini Municipality, National Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council and Alliance Française Durban. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the School of Arts, College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
"I think a child without anyone to tell them stories is an abandoned child" - a Q&A with author and JRB City Editor, Niq Mhlongo
Nal’ibali Column 6, published in the Sunday World (18/02/2018), Daily Dispatch (19/02/2018), Herald (22/02/2018)
By Carla Lever
How do you think storytelling helps us understand place – can it make sense of where we are from?
It’s really fundamental. If Joseph Conrad didn’t write Heart of Darkness I don’t think people like Donald Trump would have had the audacity to call African countries ‘sh*tholes’. Perhaps is he had been forced to read Emecheta, Laye, Mphahlele, Ngugi and others he would have had a clear understanding of Africa.
So much of our cultural geography is imported – TV shows and novels glamorise places like New York or Paris. At the same time, African cities tend to be written about, often in negative terms, by outsiders. Why is it important that we write about African places and cities and create our own literary maps?
Someone once told me that the biggest commodity that America was able to sell to Africa was its culture. I agree. Cultural geography, as you call it, is a very powerful tool that powerful countries have used to dominate other countries. When South Africans today talk about ‘decolonization’ I think it is a legitimate appeal to break away from, among other things, the shackles of cultural dominance. So when authors write about African places and cities they contribute a lot in creating our own literary maps that have been disregarded by the imposed colonial narratives of places and spaces that we live in.
Your upcoming book Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree, takes us into the places you were born and raised in. Can you tell us a little about why you wrote the book and how it felt to be making a place meaningful to people through your writing?
I wrote Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree because I could not find a good written story about Soweto that I could read and actually identify with. I was tired of the meaning of Soweto always being confined to Vilakazi Street and the Twin Towers. I decided to write that story I was searching for myself – in fact, as an insider, it made perfect sense that I do it!
You have weaved African oral traditions, cultural practices and storytelling traditions into your previous novels, too – I’m thinking here particularly of your novel Way Back Home. What does it mean to you to be called an African author? Is that a useful description or one you find unnecessary?
There is no problem being called an African author. It all depends on the context in the context in which the name is used. If it means that my writing is inferior compared to the so-called ‘European author’ or ‘American author’, then such a name is already loaded with negativity.
I know you write adult fiction, but you have written for children too! Can you tell us a little about writing for the TV series Magic Cellar and why projects that get young people excited about stories are so important?
Ah, let me not exaggerate my involvement with Magic Cellar. In fact, I only wrote one script for them. But the project trained me as a children’s story writer. During the same period I actually wrote a script for children based on African folktales. It was animated for a children’s program on SABC 2…so I suppose I learned something!
I think a child without anyone to tell them stories is an abandoned child. Stories make all of us happy, and give us a sense of belonging in society. They guide us and give us hope in the world. Any project that give young people that kind of wholeness deserves full support from everyone.
What changes would you like to see in the South African literary scene? Are there things (maybe organisations, new spaces for writers or publishing initiatives) that you find exciting?
I would like to see a full government involvement in the South African literary scene by supporting any literary project, especially projects that make children read. I would like to see government officials and schools reading and prescribing more South African literature. I would like to see more political leaders at the ABANTU Book Festival this year and years to come. The JRB, ABANTU, Nal’ibali, Longstory Short are some of the most important literary projects in South Africa today which give me a right to write.
How can we get more children excited about reading, particularly proud of our own, rich African literary heritage?
We need to prescribe more South African books and make things like Shakespeare optional in our school curriculum. In that way we can show them our rich African literary heritage.
Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.
- Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree by Niq Mhlongo
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The Cheeky Natives will be in conversation with Zukiswa Wanner.
- date: 3 March 2018
- time: 14:30 for 15:00
- venue: African Flavour Books, Braamfontein, 20 Melle Street
- RSVP by 28 February by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pre-Order the book at a discounted prices before 2 March on: http://shop.blackletterm.com
In Hardly Working: A Travel Memoir of Sorts, Zukiswa Wanner faces the challenges of travelling by road and crossing several borders while being a Zambian-born South African who lives in Kenya but her irreverent humour and uncanny ability to connect and make friends wherever she goes, serves her well.
2016 was a year she wanted to celebrate in style, and when her son came home and told her about yet another international school trip, an idea began to form. Why not take a road trip through several countries to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the publication of her debut novel, The Madams, with a book tour as well as her fortieth birthday. Best of all, she would bond with her partner and son before her writing took her off to Europe for months.
With this sixth book, Wanner shows off an Africa that we rarely see. Throughout the journey she reflects on what it means to be a writer in a world that isn’t quite sure what it is that she does while discovering that people are hungry for more African stories but access is a big challenge.
Asymptote’s Winter 2018 issue celebrates the journal’s 7th year and 100th language! This edition includes a Microfiction Special Feature full of glittering allegory, along with uncompromising fiction confronting today’s grim realities.
Winner of the 2015 London Book Fair’s International Literary Translation Initiative Award, Asymptote is the premier site for world literature in translation. We take our name from the dotted line on a graph that a mathematical function may tend toward, but never reach. Similarly, a translated text may never fully replicate the effect of the original; it is its own creative act.
Our mission is simple: to unlock the literary treasures of the world. (Watch a video introduction of Asymptote here.) To date, our magazine has featured work from 105 countries and 84 languages, all never-before-published poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and interviews by writers and translators such as J. M. Coetzee, Patrick Modiano, Herta Müller, Can Xue, Junot Díaz, Ismail Kadare, David Mitchell, Anne Carson, Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, Ann Goldstein, and Deborah Smith.
In our five years, we have expanded our offerings to include a daily-updated blog, a fortnightly newsletter, a monthly podcast, and educational guides accompanying each quarterly issue; we’ve also organized more than thirty events on five continents. In 2015, Asymptote became a founding member of The Guardian’s Books Network with “Translation Tuesdays”, a weekly showcase of new literary translations that can be read by the newspaper’s 5 million followers. This means that Asymptote is the only translation-centered journal that can boast of a genuinely international readership – reaching beyond niche communities of literary translators and world literature enthusiasts.
Always interested in facilitating encounters between languages, Asymptote presents work in translation alongside the original texts, as well as audio recordings of those original texts whenever possible. Each issue is illustrated by a guest artist and includes Writers on Writers essays introducing overlooked voices that deserve to be better-known in the English speaking world, as well as a wildcard Special Feature that spotlights literature from certain regions or cutting-edge genres such as Multilingual Writing and Experimental Translation. To catalyze the transmission of literature even further, Asymptote also commissions translations of texts into languages other than English, thereby engaging other linguistic communities and disrupting the English-centered flow of information. All the work we publish is then disseminated for free via eight social media platforms in three languages, through a dedicated social media team as well as our ever-expanding network of editors-at-large in six continents.
George Bernard Shaw famously said, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange those ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” It is in this spirit of sharing ideas that Asymptote invites readers to explore work from across the globe.
Incorporated neither in America nor in Europe, unaffiliated with any university or government body, Asymptote does not qualify for many grants that other like institutions receive. If you enjoy our magazine, help us continue our mission by becoming a sustaining member at just $10 a month. In return for pledging at least a year’s support, you’ll receive an Asymptote Moleskine notebook!