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2017 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize Shortlist

After months of evaluation and deliberation it is finally time to reveal the shortlist for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, in association with Porcupine Ridge. The winner, who will receive R100 000, will be announced on Saturday June 24.

The Barry Ronge Fiction Prize
In the five shortlisted books the judges highlighted writing of rare style and imagination, stories that chose the personal over the political, and themes that are fresh and provocative. “The words”, says chairperson Rehana Rossouw, “strike at the reader’s heart”.

The Printmaker, Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (Umuzi)
Law-Viljoen’s quiet, finely calibrated novel is set in Johannesburg and centres on a reclusive printmaker named March, who makes his art obsessively – and alone – for decades. When he inherits the thdies a friendousands of drawings and etchings crammed into the house and through his work sets out to understand her troubled friend. “There’s not a superfluous word in it,” said one judge. “March is still living in my head.”

Period Pain, Kopano Matlwa (Jacana Media)
The wunderkind young author shows she has a long career ahead with this acute, powerful book. Masechaba is a young woman trying to find meaning in contemporary South Africa, a country wracked by social problems. “Where are we going,” it asks, “and what have we become?” “It’s a searing, brilliant read,” said a judge.

Little Suns, Zakes Mda (Umuzi)
“Zakes Mda is on song with this book,” exclaimed a judge, “it brings people from our past gorgeously to life.” It is 1903. A frail Malangana searches for his beloved Mthwakazi, the woman he had loved 20 years earlier and who he was forced to leave. Based on true events in history, it is a poignant story of how love and perseverance can transcend exile and strife.

The Woman Next Door, Yewande Omotoso (Chatto & Windus)
In this story of two strong-willed women, Omotoso delicately traces the racial fault lines of the rainbow land. One of the women is black, the other white, and for decades the pair have lived next door to each other in an affluent estate in Cape Town. One day, an accident brings them together. “She doesn’t pretend to have the answers,” commented one judge, “but she forces us to examine our deeply embedded racism. It’s very clever and deeply human.”

The Safest Place You Know, Mark Winkler (Umuzi)
After his father’s violent death one day in the drought- stricken Free State, a young man leaves the derelict family farm with no plan. Two people he meets on his way to the Cape will change his life forever. The story is set in the 80s, before everything changes. “I was blown away by the magnificent writing,” said a judge, “the story went straight to my heart.”
 
View the 2017 longlist here.

The Printmaker

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Period Pain

 
 

Little Suns

 
 

The Woman Next Door

 
 
 

The Safest Place You Know

Apply for the seventh Regional Residency for African Women Writers

The Uganda Women Writers’ Federation (FEMRITE) has announced calls for its seventh FEMRITE Regional Residency for African women writers, to be held in Kampala.

The residency will be co-hosted by the quarterly Swedish magazine, Karavan.

FEMRITE recognises that a women’s biggest challenge has always been a lack of space and time to write, and addresses this issue by providing space for women to write, to promote intercultural literary discourse, to find new literary voices, and to celebrate African women’s literature.

Only African women, currently living in Africa and working on an English fiction or memoir manuscript who haven’t had more than one book published prior to applying, will be considered for the residency.

Click here for the submission guidelines.

The Wild Fluffalump: a bedtime story which delivers an important message about extinction

A muddy baby elephant goes to sleep under a tall Cottonseed tree, where the leopard’s child has been bouncing all night.

It wakes up as a giant white fluffy ball and doesn’t recognise itself.

The animals come one by one and pull and lick and tug, trying to figure out what it is.

The battle being fought by admirable souls to keep elephants from extinction is steady but slow. A change in mind set is perhaps needed in the formative years, when cuddly bears and koalas and penguins and seal-pups rate high on the Hug-o-meter.

Now what if children from Africa to China could learn to see rhinos and elephants as wonderful animals to cuddle and to feel protective towards for a lifetime …

Also available in Afrikaans, isiXhosa & isiZulu.

Bruce Hobson writes as Mwenye Hadithi (meaning ‘story teller’ in Swahili). Born in Nairobi, Bruce grew in a house with a wild garden, visited by gazelles and porcupines and warthogs. A crocodile once went to sleep by the ironing board, and a hippopotamus got stuck in the back gate. As a child he kept tarantula-like spiders as pets and at school they were often confronted by baboons on the hockey field. From there he went to Rugby School in England, and studied foreign literature at London University. This inspired him to write, stirred by those traditional oral stories from Africa where the foibles of village characters, thinly disguised as animals, would lead to a moral lesson.

However, publishers weren’t keen on stories where hyenas had their bottoms sewn up in order to eat a lot, so in the best tradition of storytellers the world over, he borrowed bits from the old stories and wove them in with fresh threads of humour and his own motifs, and the Hadithi series’ Greedy Zebra was published in 1984.

Adrienne Kennaway grew up all over the world, but spent most of her formative life in Kenya, where an interest in wildlife soon turned to art, especially painting animals. Ealing Tech in London and L’Academie Bella Arte in Rome honed her skill and she became notably successful with her vivid watercolour illustrations for Mwenye Hadithi’s African folktale series. She has illustrated over 30 children’s books and her illustrations for Hadithi’s Crafty Chameleon won the Kate Greenaway Prize. Adrienne now enjoys spending time in the Irish countryside, capturing the local wildlife on canvas.

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Bridge Books turns one! Celebrate by supporting the newly-launched African Book Trust

Griffin Shea

Everyone’s favourite independent bookstore in Joburg is celebrating its first birthday soon.

Bridge Books, situated in Johannesburg’s inner city, opened its doors on 1 June, 2016. Run by Griffin Shea, Bridge Books sells both old and new books with an emphasis on African literature, alongside international titles.

This singular bookstore recently launched the African Book Trust, a non-profit organisation dedicated to donating South African books to libraries in communities and schools nationwide.

Their only birthday wish is for you to support the trust. Visit booktrust.org.za to learn more about the organisation and give one of the 10 books they’re providing in their first round of giving.

If you’re eager to continue the festivities head to Love Downtown on Friday, 2 June where Naale le Moya’s Baaletsi Tsatsi will tell stories of African celebrations at 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM.

Get your tickets here and come jol like only a bibliophile can.

Joint book launch - Urban Revolt & Southern Resistance in Critical Perspective

Join the University of Johannesburg Library and the Centre for Social Change for the launch of two books focused on protests and resistance in the Global South: Urban Revolt and Southern Resistance in Critical Perspective.

Speakers will include contributors to the books: Trevor Ngwane, Immanuel Ness and Marcel Parett.

Event Details

Pride and Prejudice: an African anthology offering new perspectives on what it means to be marginalised, forgotten and stripped of one’s humanity

Pride and Prejudice is a collection of the short-listed entries to the inaugural award, named after Gerald Kraak (1956–2014), who was a passionate champion of social justice and an anti-apartheid activist.

“This book is a shelter, a place where slums are not art, they are simply where we live. It’s a place where albinos are not unicorns, they are only beautiful and ordinary. And it’s a place where gays are pained and also completely conventional. In this book, strange choppers fly and Africa is a landscape not simply for the past but for projections of the future,” says Sisonke Msimang, Editor in Chief and Head Judge.

The Gerald Kraak Award is a joint initiative between The Other Foundation and the Jacana Literary Foundation.

A judging panel made up of distinguished gender activist Sisonke Msimang, prominent social and political analyst Eusebius McKaiser and leading African feminist Sylvia Tamale selected thirteen finalists.

The winner will be announced on 25 May 2017 at the official launch of the anthology.
 
 

Book details

  • Pride and Prejudice: The Gerald Kraak Anthology African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality compiled by Gerald Kraak Award
    EAN: 9781431425181
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