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SALA 2018: Jaco Jacobs het gewoon geen brieke nie – nog ’n toekenning!

Twee boeke van Jaco Jacobs is gisteraand bekroon by die jaarlikse Suid-Afrikaanse Letterkundetoekennings, beter bekend onder die Engelse akroniem SALA.

In die splinternuwe kategorie vir kinderboeke is drie boeke bekroon, twee van hulle deur Jaco Jacobs.

Die drie boeke wat gewen het, is die kinderrympiebundel Moenie hierdie boek eet nie!, deur Jaco Jacobs (LAPA Uitgewers), die prenteboek Daar’s nie ’n krokodil in hierdie boek nie, deur Jaco Jacobs (LAPA Uitgewers) en die geskiedkundige roman There should have been five, deur Marilyn Honikman (Tafelberg Uitgewers).

Die skrywers deel die prysgeld in dié kategorie.

Jacobs sê die toekenning is vir hom ’n groot eer.

“Geletterdheid is regtig ’n groot knelpunt in ons land. Dit is belangriker as ooit dat ons kinders lief moet maak vir lees, en vir hulle goeie, toeganklike, eietydse leesstof moet bied. Ek is daarom regtig dankbaar dat die Suid-Afrikaanse Letterkundetoekennings met dié nuwe kategorie erkenning gee aan die belangrike rol wat kinderboeke in ons samelewing én in ons letterkunde speel.”

Wat bekronings betref, was 2018 ’n groot jaar vir Jacobs. Hy het reeds vanjaar die Tienie Holloway-medalje (vir sy boek Grom!) en twee ATKV-Kinderboektoekennings gewen, en is pas vir Brittanje se oudste en mees prestigeryke kinderboektoekenning, die Carnegie-medalje, benoem vir die Engelse vertaling van ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim.

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Letterkundetoekennings is gisteraand (6 November) tydens ’n spoggeleentheid in Pretoria oorhandig. Boeke in elf amptelike tale kom vir die toekennings in aanmerking.

Boekbesonderhede

Jaco Jacobs benoem vir Carnegie-medalje

LAPA Uitgewers kondig met trots aan dat die Engelse vertaling van Jaco Jacobs se bekroonde jeugroman ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim pas benoem is vir die Carnegie-medalje, Brittanje se oudste en mees prestigeryke literêre prys vir kinderboeke.

A Good Day for Climbing Trees is vroeër vanjaar deur Rock the Boat, ’n druknaam van Oneworld Publications, wêreldwyd gepubliseer. Italiaanse vertaalregte is ook intussen verkoop.

Die Carnegie-medalje word al sedert 1936 jaarliks deur die Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) toegeken. Vorige wenners sluit wêreldbekende skrywers soos C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Sharon Creech en Philip Pullman in.

“In die kinderboekbedryf is die Carnegie-medalje een van die héél grotes,” sê Jaco. “Bloot om net daarvoor benoem te word, is vir my ’n byna ondenkbare groot eer. Ek kan nie genoeg dankie sê vir my uitgewer by LAPA en my oorsese uitgewer, Oneworld, wat so hard gewerk het om die boek die wêreld in te stuur nie.”

Miemie du Plessis, tans aan die stuur van produkontwikkeling by LAPA, is minder skalks. Háár opmerking aan kollegas was: “Ek het soos ’n tiener tekere gegaan wat die Beatles in lewende lywe gesien het toe ek die nuus gehoor het. Die Carnegie Medal is ENORM, net so Brits en enorm soos die Beatles.” Du Plessis was Jacobs se uitgewer toe die boek verskyn het.

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim is die verhaal van Marnus, ’n gefrustreerde middelkind, wat hom een Desembervakansie laat ompraat om saam met ’n meisie in ’n boom te klim om te probeer keer dat die plaaslike owerheid dit afsaag.

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim was in 2016 die wenner van die kykNET/Rapport-prys se filmkategorie, en was een van die wenners van die internasionale In Other Words-vertaalprojek. Filmregte vir die boek is sedertdien aan M-Net toegeken.

In Oktober vanjaar het nog een van Jaco se boeke, Oor ’n motorfiets, ’n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word, oorsee verskyn as A Good Night for Shooting Zombies.

Boekbesonderhede

Book Bites: 4 November

Published in the Sunday Times

The Wife’s Tale ****
Aida Edemariam, HarperCollins, R285

Aida Edemariam retells the story of her grandmother’s life in Ethiopia in a gentle portrait that starts off in a feudal monarchy and ends in a Marxist dictatorship. We learn that her gran, Yetemegnu, was married before she was 10 years old. Surrounded by priests and soldiers, Yetemegnu’s life was filled with challenges that many could not even begin to fathom. Her fight for justice after her husband’s arrest and her inherent ability to help people in desperate need gives Yetemegnu a voice that is stronger than the change her country faces. Edemariam does a magnificent job of translating her grandmother’s strength and legacy. Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt

Circus ****
Irma Venter Human & Rousseau, R280

Adriana van der Hoon is a teenager growing up in ’80s Johannesburg. Unbeknown to her, her father, the Dutchman, has been bringing donor money into the country for the ANC. He’s shot dead in a fake robbery and she’s forced by a security police handler to take over her father’s “job” at the Education Trust, and track down where the money was coming from. The headstrong 18-year-old goes to Berlin on her first covert mission, where she works at a club as a knife-thrower. She starts a relationship with the club owner who supplies the money she is to take back to SA. But Adriana soon finds out he is a pimp, a money launderer and a murderer. Clean and simply written, this is a refreshing and thrilling read. Gabriella Bekes @gabrikwa

Things Even Gonzalez Can’t Fix ****
Christy Chilimigras, MF Books Joburg, R225

In this fast-paced, debut memoir about growing up in Joburg’s northern suburbs as the child of two addicts, Christy Chilimigras has crafted a book that explores the impact on her life of a flawed family. If you think that sounds depressing, it’s not, particularly as the writer and her sister emerge from the chaos of their childhood as powerful young women who take a stand. The book is full of humour and vivid descriptions, and would appeal to both older teens, young adults and older folk. I look forward to her second book. Samantha Enslin

Book details

2018 City Press Tafelberg Nonfiction Award shortlist announced

The shortlist for the 2018 City Press Tafelberg Nonfiction Award has been announced!

Congratulations are in order for the five authors who made the cut amid the 120+ submissions received by Tafelberg and City Press: Lesedi Molefi, Harry Kalmer, Tyrone August, Nandipha Gantsho and Sara Black have topped the list of this prestigious prize, awarded every two years.

The winning entry will receive a contract with Tafelberg Publishers and an additional R120 000 to fund their project.

On account of the award’s emphasis on non-fiction works which are relevant to South Africa’s sociopolitical framework it comes as no surprise that two of the shortlisted monographs are biographies of anti-apartheid activists, two are about race and education in South Africa, and one on destigmatising mental illness.

Click here for more information on the shortlisted titles, as reported by City Press’s Avantika Seeth.

"I always feared that if I were to write a book, it would not come up to the standards I demand of the books I read" - Vanessa Raphaely on writing Plus One

Published in the Sunday Times

From the “Unfinished Book Club” to a fun and compelling debut novel – Vanessa Raphaely’s Plus One is a hit! Photo: supplied.

 
Plus One
Vanessa Raphaely, Pan Macmillan, R265

I still can’t believe I have written a complete novel. Or that a publisher as reputable as Pan MacMillan chose to publish it. I’ve never been overly confident in my ability as a writer, let alone a fiction writer. For years my friend Suzy and I were the only members of our own, exclusive “Unfinished Book Club”. We would meet over sushi and Chenin Blanc and brainstorm … and then later commiserate as we launched ourselves, filled with enthusiasm and ideas, only to run out of steam and confidence soon afterwards.

For working women it’s hard not to meander off target, waylaid by the urgency of raising families, earning incomes or just by the fact that completing a novel is really very difficult.

Before I finally wrote “The End” of the 16th draft of Plus One, I had at least five unfinished books languishing in various draft stages, including one boasting the unforgiveably kitsch ’80s working title of “Fire and Ice” that was set in the world of competitive ice skating. It involved a terrible and bloody accident and an illegally sharpened pair of female ice-skating blades. I suspect it was a blessing, both for me and the reading public, that that one never did get past Chapter 5.

It was really touch and go that Plus One got started, let alone finished. I always feared that if I were to write a book, it would not come up to the standards I demand of the books I read. Getting over yourself, your fears, your dignity … and just writing is an essential tip for anyone who dreams of having a book published.

One of the first people I sent the first draft to for an opinion was a magazine editor – the woman who taught me to write when I was just a lowly assistant features editor on Cosmopolitan in the UK way back when. She read the manuscript quickly, and e-mailed me: “Vanessa, this book is just so incredibly bad I could not get past the first chapters. I didn’t care to spend any time at all in the company of your characters, I just couldn’t bring myself to give a toss what happened to them. It reads like a breathless column dashed off over your lunch hour for illiterate, coke-addled imbeciles.”

That, I’ve got to admit, was briefly crushing. But writers, I have discovered, have thick skins and no pride. And I am definitely a writer.

At that point I had sold my shares in my business and no new business or employment opportunity had presented itself, so I took a deep breath and kept writing. And rewriting. And rewriting. It took encouragement, cheerleading and honest advice from friends, my agent Nadine Rubin Nathan, my publisher Andrea Nattrass and the wonderful, professional, surgical interventions of my editor Alison Lowry to get it over the line.

My mother, when she was finally allowed to read it, e-mailed me: “Darling, you can stop worrying. I am on page 70 and it’s very good.” But unfortunately, in this case, mums’ opinions don’t count for much. Objective readers say it’s fun, thought-provoking, a bit dark (but written with a light touch), compelling, a page turner, unputdownable and that they just did not see the ending coming.

And I’m proud of it. As Andrea said: “Why would I publish anything I wouldn’t be proud of?” She’s the real deal.

So it turned out OK. I never hoped for more. And it’s a fabulous feeling ticking “write a novel” off your bucket list..

Book details

In The Last Hurrah, Graham Viney has written a fascinating account of a pivotal moment in South African history

From February to April 1947, South Africa welcomed King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret.

The Royal Family travelled many thousands of kilometres across the country in the specially commissioned White Train. Graham Viney’s descriptions of the tour’s highlights allow the reader to follow this royal progress.

In vivid prose, he provides a fascinating analysis of a fractious society on the threshold of momentous change. The Last Hurrah also captures the political controversy surrounding the tour.

There was resistance, initially, from black and Indian nationalist politicians and, throughout, from Afrikaner Nationalists. Only a year later, in 1948, Smuts’s government was defeated in a general election, a victory won essentially on DF Malan’s racist ticket.

But the tour had truly been a last hurrah, a show of Empire solidarity and a recognition of South Africa’s contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, and specifically that of Prime Minister Jan Smuts. Wherever the Royal Family went, South Africans turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them.

The Last Hurrah draws on sources from far and wide, including the Royal Archives at Windsor, and includes a selection of previously unpublished photographs of the Royal Family on tour.

GRAHAM VINEY was educated at the Diocesan College (Bishops), Cape Town, and Oriel College, Oxford, where he read International Relations. He runs an international design company. In addition to numerous papers and articles has written two books, Colonial Houses of South Africa and The Cape of Good Hope, 1806 – 1872.

Book details