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Don't miss the launch of The Compassionate Englishwoman by Robert Eales at UFS

The Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer WarUCT Press and Protea Bookshop invite you to the launch of The Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War by Robert Eales.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 24 May at the Archive for Contemporary Affairs Reading Room at the University of the Free State.

Don’t miss it!

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Don't miss the launch of The Compassionate Englishwoman by Robert Eales at Grey College

The Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer WarUCT Press and Grey College invite you to the launch of The Compassionate Englishwoman: Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War by Robert Eales.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 24 May at 10 AM.

Don’t miss it!
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Bongani Madondo at his finest: Sigh The Beloved Country

Sigh The Beloved CountryPan Macmillan is proud to present Sigh The Beloved Country: Braai Talk, Rock ‘n Roll and Other Stories by Bongani Madondo, with a new introduction by Rian Malan:

Sigh, the Beloved Country is a saucy stew of literary performance that showcases essays, memoirs, the interview as an art form, profile as a form of theatrical set-piece, travelogues, political epistles and excursions into fantasy and fiction. It speaks to disparate genres with the same spirit as it addresses a country no longer at ease with itself.

At turns explosive, funny, irascible, memoiristic and epic in scope, it is also cosy and personal for its obsession with minutiae. Whether at home with subversive artists in cities’ back alleys, or enjoying himself at the invite-only black-tux balls, in Sigh, the Beloved Country, the culture critic morphs into a storyteller, eavesdropper and something of a travelling jester throughout the land to share stories of its prophets, beauty and tragic figures.

Madondo is at his finest tackling themes as disparate as race and its ‘isms’, the New Bourgeoisie, the idea of God, nascent black Punk Culture and Black Magic. Simultaneously a synopsis of and a critique of a country, Sigh, the Beloved Country comes out like a soul blast.

It also drops on the 10th anniversary of his debut, Hot Type, which was more concerned with the politics of glitz: what Madondo now refers to as “expensive crud”. With its inbuilt shrug, Sigh is less a fan-boy book enamoured with hipsters, and more of an adult lover and critic of a country, in conversation with its people: the so-called ordinary folks, the wealthy, the beautiful, the deranged and the truly genius. They are People of the South.

About the author

Bongani Madondo is a non-fiction writer, biographer and amateur filmmaker. He spends time in Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Eastern Cape. His books include Hot Type: Artists, Icons & God-Figurines (2007) and I’m Not Your Weekend Special: Portraits on the Life+Style & Politics of Brenda Fassie (2014). Madondo has contributed monographs and lectures on the politics of style, film and rock & roll at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), in Warsaw, and at Haus Kulturen der Welt, in Berlin. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Transition, Internazaionale, Sunday Times Lifestyle, Rolling Stone, Noted, Man, True Love, Readers Digest, Marie Claire and Elle.

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2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards shortlists announced

2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards shortlists announced

Alert! The shortlists for the 2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards have been announced.

The awards recognise the best work published by Media24 Books – including NB Publishers and Jonathan Ball – during the previous year. An exception occurred in 2014, when Dominque Botha’s Valsrivier, published by Umuzi, was deemed too strong not to be included and the won Jan Rabie Rapport Prize.

The winner in each of the six categories receives R35,000, with the MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books being shared by the author and illustrator. Independent panels of judges compiled the shortlists.

The prizes will be awarded in Cape Town on 22 June, 2016.

Last year’s six winners were Willem Anker, Michiel Heyns, Antjie Krog, Mark Gevisser, Andre Eva Bosch and Fiona Moodie.

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2016 Media24 Books Literary Awards shortlists

WA Hofmeyr Prize for Afrikaans Fiction (novel, short stories or drama)


Wonderboom by Lien Botha (Queillerie)
Brandwaterkom by Alexander Strachan (Tafelberg)
Vlakwater by Ingrid Winterbach (Human & Rousseau)

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Recht Malan Prize for Afrikaans or English Non-Fiction

Black Brain, White BrainA Perfect StormShowdown at the Red Lion

Black Brain, White Brain by Gavin Evans (Jonathan Ball)
Perfect Storm by Milton Shain (Jonathan Ball)
Showdown at the Red Lion by Charles van Onselen (Jonathan Ball)

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Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English Fiction (novel, short stories or drama)

The FetchThe Shadow of the Hummingbird

The Fetch by Finuala Dowling (Kwela)
The Shadow of the Hummingbird by Athol Fugard and Paula Fourie (Human & Rousseau)

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Elisabeth Eybers Prize for Afrikaans and English Poetry


Vry- by Gilbert Gibson (Human & Rousseau)
Takelwerk by Daniel Hugo (Human & Rousseau)
Bladspieël by Marlise Joubert (Human & Rousseau)

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MER Prize for Afrikaans and English Youth Novels

Elton Amper-Famous April en Juffrou BromBambaduzeSwemlesse vir 'n meermin

Elton amper-famous April en juffrou Brom by Carin Krahtz (Tafelberg)
Bambaduze by Derick van der Walt (Tafelberg)
Swemlesse vir ’n meermin by Marita van der Vyver (Tafelberg)

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MER Prize for Illustrated Children’s Books in Afrikaans and English

Hendrik LeerdamDie Dingesfabriek: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjienProfessor Sabatina se wetenskapboek

Hendrik Leerdam: Kaap van storms by James Home en Peter Mascher (ill.) (Tafelberg)
Die Dingesfabriek 4: Jannus en Kriek en die tydmasjien by Elizabeth Wasserman and Astrid Castle (ill.) (Tafelberg)
Professor Sabatina se wetenskapboek by Elizabeth Wasserman, Astrid Castle (ill.) and Rob Foote (ill.) (Tafelberg)

The prizes will be awarded in Cape Town on 22 June 2016.

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Book Launch: I'm the Girl Who Was Raped by Michelle Hattingh

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle HattinghModjaji Books and Love Books are pleased to invite you to the Johannesburg launch of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped, a memoir by Michelle Hattingh. Fiona Snyckers will introduce Michelle and talk with her about her book.

Emily Buchanan edited Michelle’s book and this is what she wrote about the book, published in Grocott’s Mail on the 6th May.

I’m the Girl Who Was Raped by Michelle Hattingh

Now and then you read a book that alters your life. It inspires you; it redefines you; and sometimes it reshapes your thinking in a way that changes the world around you. One such book for me was Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth. Another is Michelle Hattingh’s I’m the Girl Who Was Raped.

I started working on Michelle’s manuscript as its editor. On my first reading I was surprised and excited, which seems inappropriate but it wasn’t: finally someone had the courage to write what it really was like to be raped, and to write it with such intensity, wit and pace that it read like a novel.

It was going to be a book that everyone needed to read, that would be the subject of conversation for months after it came out. More importantly, it would be a resource for those who had been raped, or feared being raped, or worried about their sons being accused of raping.

Michelle relates the story of her rape on a Muizenberg beach. She talks about how, earlier that same day, she’d presented her Psychology honours thesis on “Why Men Rape”, and how, despite her extensive research, she felt shamed and humiliated by her rape. When reporting to the police, she was further shamed and humiliated and blamed for “partying”, though she was sober.

She takes us through her next year and her battles with PTSD. She talks about being date-raped, a few years before, in a scene that is both awful and achingly funny, and draws a parallel between date-rape and stranger-rape that shows how like they are. I laughed and I cried and I re-evaluated how many of my own sexual encounters had been coercive.

Another point she makes is how the focus is always on women “staying safe”, as if that will prevent rape. When women don’t “stay safe” (I’m using the quotation marks ironically) society’s attitude is that those women bring rape upon themselves.

It’s completely illogical thinking. The statistics bear out how most women are raped in their own homes, wearing their most modest clothes and as sober as church mice. We hold onto the myth of “staying safe” because we feel it will protect us. What it does instead is takes the focus off the rapist — where it belongs — and puts the victim under its harsh, unjust, glaring spotlight.

As I talked to my friends and tried to tell them what I had learned from this book, almost all of them (feminists, lawyers, parliamentarians, doctors) directed the conversation to saying how girls really need to watch out when they go out, how it’s irresponsible not to be “careful”. It’s a message women have internalised so deeply that my friends truly couldn’t hear what I was saying. And it’s one more reason to buy them each a copy of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped: Michelle says it so much more convincingly than I can.

-Emily Buchanan published an excerpt of the book online, if you would like to read it, click here

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 01 June 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Fiona Snyckers
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and some light refreshments
  • RSVP: Love Books,, 011 726 7408

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
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Not welcome: Thabiso Mahlape and Lauren Beukes on Eugene de Kock's presence at the Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlist event

Anemari Jansen, Eugene de Kock, Annie Olivier
Anemari Jansen, Eugene de Kock, Annie Olivier at the Franchhoek Literary Festival


Eugene de KockEugene de Kock


Lauren Beukes and Thabiso Mahlape spoke to Books LIVE about Eugene de Kock’s presence at the Franschhoek Literary Festival this weekend.

Eugene de Kock: Assassin for the State, a biography by Anemari Jansen written with the full co-operation and consent of the former Vlakplaas commander, was longlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award in April, and De Kock was in attendance at the shortlist announcement on Saturday night.

More about the book.

De Kock, who was known as “Prime Evil” for his apartheid-era crimes, was spotted by Books LIVE at the French Connection restaurant on Saturday afternoon and also attended a panel discussion on Friday, as tweeted by Cover2Cover Books managing director Palesa Morudu:

According to Sunday Times editor Bongani Siqoko, De Kock was at the Sunday Times Literary Award event as a guest of the publisher of Anemari Jansen’s biography, not as a guest of the Sunday Times. “De Kock was not acknowledged in any way,” Siqoko says. “We only acknowledge the sponsors, authors and publishers at the Sunday Times Literary Awards events.”

Author and journalist Jacques Steenkamp tweeted from the festival:

Internationally acclaimed author and former journalist Beukes, who asked De Kock to leave the shortlist event, says: “There were black writers and publishers who were visibly upset that he was there, some of whom were victims of his operation, who had lost family members. There was talk of staging a walk-out in protest and maybe we should have done that.

“But I was angry that the writers should have to leave an event celebrating them. I walked over to him standing by the stairs and asked if he was Eugene de Kock. I said, ‘It’s inappropriate that you are here. People are in tears that you are here and I think you should leave.’

“He said ‘Thank you for telling me’, and left.

“But this story is not about me. It’s about the black writers and publishers who were traumatised by having him there.

“Yes, we need forgiveness and yes, he’s served his time. We also need compassion and sensitivity about inviting him to a private party where there are people who have suffered terrible loss directly because of him.”

Beukes tweeted:

Mahlape, a publisher at Jacana Media and the head of its new division BlackBird Books, says she was shaken when she realised De Kock was present at the announcement.

“I stayed away from the news of Eugene asking to be let out and eventually being let out,” she says. “I never imagined I would ever run into the man. In my head he would go find a farm and live as far as possible from people.

“When I heard he was at the festival and had even cried at a session I was quite detached. My one question is, why does he think he can just socialise? And then I saw him. I was standing with [Modjaji Books publisher] Colleen Higgs and [author] Rehana Rossouw. I saw Rehana’s jaw drop, I turned around and there he was.”

Mahlape says seeing De Kock brought to mind a number of other racially charged events, specifically Pretoria High Court judge Mabel Jansen’s recent remarks on rape and black culture, published on Facebook to widespread condemnation.

“My immediate response was to get away, so I went upstairs. But when the energy in the room changed everything last week came back. The judge had called my people culturally rapists or sadists and when he came up the stairs that hit me. There, right in front of me, was the man who was responsible for the breaking of so many black men and as a result black families. I wept, I never expected that to happen; my own feelings overwhelmed me.

“I had also been in altercation during the day with another man, a festival goer, so I may have been tired. But I cried, and that’s when Lauren went over to him and asked him to leave. And he said ‘thank you’ and left.”

Mahlape’s BlackBird Books recently published the debut novels of Panashe Chigumadzi and Nakhane Touré. She is also the publisher of Thando Mgqolozana, who was responsible for the Franschhoek Literary Festival making international news last year, when he publicly condemned South Africa’s “white literary system” and announced that he would be boycotting such festivals in future.

In the Sunday Times it was erroneously stated that De Kock left before his exchange with Beukes.

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Main image: Esa Alexander