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You'll cry when you find out how this one weird task force saved this velociraptor

History was made on Monday when South Africa’s new Verbal Offences Special Victims Task Force was deployed to a crime scene for the first time in the country’s history.

The unit was called to the scene of Smiley Acres Kindergarten, where one Janice Groenewald (5) was detained after referring to her victim, Jonathan Albright (4), as a ‘stinkypants’ and a ‘dirty’ ‘boy’.

Jonathan, who self-identifies as a velociraptor with built-in machine gun turrets, survived the brutal attack and immediately reported it to his teacher who called in the Verbal Offences Special Victims Task Force.

A SWAT team, accompanied by two crack forensic linguists, was on the scene within minutes. Ms. Groenewald was taken into custody while Jonathan was airlifted to an ER unit where he underwent an emergency self-esteem transplant and a tear transfusion.

As doctors battled against time to save Jonathan’s life, investigators in specially constructed soundproof EMO-HAZMAT suits with 99% tint visors combed the kindergarten crime scene for evidence. A cache of nano-aggressions was discovered in Ms. Groenewald’s personal effects, as well as a volume of linguistic contraband, marked as the property of one ‘Roald Dahl’.

The following day doctors reported that Jonathan’s surgery had been a success and that he’d since responded positively to an experimental treatment involving a large chocolate medal wrapped in gold foil and a small plastic stegosaurus.

Speaking to reporters from the Intensive Care ward, an exhausted Jonathan explained what had happened.

“I was in the sandpit putting my spade in the sand and then Janice said can I have that and I said no and she said yes and I said no and then she said YES and tooksed it from my claws and I told her STOPIT Janice and then she attacked me and then the sky went black and then I told Teacher Viljoen.”

The ‘stinkypants’ slur is believed to refer directly to a traumatic incident involving a tablespoon of prune juice and a broken diaper that had occurred in Jonathan’s home three years earlier.

Ms. Groenewald’s parents have been taken into custody until a clearer picture emerges of how Janice, who first made contact with her victim in 2015, came into possession of this sensitive information.

The attack on Mr. Albright immediately made national headlines, drawing condemnation from the South African Incontinence Foundation, Plastic Trousers. Shortly thereafter pressure from the media and the National Association of Plum Growers resulted in the firing of four celebrities, a sous chef and a statue of Queen Victoria for making reference to prunes in public.

Meanwhile, Fuckup & Usurious, the country’s largest divestment bank, pre-emptively fired half its staff and burned its headquarters to the ground to avoid becoming embroiled in the scandal.

Kalashnikov R. Komrad, president of the South African Union of Marxist-Stalinist Lightworkers also weighed in on the matter, interrupting a stirring rendition of the folk ditty ‘Purge the bourgeoisie! Dead! Fucking! Kill!’ in front of an assemblage of 50,000 members to express solidarity with Mr. Albright.

“We commend and congratulate the brave members of our special unit for their fast response to this politically improper infraction of the emotional wellbeing of the affected proletarian and for bringing the offender to heel in such short order. However, we believe that prompt action involving mass deployment of mechanical presses to reactionary skulls is required to prevent a repeat of this incident.”

At the urging of pundits and various amateur political and legal experts on Twitter and Facebook, Ms. Groenewald issued a tearful public apology on her Instagram account. This was promptly accepted as an admission of guilt and will be submitted as evidence against her in her trial.

Prosecutors are now pressing for a life sentence for Ms. Groenewald, who is facing charges of possession of contraband speech and two counts of grievous emotional harm.

Important notice: The above text is satire. It does not in any way represent an endorsement or encouragement of anything nasty or defamatory that any South African, or indeed any person, living, dead, real or fictional has said or will say, or write, about any person or group of persons who have ever, or will ever, inhabit South Africa, planet Earth, and/or any other life-supporting planet in the universe, not excluding residents of other dimensions that currently do not have access to life-supporting planets and are forced to bob on quantum foam until someone pings them on an Ouija board. Neither is it meant to call into question the good character of prunes, plums, purple fruit in general, divestment banks, diaper manufacturers, laxatives, or any other fictional entities or institutions represented in the piece. All characters with the exception of Roald Dahl are fictional and any similarity to real people is entirely co-incidental.

VIDEO & PRESS RELEASE: First ever Joburg surfing team taking to SA Interclub Championships

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SANDTON, JOHANNESBURG: January 22, 2016 — Reflecting shades of the hit Disney movie “Cool Runnings” about a Jamaican bobsled team that made it to the Winter Olympics—for the first time in the history of the sport of surfing, the landlocked city of Johannesburg will “field” a team at the Billabong South African Interclub Surfing Championships, to be held at Seal Point near Cape St. Francis on the 13th and 14th of February.

The team of four men, one woman and a judge will take to the beach and brine under the banner of the Joburg Boardriders Club, the brainchild of Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a “husband, father, friend, creative, pastor, hopeful woodsman, concrete shredder and wannabe big wave surfer.”

“Surfing is our common ground, it’s what connects us—we’re all different in some ways—but it’s amazing, we now get to fulfil this dream. We’re actually sending a team to surf in a national event!” says Gernetzky. Founded just under a year ago, Joburg Boardriders has built up a loyal following in the concrete jungle, recruiting mostly former coastal dwellers who have made the career move inland to “the big smoke”.

The team’s number one seed, Fourways-based plumber Shane Warren, spent eight years campaigning on the World Surf League Qualifying Series circuit and, of all the Joburg Boardriders, could be in contention for a victory. While he never cracked the prestigious Championship Tour, he was a stand-out professional surfer who will show that the Joburg Boardriders mean business on the waves. As a KZN champion, Warren won the prestigious Rip Curl Tubemasters competition in 2002, ahead of Travis Logie, so far one of SA’s most successful world tour pros.

Friends since high school, team members Kevin Trevaskis and Byron Loker—who learned to surf together in the waters of Muizenberg, Cape Town, and work together as project managers for Design Partnership, a leading interior design agency in the retail and hospitality space, based in Sandton—are excited to have made the grade.

For Trevaskis, an accomplished surfer, such an outing has been an ambition of his ever since he “washed-up” to Johannesburg from Durban six years ago and found a new career path. As a former head judge of the World Surf League’s South African chapter, Trevaskis is pleased to be back in competition. “I just want to ride under the curl of the wave and get a long tube ride, my bru,” he says. Byron Loker has been in Johannesburg for the past two years, broadening his horizons and is the author of a surfing-themed collection of short stories, “New Swell“, now prescribed literature in the Ninth Grade in Gauteng and Western Cape. The team is rounded out by Dominic Barnardt, another Cape Town transplant who has established himself as a freelance commercial photographer in Jozi.

The club is bringing current SA Masters women’s champion Tasha Mentasi to St. Francis and she will no doubt prove to be a force to be reckoned with in the ladies division.

Joburg Boardriders has found support from mainstream surf industry brands such as Nixon watches, Carver skateboards, Rip Curl SA clothing, Xcel wetsuits and Spider Surfboards, while “blue collar” supporters in the shape of Imperial Electrical & Plumbing, Bothma Branding Solutions and Fulcrum Flooring have also stumped up sponsorship to get the team to the beach.

Follow #joburgboardriders on all social media, hopefully all the way to the final event! The winning team will host 2017′s championships, which could potentially see a national surfing event held at The Lost City’s Valley of the Waves—another historic first.

The team is available for interviews and photographs. For more information, please contact Nathan Gernetzky, team manager on 083 798 8999 –

Photographs available from Dominic Barnardt on 083 212 3479.

SIDEWALK SURFERS. Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky (front) is leading a team of Johannesburg-based surfers to a national event for the first time ever in the history of the sport.  Photo by Dominic Barnardt.

SIDEWALK SURFERS: Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky (front) is leading a team of Johannesburg-based surfers to a national event for the first time ever in the history of the sport. Photo by Dominic Barnardt.

"Surfing is our common ground, it’s what connects us—we’re all different in some ways—but it’s amazing, we now get to fulfill this dream." The Joburg Boardriders L to R Dominic Barnardt Nathan Gernetzky Byron Loker Kevin Trevaskis Shane Warren Photo by Dominic Barnardt

CITY SLICKERS: “Surfing is our common ground, it’s what connects us—we’re all different in some ways—but it’s amazing, we now get to fulfil this dream [of sending a Joburg-based team to a national surfing event].” The Joburg Boardriders L to R: Dominic Barnardt, Nathan Gernetzky, Byron Loker, Kevin Trevaskis, Shane Warren. Photo by Dominic Barnardt.

Joburg Boardrider Byron Loker drops in to shoot a curl and hang a ten while on assignment for Design Partnership at an Eastern Cape surf break. Don't tell the boss. Photo by Clemance Val.

DAY JOB: Joburg Boardrider Byron Loker drops in to shoot a curl and hang a ten while on assignment for Design Partnership at an Eastern Cape surf break. Don’t tell the boss. Photo by Clemance Val.

Hanging ten in traffic

Shane Warren: Lost and found

Here’s the official press release:

Seal Point to host the 2016 Billabong South African Interclub Championships this weekend

Eighteen teams representing twelve surf clubs from all parts of South Africa will be in action at Seal Point in Cape St Francis this weekend at the fifth annual Billabong SA Interclub Championships and this year history will be made when a club based in Gauteng competes in the tournament for the very first time.

The Joburg Boardriders Club is the brainchild of Braamfontein pastor Nathan Gernetzky and he is excited to be creating surfing history. The team’s number one seed is Fourways-based plumber Shane Warren who spent eight years on the WSL World Qualifying Series Tour and was a top provincial surfer who represented KZN in a number of National Championships. Lifelong friends Kevin Trevaskis and Byron Loker—who learned to surf together in the waters of Muizenberg—fellow Capetonian Dominic Barnardt and SA Masters Champion Tasha Mentasti make up the balance of the team.

The Billabong SA Interclub Championships a national Surfing South Africa tournament which is supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and hosted for the first time by the Seal Point Boardriders Surf Club who won the tournament at Kitchen Windows in Jeffreys Bay last February.

In winning the 2015 Interclub the Seal Point Boardriders earned the right to not only chose their “stadium” for this year contest but were also entitled to enter two teams into the two day clash.

The Eastern Cape is well represented by a total of nine surf clubs. These are made up of 2016 hosts Seal Point Boardriders, last year’s hosts the JBU, the J Bay Boardriders, the 2013 champions, the J Bay Surf Club, the powerful CYOH Surf Club and fellow Port Elizabeth clubs Sunset, the oldest surf club in South Africa, Gravitas Surf Club and the Madibaz Surf Club from NMMU. The Kowie Boardriders Club from Port Alfred will be joining their Eastern Cape counterparts at the event.

2012 hosts, the well organized West Coast Boardriders Club will be joined by fellow Western Cape surf clubs SWOT, Share the Stoke, 9 Miles Surf Club and Maties from Stellenbosch University. The recently established Sisonke Surf Club will make the long journey to Seal Point to compete in the Interclub for the first time

The 2016 Billabong SA Interclub Championships will use the Aloha Cup “tag” format which sees teams of four men and one woman competing against each in a 50 minute heat. All the points scored by each of the surfers count towards the final team score.

Although competition will be fierce in the water, the annual Interclub Championships is an extremely social affair once the heats are over. With this in mind clubs will get together for an informal opening function at Stix in Cape St Francis at 7pm on Friday night. All participants at the event are welcome to enjoy the Billabong sponsored snacks and the live band at this popular venue

Grant Beck, the Billabong Team & Events Manager is looking forward to the tournament. “We are amped to support the 2016 Billabong Interclub Championships. This event offers surf clubs from all parts of South Africa the opportunity to get together with fellow competitors, friends and family. It is great to partner with Surfing South Africa and the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa and we look forward to staying involved in club surfing well into the future.”

Teams will meet at Seal Point at 7.45 am on Saturday for the official briefing and the contest will start at 8.30am.

The heats and the format are available on the Surfing South Africa website

The 2016 Billabong SA Interclub Championships will be fueled by Red Bull.

Surfing South Africa is a member of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the International Surfing Association (ISA). SSA is the recognized governing body for all surf riding in South Africa and is recognized as such by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.

2016 Billabong South African Interclub Championships supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa. Seal Point, Cape St Francis. Saturday & Sunday February 13th & 14th.

FIGHT CLUB: #joburgboardriders Kevin Trevaskis & Byron Loker limber up inland surf team to under training from Jamie Windell of Wellfit Lifestyle at The Bull Ring Fitness Center.

FIGHT CLUB: #Joburgboardriders & Design Partnership project managers Kevin Trevaskis & Byron Loker limber up for the Billabong SA Inter-club Champs under the training of Jamie Windell of Wellfit Lifestyle at The Bull Ring Fight & Fitness Club.

Tim Noakes Joins Paige Nick for the Launch of Her Satirical Novel Death By Carbs at The Book Lounge

Tim Noakes and Paige Nick

The line in the sand – or rather across the centre of the table – had been drawn! Downstairs at The Book Lounge, earlier this month, the edibles were neatly laid out. On one side of the red tape were the Banting-friendly nuts. (One wit suggested off camera that the Banting-friendly nuts were all upstairs filling up the seats with their newly slimmed down derrières …) On the other side the sweet potato pastries and brownies. As always, the Leopards Leap wine flowed generously, but for those who care, no carb-free wine was available …

The event was the launch of the latest book from the pen of the multi-talented author Paige Nick. Death By Carbs is a satirical novel inspired by Tim Noakes’ controversial cookbook The Real Meal Revolution. In the words of Mervyn Sloman, who welcomed an eager crowd to the Book Lounge, “the cover bears a remarkable resemblance …”
Paige NickDeath By CarbsHe described Death By Carbs as: “Marvellous, scary, sick, slightly twisted, terribly funny and extremely smart!”

Nick got the idea for the book after hearing about The Real Meal Revolution everywhere she went. “In the queue at the chemist, at dinner parties … wherever I went somebody was obsessing about this book.” When Nick mentioned Tim Noakes’ name to a friend of hers she sighed in exasperation, saying, “I could just kill him!” Nick replied, “Pick a number and stand in line …” The idea was born of writing a crime spoof, and her creative process kicked into action.

Once the book was completed, Nick “stalked” Noakes, begging for his private email address from friends and acquaintances. She sent him messages on five or six different platforms, and then spammed him. She finally got him on the phone and said, “I’ve written a book about you and I want this book to go out into the world with good karma. I really want your blessing.”

“Did you really say karma!?” Sloman interrupted. “I did!” said Nick. Noakes picked up the story, saying, “I told her I would never stand in your way. Go … publish your book.” Nick advised Noakes he might want to read it first, “Seeing as you die on the first page …”

At that stage the manuscript’s working title was Who Killed Tim Noakes?. “It came at rather a difficult time in my life,” said the professor, who read it regardless. “I thought she’s put so much effort into it and it’s such a good book that I’m not going to stand in her way. But at the time I was feeling fragile. I’m less fragile now. I’m very happy to support this book because it introduces Banting to even more people.”Tim Noakes, Paige Nick and Mervyn Sloman

While doing her research for this book, Nick discovered a rich vein of gold on Facebook, where some Banting support groups have as many as 140 000 members, some of which are “moer of an active”. She described them as being eternally online. “I do not know when they eat! I do not know when they sleep!”

Much of the interactions are positive, folk sharing recipes and encouraging each others’ weight loss, but much is mean-spirited fighting which is like an addictive soap opera. Nick described the hilarious comment thread where a member of the group confessed to falling off the wagon by having had a Whopper Burger. She proceeded to describe the misery of her bowels and was harangued mercilessly – not for oversharing but for forgetting that she was part of the “Banting for Life” group. She was warned by one of the more self-righteous compadres that this was not a Banting-for-when-you-feel-like-it group!

On a more serious note, Noakes spoke about the vested interests of commercial enterprises that keep people eating in an unhealthy manner and consuming medications to remedy this. He recalled a visit to clinic at Delft where many people have been treated for high blood pressure for many years. They have not, however, received any kind of nutritional counselling that would facilitate their recovery. Noakes is adamant about one thing: “I just want people to know the truth,” he said. “There has been a massive cover up.”

Those who attended the event engaged in a vigorous question and answer session with Nick and Noakes. They queued patiently afterwards, despite the heat, waiting for the celebrity duo to sign their copies of Death By Carbs and The Real Meal Revolution.


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Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) live tweeted the event using #livebooks:



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"Please Never Submit Again." - Bestselling Author Gareth Crocker Shares His Experience of the Publishing World in Ka-Boom

Ka-BoomKa-Boom, the latest book by Gareth Crocker, is the perfect Christmas gift: fast-paced, punchy and funny.

In the book, Crocker describes his early years as a promising soccer player and poet, his first job – in the criminal underworld – the time he decided to run the Comrades, the time he decided to try out for the Olympics, and, ultimately, how he became the bestselling author of five books, having sold more than three million copies worldwide.

Two of Crocker’s novels, Finding Jack and Never Let Go, are being adapted for films in Hollywood.

In this excerpt from Ka-Boom, Crocker shares his experience of trying to find a publisher, during which time he amassed a chest full of rejection letters along the lines of: “Please never submit again.”

Gareth Crocker

Read the extract:

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‘The only horror here … is your writing.’

So here, in brief, is my view of the modern book-publishing world.

To begin with, let’s look at the money (he writes, with a straight face). The reality is that if you plan to live on something even vaguely more substantial than tree bark and urine, you pretty much have to land an international publishing deal. Even then 99 out of 100 authors still can’t make a decent living out of their books. Those who claim they can are, in fact, often retired, boosted by a plump inheritance, lying their pants off or supported by a kind and hard-working spouse. Either that or they rob banks in their spare time. Part of the problem is that the buying public’s attention span has dwindled alarmingly over the past decade. This is further exacerbated by the increasing competition for people’s leisure time which, itself, is shrinking. The other difficulty is that, unlike at the cinema, say, where a moviegoer has maybe a dozen films to choose from, a large bookstore presents a buyer with 78-quadrillion titles. I maintain that it is an absolute miracle for a stranger to emerge from a bookstore clutching your novel in his or her mitts. It’s a wonder of such proportions that it feels almost biblical. There are very few industries where one has to compete not only against a sea of current competitors but against an ocean of rivals from around the world … many of whom have been dead for decades. It’s like running a race against every professional athlete in the history of the sport. And let’s not even get into the current e-book ‘pirating’ culture that is bayoneting the already gravely wounded and malnourished writer (feel free to cue the violins at any point).

After that cheery start it’s important to note that the South African book market is about as big as a postage stamp on a rhinoceros’s arse. Which may tempt you to try and land an international publisher. However this, as you now know, is far easier said than done. Here are several … shall we euphemistically say ‘hurdles’ … that need to be overcome. For the sake of brevity, I shall list only a handful of the key ones:

    1. Large international publishers (based mainly in London and New York) receive *47.356-trillion zillion (*audited figure) book submissions a day.


    2. Large international publishers already have full lists of their own authors and, in many cases, don’t have the capacity or the desire to take on new writers.


    3. Large international publishers have to invest heavily in new writers, given that it takes many years to build a writer’s name and reputation. So they have to be absolutely blown away by an unpublished author just to consider him or her.


    4. Large international publishers often take a dim view of authors living in the colonies and, subconsciously or not, prejudge writing that does not come out of the more cosmopolitan cities.


    5. Large international publishers do not accept ‘unsolicited manuscripts’. Which means that any manuscripts you send them … will never be opened at all.

Ah, right. So that’s quite a challenge then. After all, it’s unlikely that one of these publishing behemoths will offer you a multibook publishing deal if they have not, in fact, read your work.

So how then does one get published in this mystical world of closed doors and near-impossible odds?

Well, unfortunately, you need to find a reputable agent to represent you.

Agents are the publishing world’s ‘filtering system’. Simply put, they sort the wheat from the chaff. It’s actually rather brilliant. Given that the vast majority of reputable agents operate purely on a commission basis, this means that they will only take on writers who they feel have an actual shot of being published. In other words, their livelihood depends on their ability to spot and nurture talent.

The publishers then sit back and wait for these agents to find the next Patterson, Grisham and Crocker (ahem).

Which means that you, as the lowly writer, have no choice but to delve into the often slimy back alleys of literary agents. That sounds rather gross and sordid, which is quite right (more on this subject, anon).

Of course, I didn’t know this when I submitted Malevolence to every publisher on the planet at great financial and emotional cost. When I found out that I needed an agent to get my foot in the door, I was forced to delve even deeper into my already hefty student loan to print out and dispatch more copies. (These days, of course, most agents are content to receive email submissions. Hmph.)

You can’t imagine how ruinously expensive it was. Especially if you were as young and poor as I happened to be. Paper is very heavy. Posting or couriering off a 500-page, double-spaced manuscript is a little like sending a chair halfway around the world. You get charged a small fortune for it.

In the months and years that followed, whole forests would be stripped and laid bare so that rejection slips could be printed and posted to me (at my own cost, no less, as agents insist that you include a fully paid-for self-addressed return envelope with your manuscript so that you can also bear the financial burden of being stabbed in the heart). In the beginning I kept a file of my failure. But then, when the file got too heavy and threatened to collapse my writing desk, I upgraded to a large chest. The sort that you would find in the land of Narnia. This was better because I could close the lid and try not to think about how awful I was. And then, one day, the chest lid would no longer close.

A smarter person would have given up at this point. But not me. Oh no. I was going to ride the wheels off this train. Fortunately, the rejection notes themselves were often quite kind and supportive which would lift my spirits to no end. Here are extracts from some of the more memorable ones (I actually have them framed in my writing studio):

    – ‘Please never submit again.’
    – ‘I can’t work out if this is a horror novel or a parody of one. Either way, it’s woeful.’
    – ‘I’ve never seen so many clichés assembled together in one story. Reading your manuscript was indeed a dark and stormy night.’
    – ‘The only horror here is your writing.’
    – ‘No. God no.’

And then you would pick up a writer’s magazine where some famous author would relate his or her story of how they first became published.

‘So I decided to write my first book in 2004. I was convinced nobody would like it and so I very nearly never submitted it. But thankfully I did and immediately found an agent. He loved the book so much he set up a publishing auction and I was offered $43-billion by a dozen international publishers that very week. I really am so blessed.’

Let’s see how blessed you are when I ram my laptop down your throat.

The reality, of course, is that very few writers have an overnight ‘rags to riches’ story. It almost never happens.

Anyway, after every agent and his dog had tossed me out, I finally had to concede that all was perhaps not perfect with Malevolence. And so, I wrote another horror de force – The Pumpkin Hour. No, it wasn’t a book for children. It was a very serious and very scary adult novel. And another 17 834 rejection slips came flapping into my mailbox, not unlike that scene with the envelopes and the owls in Harry Potter.

Then came another literary weapon of mass destruction, In the Eyes of a Child.

Surely this was the one? I had grown so much as a writer. I couldn’t imagine this gem not being accepted. Well, whether I could imagine it or not, the rejection slips kept flooding in.

At this point I was considering opening up a recycling plant. Lord knows I could pulp myself into some real money.

And then, at my lowest ebb, the PR company I was working for (my day job) was kind enough to send me to an international PR Convention in Chicago. If I’m honest I only went to about three presentations and spent the rest of my time at Andy’s Jazz Club sipping Apple Martinis with my mate, Mitch Ramsay. Afterwards, however, I had a few days to spare so I decided to do the touristy thing and head out to Washington.

Top of my list was a visit to the Vietnam Wall.

While I was standing there, my eyes skimming over the names of the 60 000 or so US soldiers who perished in the Vietnam War, a man pulled up beside me. He was dressed in full military regalia. He remained perfectly still for a while before reaching into his jacket and pulling out a dog harness which he placed against the wall.

And then he started to cry.

I waited a few minutes until he had regained a measure of composure before turning to him. ‘I’m so sorry to intrude,’ I began (clearly not sorry at all), ‘but I have to ask you … why’ve you placed a dog harness against the wall?’

The former soldier then told me the heartbreaking story of the Vietnam war dogs and how some 4000 canine soldiers were sent over to help American soldiers in the war (by locating enemy patrols, finding bombs, sniffing out booby traps and so on). His eyes moistened again as he explained that, at the end of the war and due to the cost of the withdrawal, the US government declared the dogs ‘Surplus Military Equipment’ and they were ordered to be left behind together with the old tents and prefab buildings.

‘Our dogs saved the lives of at least 10 000 US soldiers, and dog handlers like myself were forced to abandon them. I had a gun pointed at me on the day I was bundled into a helicopter for the long trip home. It’s been over 30 years and I’ve never stopped thinking of my dog, Shadow. He saved my life – and the lives of my platoon – on at least three occasions. If it weren’t for him, my name would be on this wall.’

And in that moment, I knew what my next novel would be about. No more cheesy horrors for me. I would write a book that would a shine a light on this horrific injustice. It would tell the story of one brave soldier who refuses to abandon his dog and what he does to try and save him. Fiction told against a nonfiction backdrop.

I started writing the book that night in my hotel room. A year and a half later, Leaving Jack was completed. And this time when Kerry emerged with the manuscript in her arms, she was crying.

‘It’s beautiful, Ga,’ she whispered. ‘Absolutely beautiful.’

And just like that I knew my days of being rejected were numbered. My long apprenticeship would soon be over.

Or so I dared to believe.

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The 10 Biggest Non-Fiction Book Launches of 2015


As we wind down to the end of 2015 we look back at the bookish events that got people talking this year.

Here are the non-fiction launches that Books LIVE readers were most excited about in 2015, according to our web analytics (in no particular order):

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Ferial Haffajee and Xolela MangcuWhat If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Ferial Haffajee and Xolela Mangcu Engage in a Fiery Debate at the Launch of What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

With a provocative title like this, and an interviewer as fiery as Mangcu, this discussion hosted by The Book Lounge in Cape Town was never going to be boring. Haffajee asked poignant questions, offered insightful answers and stressed: “I don’t think the whiteness debate, or the white supremacy debate, is going to give us answers to push forward into better development.”

ZapiroRhodes RageZapiro Discusses His Favourite Cartoons (And One He Regrets) at the Launch of Rhodes Rage

The launch of Zapiro’s latest annual at St Mary’s School in Waverley, Johannesburg took readers on a visual tour of his 2015 cartoons, highlighting the newsmakers of the past year. And boy, were there many!

From loadshedding to Zuma’s State of the Nation Address, the country once again succeeded in providing the political cartoonist with rich, almost unbelievable inspiration for his world-renowned work.

Khaya DlangaTo Quote MyselfKhaya Dlanga Tells Emma Sadleir About “The Woman Who Didn’t Know Her Place” at the Launch of To Quote Myself

Two of the country’s biggest voices in social media teamed up to launch Dlanga’s memoir at Glenshiel, a grand historical house in Johannesburg.

Dlanga shared his life story as a way of introducing readers to what would become one of the most shoplifted books of the year.

Phillippa Cheifitz, Kath Megaw and Daisy JonesReal Food - Healthy, Happy ChildrenA Low-Carb Solution for the Whole Family: Kath Megaw’s Real Food – Healthy, Happy Children

South Africa’s leading paediatrician wrote this cookbook with the entire family in mind, offering basic principles and delicious recipes to see to it that you are able to raise healthy, happy children.

The main ingredient in her diet? Love. Co-authors Daisy Jones and Phillippa Cheifitz joined her at Tjing Tjing Torii in Cape Town for the launch of this book.

SuzelleDIYSuzelleDIYHigh Buns and Suzelfies – A Warm Welcome for Suzelle at the Joburg Signing of SuzelleDIY: The Book

YouTube sensation and DIY guru Suzelle’s first book launch was anything but ordinary, with little girls dressed in her likeness and a long queue of avid fans cheering from the moment she stepped into Exclusive Books Rosebank.

Stevel Mark and Kojo BaffoeThe Refined PlayerA Sophisticated Celebration for the Launch of BlackBird Books and its First Title, The Refined Player by Stevel Marc

2015 saw the launch of a new Jacana imprint, BlackBird Books, with Jamaican-born entrepreneur, international model and actor Marc’s memoir as it’s first title. A jam-packed Exclusive Books Rosebank celebrated his story, and the beginning of this hotly-anticipated imprint’s story, in style.

Nia Magoulianiti-McGregor and Moeletsi Mbeki of KMMRHow to Marry a Politician and SurviveMichelle Obama’s Arms, Khanyi Mbau’s Power and Jacob Zuma’s Wives: How to Marry a Politician and Survive Launched at Love Books

Pamela Nomvete joined Nia Magoulianiti-McGregor in conversation at Love Books in Johannesburg to launch this hillarious, tongue-in-cheek “self-help” book from KKMR.

“It’s a bit of a celebration of South African politicians, and us who complain about them and yet enjoy the quirkiness around them. So it’s more than just a how-to guide,” the author explained.

Marianne Thamme, Craig Bartholomew Strydom and Stephen SegermanSugar ManUnearthing the Mystery of Rodriguez – Craig Bartholomew Strydom and Stephen Segerman Launch Sugar Man

The story behind the Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man was launched with Marianne Thamm at La Parada in Cape Town’s trendiest street. The authors shared their remarkable story and explained why a book was called for: the movie covered two years of their lives, but the book covers 72 years, the age Rodriguez is now. “The movie takes 83 minutes. The book takes as long as it does for you to read it.”

Nechama BrodieThe Cape Town BookHistory from a Different Angle: Nechama Brodie Commandeers a Red Bus to Launch The Cape Town Book

The streets of Cape Town were the only suitable setting for the launch of a book about the story behind these streets. Brodie took over as the Red City Sightseeing Bus tour guide to show readers the various spaces she wrote about in her latest book – a biography of the Mother City.
Eusebius McKaiserRun Racist Run“Racism is a Big Challenge; It’s Even Bigger than We Think” – Eusebius McKaiser Launches Run Racist Run

Another provocative title made for another fiery book launch. McKaiser is fast becoming on of the most vocal South African writers on topics like race relations and current events. Exclusive Books Rosebank was packed to the rafters for his conversation with fellow political trendsetter Redi Tlhabi, and all copies of the book were sold out.

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A Day in the Life of a Bread Company CEO: An Excerpt from Paige Nick's Banting Satire, Death By Carbs

Facebook Reacts to the Murder of Tim Noakes: An Excerpt from Paige Nick’s Wickedly Funny Novel, Death By Carbs

Death By CarbsWhat happens if you’re the MD of a bread company during the Banting craze? Read an excerpt from Death By Carbs, Paige Nick’s new satire on low-carb culture.

Death By Carbs is a great stocking stuffer for Tim Noakes fans or anti-Banters since – spoiler alert! – the Prof is murdered on page one.

The real-life Noakes, however, says Death By Carbs is an excellent read, and even gave it a cover shout: “I was breathless right until the end.”

Nick is a columnist, award-winning advertising copywriter, and author of the critically acclaimed novels, A Million Miles from Normal (Penguin, 2010) and This Way Up (Penguin, 2011). She is also one third of Helena S Paige, together with Sarah Lotz and Helen Moffett, a threesome of authors with a series of choose-your-own-adventure erotic novels, now out in 21 countries. Pens Behaving Badly (Kwela, 2015), a collection of her Sunday Times columns and the wild letters they’ve inspired, came out earlier this year.

Read the Death By Carbs excerpt, Part 2 of our series (See Part 1 here!):

Wednesday 7:38am

Not a day went by that Trevor didn’t wish he’d gone into bacon. People would always like bacon, wouldn’t they? Most of them, anyway. Not the Jews and Muslims of course, although some of them seemed to be coming around to it.

Earlier that morning, Trevor had considered the road paint business; people would always need road paint. Well, as long as there were roads. And before that, in the changing room at the gym, he’d eagerly considered the towel business (although he would definitely make them bigger, he thought – everybody made towels too small these days). There was also the running shoe business, and at this point, even the showerhead business seemed attractive. Surely those industries would be less stressful than the one he was in right now? Hell, working as head of public relations at Eskom would be less stressful.

It wasn’t even eight am yet, and Trevor had already weighed up at least ten different career alternatives to being the Managing Director of a company that manufactured bread, baked goods and snacks.

It was sheer dumb luck that he’d managed to find his way into a dying industry. What an idiot. These days, carbs were the enemy. Bread sales had taken a serious beating as a result, and were at an all-time low. When Trevor had first started out as VP of sales at SnackCorp, seven years earlier, it had been the heyday of bread. Carbs were king. They’d all cruised to some exotic destination for their annual corporate bosberaad to play golf and pat each other on the back. Company life was a year-round, all-you-could-eat buffet of prawns, strippers, congratulations, narcissism and booze. And carbs. Truckloads of carbs.

But not anymore. Sales figures had plummeted, stocks had hit rock bottom, and the board was tightening belts left, right and centre. And now, three mass retrenchments later, they were still running scared and pointing fingers. Unless Trevor came up with something fast, it looked like they were going to use him as the next scapegoat. Trim the fat (ironically), lose the dead weight. And then what? Who in South Africa was going to hire a short, short-sighted, slightly overweight, fifty-six-year-old white man?

Trevor needed this job; he had his ex-wife’s maintenance to cover. And what about his Merc, and the penthouse? Trevor scratched at his balding scalp, then self-consciously tried to rearrange the wisps of hair that remained. It didn’t help that SnackCorp had a forty-nine per cent shareholding in the Central Soda Company. Sugar and carbs: just great. He’d backed the only two lame donkeys in a horse race. Why hadn’t he gone into the xylitol business instead? Then life would be sweet. But he had a plan, and he felt a warm surge of hope as he considered it. If all went well, an upturn was imminent.


* * * * *

About the book

When someone kills dieting guru Professor Tim Noakes, Detective Bennie September has more suspects than solutions.

Banting culture, otherwise known as the HFLC lifestyle (high fat, low carb), spearheaded by Professor Tim Noakes, has exploded in South Africa.

The Real Meal Revolution (Quivertree, 2013), has sold more than 200 000 copies and is still picking up speed. Noakes is constantly in the news for his controversial, game-changing theories. His new book on infant nutrition has just launched as an instant bestseller, and The Real Meal Revolution has gone global, launching in the UK in August.

In this hilarious novel, Paige Nick prods and pokes at both the fans and the detractors of South Africa’s biggest dieting craze. So whatever side of the debate you fall on, you’ll find something to laugh at.

With more twists and turns than a koeksister, this laugh-out-loud novel will have you spurting bulletproof coffee out your nose.

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