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Alert! The programme for this year’s @OpenBookFest has been revealed! Click here to see it:

Podcast: Donna Bryson Chats to Michele Magwood about It's a Black/White Thing

It's a Black/White ThingMichele Magwood spoke with Donna Bryson, author of It’s a Black/White Thing, on her TM LIVE Book Show.

Bryson is an American journalist who lived and worked in South Africa between 1993 and 1996. She returned in 2008 curious about how South Africa had changed since she covered the country’s democratic transition. She found the events at the University of the Free State captured her attention particularly at that time. She views the university as a kind of microcosm of South Africa because there is a broad diversity of races, traditions and cultures that interact there. She says this was the spark for the book It’s a Black/White Thing.

In this interview, Bryson speaks about the events and research that fed into and came out of this book. She focuses on how young people experience and respond to racism at University of the Free State.

Listen to the podcast:


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Cobra Author Deon Meyer: "I Don't Believe in Inspiration as Much as Perspiration"

CobraJennifer Sanasie of News24 recently interviewed Deon Meyer about his latest offering, Cobra.

When asked about the inspiration for this suspenseful crime novel Meyer says: “I don’t believe in inspiration as much as perspiration,” and explains, “if you have to wait around for inspiration you will never get a novel done.” He goes on to say that hard work, thorough research and perseverance “becomes a way of life for all authors”.

Watch the video for more on writing, Cobra and the beloved Meyer-protagonist, Benny Griessel:

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Geloof anderkant Sondag deur Julian Müller by Graffiti Lynnwood Bridge bekendgestel


Geloof anderkant SondagUit die pen van Julian Muller, bekwame teoloog en professor aan die Universiteit van Pretoria, kom sy nuwe boek, Geloof anderkant Sondag. In hierdie boek stel Müller sy eie geloofsreis oop vir kritiek met sy idees oor tradisie en vernuwing en die spanning tussen hierdie twee aspekte.

Müller skryf vanuit die oogpunt dat die ‘geloofstaal’ van vandag in ’n proses van verandering is. Mense is besig om weg te beweeg van tradisionele, vaste kerklike reëls, waar Geloof anderkant Sondag ruimte maak vir die wat twyfel, maar nog steeds gelowig is. Diegene wat nie meer by die kerk aanklank vind nie sal met belangstelling hierdie boek wil lees.

“Dit is nie geloof anderkant die kerk nie,” het Müller duidelik beklemtoon tydens die bekendstelling by die Graffiti boekwinkel in Pretoria. Hy maak dus ’n onderskeid tussen geloof na Sondag en dit wat hy ‘Sondag geloof’ noem.

Tydens sy gesprek met Wilhelm Jordaan het hy meer uitgebrei oor sy spesifieke idees. Vir hom is dit die spanning tussen tradisie en vernuwing wat dit so opwindend maak. “Om te probeer beweeg in daardie land of gebied van tussen die een of die ander. Daar is ’n behoefte aan iets nuuts en iets anders, maar ook ’n behoefte aan waardering vir dit wat ons het,” het Müller gesê. Hy sê verder dat die manier hoe hy die boek geskryf het die leser kan laat voel dat hy nie wil terugval na die ‘ou-taal’ nie. Hy het egter beklemtoon dat hy steeds groot waardering daarvoor het.

Müller het genoem dat daar ’n mengsel van emosies betrokke is by die publisering van ’n boek. Aan die eenkant is mens dankbaar, en aan die anderkant dood benoud. “Dit is soos om jou huis in die mark te sit en die agent besluit hulle gaan daarvan ’n skouhuis maak. Al jou kosbare persoonlike goedjies word oopgestel aan al hierdie oë, kritiek, en mense wat opmerkings maak.”

Müller se vorige twee boeke, Opstanding en Om te mag twyfel, sit ook sy idees voort en kan amper as trilogie saam met Geloof anderkant Sondag gelees word. “Ek is so bly oor die woord wat jy gebruik het: trilogie. Baie van die sake is hier en daar aangeraak in die verskillende boeke,” het Müller gesê in reaksie op Jordaan se voorstel dat dit so beskou kan word.

Sy punt was egter dat daar baie beweging plaasvind in die samelewing se kerklike en godsdienstige verstaan. En dit is ook Müller se oortuiging: “Dit is al wat ek met hierdie boek probeer doen het, nie om antwoorde te gee nie, selfs nie om antwoorde te soek nie, maar net om ruimte te maak vir hierdie nuwe alternatiewe verhaal wat aan die ontvou is,” het hy ten slotte gesê.

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Riaan Engelbrecht Reviews Really, Don't Panic! by Alan Knott-Craig Junior

Really, Don't Panic!Verdict: carrot

But there is no reason to panic and to flee to other countries.

This is the message by Alan Knott-Craig, who is is back with a book to remind South Africans to ignore the naysayers, to hold the faith and focus on what makes South Africa a great country to live in.

It is a book of positive message by South Africans for South Africans.

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Video: Black Like You Author Herman Mashaba Talks About His Plight to the Top

Black Like YouBlack Like Me founder and author of Black Like You, Herman Mashaba, speaks to filmmaker Adrian Steirn about his grit and determination in rising above his circumstances, for the 21 Icons South Africa project. His continued resolve to help other people has made this entrepreneur a household name in South Africa.

Mashaba tells the story of his constant struggle to survive. When the university he was attending closed down, Mashaba had to make a plan. He started selling products from the boot of his car.

His liberation cannot be severed from the liberation of his people:

“I think community is me; it’s all of us … It’s not something you can divorce yourself from – that my existence is totally dependent on other people around me.”

Watch the video:
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Submissions Now Open for Issue 13 of Itch


Online creative journal Itch has put out a call for entries for its 13th issue, and has also announced the appointment of a new editor.

London-based writer and filmmaker Elan Gamaker has taken over the reins of the journal, which is published under the auspices of the School of Literature, Language and Media at the University of the Witwatersrand. Gamaker says under his leadership Itch will be turning its focus outward. “While our base remains South Africa, we encourage writers and visual artists from around the world to contribute to what is rapidly becoming the pre-eminent publication of its kind in Africa,” he says.

“While our base remains South Africa, we encourage writers and visual artists from around the world to contribute to what is rapidly becoming the pre-eminent publication of its kind in Africa.

“This being said, it is important to us that we maintain our financial independence and editorial integrity. This is why, in spite of recent changes, we exist entirely thanks to the contributions of our readers.”

The theme for Itch 13 is “Detection”, and those interested have until 1 September (not 25 August as is stated in the press release below) to submit their writing, non-fiction, poetry or visual art.

detection |dɪˈtɛkʃ(ə)n| {noun} the action or process of identifying the presence of something concealed

French philosopher Jean-Pierre Faye once wrote: “Every society emerges in its own eyes by giving the narrative its violence.” I ask: what is that narrative? And what is the violence? Perhaps it resides in the fact that in many ways we live in an unavoidable state of concealment: a domestic and vernacular world of secrets and half-truths, of suspicions nurtured and admissions withheld.

The idea of detection and its associated terms – investigations, clues, concealment, covering, uncovering – is one that has always fascinated us. It is subject of perhaps the most successful literary genre of all, and a key aspect of all our relationships, which derive their meaning from trust. It seems innately human, this desire to get to the heart of the matter, to discover as much as possible, to assume the deception and to resume its unearthing.

And now the nature of something concealed – in our post-Snowden world – becomes ever more elusive. Do we have the right to conceal; is there any privacy left? Have we all become private – and public – detectives?

Press release

itch 13 Open for Submissions by Books LIVE

Image courtesy of Itch on Facebook