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The 15 Best Local Book Covers of 2014: Do you agree with our selection? fb.me/1Wv6i6zjB

The History of SA Crime Writing, Incl. James McClure, Alexander McCall Smith and Deon Meyer

Michael Stanley, the pen name of writing duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, has written an extensive article tracing the history of South African crime writing.

CobraDeadly HarvestThe Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café

 
Stanley cites the success of Alexander McCall Smith, whose latest novel is The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café, saying: “Surely it’s the strong sense of place and culture, as well as the good feelings generated by a simpler and more predictable world, that has made The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency an international best seller.”

He then mentions James McClure, who wrote a series of detective novels in the 1970s and 80s, featuring Lieutenant Tromp Kramer and his assistant, Bantu Detective Sergeant Mickey Zondi whose relationship did much to “illustrate and denigrate apartheid”. McClure’s first novel, The Steam Pig, won the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger in 1971 (an award Lauren Beukes won last year for The Shining Girls).

It was 25 years later that Deon Meyer took up McClure’s challenge and used crime fiction set in the post-apartheid era to illustrate contemporary South Africa. His first book in English – Dead Before Dying – came out in 1999. He writes in Afrikaans, and more than 10 years ago in an interview, he lamented the isolation of writing in a neglected genre and a parochial language. But since then, he’s been translated into more than 20 languages and been joined by a host of fine writers exploring South African culture through the medium of crime fiction: Andrew Brown, Joanne Hichens, Richard Kunzman, Sarah Lotz, Jassy Mackenzie, Sifiso Mzobe, Mike Nicol, Margie Orford, Roger Smith, and others.

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PEN condemns savage attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo

SA PEN, English PEN, PEN International, French PEN, PEN Lebanon, PEN Turkey and PEN American Center condemn the unprecedented attack on the office of the French publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday (08/01/2014) in which 12 people died and seven were injured.

This is not the first time that journalists, editors, writers, cartoonists and translators have been targeted for expressing opinions that may offend, outrage or shock sections of society. But there has never been an assault on such a scale in Europe. There can be no justification for using violence to silence or intimidate those who speak out, no matter how offensive their views.

In the face of such violence, it is incumbent on all governments and religious leaders to strengthen their commitment to press freedom and to safeguard freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. This attack must be investigated promptly and impartially in accordance with international standards and the perpetrators brought to justice.

Random House Struik-Approved Non-fiction Short Course with Mike Nicol

Random House Struik and Get Smarter are offering a 16-week online short course in non-fiction writing, instructed by accomplished author Mike Nicol.

Of Cops and RobbersBlack HeartKiller CountryPayback

 
The course is designed for either aspiring or current writers and consists of 12 modules, covering research, first-person narration, character, description, dialogue and preparing for publication.

By the end of the course, you will have completed a compelling 10-page non-fiction story – an autobiography, memoir, biography, travel adventure, or even historical event. The course includes 12 weeks of teaching and a 4-week writing interval, during which you will work on your story. Network with fellow writers, share work, contacts and ideas, and review one another’s pieces as part of your own writing process. At the end of the course, receive the opportunity to submit your manuscript for consideration to be published under Random House Struik’s eKhaya imprint.

Course Details

  • Start date: 7 May 2015
  • Registrations close: 30 April 2015
  • Duration: 16 weeks online, 7 hours per week
  • Course instructor: Mike Nicol
  • Course consultant: Nomfundo Chirwa (enrolments@getsmarter.co.za, 021 447 7565)
  • Cost: R10,500 (Incl. VAT)
  • More information: Get Smarter

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Presenting Mark Winkler's New Novel Wasted: A Pop Culture Crime and Punishment Set in Cape Town

WastedComing in February from Kwela Books, Mark Winkler’s second novel, Wasted:

Nathan Lucius has a problem. Every time he thinks he’s got life by the scruff of the neck it just wriggles free. There are so many rules. So many things that should be said and done to keep everyone happy. And no one is happy.

But Nathan is a problem solver. And if he just tries hard enough, he will maybe, somehow, make someone, just one person happy.

And then his friend Madge is diagnosed with cancer. She is dying. And she wants him to help her end it all.

Wasted is a pop culture Crime and Punishment set in a dark and twisted version of Cape Town – a novel that takes the reader into the very heart of what it is to be human.

About the author

Mark Winkler grew up in what is now Mpumalanga, and was educated at St Alban’s College in Pretoria and Rhodes University, Grahamstown. He has spent most of his working life in the advertising industry in Cape Town, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. His first novel, An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything), was published in early 2013. He is currently creative director at a leading Cape Town advertising agency.

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Alan Knott-Craig Jnr Chats About Project Isizwe and its Plans to Roll out Free Wi-Fi in SA

Really, Don't Panic!Moenie stres nie!At Africa Com recently, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr chatted about his non-profit organisation called Project Isizwe, which is working with government to roll out free Wi-Fi around South Africa.

Knott-Craig, the author of Really, Don’t Panic!, a book that focuses on the positives that come with living in South Africa, says Project Isizwe focuses on lower income communities, adding that over 50 percent of households in South African townships have access to Wi-Fi enabled smartphones:

“We considered the four factors you need to consider when you’re building a telco: capex, sites, labour and bandwidth. We asked ourselves how we were going to drop those costs until we got to a point where a cost per gig was something that could be paid for by the government on behalf of consumers.”

Watch a video about the project:

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io9 Selects Lauren Beukes' Broken Monsters as One of The Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books Of 2014

Broken MonstersThe daily science and culture online publication io9 recently released a list of the 22 best science fiction and fantasy books of 2014, which includes “a number of brilliant category-defying books”.

Lauren Beukes, with her latest novel Broken Monsters, joins the likes of William Gibson, Jeff Vandermeer, Andy Weir, David Mitchell and Lev Grossman on the list.

2014 was a superb year for Beukes, whose Broken Monsters received numerous awards as well as a Twitter shout-out from legendary horror author Stephen King: “Scary as hell and hypnotic. I couldn’t put it down. Next month. I’d grab it, if I were you.”

Read the article:

Like her previous novel, The Shining Girls, this is a supernatural thriller that’s as much about the lives of cities as it is about a murderer and his victims. This time around, she tells a story of present-day Detroit, and her macabre story of a killer tinged with supernatural elements becomes an examination of fame and social media — and what the spotlight of notoriety does to people.

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