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Applications for ANFASA Grant Scheme for Authors now open

ANFASA, the Academic and Non-Fiction Authors’ Association of South Africa, announces the next round of the grant scheme to benefit authors of academic and general non-fiction works

What is a “general non-fiction work”? Just as an example, it could be a biography or an autobiography; a history of a town or a region or a religion; a book about music or sport or theatre; a political or social analysis; an account of everyday life in a township; a book about nursing, or cooking, or fashion, or fishes, or traditional medicines, or cars – those are just a few of the many topics supported by the ANFASA grant scheme in the past.

If you are currently working on a scholarly or a general non-fiction work, you are eligible to apply. However, although we accept applications from authors whether or not they are ANFASA members, only ANFASA members may actually receive an award. The grants are intended to provide a sum of around R20 000 to R25 000 to be used for an author to “buy time” – to take leave, for instance, and devote herself or himself to writing; or to travel in order to conduct research. The grants are for research and writing and do not cover the cost of publishing the manuscript.

An independent committee will assess the applications and select the most deserving. The selection committee aims to offer awards to a wide-ranging group of authors and subjects, and the selection process will respect the need to treat new and experienced authors equally; to bear in mind authors writing in rural as well as urban locations; and to consider authors at all levels of education from the untutored to the degreed. The ANFASA grant scheme especially encourages writing by new authors. Applications for books written in all the official languages will be equally considered.

Go to http://www.bursaries2017.co.za/general-bursaries-south-africa/anfasa-bursary-grant-scheme/ to apply online or send an e-mail to info@anfasa.org.za. The closing date for applications is 30 September, and the successful applications will be announced in December.

Slot van die dag en Afskeid van Europa: twee van Karel Schoeman se laaste drie boeke

Slot van die dag: Gedagtes is die skrywer se mymeringe oor ouderdom en die einde van die lewe, saam met verspreide herinnerings van ’n algemene aard, om ’n ryk geskakeerde beeld te verskaf van ’n skrywerslewe van byna tagtig jaar. Die reeks outobiografiese boeke wat met ’n Duitser aan die Kaap, Merksteen en Die laaste Afrikaanse boek begin het, word hiermee afgesluit.

Dit is ‘n baie persoonlike boek oor ouderdom, die skryfproses en selfbeskikking met kommentaar op oud word en wees, met inbegrip van praktiese wenke, en heelwat inligting oor die moontlike en waarskynlike einde van die lewe. Die element van afskeid en gelatenheid is deurlopend. Die ouderdom is teenswoordig die vernaamste onderwerp van sy oorpeinsing, en die vernaamste element in sy daagliks ervarings.

Die verwysings en aanhalings is treffend en spreek van iemand wat sy leeswêreld ook sy leefwêreld maak. Ten slotte verduidelik die skrywer sy bevrydende besluit oor selfdood.

In Afskeid van Europa lewer Karel Schoeman verslag van sy laaste twee besoeke aan Nederland, Duitsland en Oostenryk gedurende die herfs van 2011 en 2013.

Dit is veral die stede Amsterdam, Berlyn, Dresden, Salzburg en Wene wat aandag kry en ook met Schoeman se vermoë om mense en plekke wat hy waarneem, in woorde tot gestalte te bring. By dit alles is daar ’n ondertoon van heimwee en gelatenheid omdat die skrywer voortdurend bewus is daarvan dat dit werklik sy laaste besoeke is en hy dikwels aan sy ouderdom herinner word: “‘Elderly,’ lees ek op my vliegkaartjie, ‘can’t walk long distance can sit gate close 15 minutes prior to departure.’ Dit is ék.”

Maar afgesien van die element van afskeid, is dit Schoeman se belesenheid en sy vermoë om hede en verlede te skakel wat opval en hierdie boek ’n ryk leeservaring maak. Nie alleen die politieke geskiedenis nie, maar ook die verhale van die gewone mens soos dit in die letterkunde uitgebeeld is, word in verband gebring met die strate, parke, kerke en paleise van die groot stede wat hy besoek. Onvermydelik skryf hy oor die twee wêreldoorloë se impak op mens en omgewing, maar ook die vasberade inisiatiewe om te restoureer en te herstel in stede soos Berlyn en Dresden. Die hede met sy massatoerisme, die gewonde daaglikse gang van sake en veral ook die tipiese geregte van die plekke wat hy besoek, verseker dat die boek vir eietydse reisigers ook relevant is.

Karel Schoeman was een van Suid-Afrika se produktiefste skrywers en het talle romans, novelles, dramatekste en historiese werke geskryf. Sy werk is talle male bekroon, o.a. met die Hertzogprys, die Recht Malan-prys en die N.P. van Wyk Louw-toekenning van die FAK. Hy is op 1 Mei 2017 oorlede.

Boekbesonderhede

Watch: late SA jazz legend Ray Phiri discusses the iconic Bassline

Last Night at the Bassline

Legendary South African jazz musician Ray Phiri recently passed away from lung cancer. Phiri was a regular performer at the iconic live-music venue, Bassline, opened in 1994 by Brad and Paige Holmes. Bassline, situated in the bohemian suburb of Melville in Johannesburg, soon became synonymous with cigarette smoke, great jazz and nights you wished would never end.

They later moved the club to Newtown where it grew in prominence as the ultimate venue for live music, hosting amazing artists like Thandiswa Mazwai, Jimmy Dludlu, Lera, The Soil and Grammy
Award-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

In 2016 word spread like wildfire that everyone’s favourite club was closing its doors forever; this place that held all the promises of a new South Africa, a place where people of all races could come together, share a drink, dance and fall in love was to be no more.

But as Bassline starts its new journey with Live @ the Bassline, yet another great story begins with Last Night at the Bassline, in which Phiri features prominently.

In this book, esteemed music historian Professor David Coplan tells the story of Bassline and the Holmes’s journey in it, thus giving musicians and jazz fans something to hold on to even after its closure. This book is a tangible piece of the magic to take home and savour. And those who were never there will be given a chance to experience this dream.

With more than fifty iconic photographs from Oscar Gutierrez and other great photographers. The book is more than just a memoir. It is a gritty, smoky, passionate slice of time. Bassline will always be a reminder of what it feels like to live the impossible.

Here, Phiri discusses this iconic night club:

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Jozi's Books & Blogs Fest 2017

Jozi’s Books and Blogs Festival is a gathering of Jozi’s Best-selling authors, award winning journalists, acclaimed bloggers and future literary artists.

Showcasing the literary greats so as to inspire and challenge the young and old in our communities to become more involved in reading and writing.

When: Sunday, 30th July 2017
Where: SBSM INDEPENDENT SCHOOL, Gate 3, 24 Salvia Street, Extension 3, Lenasia
Time: 9h30 to 16h00
Please note: The programme is subject to change without prior notice.
General Admission Ticket: R10 for adults and R5 for children

There will be stalls selling educational books, educational toys and children’s books in the school hall.

Parking will be available in the neighbouring school grounds.

The Bookseller will have a pop-up-stall where readers will be able to buy copies of the participating authors’ books, as well as have their books signed. Credit card facilities are available.

For the full programme and a list of literary personnel please see: https://jozisbbf.com

SA's young readers beat world's best at Toronto final

South African winners of the World Final of the global Kids Lit Quiz in Toronto, Canada – (L to R) Joshua Bruwer, Khelan Desai, Sahaj Mooji and Hongjae Noh.

 
A team of four South African boys has won the World Final of the global Kids Lit Quiz in Toronto, Canada – an event widely known as ‘the Olympics of reading’.

The boys, learners at St John’s Prep School in Johannesburg, emerged victorious against teams from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States at a thrilling event at Toronto’s Oakville Performing Arts Centre.

According to Wayne Mills, the New Zealand-based quizmaster and founder of the Kids Lit Quiz, the team performed well in each of the 10 categories of questions, gradually extending their lead to secure a convincing win.

Benjamin Trisk, CEO of Exclusive Books who sponsored the team in South Africa, expressed the book chain’s delight at the win. “We are thrilled to hear that St John’s College was the winner of the international Kids Lit Quiz held in Toronto. St John’s is one of South Africa’s great schools. It has a stellar international reputation and we are proud that boys from this school have excelled in a specific field of the culture that drives us. Without passion, little can be achieved. With passion South African children have shown that they can compete with (and beat) the rest.”

An elated Nicky Sulter, the St John’s Prep librarian and the school’s Kids Lit Quiz team coach, said the boys were ecstatic about their achievement.

“We are all over the moon!” said Sulter. “The boys have been incredibly enthusiastic about preparing for this event, and have really enjoyed all the reading that has gone into this victory.”

She highlighted how important it was for boys especially to be recognised for their interest and talent in literature.

“This annual event keeps the boys reading all year, whether or not they make it into the school’s Kids Lit Quiz teams,” she said. St John’s Prep enters two teams into the Johannesburg round each year.

In the World Final, Mills asks challenging questions on just about any children’s book ever written; this year’s categories included arch-enemies, historical fiction, Grimm’s fairy tales, poetry, authors and comic book characters. The high pressure competition uses a first-to-the-buzzer format where teams earn points for correct answers but lose points if they miss the mark.

According to Mills, an encouraging trend has been the growing numbers of boys in the teams, suggesting that more boys are reading from a younger age.

“Of the 32 participants in this year’s final, 24 were boys,” he said. “This is a very encouraging sign, and shows a reversal of the kind of ratio we had in the quiz about 10 years ago.”

The eight teams in the World Final fought a long, hard battle during the previous year to get to the final. They won their various national rounds, which collectively involved over 1 000 teams of young readers aged 10-12 years old. To earn its place in Toronto, the St John’s team had to beat 40 Johannesburg teams just to get through to the national finals, where it then had to face the winners of other city rounds in Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Knysna, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Over 100 South African schools participated in this year’s Kids Lit Quiz, said National SA coordinator Marj Brown, HOD of History at Roedean School in Johannesburg.

“South Africa holds its own against the best in the world,” said Brown. “Since we joined the quiz in 2004, a South African team has now won the World Final on three occasions. It is an exciting and motivating event that really brings reading to life for thousands of young people and broadens their scope of reading.”

The quiz was started by Mills 26 years ago to reward good readers in the same way that schools recognise achievement in sport.

“With this international competition now representing so many countries, the participants are increasingly able to meet up with ‘kindred spirits’ from other cultures – joined by their shared love of reading,” said Brown. “This can only contribute positively to understanding and tolerance among people from a young age.”

Jacket Notes: Abubakar Adam Ibrahim discusses the characters in his award-winning novel Season of Crimson Blossoms

Published in the Sunday Times

Season of Crimson BlossomsSeason of Crimson Blossoms
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Cassava Press)

Sometimes characters walk into your mind like visitors that come with their mats, spread them out and settle down to enjoy the shade. Some stay for a short while, others stay for years. Some come in through the front door, but others, like Hassan Reza, scale the fence.

When I had persistent visions of Reza scaling a woman’s fence to rob her, but then accidentally bumping into her, I knew I had to write about these two people and the convergence of their very diverse lives. Him, 25, rascal, weed dealer, political thug and head honcho of a band of miscreants; and her, Hajiya Binta Zubairu, 55, mother, grandmother, devout Muslim and all-round good person.

What was supposed to be a simple tale evolved into something far more complex, surprising me with its range and scope.

How does one write about a chaste grandmother having a sexual relationship with a thug in a conservative Muslim community in northern Nigeria? How does one use a story like this, completely out of character with the literature that has depicted the people of this part of the world, to say important things and explore our shared humanity?

In writing I essentially relied on my characters. I followed them and recorded their stories. When I wanted to lead them, usher them down a path, they resisted. And so we had tug-of-wars that lasted days, weeks and sometimes months – we fought and gave each other the silent treatment. Some people call this writer’s block. Eventually we made concessions and moved on, reaching the finish line after four years.

And I fell in love with them, these characters. I worried about how it would be possible not to view Hajiya Binta as a cougar for taking up with a disreputable thug. And, not being overtly fond of writing sex scenes (those things are hard), I fretted about how much detail I should include.

What I completely underestimated though was how much people ended up liking Reza, the thug. Many people, mostly women, old and young, have accosted me over this character, demanding more details beyond what is conveyed in the book.

Book details