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Philani Dladla – The Pavement Bookworm (@BookVsDruggs) – Shares His Story with @TEDxJoburg:

Selected Writers Announced for the 2015 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops

Writivism has released the names of the writers who have been selected to take part the 2015 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops.

Workshops are being held in five African countries in January next year and will be led by successful authors. In addition to the opportunities for improvement afforded by the workshops, selected writers will be assigned writing mentors.

London – Cape Town – JoburgA Killing in the SunFeast, Famine and PotluckBom Boy

The Lagos workshop will be facilitated by Dami Ajayi, Kampala by Dilman Dila, Gaborone by Donald Molosi and Lauri Kubuitsile and Dar es Salaam by Zukiswa Wanner and Ayeta Anne Wangusa.

The Johannesburg workshop will be led by Yewande Omotoso and Saaleha Idrees Bamjee. 11 emerging writers have been selected to attend:

1. Saaleha Bhamjee
2. Greta Schuler
3. Siyabonga Lerumo
4. Chivimbiso Gava
5. Chris Djuma
6. Hellen Herimbi
7. Jafta Odendaal
8. Khanyile Joseph Mlotshwa
9. Lerato Molisana
10. Michelle Ainsile
11. Chumisa Ndakisa

Read the article and lists of attendees:

Since September 21, 2014, we have been receiving applications from emerging writers from allover the continent for our 2015 workshops. We are excited to announce that from the numerous applicants (over a hundred), our workshop facilitators have selected about fifty who shall attend workshops in Lagos, Kampala, Gaborone, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg throughout January 2015.

Book details

2015 Caine Prize Judging Panel Announced – Zoe Wicomb to Chair

Zoë Wicomb

Alert! The 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing judging panel was announced at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta in Nigeria on Friday.

The Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesOctoberLives of OthersHarare North

Award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb will chair the panel, joined by television and radio journalist Zeinab Badawi, Indian author and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Neel Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgetown Cóilín Parsons (who was previously at the University of Cape Town), and Brian Chikwava, winner of the 2004 Caine Prize.

Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree said: “We are proud to announce the 2015 judges early this year and hope the calibre of this outstanding panel will encourage publishers to enter stories before the deadline of 31 January, 2015.”

The judges will meet in late April 2015 to decide on a shortlist, and the winning story will be announced at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England, on Monday, 6 July, 2015.

This year’s winner was Okwiri Oduor, for her short story “My Father’s Head”, which originally appeared in Short Story Day Africa’s collection, Feast, Famine and Potluck. This year’s Caine Prize anthology is entitled The Gonjon Pin.

Press release

Caine Prize 2015 judging panel announced in Nigeria

The judges of this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing were announced today at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The panel will be chaired by award-winning South African author Zoë Wicomb. She will be joined by the distinguished television and radio journalist Zeinab Badawi, Indian author and Man Booker Prize shortlistee Neel Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgetown Cóilín Parsons, and Brian Chikwava, the winner of the Caine Prize in 2004.

During the announcement Caine Prize Director Lizzy Attree stated, “We are proud to announce the 2015 judges early this year and hope the calibre of this outstanding panel will encourage publishers to enter stories before the deadline of 31 January 2015.”

Last year a record 140 qualifying stories were submitted to the judges from 17 African countries. The judges will meet in late April 2015 to decide on the shortlisted stories, which will be announced shortly thereafter. £500 will be awarded to each shortlisted writer. The winning story will be announced at a dinner at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on Monday 6 July 2015.

The five shortlisted stories, alongside the stories written at the annual Caine Prize workshop, are published annually by New Internationalist in the UK and publishers in eight African countries; ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Bookworld Publishers (Zambia), Cassava Republic (Nigeria), FEMRITE (Uganda), Jacana Media (South Africa), Kwani? (Kenya), Langaa Research and Publishing CIG (Cameroon), Lantern Books (Nigeria) and Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana).

Caine Prize workshops are held in Africa for writers who have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize and other talented writers who have come to the Prize’s attention through the selection process. Each workshop consists of 12 writers from different African countries, who convene for ten days to read and discuss work in progress and to learn from two more experienced writers, who act as tutors or animateurs. It is planned that next year’s workshop, which will be the thirteenth, will be held in Ghana.

Included in the 2014 anthology is the story by this year’s Kenyan winner, Okwiri Oduor. Jackie Kay MBE, chair of the 2014 judging panel said of the author, “Okwiri Oduor is a writer we are all really excited to have discovered. ‘My Father’s Head’ is an uplifting story about mourning – Joycean in its reach. She exercises an extraordinary amount of control and yet the story is subtle, tender and moving. It is a story you want to return to the minute you finish it.”


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Sunday Read: Two Excerpts from Richard Ford's Latest Novel Let Me Be Frank With You

Richard Ford

This Sunday we delve into the inspiration behind Richard Ford’s Let Me Be Frank With You – published this month, just in time for Christmas – and share two excerpts.

The SportswriterIndependence DayThe Lay of the LandLet Me Be Frank With You

Let Me Be Frank With You, a collection of four interconnected novellas that runs to almost 500 pages, sees the return of Frank Bascombe, the protagonist of The Sportswriter (1986), Independence Day (1995) – the first book to receive both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award – and 2006′s The Lay of the Land.

In a piece on his latest work for the Financial Times, Ford recalls the surprise and dismay he felt when he saw Bascombe returning in Independence Day, saying he did not consider himself capable of writing “connected novels”: “I wasn’t ambitious or skilful enough.”

He also reveals how finishing each of the books made him progressively more “physically ill”, saying that by The Lay of the Land: “this experience of physical and psychic infirmity which recurred worse each time through the completion of three long novels over three long decades became my ‘signal’ that I was finished with Frank. Forever. I could write different books. I already had.”

After the third book in his Bascombe trilogy, Ford insisted publicly that he was done with the character. But in 2012, after observing the “utter despair and destruction” of Hurricane Sandy, he began jotting down sentences in his notebook. “I thought, ‘Oh, Christ, these are Frank Bascombe lines,’” he says in a Wall Street Journal interview.

Bascombe is 68 – Ford himself being 70 – but the author is unwilling to call this book the last Bascombe novel. “I guess you can’t say that again,” he tells the Wall Street Journal. “You can only say that once, and I said it, and it wasn’t true.”

Read two excerpts from Let Me Be Frank With You:

Strange fragrances ride the twitchy, wintry air at The Shore this morning, two weeks before Christmas. Flowery wreaths on an ominous sea stir expectancy in the unwary.

It is, of course, the bouquet of large-scale home repair and re-hab. Fresh-cut lumber, clean, white PVC, the lye-sniff of Sakrete, stinging sealants, sweet tar paper, and denatured spirits. The starchy zest of Tyvek mingled with the ocean’s sulfurous weft and Barnegat Bay’s landward stink. It is the air of full-on disaster. To my nose—once practiced in these things—nothing smells of ruin as fragrantly as the first attempts at rescue.

“If one of these speculators suffered what I’ve suffered here, you know what would happen to him?” Arnie’s turned and started back down the berm, his loafers taking on sand. He’s stared at his ruin for long enough. He doesn’t really want my advice.

“He’d get richer, Arn,” I say.

Book details

Image courtesy of Serendipity

Wenners van die 2014 kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse aangekondig - "Boeke maak saak"

Die eerste kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse is “meer as welkom” verklaar deur alle betrokke partye tydens ‘n intieme prysuitdelingsfunksie waar die wenboeke aangekondig is by die Westin Hotel in Kaapstad.

Wolf, WolfDie oorlog kom huis toe’n Ander mens

Eben Venter, wenner van die Fiksieprys vir sy roman Wolf Wolf, het in sy toespraak genoem dat hy onlangs ‘n loopbaanskuif gemaak het – hy staan nie meer agter die kospotte in Melbourne nie – en het dus nie geweet hoe hy sy volgende boek sou finansier nie. “Hierdie prys is die cherry op die koek vir my,” het hy vlugtig in ‘n onderhoud aan Bravo TV gesê. Venter het genoem dat hy met die skryf van hierdie boek agter gekom het dat hy besig is met temas wat baie na is aan sy eie vlees en been, maar hy het homself vryheid gegee om voort te gaan daarmee. Hy het diegene verantwoordelik vir die R200 000 belastingvrye-tjek wat nou in sy sak is, hartlik bedank vir die erkenning van sy werk. Louise Viljoen, een van die beoordelaars van hierdie kategorie, het beklemtoon dat Wolf Wolf nog lank ‘n impak gaan maak op Afrikaanse letterkunde.

Bill Nasson en Albert Grundling, gesamentlike wenners van die Nie-fiksieprys vir Die oorlog kom huis toe, het hul medewerkers en uitgewer bedank en vir kykNET en Rapport uitgesonder vir die enorme eer wat hul aangedoen is.

Kerneels Breytenbach het ter bekendstelling van die prys vir die mees filmiese roman genoem dat die visuele aspekte van ‘n roman dikwels misgekyk word wanneer belonings uitgedeel word. Hierdie prys poog om boeke wat goed sal werk op die silwerskerm ‘n hupstoot te gee. “‘n Rolprent is afhanklik van ‘n aangrypende storie,” het Herman Binge, een van die beoordelaars, gesê en Zirk van den Berg, nog moeg na sy lang vlug van Nieu-Seeland, geluk gewens dat sy boek dit in ‘n merkwaardige mate regkry. Van den Berg se boek is nie net verhaalgedrewe nie, maar ook karaktergedrewe, het Binge genoem en gesê hy sien reeds dié woorde op die rolprentplakaat: “Niemand gaan jou kry nie, want ek gaan jou vermoor”.

Van den Berg het ’n Ander mens al tien jaar gelede geskryf en is dus aangenaam verras dat juis hierdie boek van hom só ‘n prys ontvang, het hy heel verbaar gesê.

Hettie Scholtz, sameroeper van die kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse, het ter afsluiting genoem: “Hierdie pryse is ‘n manier om te sê boeke maak saak. Skrywers maak saak. En dan dat die intellektuele hoogvlug steeds gekoester moet word.”

Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) het regstreeks vanaf die geleentheid getwiet:


Die wenners van die nuwe kykNET-Rapport Boekpryse is aangekondig by ’n middagete in die Westin Hotel in Kaapstad op Vrydag, 21 November 2014.

Drie kontantpryse met ’n gesamentlike waarde van R500 000 is toegeken aan die volgende boeke wat in 2013 verskyn het:

Alle uitgewerye wat boeke in Afrikaans publiseer, is genooi om boeke voor te lê. Uitgewers is gevra om in die fiksiekategorie boeke voor te lê wat in tema die nuwe aandurf, in taalgebruik die reikwydte van Afrikaans vergroot, in diepgang meer as een lesing inhou, en wat die groot gesprek van die Afrikaanse en wêreldletterkunde verder voer op ’n manier wat die geïnteresseerde leser nie agterlaat nie.

In die niefiksiekategorie is hulle gevra om boeke voor te lê wat noodsaaklike leesstof is vir die verbreding van ons begrip van die wêreld, boeke wat spreek van grasie en empatie, of andersyds, wat die onwillige begryper skok tot nuwe insig. Boeke wat kan saamgesels met die beste in die wêreld.

Wat die filmkategorie betref, moes dit gepubliseerde romans met potensiaal om verwerk te word in ’n draaiboek wees, verhale met ’n sterk narratief, veelkantige en veral onthoubare karakters en, uit die aard van die Suid-Afrikaanse rolprentbedryf, dié wat kommersieël vatbaar sou wees.

Uit ’n oes van 54 voorleggings het die volgende skrywers die kortlyste gehaal:


ValsrivierKlimtolWolf, Wolf



Die Oorlog Kom Huis ToeHere en boereOnder die radar



Oor 'n motorfiets, 'n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan wordScore my 'n gwai’n Ander mens



Die beoordelaars wat voor moeilike keuses gestel is in die besonder sterk kortlys, was prof Thys Human van Noordwes-Universiteit, prof Louise Viljoen van Universiteit Stellenbosch, prof Steward van Wyk van die Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland en regisseur Gerrit Schoonhoven in die fiksiekategorie. In die niefiksiekategorie het prof Herman Wasserman van die Universiteit van Kaapstad, Irna van Zyl van New Media, Mike van Graan van die African Arts Institute en Herman Binge van Lion’s Head Productions behoorlik kopgekrap oor die voorleggings vir niefiksie. Besluite oor voorleggings in die filmkategorie is geneem deur Herman Binge en Gerrit Schoonhoven.

Hierdie pryse is ’n belegging in Afrikaanse skrywers en letterkunde, ’n afdeling van die kunste wat ons land se kultuur onmeetbaar verryk. In ’n tyd waarin die voortbestaan van die boek op alle kontinente kommer wek, stroom die Afrikaanse inskrywings vir 2015 se toekennings reeds in.



Fiction Friday: Diane Awerbuck's New Short Story Day Africa-winning Story (Plus: Cover Reveal!)

SSDA new logo
Diane Awerbuck

Short Story Day Africa has organised a special treat for us this Fiction Friday: Diane Awerbuck’s winning story from the new SSDA anthology, Terra Incognita, and a cover reveal!

Awerbuck was announced as this year’s Short Story Day Africa winner last Friday, for her short story “Leatherman”, which judges Richard de Nooy, Samuel Kolawole and Jared Shurin called “dark, twisted and visceral”. You can read the full story below.

But before you do, feast your eyes on this year’s anthology cover, which was designed by Nick Mulgrew.

SSDA Terra Incognita cover

Mulgrew says: “I’d like to say that the design is about subverting colonial cartographic tropes, and as well as about undermining ideas of Africa as a dark, impenetrable continent, in order to reclaim and reposition them in a more modern, Afrofuturist context – and, sure, it is about that – but mostly I think it just looks nice.”

We’re delighted to announce that Short Story Day Africa has joined the Books LIVE community. Read more about the design of the cover on their blog at

Read Awerbuck’s story:

Diane Awerbuck's short story Leatherman by Books LIVE


Winners of the 2014 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards Announced

Nekhavhambe Khalirendwe and Zukiswa Pakama

The Maskew Miller Longman Awards prizegiving was held on Thursday, 13 November, at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. These awards are some of the few that recognise literature in all of South Africa’s official languages, and the only ones that weigh all 11 languages equally, thus developing literature and encouraging a love of reading.

The keynote address was delivered by Sindiwe Magona, the author of To My Children’s Children, From Robben Island to Bishopscourt, and many more. She said she was honoured to be asked to speak at the event, adding that awards such as this are vital for authors who write in indigenous languages, because without publication authors have no voice. Magona also added that schoolbook publication is particularly vital for indigenous language writers.

Magona congratulated the winners and the finalists, saying even to be among the frontrunners is a great honour. She encouraged the winners to keep writing, and be selfish about their time for writing because “it is a sacred undertaking”. She ended off by restating the importance of reading the classics in all languages, and then going forward from there to break new ground.

Each year a different genre is selected for the awards; this year being drama. Of the 117 entries recieved, 74 percent were in African languages. Winners were announced in seven language categories, and each winner was awarded R10 000, and finalists recieved R3 500. Seven winning entries were published by Pearson this year.

The first prize winners:

Cecilia du Toit, for the Afrikaans drama BFF
Nakanjani Sibiya, for the IsiZulu drama Ngikuthanda ukhona lapho
Charmaine Kendal, for the English drama Doorways
Phillip Mothupi, for the Sepedi drama Ga le batswadi ba selo
Conny Masocha Lubisi, for the Xitsonga drama Ya Raha!
Nekhavhambe Khalirendwe, for the Tshivenda drama Ganuko a li vhuisi tshalo
Madoda Mlokoti, for the IsiXhosa drama Inzala YamaRhamba

The finalists:

Stephen Finn, for the English drama The Club
Zukiswa Pakama, for the IsiXhosa drama Lumka Ntombazana Kunzima
Zamokwakhe Mkhize, for the IsiZulu drama Emakhazeni
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho, for the Tshivenda drama Nwananga Nandi

The prize winners are a diverse crowd. There is a teacher, a university academic, and a man who left school in standard three. There are a number of experienced authors, as well as a few who have never been published before.

Read more about the authors and their plays:

MML Literature Awards 2014 Biographies and Synopses


Erin Devenish (@ErinDevenish811) tweeted from the event using #livebooks:



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