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The winner of the 2014 @City_Press Tafelburg Nonfiction Award is Vashthi Nepaul! #openbook2014 @OpenBookFest

Igna Klynsmith leer Jan Alleman oor reg en geregtigheid in Wat sê die prokureur?

Wat sê die prokureur?Phyllis Green het met Igna Klynsmith, skrywer van Wat sê die prokureur?, gesels oor sy boek en sy radioprogram op RSG met dieselfde naam wat hy al vir 21 jaar aanbied.

Green skryf dat Wat sê die prokureur? ’n wye reeks vrae en antwoorde bevat oor onder meer egskeiding, testamente, boedels en grondregte.

Klynsmith vertel meer oor sy oorspronklike belangstelling in regte en hoe hy hoop om mense te help met sy boek:

Dink jy die algemene publiek het deesdae ’n groter belangstelling in die regte en hofsake?

Ongetwyfeld. Ons nuwe grondwetlike bestel het beslis daartoe bygedra dat die algemene publiek meer bewus is van hul regte. Vryheid van spraak en daarmee gepaardgaande vryheid van die pers, asook toegang tot inligting dra baie daartoe by dat die media die publiek meer ingelig hou oor hul regte en ook oor wat gebeur met hofsake. Die onlangse beeldsending van die Pistorius-saak het sekerlik ook ’n bewusmakingsrol gespeel. Dis belangrik dat ons konstitusie ’n lewende dokument moet wees en dat elkeen van ons moet besef dat ons regte het wat inderdaad afdwingbaar is. Die staat kan ons nie bloot boelie nie, want die soewereiniteit van die reg het die soewereiniteit van die Staat vervang. Dis ’n wonderlike boodskap vir elke Suid-Afrikaner.


The Place of Storytelling in Social Activism: Writers Get Real at Open Book 2014

Northern GirlsProfits of DoomDo Not Go Gentle

Sheng Keyi, Antony Loewenstein and Futhi Ntshingila spoke to Mervyn Sloman about the responsibility of the writer on the final afternoon of the Open Book Festival.

The international panel went into the intended and inspected responsibility of the author, as well as the place of storytelling in social responsibility and activism. The panelists also investigated the impact of writing on the reader.

Books LIVE’s Helené Prinsloo provided in-depth coverage of the discussion:


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Open Book 2014: Diaspora and Back with Sefi Atta, Zukiswa Wanner and Mandla Langa

Open Book 2014: Diaspora and Back
A Bit of DifferenceLondon – Cape Town – JoburgThe Texture of Shadows

Sefi Atta, Zukiswa Wanner and Mandla Langa spoke about movement in their novels and their lives to Nancy Onyango on the final day of the Open Book Festival in Cape Town.

Onyango explained that the idea for the topic came from the readers of This is Africa. The conversation centred around the idea of “Africa” and “African writing”. The panelists spoke about apartheid, the Group Areas Act, and the feeling of being alienated in your own country.

Langa asked, “What can we do to strengthen the voices that are unheard?”

Books LIVE’s Lindsay Callaghan covered the discussion:


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Mandla Langa Reflects on His Time in Exile and The Texture of Shadows During a Pen Dialogue with Margie Orford at Open Book 2014

Open Book 2014: PEN Dialogue Two

The Texture of ShadowsWater MusicThe second Open Book Festival SA Pen Dialogue took place at The Fugard Theatre, with three chairs appearing on the stage. One was filled by Mandla Langa, Executive Committee member of SA Pen. He had been invited to talk about his most recent book, The Texture of Shadows, and was joined in conversation with the organisation’s president, Margie Orford, who is also a renowned South African crime writer, her latest title being Water Music.

The third chair remained empty. It stood for all the writers around the world who have been silenced by repressive states, either under house arrest or incarcerated.

In an aside, before the session commenced, Langa commented that it was a big responsibility to sit beside that empty chair. Orford articulated the ongoing challenge that all citizens need to fight for the right to know, for freedom of expression and to be mindful of the surveillance we all face in our daily lives and online.

The session commenced with Langa reading an extract from his novel, a letter to a fictitious “Mr President”:

I’m unswerving in my less than complimentary characterisation of those players who have sacrificed others in the cut and thrust of the struggle while portraying themselves as heroes. Similarly, I give pride of place to the young men and women who left home to fight the regime. Some of them never returned. A few came back, having been given the names of trees, having seen the revolutions in other lands, hoping to change the nature of our country, and ensure the pain and suffering a thing of the past. I have been able to connect some of them with their families. Some have lost the important connection with their own souls and are wandering, bewildered …

Orford welcomed the publication of this most recent novel, The Texture of Shadows, and reflected that his readers and fans had had a long wait since The Lost Colours of the Chameleon.

Orford pointed out that throughout the book there was a blurring of history and imagination, with names like Craig Williamson, former South African policeman and spy, arriving on the pages.

Langa spoke about the book taking a long time to write, starting as far back as his time in exile in Botswana in 1976, when he began to observe what that particular encounter was doing to people. He reflected on going to Botswana to learn about arms and the art of war, joking in his inimitable wry and understated way, that it was “a perverse thing”. His artistic temperament and capacity to watch and observe those around him did not make him a good “comrade in arms”.

Langa said, “I was always trying to find out the reason behind your reason. I found that we tend to think that because we’re holding this view of the struggle, this is the only view of the struggle. You can wrestle me to the ground for my view. Yet, later, you find that history blasphemes that view.”

He recalled Fidel Castro saying to Oliver Tambo, “You must be weaving serious magic to have so many people bearing arms, staying so long in camps.”

Another point that needed to be made was that of the sacrifices that countries like Angola made. “In 1975 Angola was under enormous strain but they still offered the ANC training camps, at serious detriment to themselves. When people found themselves in those situations, to maintain a guerilla army, you need support, infrastructure. People become part of that support. The mechanics of moving around in a country is another story. Some became part of MK in defence of Angola, fighting against incursions of South Africa and UNITA.”

Langa reflected on the meaning of taking up arms. “From the beginning of things it was understood that being an MK soldier, you are first a political person. The understanding of the politics, from pre-colonial times to the present, kept people having an understanding.” He recalled some colleagues who were part of musical troupe called Amandla. “One was Donga, he was stoked. He wasn’t part of the discipline. He spoke of ‘clevahs and moegoes’. But in the main people were political with varying degrees of understanding. That was paramount in MK soldiers’ minds.”

Orford mentioned that Langa came from an illustrious family in Stanger. (His brother, Pius, was a judge.) KwaMashu was the site of some of the worst killings and violence. She reflected on the blurring that occurred between criminal and political violence and reflected on how he had teased this out in the novel.

Langa noted that the release of Mandela posed enormous challenges, as he faced a citizenry that had been exposed to extreme trauma.

This brief account of the multi-faceted and compelling discussion does not do adequate justice to its depth and profundity, but offers those who could not be there a sense of part of what this remarkable speaker and his novel have to offer.

Liesl Jobson tweeted live from the event:

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Join Nerine Dorman and Daniël Hugo for the Launch of The Guardian's Wyrd in Cape Town

Book Launch: The Guardian's Wyrd

The Guardian's WyrdNerine Dorman and Daniël Hugo would like to invite you to come and celebrate the print release of The Guardian’s Wyrd with them on Saturday, 27 September 2014.

The event will take place from 10:30 AM to 12 PM at the Metal Machine Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio in Cape Town.

The author and illustrator will sign copies of The Guardian’s Wyrd and Hugo’s artwork will be be on sale.

Don’t miss it!

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Karin Schimke Wins 2014 Ingrid Jonker Prize for Bare & Breaking: poems

Bare & BreakingAlert! Karin Schimke has won the 2014 Ingrid Jonker Prize for English Poetry for her debut collection Bare & Breaking: poems.

Schimke’s anthology has been praised by Finuala Dowling as “one of the most gripping debuts I’ve read in recent years”. Mailka Ndlovu said of Bare & Breaking: “Her ‘warts-n-all’ poems reveal a courageous vulnerability. Schimke’s poetry whispers, hollers, moans, bends and extends unexpectedly and beyond expectation.”

Bare & Breaking was published by Modjaji Books, as were all the collections submitted for 2014′s prize.

The Ingrid Jonker Prize for Poetry is awarded annually, alternately for debut work in English and Afrikaans, celebrating the two languages this lauded poet chose to write in during her short life. The prize was awarded to Hennie Nortje in 2013 for his debut In die skadu van soveel bome and Beverly Rycroft in 2012 for her collection, Missing. Next year’s prize will be for Afrikaans debuts published in 2013 and 2014.

The prize will be awarded to Schimke at a special event in Cape Town next month.

Read four poems from this award-winning debut, shared by Peony Moon:

Tipping point

Of course it was perfect: it could never outlast the night.

I remember tumbling
and tumbling all night
through hot sheets
and your mouth
and through sleep.

The day came late; it found us
drifting in the wreck.

Press release

Karin Schimke wins 2014 Ingrid Jonker Prize for an ‘unapologetically erotic and intimate’ collection with a perfect narrative arc

Three judges have returned a resounding verdict that places Karin Schimke as the clear winner of the 2014 Ingrid Jonker Prize for a debut collection of poetry. In their citations, Bare & breaking (published by Modjaji in 2012) is described as ‘head and shoulders above the other works in terms of craft, pace, depth of content, and having a clearly established and robust aesthetic’. Schimke is praised for ‘the elegance and precision of [her] craft in a volume marked by ‘sensuousness’ and ‘unapologetically erotic and intimate’ content.

Two judges singled Bare & breaking out for its ‘internal arc’ which takes us from love and unease through crisis and fury, to numbness, grief, and finally, redemption, where the poet clambers at last to a fragile place of safety. … Throughout, the writer bears in mind the reader, connecting her private pain to a more universal one as in the final poem ‘The Quiet Way Back’. …While carried forward by her story, we are ultimately included in a collective grief that defines us all as human.

This year’s judges were Beverly Rycroft, Liesl Jobson and Professor Geoffrey Haresnape. Judges of the Ingrid Jonker prize are unaware of one another’s identities until judging is complete.

Karin Schimke will receive her prize at a special event in Cape Town in October.

The Ingrid Jonker Prize is awarded in alternate years to the best debut collection in English or Afrikaans. The prize consists of a medal by the sculptor Bill Davis and the interest on an amount of money originally donated for this purpose by Ingrid Jonker’s friends at her ‘second funeral’ in 1965.


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