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Right! That's a wrap of our #ManBooker2014 coverage. Congratulations to Richard Flanagan

"Totalt Chockad": Patrick Modiano Reacts to Winning the Nobel Prize in Literature

The Swedish press reports that French author Patrick Modiano is “totalt chockad” at being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature today.

The Swedish Academy, who select the Nobel Laureate in Literature, made the announcement in Stockholm today at 1 PM. However, the society’s permanent secretary Peter Englund said at the press conference: “We haven’t established contact yet, but I hope to do it soon.”

The Search WarrantMissing PersonsNight RoundsRing Roads: A NovelVilla Triste
A Trace of MaliceHoneymoonOut of the DarkSuspended Sentences

Sveriges Television AB report that Modiano, who tends to shy away from media attention, was sitting in a restaurant with his wife when he heard the news.

Read the report, translated from the Swedish by Google:

“Total shock”
Richard Pascale, press contact at Modianos French publishing house, has spoken with Modiano after he learned that he had been awarded the prize and so here she describes his reaction:

- Total shocked, did not think it was possible.

- He was sitting in a restaurant with his wife and ate lunch when he was told he won. He was very happy and laughed and the wife wept with happiness, says Pascale Richard to SVT.

69-year-old Modiano, who is known for his postmodern detective fiction, beat perennial bookies’ favourites Haruki Murakami and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and is France’s 11th Literature Laureate.

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Image courtesy of The Nobel Prize on Twitter

Come and Spot the 2014 Man Booker Prize Winner with the Folks at Love Books!

Invitation to Love Books' annual Booker Spotting evening

Love Books invites you to their annual Booker spotting evening in the company of the creative people from Allaboutwriting

Local actors Neil McCarthy and David Butler will read from the recently announced Shortlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

The event will take place on Monday, 13 October, at 5:30 for 6 PM at Love Books.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 13 October 2014
  • Time: 5:30 for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books,
    Bamboo Centre,
    53 Rustenburg Road,
    South Africa | Map
  • RSVP: Kate,, 011 726 7408

Patrick Modiano has Been Awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature

Alert! The Swedish Academy has chosen French author Patrick Modiano as the 111th Nobel Laureate in Literature.

The 69-year-old becomes the 11th Literature Laureate born in France, although he is yet to be contacted about the award.

The Search WarrantMissing PersonsNight RoundsRing Roads: A NovelVilla Triste
A Trace of MaliceHoneymoonOut of the DarkSuspended Sentences

The Swedish Academy received 210 valid nominations this year, with 36 first time nominees, with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Haruki Murakami the popular choices to take the award.

Permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Peter Englund, says: “Modiano is a French author who was born in 1945 in France. He has written some 30 books – mainly novels, but also children’s books and movie scripts.

“His novels are small books – 130-50 pages – all around important things: memory, identity and time.

“He is a well-known name in France, but not anywhere else. I think he is more translated into Swedish than English.

“One of his books that I can recommend is called Missing Persons. He is very fond of the detective genre and he plays with it. It a story about a detective who has lost his memory, and his final case is to find out who he is. It’s a fun book but it is still saying something very fundamental about memory and time.

“He has a very special art of memory, as we write in our motivation. He’s obsessed with reaching back in time – and you can identify with his attempts. He believes that there are corridors of time that open up, and that you can walk through them to meet yourself.

“We haven’t established contact yet, but I hope to do it soon.”

Image courtesy of Babelio

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Win a Kobo eReader From Leisure Books' Hartstog!

Hartstog, a new book club for lovers of love stories, is giving away a Kobo eReader.

To stand a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer a simple question: What is the name of the newly launched Afrikaans ebook club?


A new ebook club for romantics has just been launched. Readers who can’t get their fill of romance novels, will surely be delighted to lose themselves in the trials and tribulations of love triangles, affairs or secret liaisons. For a monthly subscription, members can download one free ebook from a selected range – to enjoy wherever, whenever.

Besides gaining access to hundreds of Afrikaans ebooks categorised under “Romanties” or “Passie”, members will also have access to a wide variety of English ebooks in “Love Story” or “Sinful”. Says Lana Barnett, CEO, “Ebooks are gaining popularity and since many avid readers seem to enjoy a number of romances every month, ebooks offer a perfect solution. With this club, members will meet characters created by well-known South African authors like Ena Murray, Schalkie van Wyk, Malene Breytenbach and Ettie Bierman as well as many famous international authors.”

After payment of their R55 monthly subscription, members have 30 days to choose one ebook from a pre-selected list. Additional ebooks can be ordered and members qualify for discounts of up to 30% on other purchases. Hartstog offers hundreds of Afrikaans titles and even more English ones.

Visit or call 0861 141414 to join. With so many ebooks just waiting to be downloaded, you’ll never go to bed alone . . .

Ebooks are available in various formats for Android, Apple and ereaders. Hartstog is part of Media24, a leader in the field of member-based subscription programmes in South Africa and is administered by Leserskring, the biggest Afrikaans book club in Africa.


Question: What is the name of the newly launched Afrikaans ebook club?

Prize: Kobo ereader worth R995


1.1 This competition is promoted by Times Media Pty Limited (“Times Media”). By entering the competition you agree to the

1.2 There are no entry fees to participate in this competition.

2.1 The competition runs from Tuesday, 7 October 2014 – Friday, 17 October 2014. (the “Competition Period”).

2.2 No entries will be accepted after 12:00 midday on Friday, 17 October 2014.

2.3 The draw will take place on Friday, 17 October 2014.

3.1 You are entitled to enter into this competition if you are a natural person resident in the Republic of South Africa and are

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5.1 All prizes will be provided by Hartstog eBoekklub

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Reneilwe Malatji Wins 2014 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for Love Interrupted

Love InterruptedAlert! Reneilwe Malatji has won the 2014 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize for her collection of short stories, Love Interrupted.

This prize is awarded by the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association for an outstanding book that prioritizes African women’s experiences. The winning book is then included in the African Studies Association Conference program, taking place in November this year.

Love Interrupted is published by Modjadji Books, an independent press specialising in publishing books by southern African women. It is a collection of short stories reflecting well-known South African scenarios, inviting the reader to eavesdrop on their lives.

Another Modjaji author, Karin Schimke, recently won the 2014 Ingrid Jonker Prize for English Poetry for her debut collection Bare and Breaking.

Press Release

The Aidoo-Snyder book prize is awarded by the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association for an outstanding book that prioritizes African women’s experiences. Named in honor of Ama Ata Aidoo, the celebrated Ghanaian novelist and short story writer, and Margaret Snyder, the founding Director of UNIFEM, this prize seeks to acknowledge the excellence of contemporary scholarship being produced by women about African women. In alternate years, the prize is awarded for the best scholarly book, or for the best creative work.

Modjaji Books, publisher of Love Interrupted congratulates Reneilwe. We’re delighted with the recent successes of our authors: This award comes hot on the heels of the awarding of the Ingrid Jonker prize for Karin Schimke’s Bare and Breaking, while Makhosazana Xaba‘s Running and Other Stories is currently broadcast on SAFM between 1145-noon, daily.


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High Praise for Damon Galgut's Arctic Summer in the American Press, Including The New Yorker

Damon Galgut

Arctic SummerEric Banks has written a thoughtful piece on EM Forster’s life, and its representations, in response to Damon Galgut’s Arctic Summer, adding to recent coverage the book has received in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times, where it was also featured as the editor’s choice.

Galgut’s latest novel has received a lot of attention in the overseas press since its publication early this year, having been reviewed in The Telegraph, The Guardian, the BBC and The Atlantic, among others.

In the past couple of weeks, however, interest in the book seems to have flared up again, with The Wall Street Journal calling Galgut’s Forster a “tantalising creation”:

The highly metaphorical title of Damon Galgut’s new novel refers to a project begun and abandoned by E.M. Forster immediately after the publication of “Howard’s End” in 1910: a time of outward serenity in its author’s life but one that turns out to have seethed with private demons. That the twice Man Booker-shortlisted Mr. Galgut should have chosen Forster as the hero of this scrupulously written chunk of biographical fiction is further testimony to how shares in the great man have kept up.

The Washington Post declares it “brilliant”:

Though Galgut’s novel stays meticulously close to the biographical record, the shape and feel of “Arctic Summer” is not at all that of a scholarly document but of a remarkable story beautifully told. Galgut’s formidable talent as a novelist transforms the facts of Forster’s life into art, which is poetic justice given Forster’s efforts to make stories and novels more meaningful and satisfactory than life itself.

While The New York Times finds it a “dignified and absorbing novel”:

“Arctic Summer,” by the South African novelist Damon Galgut, now joins this shelf. A judicious, well-proportioned look at the personal life of E. M. Forster, it’s a solid contribution to a literary niche, though a relatively unadventurous extension of Galgut’s own oeuvre, which includes a splendid short novel about post-apartheid life in one of South Africa’s former “homelands” (“The Good Doctor”) and a series of three linked novellas called “In a Strange Room.” In that work, Galgut sometimes alternated the first and third person in a single sentence, a point-of-view experiment that may have proved more remarkable than interesting, but was certainly bold.

In his New Yorker piece, Banks muses on the recent trend of novels based on the biographies of novelists – Colm Tóibín and David Lodge’s books on Henry James, Lodge’s book on HG Wells, and Jay Parini’s on Herman Melville – and concludes, like Galgut, that “the constraints on form when a novelist is obliged to be true to life can be weirdly liberating”.

Galgut himself has said that writing a novel off of a factual base was “liberating, in a sense”.

Banks comments on the “liberties” Galgut has taken with Forster’s life in the novel, and says Forster’s “literary journalism and political advocacy get little play” in the book, but concludes with some high praise:

But Galgut’s book is most urgent and moving when it burnishes the gems offered up by Forster’s biographers — particularly [Wendy] Moffatt, whose heavily researched book provides a portrait of Forster that any subsequent critic or biographer will have to reckon with. In fact, you could say that “Arctic Summer” is the first great flowering of the post-Moffatt Forster, an image of the novelist that wouldn’t have been nearly as credible a decade ago. What better homage can a novelist pay to a biographer than that?

Amid the flow of positive reviews from across the Atlantic, of course, the elephant in the room would be the unanswerable question of why Galgut’s novel was left off this year’s Man Booker longlist.

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