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Book launch: You Lost Me by Marita van der Vyver

You Lost Me Marita van der Vyver will be launching her new novel You Lost Me in conversation with PEN SA member Michele Magwood.

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Migrations: New Short Stories from Africa available now

From our ancestors’ first forays through the continent, to the contemporary diaspora spread around the world, people are eternally moving in, out and about the African continent. Not everyone leaves of their own volition, and not everyone comes with the best intentions: nevertheless, the story of Africa is the story of souls migrating, settling, unsettling, fleeing, seeking, resting, nesting and sharing stories, experiences and myths.

From treks both physical and spiritual, journeys both internal and across continents, from the comfort of ancient myth to the desperation of those currently fleeing their homes, Short Story Day Africa’s latest collection brings a fresh, urgent perspective to one of our most profound phenomena, and the basis of all our greatest stories.

The 21 new exciting voices, both new and established, including Mirette Bhagat Eskaros, TJ Benson, Arja Salafranca, Sibongile Fisher, Fred Khumalo and Karen Jennings, make Migrations a moving, informative and immersive read. Efemia Chela, Bongani Kona and Helen Moffett.

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SA academics receive local and international recognition for book on the current state of affairs in SA's tertiary sector

Rhodes University academics Sally Matthews and Pedro Tabensky have been shortlisted for an NIHHS award in the Category: Best Non-Fiction edited book for their book Being at Home.

Being at Home creates a dialogue about some of the most pressing issues higher education institutions in South Africa are currently facing – race, transformation and institutional culture. While there are many reasons to be despondent about the current state of affairs in the South African tertiary sector, this collection is intended as an invitation for the reader to see these problems as opportunities for rethinking the very idea of what it is to be a university in contemporary South Africa. It is also, more generally, an invitation for us to think about what it is that the intellectual project should ultimately be about, and to question certain prevalent trends that affect – or, perhaps, infect – the current global academic system. Being at Home will be of interest to all those who are concerned about the state of the contemporary university, both in South Africa and beyond.

This same book also received recognition in the United States; Choice magazine selected it as an “Outstanding Academic Title”. The magazine lists the books that are OATs (Outstanding Academic Titles) in their January edition of CHOICE Magazine. This year Choice selected 494 out of the 5 400 titles they reviewed in 2016.

Being at Home

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RIP Margaret Roberts (1937 - 2017)

Herb and plant specialist Margaret Roberts passed away on Monday the fourth of March.

Margaret was synonymous with herbs, plant, organic gardening, natural health, remedies, and well-being. She authored numerous publications on plants and gardening; her passion and knowledge of all things natural reflected in each.

Margaret will be remembered for the rich and valuable contribution she made to South Africa’s book industry and readers who shared her love of natural products.

100 New Herbs

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Surfing champion Shaun Tomson on writing, music and how Ulysses is his favourite fictional character

The CodeThe Code
Shaun Tomson (Pan Macmillan)

Which book changed your life?
The 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

What music helps you write?
I enjoy listening to ’70s psychedelic rock, especially Traffic, Yes and The Doors.

What is the strangest thing you’ve done when researching a book?
I enrolled for and completed a master’s degree in leadership.

Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Ulysses. As a young boy I loved Homer’s stories of Ulysses conquering monsters and overcoming incredible challenges on his long voyage home across the seas to return to his love. They represent the indomitable will of a person to finally achieve what he or she sets out to do, no matter the risk.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What you will, you will become. I will always paddle back out. I will take the drop with commitment.

What’s more important to you: the way a book is written, or what the book is about?
Both the tale and the craft create the art.

Has a book ever changed your mind about something?
All books I read seem to change my mind about life to greater or lesser degrees. Great books are like great leaders — they influence and inspire.

You’re hosting a literary dinner with three writers. Who’s invited?
Roald Dahl for something unexpected. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry for something magical. Arthur Conan Doyle for something mysterious.

What novel would you give a child to introduce them to literature?
I’d choose Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Do you finish every book you start?
Starting a book is as much a commitment as finishing one. I decide to stop reading each book I start when I come to the full stop on the last line.

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Yewande Omotoso and Fiona Melrose longlisted for Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction

The longlist for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced on Wednesday, coinciding with International Women’s Day.

16 female authors appear on the list, including Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx, Rose Tremain and local authors Yewande Omotoso and Fiona Melrose.

Of the 187 entries, Omotoso received recognition for her 2016 novel The Woman Next Door; a book exploring the relationship between neighbours Hortensia James and Marion Agostino – one is black, one white. Both are successful, recently widowed career women. Both despise one another.

One day the two adversaries are forced together due to unforeseen circumstances. The bickering is replaced with lively debate and the discovery of memories shared, yet the question remains whether this sudden connection could transform into a genuine friendship, or if it is too late to expect Hortensia and Marion to change.

Read an excerpt from Omotoso’s short story Cupboards in the Dark, which appeared on BooksLIVE in September 2016 for a sneak preview of what to expect from this talented writer.

Fiona Melrose is longlisted for her debut novel, Midwinter, set in both Suffolk and Zambia.

Father and son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are haunted by their mutual sense of grief brought about by the years the family spent farming in Zambia, where Vale’s mother died.

Confronted by the past, Landyn and Vale’s relationship explores guilt, grief, and the lengths we are willing to go for love. The podcast of Michele Magwood’s interview with Melrose, during which they discussed Midwinter and Melrose’s dyslexia, can be listened to on Soundcloud. Magwood’s review of this astounding debut can be read here.

Chairwoman of the award’s judging panel, Tessa Ross, commented on the diversity of the entries received, in addition to the necessity of women’s writing:

“What’s happening in the world is making us even more aware of how important it is that women’s voices are heard and that we talk about the rights of women and we support each other.

“We were looking for excellence in all ways, including stories that resonate with women and readers living now, even if they are not set in the present, because the exciting thing about reading is that it wakes you up to the world you are living in.”

Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo’s 2017 novel Stay With Me also appears on the longlist.

A shortlist of the entries will be announced on April third, and the final awards ceremony will take place on June seventh at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

View the complete longlist here.

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