The New Yorker has published a previously untranslated short story by Haruki Murakami – the Japanese author who has been bookies’ favourite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for many years. 2014 proved to not be his turn, once again, with this year’s Nobel prize going to French author Patrick Modiano.
The story, titled “Scheherazade”, is about a man called Habara who cannot leave his house (for reasons not shared with the reader). He keeps a diary where he writes about the stories told to him by someone he calls Scheherazade, an eccentric woman who takes care of his needs.
Read Murakami’s story:
Each time they had sex, she told Habara a strange and gripping story afterward. Like Queen Scheherazade in “A Thousand and One Nights.” Though, of course, Habara, unlike the king, had no plan to chop off her head the next morning. (She never stayed with him till morning, anyway.) She told Habara the stories because she wanted to, because, he guessed, she enjoyed curling up in bed and talking to a man during those languid, intimate moments after making love. And also, probably, because she wished to comfort Habara, who had to spend every day cooped up indoors.
Because of this, Habara had dubbed the woman Scheherazade. He never used the name to her face, but it was how he referred to her in the small diary he kept. “Scheherazade came today,” he’d note in ballpoint pen. Then he’d record the gist of that day’s story in simple, cryptic terms that were sure to baffle anyone who might read the diary later.
The New Yorker‘s Deborah Treisman spoke to Murakami, asking him about the story, the characters and the possibility of a sequel. Read the article:
Your story in this week’s issue, “Scheherazade,” is about a man who is being held in a house that he can’t leave, where he is visited twice a week by a woman who has been hired to bring him food and supplies, and perhaps also to attend to his sexual needs. We never learn, in the story, why Habara can’t leave the house. Do you know?
Sorry, but I don’t know the exact circumstances that brought about the situation, either. Of course, I have a few ideas about what might be the cause, but I expect my readers do as well. I’m not trying to make a big secret out of it—in fact, I think if you took their hypotheses and mine and stacked them on top of each other you’d have an important form of author-reader communication. Because what’s important isn’t what caused Habara’s situation but, rather, how we ourselves would act in similar circumstances.
Read an excerpt from Nick Mulgrew’s “Turning”, which was awarded Best Story in this year’s Short.Sharp.Stories Awards.
“Turning” is published in this year’s Short.Sharp.Stories anthology, Adults Only: Stories of love, lust, sex and sexuality, along with stories by Ken Barris, Efemia Chela, Christine Coates, Alexander Matthews, Wamuwi Mbao and Dudumalingani Mqombothi, among others.
Adults Only, which was edited by Joanne Hichens, was launched at The Book Lounge recently.
The judges called Mulgrew’s piece: “A story of youthful love that was handled with a deft touch; elevated by its clever linguistic insertions and a lovely sense of place … With depth and richness, it captures very well the false bravado and even misogyny of a heartbroken macho male.”
Nick Mulgrew’s Turning, from Adults Only
About the Short.Sharp.Stories Awards:
The Short.Sharp.Stories Awards for South African short-story fiction are presented each year by the National Arts Festival. An anthology of selected stories is published annually, with the theme set for writers differing from year to year. The winning stories, selected from the stories to be published, by a panel of independent judges, are announced at an annual launch event at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. It is the aim of these awards to encourage, support, and showcase established and emerging South African writing talent. The Awards are curated by Joanne Hichens.
The title, and theme, for the 2015 competition is Incredible Journey
From Short.Sharp.Stories: Think road trip, or futuristic ride, or a journey of the mind. Or think more laterally. But whether the story moves purely through the sheer force of the imagination or ambles along on dusty, pot-holed South African roads, whether the protagonists stay in the country or venture forth into new terrain by train or boat or plane (or foot), the story must retain a South African nuance and sensibility. The title INCREDIBLE JOURNEY allows the writer the scope to create a pulsing narrative with forward-moving momentum, though some journeys may be less fast-moving and powered more by reflection. We’ll be looking for stories which move us from A to B – or from A to Z with any number of letters in between. We’re looking for the what-happens-next factor, but also for stories that move us emotionally. Mainly, we want to be enthralled and intrigued by a sense of change that cannot fail to be experienced as we get to the last lines of your story. Your incredible journey can be one of political or personal change; it can be inspirational or can focus on a small challenge. The landscape may alter radically … but please, we’re not looking for descriptive essays. As ever, we want uniquely South African voices – voices, in this case, that capture roller-coaster rides of incredible experience.
The author of the Best Story prize will win R20 000, out of a total of R35 000 in prize money. The deadline is 30 November.
Alert! Books LIVE can exclusively reveal the nominees list for the 2014 South African Literary Awards.
The SA Literary Awards were founded by the wRite associates and the Department of Arts and Culture in 2005, with the twin aims of paying tribute to writers who have “distinguished themselves as ground-breaking producers and creators of literature” and celebrating literary excellence “in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories, value systems and philosophies”, in all the languages of South Africa.
Nominees this year include Makhosazana Xaba, who was also today announced as a Mbokodo Awards nominee, Books LIVE correspondent Liesl Jobson, Sihle Khumalo, Claire Robertson, who won this year’s Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and Carol-Ann Davids.
Nuruddin Farah and Njabulo Ndebele are up for Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The winners will be announced on Friday, 7 November.
SOUTH AFRICAN LITERARY AWARDS 2014 NOMINEES
Themba Patrick Magaisa, Mihloti ya Tingana (Xitsonga, published by TP Magaisa)
Khulile Nxumalo, Fhedzi (English, Dye Hard Press)
Kobus Moolman, Left Over (English, Dye Hard Press)
Thandi Sliepen, The Turtle Dove Told Me (English, Modjaji Books)
Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award
Gary Cummiskey, Off-ramp (English, Dye Hard Press)
Makhosazana Xaba, Running and Other Stories (English, Modjaji books)
Reneilwe Malatji, Love Interrupted (English, Modjaji Books)
Liesl Jobson, Ride the Tortoise (English, Jacana Media)
K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award (For Young Writers)
Marli Roode, Call it Dog (English, Penguin Books)
Jason Staggie, Risk (English, Umuzi Publishers)
Jamala Safari, The Great Agony and Pure laughter of the Gods (English, Umuzi Publishing)
Creative Non-Fiction Award
Sihle Khumalo, Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu (English, Umuzi Publishers)
Toni Strasburg, Fractured Lives (English, Modjaji Books)
First-time Published Author Award
Claire Robertson, The Spiral House (English, Umuzi Publishers)
Carol-Ann Davids, The Blacks of Cape Town (English, Modjaji Books)
James Siddall, Dystopia (English, Jacana Media)
Lifetime Achievement Literary Award
Literary Translators Award
Nhlanhla Maake, Malefane (Sesotho/English, Ekaam Books)
Alert! Antjie Krog, Lauren Beukes, Sarah Lotz and Makhosazana Xaba – authors who need no introduction – have been nominated for the 2014 Mbokodo Awards.
The Mbokodo Awards are aimed at recognising southern African women in arts, celebrating the invaluable contribution made by the them in making sure South Africa operates as a cohesive society. This year the awards celebrate the country’s 20 years of democracy with the theme “20 Years of Free Artistic Expression”. The awards were started as an initiative of Carol Bouwer Productions, and supported by the Department of Arts and Culture.
The awards honour women in 20 different categories, including creative writing, poetry, promotion of language and story telling, dance, sculpture, arts ambassador, comedy and the promotion of arts in the media. Three finalists are named in each of these categories. The Mirriam Makeba Achievement award celebrates the legacy of Makeba, who through her art advanced the plight of the African people across the world. Only one nomination is made in this category.
Makhosazana Xaba, known affectionately as Khosi, has been nominated in the poetry category, which “celebrates published writers and performance poets utilising deep creative imagination and originality. It recognises poets who demonstrate commitment to promoting this art form in a variety of platforms.” Also nominated is Deela Khan (poet, writer and gatherer of folk tales, fables and histories) and Thuli Zuma (celebrated performance poet).
Mmatshilo Motsei, Lauren Beukes and Sarah Lotz have been nominated in the creative writing category, which “celebrates fiction and biography authors who demonstrate solid creativity, imagination and originality. It acknowledges writers who are committed to their craft and strive to promote the genre.”
Antjie Krog has been nominated in the category celebrating the promotion of language and storytelling. “This category highlights efforts used to promote and develop languages through artistic ways, often stretching the language to compel it to introduce new meanings. It rewards women who are giving exposure to under used languages.” Also nominated in this group is Aletta Motimelle (award-winning Sepedi poetry, drama, novel and short story writer) and Candy aka Sekedi Mokwena (Limpopo storyteller, advocating for Khelobedu to be the 12th official language of South Africa).
The winners will be announced next Friday during a black tie event at The Theatre on the Track, Kyalami.
Mbokodo Awards 2014 to celebrate 20 years of Free Artistic Expression
As Nelson Mandela once said, during the apartheid era, it was art, through drama, dance, literature, song, film, paintings which articulated the plight and democratic aspirations of the South African people.
Twenty years after democracy, art continues to articulate the aspirations of South Africans, giving expressions to their dreams and hopes. As South Africa celebrate two decades of democracy, it is only fitting that the theme for the third annual Mbokodo awards be, 20 years of free artistic expression.
This year’s awards will be held on October 24 and aims to celebrate and acknowledge women who have not only articulated the aspirations of the South African people but have also fortified their democracy by empowering communities and individuals through their art.
The awards, which are presented annually to recognise women in art, are an initiative by Carol Bouwer Productions and the Department of Arts and Culture. “Mbokodo aims to acknowledge the immense contribution that women, especially those working in art and culture, have made to rebuild a cohesive society in South Africa. For the task of transforming a wounded and divided nation falls not only to government and legislatures but to those who give the deepest expression to our hopes, fears and ideals,” said Carol Bouwer.
The awards ceremony will take place on October 24 at the Theatre on Track in Kyalami, Midrand. Performing at the awards ceremony will be some of the most respected names in the South African music industry, including Sibongile Khumalo, Judith Sephuma and Moneoa.
Khumalo, who is also affectionately known as Mzansi’s first lady of song was one of the main stars in the first ever African opera. She has been called the epitome of the new South Africa and made City press newspaper’s 100 world class South Africans list.
Sephuma, a jazz and afro-pop singer is also a legend in the South African music industry. Her first album, A cry, A smile, A dance was released in 2001 and it thrilled listeners locally and worldwide. The album reached platinum status and won her numerous awards including the SA music Awards for best jazz vocalist and Kora all Africa Music Awards for best female artist.
Moneoa, an RnB and Afro pop singer song writer is the new kid on the block but she has already she has already won the hearts of many South Africans with her soulful voice. At only 24, she has already worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry like Shugasmakx and Slikour.
The awards celebrate women in 18 different categories, including Women in Music, indigenous art, creative photography an poetry.
Nominees from different parts of the country are judged using a peer review mechanism. According to Bouwer the peer review judging method was chosen over public nomination processes to focus on quality of work by drawing on the opinion of diverse experts in the arts, culture and heritage sector.
The 20 Mbokodo Awards nominees for 2014 are:
Women in Indigenous Art
Promotion of Language and Story Telling
Fashion Design and Innovation
Women in Jazz
Promotion of Arts in the Media
Women in Film
Mirriam Makeba Achievement award
Shafinaaz Hassim and Zukiswa Wanner will represent South Africa at Africa39 events at the Port Harcourt Book Festival, Nigeria, this weekend.
The Africa39 list, which was unveiled in April at the London Book Fair, names the most promising 39 authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora. Nthikeng Mohlele, Sifiso Mzobe, Mary Watson and Hassim made the final cut, as did Liberia-born Hawa Jande Golakai, Zambia-born Wanner and Zimbabwe-born Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, who have all published in South Africa.
Other notable names on the Africa39 list include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tope Folarin, Dinaw Mengestu, Taiye Selasi and this year’s Caine Prize winner Okwiri Oduor.
The resultant anthology, Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara, was launched last weekend, with Clifton Gachagua (Kenya), Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi) and Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia).
International events celebrating Africa39
Port Harcourt Book Festival, Nigeria
21–25 October 2014
Royal Banquet Hall (Hotel Presidential), University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University of Science and Technology and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education
Readings and conversations with Tope Folarin, Clifton Gachagua, Mehul Gohil, Shadreck Chikoti, Edwige Renee DRO, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Lola Shoneyin, Nana Brew-Hammond, Ondjaki, Okwiri Oduor, Glaydah Namukasa, Kioko Ndinda, Onjezani, Stanley Kenani, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Eileen Barbosa, Rotimi Babatunde, Imachibundu Onuzo, Linda Musita, Recaredo Boturu, Nii Parkes, Stanley Gazemba, Richard Alia Mutu, Shafinaaz Hassim, Chika Unigwe, Zukiswa Wanner, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Ondjaki, Adrian Igoni Barrett and Hawa Jande Golakai. Chaired by Ella Allfrey.
The Africa39 project, which is run by Bloomsbury Publishing, the Hay Festival and the Rainbow Book Club, aims to “celebrate the most vibrant voices in literature” and “bring worldwide attention to some of the best new fiction from Africa south of the Sahara”. Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina compiled the longlist late last year, and the final 39 writers were chosen by judges Margaret Busby, Elechi Amadi and Osonye Tess Onwueme.
Busby wrote a short blog about the launch of Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara:
Its cover art vibrant with yellow and green and red and blue, the anthology looks gorgeous, even before you open it to savour 350-plus pages of creativity by the talented 39, represented at the launch by Clifton Gachagua (Kenya), Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi) and Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia). They read from their contributions – poignant and playful, thought-provoking and unexpected, and buzzing – and responded with insight to über interlocutor Ellah Allfrey’s questions. Fascinating to hear Stanley Kenani talk of how his writing recently converged with his “day job” as a chartered accountant when he faced the improbable challenge of writing a poem on accountancy.
Op een van die jongste episodes van Die Nataniël tafel het Nataniël, wie se nuwe boek 150 Stories pas by Human & Rousseau verskyn het, se jongste broer, Erik le Roux, saam met hom gekook.
Erik is ‘n Franse burger en uitnemende kok. Saam maak die broers ‘n heerlike visgereg met mosterd, seldery, agurkies, radyse, gerookte snoek wat hul na die tyd in ‘n mooi fles seël met botter en peper. Hierdie gereg is geskik vir die winter én die somer en kan met rocket as ‘n slaai of op geroosterde brood bedien word.
Kyk na die video vir die pittige demonstrasie: