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An Unnatural History: Hedley Twidle Reviews Henrietta Rose-Innes' Green Lion

Join Masande Ntshanga and SJ Naude for a Literary Crossroads Event at the Goethe-Institut in Joburg

Invitation to Literary Crossroads

The Goethe-Institut Johannesburg invites you to another event in their Literary Crossroads – with Masande Ntshanga and SJ Naudé.

The discussion is entitled Chronists of Change and will take place on Tuesday, 2 June, at 7 PM. Entrance is free of charge.

The ReactiveThe Alphabet of BirdsAlfabet van die voëls

The evening will offer insights in two different literary landscapes and two different approaches how to respond to the real, existing world as a writer and intellectual.

Both writers portray a seemingly ordinary life, with protagonists who are sometimes marginalised, and sometimes alienated from society or from themselves. Both writers’ literary figures struggle with life and the societies they are living in and give us clues about how we respond to our changing worlds, the political and economic structures of our globalised time. We share the protagonists’ search for their little share of happiness or their place to call home – literally and metaphorically.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 2 June 2015
  • Time: 6:30 PM for 7:00 PM
  • Venue: Goethe-Institut Johannesburg
    119 Jan Smuts Ave
    2193 | Map
  • RSVP: 011 442 3232

Book Details

Video: Elize Cawood lees ’n uittreksel uit Hoogty deur E Kotze

HoogtyDiepsee - kortverhaleDie aktrise Elize Cawood het vanaf Dinsdag 14 April 2015 elke weeksoggend op RSG grepies uit E Kotze se roman, Hoogty, voorgelees.

RSG het ‘n voorsmakie van die eerste voorlesing op hul YouTube-blad gedeel, asook ‘n kykie agter die skerms.

Hoogty vertel die verhaal van Helena Burre, ‘n boorling van Volleminkbaai wat nes haar skipper-pa Jas haar eie kop volg. Met haar tuiskoms besef sy opnuut wat sy gemis het, en kry sy weer met Auret Nagel te doen.

Diepsee – kortverhale, ‘n keur uit al die kortverhaalbundels van Kotze, het verlede jaar verskyn en is saamgestel deur Suzette Kotzé-Myburgh.

Kyk die video vir Cawood se vertelling:

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21 of Our Favourite Quotes from 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival

We’ve collected the best of the quotes we can remember hearing at the 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival.

If you recall one that we’ve overlooked – or if you are an author who said something really witty and wants to be acknowledged – share your pearls of wisdom in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

Tales of the Metric System
“What’s the biggest mistake I see in my writing students? That they didn’t choose accountancy.” – Imraan Coovadia
Don't Film Yourself Having Sex
“If you don’t want your mom to see it, don’t put it online.” – Emma Sadleir
101 Detectives
“After I submit the book I have some hellish weeks. What have I done? I should have kept this to myself.” – Ivan Vladislavić
“Life doesn’t do what stories do. Life continues. Stories end.” – Christopher Hope
Green Lion
“If we choose not to write African stories we are impoverishing our literature.” – Henrietta Rose-Innes
A History of Loneliness
“I’d like to think my sexuality is one of the least interesting things about me, much like my head of hair.” – John Boyne
The Paying Guests
“Only now can we start writing about miserable lesbians, as it is no longer necessary to create positive images.” – Sarah Waters
Dying in New York
“There’s swagger to Nigerian attitude which is great – see their soccer World Cup confidence. We need more swagger as SA authors.” – Ekow Duker
Rusty Bell
“I see a lot of sentences that could have been written better in my books. But then I would never publish anything.” – Nthikeng Mohlele
“Non-fiction as a category is like calling all the clothes in your wardrobe ‘non-socks’.” – Hedley Twidle
The Reactive
“Writing is more than a compulsion.” – Masande Ntshanga
“Banging your head against a wall because it’s so nice to stop. Writing is like that.” – Deon Meyer
“Writers do half the job. The reader who picks up the book does the rest.” – Thando Mgqolozana
Literary Landscapes
“Nobody cares what people in Nigeria think about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels. Value is created elsewhere.” – Harry Garuba
One Midlife Crisis and a Speedo
“When you’re young you hear people say ‘everybody dies’ and you hear in your head ‘everybody else dies’.” – Darrel Bristow-Bovey
Could I Vote DA?
“Many black professionals, including the few who are here, are actually secretly indebted – we’re not genuinely middle class.” – Eusebius McKaiser
Arctic Summer
“The only way you can be universal is to be sure you are very specifically local.” – Damon Galgut
“Julius Malema is a mixture of Hitler, Idi Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko and many other dictators together.” – Kenny Kunene
Dare We Hope?
“If soup kitchens are there to cleanse guilt and not to restore dignity then there’s a challenge.” – Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
What Will People Say: A Novel
“Once people have been free to express themselves in racist, antisemitic, senile ways … then we can klap them.” – Rehana Rossouw
Still Grazing
“All my experiences removed geography from my world.” – Hugh Masekela
Book details

  • Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism by Harry Garuba, Ina Grabe, Merry M Pawlowski, Carrol Clarkson, Johan Geertsema
    EAN: 9780230553163
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

"He Knew There Were Tricks": Read the Titular Story from 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic

101 Detectives101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavić is a wide-ranging collection of short stories, written over an extensive period of time with some dating as far back as 1996.

While still hot off the press, 101 Detectives was longlisted for the 2015 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the world’s richest prize for a collection of short stories, proving just how strong Vladislavić’s return to his metier is.

Mail & Guardian has shared the titular short story from this collection. Read it for a taste of what to expect from this long-awaited publication:

He knew there were tricks – no – not tricks, techniques, there are techniques for getting to see what you’re not supposed to. Let’s say the register at reception in the hotel lobby. You drop the pen or you fake a cough and ask for a glass of water, and while the clerk is distracted you quickly turn the book your way and scan the page for what you’re after. Let’s say the room number of a particular person. Or let’s say the name of a particular person occupying a certain room the number of which is no mystery. He knew all that.

Book details

Fiction Friday: "Sunkissed" by 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlisted Author Saaleha Bhamjee

The 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize Longlist has been announced, including one South African – Saaleha Bhamjee – on the list of 14 writers.

Here’s the full longlist:

  • “A Ball of Thread” by Vivian Ogbonna (Nigeria)
  • “Being a Man” by Adeola Opeyemi (Nigeria)
  • “Blues for Absalom” by Erica Sugo Anyadike (Kenya)
  • “Caterer, Caterer” by Pemi Aguda (Nigeria)
  • “Devil’s Village” by Dayo Adewunmi Ntwari (Rwanda)
  • “Dream” by Saaleha Bhamjee (South Africa)
  • “Dying Gracefully” by Sima Mittal (Tanzania)
  • “Legacy by Muthi” Bentley David Nhlema (Malawi)
  • “Roses for Betty” by Sneha Shibu (Uganda)
  • “Social Studies” by Nnedinma Jane Kalu (Nigeria)
  • “The Crusade” by Oyebisi Dairo (Nigeria)
  • “To have and to hide” by Walter Ude (Nigeria)
  • “Voices” by Priscillar Matara (Botswana)
  • “Wise-aching” by Hassan Higenyi (Uganda)

According the her Writivism profile, Bhamjee is a “grower of children and of all things green. A baker of cakes and of stories. She is currently working on the God-alone-knows-how-many-eth draft of her novel, and blogs at Afrocentric Muslimah about her experience of writing, the South African Mulsim community and whatever else tickles her fancy.”

Unfortunately, the longlisted stories are not available online. However, we have found a story by Bhamjee written earlier this year after her participation in the Writivism Creative Writing Three Day Workshop.

For this week’s edition of Fiction Friday, read Bhamjee’s short story entitled “Sunkissed”:


The insistent scream of the telephone wrenches me back from the edge of deep sleep. I groan. I’ve only just managed to get Amal to settle down. She’s been feverish and fretful all day. And now this. I reach over for the receiver, knock her medication and a glass of water to the floor.

“Fuckit!” I hiss.

Hello?” Lord, I sound like a smoker.

I clear my throat. “Hello?”

I hear a sniff. A very definite sniff. And now I’m fully awake, swinging legs off the side of the bed, raking fingers through the stork’s nest that passes for my hair at night and sliding feet into my slippers.

“Asma…is this you?”

“Yes, I’m Asma. Who is this?”

“Asma, kind, it’s your father…. He… he had a stroke.”

The Writivism Festival is an annual Literary Festival held every June, in Kampala, featuring the leading contemporary African writers, where the winner of this competition will be announced.

The longlist was selected from 277 entries received before the deadline for the prize submission. The panel of judges this year is chaired by Chika Unigwe and comprises Mukoma wa Ngugi, Tendai Huchu, Ainehi Edoro and Rachel Zadok.

"The Violence of the White Audience" - Malaika wa Azania and TO Molefe Add to the White Literary System Debate

Memoirs of a Born FreeBlack Anger and White ObliviousnessQueer Africa

Authors and public intellectuals Malaika Mahlatsi, aka Malaika wa Azania, and TO Molefe have responded to the heated debate around the “white literary system” which was sparked by Thando Mgqolozana this past weekend at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

The author of Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow Nation writes in an article for Times LIVE that the FLF has shown her for the first time in her 23 years what it means to “suffocate in a pool of white privilege”.

Azania reflects on her experience at literary festivals as a first-time writer and their elitist and exclusionary nature towards people who cannot afford to attend these spaces.

Read the article for the author’s view on the violence of the white audience in Franschhoek:

The violence that I was subjected to by the white audience in Franschhoek left me shaken, more so because in that space few are aware of their privilege.

In both sessions that I attended as a panellist, I endured disapproving stares and shaking heads every time I made mention of the legitimacy of black rage and how it is birthed by white privilege.

In that space, I came to understand that literary festivals exist to create a platform for white privilege to anthropologise black thought.

Molefe, the author of Black Anger and White Obliviousness and contributor to Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, wrote a post on his blog, the repository, in which he shares the experience of declining the invitation to appear at the FLF.

The author writes that he said no to the FLF a few times but at the time he was too “threadbare and too afraid for a fight” to voice his reasons.

Read the article in which Molefe gives thanks to the people who started the debate:

I was cowardly. Unlike Siphiwo Mahala or Thando Mgqolozana, I said no quietly, and without much of a fuss, to participating in the Franschhoek Literary Festival when I was invited last year, in 2014. To be clear my reasons were exactly the same as theirs. Just like Thando, I’d felt like an anthropological exhibit the year before when I stood on stage in front of an old, white audience and retold the story of how I was affected by witnessing my dad being humiliated in the late 1980s by an Afrikaans-speaking policeman.

Today Siya Skota shared a link on his Facebook page to a story by Karin Schimke in which she shares her her take on the sessions where Mgqolozana raised the issue of the lack of transformation in SA’s literary circles.

Mgqolozana responded to Skota and shared his harrowing experience of being shouted at during a panel discussion:

Read the Facebook post:

On Saturday, at the session chaired by Victor Dlamini, Andrea Nattrass of Pan McMillan shouted rudely while I was speaking. Nobody reacted. People simply looked at her and then quickly back at me. I paused. Not even the chair protected me while being abused by Andrea. So I spoke and told her to shut up when I’m talking, which, ironically, shocked every single person in the room—perhaps because a black man cannot tell a rude white woman off, but a white woman can do the reverse on a black man who is simply articulating his views.

I was told that Andrea was crying outside afterwards. She came back to me while I was still chatting to members of the audience and, still visibly furious, apologised for the rudeness, and then went on to say something I didn’t quite hear. I think she was saying as (white) publishers in SA they DO look for talent, which is supposed to be a rebuttal to my “anthropological subject” argument. Then she walked off.


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Related links:


Book Details

  • Black Anger and White Obliviousness by TO Molefe
    EAN: 9780992190231

Images courtesy of Zazi and Afronline