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Celebrating Joburg as the inspiration for great South African writing: The 2016 Bridge Book Festival

Celebrating Joburg and South African writing: 2016 Bridge Book Festival programme revealed

On Saturday, 29 October, the Bridge Book Festival will celebrate Johannesburg as the inspiration for great South African writing, by bringing writers and readers together in the city’s historic core.

The daylong event brings a dozen writers, poets and illustrators to explore landmark sites in downtown Johannesburg.

Not to be missed!

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, 29 October 2016
  • Time: 10 AM to 5 PM
  • Venues: Bridge Books, as well as The Rand Club, Oppenheimer Park and Corner House.
  • Tickets: Webtickets or Facebook

2016 Bridge Book Festival programme

null#ZuptasMustFall and Other Rants
1. Fred Khumalo
Time: 10am to 10.45am
Venue: Bridge Books
Fred Khumalo will be reading from his latest book #Zuptas Must Fall.
Ticket cost: R20
2. Poetree
Time: 10am to 10.45am
Venue: Corner House
Different artists from Poetree will entertain with their poems.
Ticket cost: R20
The Woman Next Door
3. Yewande Omotoso
Time: 11.15am to 12.30pm
Venue: Bridge Books
Yewande Omotoso will be reading from her latest novel The Woman Next Door.
Ticket cost: R20
nullThe Relatively Public Life Of Jules Browde
4. Daniel Browde
Time: 11.15am to 12.30pm
Venue: The Rand Club
Daniel Browde will be reading from The Relatively Public Life of Jules Browde.
Ticket cost: R50
nullEyes in the Night
5. Nomavenda Mathiane
Time: 11.15am to 12.30pm
Venue: Corner House
Nomavenda Mathiane will be reading from her book Eyes in the Night.
Ticket cost: R20
nullThe God Who Made Mistakes
6. Ekow Duker
Time: 12.30pm to 1.45pm
Venue: Corner House
Ekow Duker will be reading from his latest novel The God Who Made Mistakes.
Ticket cost: R20
nullBroke and Broken
7. Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki
Time: 1.45pm to 2.30pm
Venue: Bridge Books
Lucas Ledwaba and Leon Sadiki will be reading from their book Broke & Broken.
Ticket cost: R20
8. Niq Mhlongo
Time: 1.45pm to 2.30pm
Venue: Corner House
Niq Mhlongo will be reading from his collection of short stories Affluenza.
Ticket cost: R20
nullHappiness is a Four-Letter Word
9. Nozizwe Cynthia Jele
Time: 3pm to 3.45pm
Venue: Bridge Books
Nozizwe Cynthia Jele will be reading from her novel Happiness is a Four-Letter Word.
Ticket cost: R20
nullFrom Whiskey to Water
10. Samantha Cowen
Time: 3pm to 3.45pm
Venue: Corner House
Samantha Cowen will be reading from her memoir From Whiskey to Water.
Ticket cost: R20
bridge books
11. Cocktail party at Bridge Books
Time: From 4pm
Venue: Bridge Books
Drinks with the authors at Bridge Books.
Ticket cost: R100
Related stories:


Book details

New novel from South African literary legend Achmat Dangor to be published in 2017 - along with a new edition of Bitter Fruit

New novel from Achmat Dangor to be published by in 2017 with a new edition of Bitter Fruit
Strange PilgrimagesWaiting for LeilaKafka's CurseBitter Fruit


Pan Macmillan South Africa and Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann Literary Agency are pleased to announce that a new novel from Achmat Dangor will be published in southern Africa under the Picador Africa imprint in 2017.

In addition, a new edition of the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Bitter Fruit will be published as part of the Picador Africa Classics series as well as in paperback in 2017.

Dangor is an award-winning poet and novelist whose titles include Kafka’s Curse (1997) and the 2004 Booker-shortlisted Bitter Fruit, and Strange Pilgrimages (2013), an acclaimed collection of short stories. He lives and works in Johannesburg, and was last year awarded a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award.

I am honoured that Pan Macmillan is to publish my new novel and reissue Bitter Fruit. Both books explore, through eyes of ordinary people, the unresolved legacies of our troubled past.

- Achmat Dangor

Achmat Dangor’s prize-winning, Booker-shortlisted Bitter Fruit is one of the great classics of South African literature, a searing novel still so relevant in so many ways. I’m thrilled that it will reach new readers under the Picador Africa Classics banner, and that Pan Macmillan will also be publishing an exciting new novel by Achmat next year.

- Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann Literary Agency

I am delighted that Pan Macmillan will have the opportunity to work with Achmat Dangor to publish his new novel in 2017, as well as to bring an absolute classic, in Bitter Fruit, back to our local bookstores and readers. Achmat’s writing is a national literary treasure.

– Andrea Nattrass, Publisher at Pan Macmillan

Related news:

Book details

2016 South African Literary Awards nominees revealed

Dit kom van ver afKarnaval en lentShirley, Goodness & MercyEggs to Lay, Chickens to HatchVry-Bumper CarsBeyond TouchPruimtwak en skaduboksersUnSettled and Other StoriesFlame in the SnowHalfpad een ding’n Huis vir EsterEsther's HouseVlakwaterIt Might Get LoudBuys – ’n GrensromanThe Violent Gestures of LifeSweet MedicineKamphoerWhat If There Were No Whites In South Africa?Donker stroomAskari

Alert! The shortlists for the 2016 South African Literary Awards have been announced.

18 authors from a total of 132 submissions have been shortlisted and the winners will be announced on Monday, 7 November, at a prestigious function at Unisa.

On the same day, wRite Associates will host the fifth Africa Century International African Writers Conference, before the ceremony. This year, the SALAs have partnered with the Unisa Department of English Studies in delivering both the awards ceremony and the Conference.

The SALAs were founded in 2005 by wRite Associates and the Department of Arts and Culture.

This year, the awards will honour the memory of TT Cloete and Chris van Wyk with Posthumous Literary Awards, while Ingrid Winterbach and Professor Johan Lenake are nominated for Lifetime Achievement Literary Awards.

The SALA Adjudication Panel said:

We are excited that South African literature continues to flourish, with many young writers coming into the scene, sharing platforms with their more established and experienced counterparts, however, we are saddened and concerned that we still see less and less of works written in African languages.

Going forward, the SALA Adjudication Panel recommends literary workshops and symposia with stakeholders, especially writers, publishers and editors, to address concerns regarding the standard and quality of some of the work, especially in African languages, that SALA has been receiving over time. This would be in line with one of the objectives of SALA, ‘to promote and preserve all our languages’.

We congratulate the 2016 nominees for their sterling work and keeping South Africa’s literary heritage alive.

The SALAs aim to “pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as groundbreaking producers and creators of literature”, as well as to “celebrate literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories, value systems and philosophies and art as inscribed and preserved in all the languages of South Africa, particularly the official languages”.

The 2016 South African Literary Awards nominees:

Posthumous Literary Award

TT Cloete – Body of work
Chris van Wyk – Body of work

Poetry Award

Gilbert Gibson, Vry-
Athol Williams, Bumper Cars
Arja Salafranca, Beyond Touch

Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award

Danie Marais, Pruimtwak en skaduboksers
Sandra Hill, UnSettled and Other Stories

Literary Translators Award

Leon de Kock and Karin Schimke, Flame in the Snow: The Love Letters of André Brink and Ingrid Jonker
Zirk van den Berg, Halfpad een ding
Kirby van der Merwe, ’n Huis vir Ester

Lifetime Achievement Literary Award

Ingrid Winterbach – Body of work
Prof Johan Lenake – Body of work

K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award

Willem Anker, Buys – ’n Grensroman
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho, The Violent Gestures of Life
Panashe Chigumadzi, Sweet Medicine

First-time Published Author Award

Francois Smith, Kamphoer
Ferial Haffajee, What If There Were No Whites In South Africa?

Creative Non-Fiction Award

Carel van der Merwe, Donker stroom
Jacob Dlamini, Askari

Chairperson’s Award

Recipient to be announced at the Award Ceremony – Body of work


Book details

Charlie's good food

I drove a ski-boat down to Alexandria, Minnesota for something called “winterization”, listening all the way to the country music stations popping up from town to town: Tim McGraw singing how he’ll always be, and another man singing them pantyhose ain’t stayin’ on for long if the DJ puts Bon Jovi on.

The New Yorker features a new story by Petina Gappah, 'A Short History of Zaka the Zulu'

Rotten RowThe Book of MemoryAn Elegy for Easterly


Alert! The New Yorker has published a new story by Petina Gappah, from her forthcoming collection Rotten Row.

She is the first Zimbabwean writer to be featured in the publication for fiction.

Gappah won the £10,000 Guardian First Book Award for her acclaimed debut book of short stories, An Elegy for Easterly in 2009. More recently, she was shortlisted for the United Kingdom’s Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award – the world’s richest prize for a single short story – and also became the first Zimbabwean author to be longlisted for the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, for her novel The Book of Memory.

Her new story, “A Short History of Zaka the Zulu”, is set at the College of Loyola, a Jesuit school in Zimbabwe based on a school Gappah attended. In an interview with The New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman, Gappah says the idea came to her about four years ago, when she was invited to give a speech at an old school’s prizegiving.

I had not been back during term time since I left. It struck me then how incredibly young the boys were, even the oldest of them. That realisation inspired me to write a story about the closed and insular world of boarding school, and about the choices that teenagers can make in the arrogant belief that they know everything. I don’t believe in the “write what you know” school of writing; I believe in writing what I can realistically imagine. I love to write across class, across race, across sex and gender, and I wanted badly to put myself in the shoes of those boys. It would have been too easy to write it from the girls’ perspective; I wanted to push myself by imagining another.

Gappah’s new collection of short stories, Rotten Row, will be published by Faber and Faber in the UK in November. The book is named after the street in Harare where the Criminal Division of the Magistrate’s Court is based, and is made up of 20 stories about crime, from different perspectives.

“I also experiment with different approaches to storytelling,” Gappah tells The New Yorker, “I use a court judgment, an autopsy report, and an internet discussion forum, as well as other voices. I love the short story and want to master the form. I love the sentence-by-sentence, word-level attention that the short story demands, and that is its greatest pleasure.”

Read “A Short History of Zaka the Zulu”:

He was always a bit of an odd fish, Zaka the Zulu, but he was the last boy any of us expected to be accused of murder. Not a wit, a sportsman, or a clown, he was not a popular boy at our school, where he wore his school uniform every day of the week, even on Sundays. Of course, we could have admired him for his brains. In the high-achieving hothouse that was the College of Loyola, which won the Secretary’s Bell Award fifteen years in a row, we admired any boy we labelled a razor. Zaka, though, made such a song and dance about his sharpness that you’d have thought he was the only razor in the school.

He became even less popular when he was made head prefect. In a school like Loyola, where the task of keeping everyday order is entrusted to the prefects, being head can bring out the tyrant in even the nicest chap, and Zaka brought to the position an obnoxious self-importance that made him absolutely insufferable. As head prefect, he issued demerits for the slightest offenses, marking down boys who did not wear ties with their khaki shirts at Benediction, making spot checks for perishable goods in our tuck boxes and trunks, sniffing for beer on the breath of every boy who had snuck out to Donhodzo, the rural bottle store in the valley below our school, and, from the strategically placed Prefects’ Room, making forays at unexpected times to see if he could catch anyone smoking outside the library.

Related stories:

Author image courtesy of The New Yorker/Composite by Books LIVE

Book details

Read 'Cupboards in the Dark' - a new story by Yewande Omotoso for How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

Read ‘Cupboards in the Dark’ – a new story by Yewande Omotoso for How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa
nullThe Woman Next Door

This Fiction Friday, read an excerpt from Yewande Omotoso’s short story “Cupboards in the Dark”, as featured in the new, free to read anthology How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa.

The anthology has been published by Arterial Network and includes articles, poems and works of fiction by writers such as Albie Sachs, Chenjerai Hove, Koleka Putuma, Lauren Beukes, Sylvia Vollenhoven, many more.

The book is described as “a meditation on the artistic health of the continent”.

Yewande Omotoso is a Barbadian-Nigerian who has spent many years in Johannesburg. An architect by day, she is the author of the acclaimed Bom Boy, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the MNet Film Award and the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature and won the South African Literary Award for First Time Published Author.

Her most recent novel, The Woman Next Door, was recently released internationally.

Cupboards in the Dark
Yewande Omotoso


Suppress – to inhibit the growth and development of

THEMBI COULD HEAR it. A knock-knock. She thought to get out of bed and put her ear to the wall between her room and her parents. She peeped over the top of her duvet.

The big shape was the cupboard, but in the dark it looked like a ghost, a giant tokoloshe, a monster waiting … one of those things from the horror movie she was not supposed to watch but did anyway.

The dark shape looked as if it could talk, as if it had moving parts and if she stared long enough it would start walking. It was on nights like these that Thembi wished she had a sister, older or younger didn’t matter. There was that sound again. Knock-knock.

She would even be happy with a brother on such nights.

Her parents had told her she was going to have a brother and her mother’s belly grew a bit and then after some time it became small again. And still she had no brother.

Thembi ducked back underneath the duvet, and to really feel invisible she closed her eyes. The noise continued. The reason she wanted someone else in the room with her, someone like her not an adult, was because on nights like these she wanted to be able to talk, get through the darkness and the unnerving knock-knock.

She wanted to be able to say, “That noise again, can you hear?” and “Can you see the tokoloshe?”

There was no one to talk to right away. And talking about what happened at night the next day was not the same. But it was better than nothing so Thembi spoke to her only friend, Esther.

The following day at school, during playtime, Thembi looked for Esther. She wanted to ask her to come to the far-off swings that scared the other children. There was a story that if you sat in those swings – the ones with rust and not nice paint – an evil spirit will enter through your toes, move up your legs and never leave your heart. Thembi didn’t believe in things like that – not during the daytime anyway. Swings could not send spirits up your toes, it was stupid.

with rust and not nice paint – an evil spirit will enter through your toes, move up your legs and never leave your heart. Thembi didn’t believe in things like that – not during the daytime anyway. Swings could not send spirits up your toes, it was stupid.

Cupboards in the dark, though.

Book details

  • How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa
    EAN: 9780992225216
    Read online for free!