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Read the Winning Story in the Books LIVE Flash Fiction Competition: “Am I in the Right Place?” by Jen Thorpe: fb.me/72TUXFrFF

Eight New Book Dash Books Launched and an Ice Cream Fundraiser at The Creamery

Liz Sparg and a young reader

Perhaps the most startlingly original initiative to take place on the South African literary scene this year is the concept of ending knowledge poverty. With this in mind Book Dash took off with a grand and generous vision to give each South African child a hundred books by the age of five.

Marking the achievements to date, an unusual book event took place at an ice-cream parlour on 13 November – part celebration for the sweetness of eight new books finding their way into the world and part fundraiser to keep the books arriving at their destination. The Creamery donated 15 percent of all ice creams sold to Book Dash, alongside the equally novel fundraising project, Book Dash Thundafund campaign. At the time of writing this blog post, in excess of R44 000 has been raised.

Tarry-Anne AndersonArthur Attwell

Just over R5 000 in book sales and book donations on the evening (in-person purchases and via SnapScan), and the total raised from ice-cream purchases added a further 10 books to the pile.

On a single Book Dash day – there were three such days this year – teams of industry professionals volunteered their time, effort and energy, working fast together to make 22 beautiful children’s books. These are available to anyone to can translate, print and distribute under the Creative Commons license.

The trio of visionaries comprising this bold goal comprises Arthur Attwell, Michelle Matthews and Tarryn-Anne Anderson. If their vast goal for the children of South Africa is to be realised, it means giving 600 million free books to children who could never afford to buy them. Ordinary folks might shrug their shoulders and say “pie in the sky”. Extraordinary folk got down to work, began the process and then licked their scoops of delicious ice-cream.

The first Book Dash was a small affair test driving the process. The first major one took place in June with 40 folk contributing on the day. This led to three new books being given to little ones on Mandela Day at the Jireh early education centre in Mitchell’s Plain. The next was a Women’s Month Book Dash day in August, sponsored by Rock Girl, to tell the stories of remarkable South African women.

Book Dash Books and Ice CreamMichelle Matthews

Most recently the task of producing thousands of books to be distributed freely led to a crowd-funding initiative on Thundafund, calling on the public to donate whatever they can to help reach their goal of raising R200 000 by 18 December 2014.

Join Book Dash at The Book Lounge on the 11th of December. Everyone who makes a donation that evening, stands a chance to win a R500 Book Lounge voucher and the infinite good karma of contributing to this most worthwhile vision.

If you’d like to give the gift of giving for Chistmas this year, consider making a Thundafund donation of books to kids who need them from R300.

Watch the video, which illustrates the hard work and clear-cut vision behind Book Dash:

YouTube Preview Image

The books launched at The Creamery were;
A Dancer’s Tale by Sam Cutler, Thea Nicole de Klerk, Roberto Pita
Graca’s Dream by Karlien de Villiers, Melissa Fagan, Marike le Roux
Miss Helen’s Magical World by Wendy Morison, Jacqui L’Ange, Nadene Kriel
Queen of Soweto by Mia du Plessis, Jessica Taylor, Marli Fourie
Sindiwe and the Fireflies by Jano Strydom, Cheréne Pienaar, Tess Gadd
Singing the Truth by Louwrisa Blaauw, Jade Mathieson, Bianca de Jong
Together We’re Strong by Alice Toich, Liesl Jobson, Nazli Jacobs
Zanele Situ: My Story by Jesse Breytenbach, Liz Sparg, Andy Thesen

Forthcoming soon are The story of James Barry by Jean de Wet, Michelle Matthews and Bridgette Potton; and The story of Wangari Maathai by Maya Marshak and Nicola Rijsdijk.

Books by the big-hearted authors involved in Book Dash include:

Ma mère était une très belle femmeAdults OnlyFeast, Famine and PotluckThe ParadeThe Little Red HenThe Whole Food AlmanacSister-Sister

Ctrl Z my leweAs jy 'n ster sien verskietKilling TimeRide the TortoiseEmbracing Digital

* * * * * * * * *

Liesl Jobson (@LieslJobson) tweeted live from the event using the hashtag #livebooks:


Facebook gallery

 

Book details

Huldeblyke aan Charles Fryer: Riana Barnard, Danie Botha, Fanie Olivier, Joan Hambidge en Petra Muller (Potgooi)

 
Kinders van die aardeCharles Fryer, bekende skrywer en geliefde oud-uitgewer, is verlede week op die ouderdom van 68 jaar oorlede.

Verskeie kollegas – onder wie Riana Barnard, Danie Botha, Fanie Olivier en Joan Hambidge – het intussen op verskeie platforms aan Fryer hulde gebring en hom geëer as ‘n vriend van Afrikaanse letterkunde.

Barnard het op Skrywers en Boeke gesels oor Fryer se impak op Afrikaanse letterkunde. Luister na die potgooi:

 

Die helder daeDanie Botha skryf in sy huldeblyk: “Charles Fryer maak sy toetrede tot Tafelberg-Uitgewers in 1975. Dit is die begin van sy belangrike bydrae op velerlei maniere tot die Afrikaanse letter­kunde.” Lees Botha se volledige artikel op Netwerk24:

Hy was eers ’n Afrikaans-onderwyser by die Hoërskool D.F. Malan, waar hy onder meer baie vir die “skrywers van die toekoms” beteken het.

In daardie jare het ons van die Tafelberg-fiksieredaksie hom genader om keuring van veral poësie te doen. Hy was immers in die laat jare sestig D.J. Opperman se assistent in die departement Afrikaans en Nederlands van die Universiteit Stellenbosch. Later by Tafelberg sou hulle steeds saamwerk, met Opperman tóé as keurder.

Fryer het in Stellenbosch bekend gestaan as iemand wat insig in Breyten Breytenbach se werk het. Hy het self al as student gedig; van die werk is in die bundel Rooiwielwa van 1978 opgeneem.

As die son kom oogknipFanie Olivier het ‘n gedig aan Fryer opgedra op Versindaba en ‘n kort oordenking gedeel. Hy skryf: “Net ’n paar van ons het hom geken as Adam Kadmon, die reus van die Wilcocksgebou op Stellenbosch. Vir ander was hy mnr. Fryer, in die dae van assistente en vier professore, dasse en gestrykte broeke, die jaloerse bewaker van Dirk-der-Duisende. Bedeesde vriende het hom Charles genoem, maar net Loreinne kon hom om haar vinger draai.”

Lees Botha se volledige huldeblyk op Versindaba:

oor charles – ’n skitterende kind van die wind
(vir lorreine, wat sal onthou)

daar is soveel mense wie se paaie joune kruis.
maar met hoeveel paaie ry jy saam, wil ek maar vra:
swaar dra al aan die eenkant; ligweg sommer
veld-in met sy tuisgemaakte rooiwielwa.

hoeveel piekniekplekke vir die hart [“kom-kommer”
had hy dit genoem] se taal; hoeveel werwe uitgewaai;
hoeveel klinkers uitgevat; hoeveel konsonante
saamgenooi na die agterland, vir hessie-se-draai.

MeditasiesJoan Hambidge het ook ‘n gedig oor Fryer en die impak wat hy op haar gemaak het, geskryf. “In die omtes van jou groot-groot hart, vergeef tog dié ongebreidelde smart,” vra Hambidge aan die Hantam-man. Lees haar gedig:

Ek knip my naels so eksie-perfeksie
vir my indertydse uitgewer
vir die man met die groot-groot lag
vir hóm met die bont-bont das
in wie se netjiese hart
soveel onrustige digters kon pas.

Sonder horlosie op die arm
potlood in die hand
stip hy nougeset
in die kantlyn vrae aan
oor ‘n rymdwang, slot
of onsoepele toespel.

Om die gedagte van geelPetra Muller onthou Fryer as Sjarlemanje, “ons weergawe van Karel die Grote”. Sy het ‘n huldeblyk aan hom met LitNet gedeel:

By hom was jy veilig.

Dink weer hieroor ná, sou hy aan ‘n skrywer sê, sy een groot hand aan’t weef oor die manuskrip, soos ‘n seëning. Of dalk ‘n doop.

Dink na oor invalshoeke, ewewigte, lengtes en tekort, toepaslikhede en onvanpasthede, oor inkleding en atmosfeer, spraak en weerspraak, wendeings (“Waarheen wend jou boek hier, wéét jy dat jy hier gewend het?”)

Boekbesonderhede

Foto met dank aan Tafelberg

Read the Winning Story in the Books LIVE Flash Fiction Competition: "Am I in the Right Place?" by Jen Thorpe

Books LIVE is delighted to announce the winner of the Kobo Glo eReader in our flash fiction competition!

Competition entries were inspired by South Africa’s unique newspaper posters.

And the winner is … “Am I in the Right Place” by Jen Thorpe, inspired by the headline “Phone Call From a Tokoloshe”.

Congratulations, Jen! We hope you enjoy your new Kobo Glo.

Read the winning entry:

 

‘Am I in the right place?’

    The man continued to stare at his desk as I talked to him. He was wearing thick-rimmed spectacles and I couldn’t see his eyes clearly.

    ‘Are you Iris?’

    I nodded and he gestured for me to take a seat. There were three chairs and I wondered who else we were expecting. I chose the one closest to the door.

    ‘Will others be joining us?’
    ‘We will have to wait and see. It depends how many of you the master called.’

    He scanned the room nervously and I followed his eyes, noting the dust along the skirting boards and what appeared to be long brown hairs on the floor. I bent forward to dig in my bag for my hand sanitiser. As I sat up, I noticed that Spectacles’ chair was on bricks.

    ‘I’m Adam.’

    The deep voice came from a blond and muscular man in the doorway, holding a cap in his hand. He smiled at me as though we were old friends.

    ‘Adam, take a seat,’ said Spectacles, ‘and don’t talk too loud.’

    Adam sat next to me rather than leaving a chair between us, so that I could feel the heat from his body where our arms were touching. He smelled of coffee and seemed oblivious to the instructions to remain quiet.

    ‘I don’t think we’ve met.’
    ‘No, we wouldn’t have, because you just got here.’

    I didn’t mean to sound rude but Spectacles was freaking me out. Adam extended his hand across my lap. I shook it reluctantly.

    ‘I’m Iris,’ I said, shifting my arm so we weren’t touching.
    ‘Did you also get a call?’
    ‘Yes, but it’s weird. I’m struggling to remember what it was about.’

    I hoped that my face hid my shock. I’m normally meticulous, I make lists, and now I couldn’t remember a call or find my hand sanitiser. I looked at Adam for answers.

    ‘What did the person in your call say?’
    ‘His name was Tok. I think it was something about … did we win something?’
    ‘I’d remember if it was that.’
    ‘I can’t remember either.’

    I can tell from the knitting of his brows that Adam’s unease is growing too. I wrack my memory trying to remember why I came here. Spectacles turns towards us, holding a finger to his lips. This time I can see his eyes. They are pitch black, and full of fear.

    I’m about to stand up to leave but something I hear stops me. It sounds like the clicking of hooves on tiles, and it’s coming closer. I desperately try to remember what the caller said, feeling that if I can, we’ll somehow be safe. There is no other exit.

    ‘Adam?’ I whisper.
    ‘Yes?’
    ‘What is that?’
    ‘I don’t know.’

    Before he can answer the clicking stops just outside the door, and over the drum of my heartbeat I hear a gargling breathing sound. I can’t see it yet, but I can feel it, and I know it’s waiting for us to run.

Adults Only teaser: Q&A with Jo Stielau

15. Jo StielauJoanne Hichens – editor of the Adults Only, the second annual Short.Sharp.Stories Awards anthology – interviews Jo Stielau. Her story “Meat in the Crosshairs” was selected for inclusion in the anthology.

Jo Stielau is an English teacher at a well-known, independent boys’ school in Cape Town. She supplements her teaching income through non-fiction writing – textbook writing and corporate reports – and notes that she has yet to earn a cent from writing fiction. But “like an itch that must be scratched”, she continues to write fiction, and she is one of only two authors to appear in both the inaugural Short.Sharp.Stories collection and this one; her story A Dog Before Nine was featured in Bloody Satisfied in 2013. She lives with her son and other animals in suburbia.

Your story “The Meat in the Crosshairs” is cutting, acerbic. The humour can’t be denied. Can one consider this a Jo Steilau feature?

My stories are always autobiographical embellishments or else they are stories borrowed and stolen from friends. In life, whether with friends or strangers, I like to shock people – the more scandalous the story the better. I like to appear a model of respectability and tell shocking stories, especially if they are hilarious too. I don’t know why I do this. It feels harmless but I have noticed that it certainly has limited my invitations to dinners over the years! No-one has asked me to be a god-parent lately either (just saying). Truth be told, I don’t have much truck with “respectable” or “serious”. I like to kick them on the shins a bit.

And you find satisfaction doing this through the vehicle of the short story?

Short stories are fantastic vehicles to do the kicking – Short.Sharp. and shocking! I think it was Neil Gaiman who said “The short story is still like the novel’s wayward younger brother, we know that it’s not respectable – but I think that can also add to the glory of it.” I know he probably meant “not respectable” in terms of literary achievement but there is definitely shin-kicking implied in there somewhere!

“The Meat in the Crosshairs” is really a story of the aural tradition. Your protagonist “tells” her tale to a captive audience. Can you comment on this?

I took a two year course on Group Analytic Studies where I encountered group therapy for the first time. It was a course which changed my life and, having had no experience in any sort of therapy before, I suddenly realised the power of the “confessional” and the importance of self-reflection. It made me a better listener. It made me a better storyteller.

Of course, in such a group, one is privy to confessions and anecdotes which make the most glorious stories because, given the apparently confidential nature of the confession, the stories are raw. Raw in both ways: painful and, also, unadorned with respectability. The aural tradition plays a strong part here because, of course, they are just told and later revisited and retold but nothing is recorded in hard copy. This means they are flexible and like elastic can stretch to suit the context, the teller’s developing confidence and insights. The aural tradition allows for adaptation and evolution and sharing forward in ways more static storytelling cannot.

And in a sense story ‘telling’ allows us all to be voyeurs, isn’t that so?

I don’t know why it has become such a taboo thing. We are animals who watch and observe for social cues all the time. We are curious about each other. Surely it is not surprising, then, that we are drawn to do this and that there is pleasure in it – particularly when the subject matter is forbidden or dramatic. I think here of the public fascination with the private lives of others or even the rubber-necking that happens at the scenes of car accidents or the success of these dramatic police/ ER/ confessional reality television shows.

I am eternally grateful to the internet which allows us to be voyeurs in private and at leisure. We have all gone to places on our computers which we would not be proud to own in public, haven’t we? Who dares cast the first stone? If we read to know we are not alone, it is probably true to suggest that we also seek internet sites that speak to our private thoughts, fears and other peccadilloes. I like to notice how many hits there are to sites which I visited! I am not alone.

Indeed not! Yet sex writing is hotly debated, with some writers feeling that sex should remain ‘off the page’.

Sex is still such a taboo subject despite the fact that it is displayed so prominently in the media. In the public domain, sex is apparently the privilege of the attractive, the thin, the young, the socially mobile. I think fiction, through whatever medium, should start embracing sex and sensuality in broader ways. Ironically, the broader ways include the neglected, ‘ordinary’ ways. In private, beyond this limited media view, as if ashamed, visual porn sites and erotic writings have embraced other niches and even the ordinary-sounding ‘Amateur’ as a porn genre speaks to this. I would love to be a voyeur in a retirement centre! I bet that’s where some really interesting stuff goes down.

So what’s next? 

I don’t think I have it in me to sustain interest while writing down the lengthier plot of a novel. Can you imagine rereading all those edits over many pages! Perhaps because I am a raconteur and a gossip, I like to get to the point, to the punch line of the joke, to the juicy details. I am an impatient reader and an impatient listener.

I can only say this: I write what I hear and what I have experienced. I like non-fiction. The lives and experiences of others are so amazing to me that I see little point in ‘making up stuff’ to tell. The truth is wild enough. It is the oddest thing really, that writing about real people and real events has come to occupy a negative semantic space and we call it NON-fiction.

Thanks, Jo, we look forward to your next sharp and edgy tale, and hope in the meantime, that you don’t get sued for libel.

Adults OnlyBook details

Closing Date for 2015 Short Sharp Stories Awards Creeps Closer

 
If you haven’t submitted your entry for the 2015 Short Sharp Stories Award you still have some time – until Sunday, to be precise.

Bloody SatisfiedAdults OnlyThe Short Sharp Stories Award, made possible by the National Arts Festival, is an annual South African short story competition for new fiction, with the winners being published in a themed anthology. Previous themes touched on the blood and guts of crime stories, published as Bloody Satisfied, and modern sex stories, published as Adults Only.

The theme for next year’s anthology is “Incredible Journey“, calling on uniquely South African voices to capture rollercoaster rides of incredible experience, telling tales of travel, change and momentum.

The closing date for submissions is 30 November, 2014. Shortlisted writers will be notified by 31 March, 2015. Have a look at the rules and regulations:

HOW TO ENTER

By email to enter@shortsharpstories.com
Submissions should be accompanied by the signed declaration which you can download here.
Stories are preferably to be set in 11 point, Times Roman, at one and half line spacing.
Entries should be sent as a file attachment in one of the following file formats: PDF (.pdf), Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).

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Join the POWA Women's Writing Project for a Free Writing Workshop in Cape Town

Invitation: POWA Women's Writing Project

 
Breaking the Silence: SisterhoodBreaking the SilencePeople Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) invites you to a free writing workshop in Cape Town. The POWA Women’s Writing Project has extended its workshops to various provinces and participants will explore the writing of poetry, short stories and personal essays.

The writing workshop will take place at the Artscape Resource Centre on Saturday, 29 November, and Sunday, 30 November 2014, from 9 AM to 3 PM. RSVP before 26 November to secure a place.

Participants will have the opportunity to submit their work to the 2014 anthology, Breaking the Silence: Painting my future. Previous titles emerging from the project include Breaking the Silence: Sisterhood and Breaking the Silence: Love and Revolution.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

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