Netwerk24 se boekeredakteur Jo Prins het onlangs met Frederick J Botha, wenner van die Nuwe stories 3-kortverhaalkompetisie en dosent in Afrikaanse letterkunde aan die Universiteit van Johannesburg, gesels oor die kortverhaal as genre. Hy wou spesifiek uitvind, “Wat gaan aan met die kortverhaal?”
“Ek dink as jy nou kyk spesifiek van 2012 af, 2013, 2014, dan is dit werklikwaar ‘n feit dat die Afrikaanse kortverhaal besig is om maer jare te beleef,” sê Botha. Hy gesels met Prins oor die moontlike redes hiervoor en bied oplossings vir hierdie fenomeen. Botha noem ook enkele bundels wat onlangs verskyn het en verduidelik waarom hy dink mense – lesers én skrywers – moontlik afgeskrik word van hierdie genre.
Kyk na die video om meer uit te vind oor die geskiedenis en realiteit van kortverhale in Afrikaans:
Ek hoop om in die toekoms weer die bydraers se werk raak te lees, dalk selfs ’n eie bundel of twee.
In die letterkundige wêreld waar die kortverhaal dikwels aan die kortste speen suig langs die gewilder roman, hoop ek dat hierdie talentvolle skrywers vir ’n wyle, indien nie langer nie, in die kortverhaalgenre sal vertoef.
Badilisha Poetry X-Change is a website dedicated to archiving poems by African poets, collecting audio clips of them reading their work with all the intended emotions in place. These poems are then also published in text format with translations where necessary.
Visitors to the site can explore poets in six different categories: A-Z, Country, Language, Theme, Emotion or Top 10. The last category changes each month, with a different Badilisha poet curating their top 10.
In January, London-based Capetonian poet Toni Stuart curated the list. She included a deliciously diverse group of mostly local voices:
Antjie Krog | D’Bi Youg | Diana Ferrus | Gabeba Baderoon
Jacob Sam-la Rose | Jethro Louw | Kwame Dawes
Lwanda | Pieter Odendaal | Tania van Schalkwyk
For a taste of Stuart’s top 10 collection, read a featured poem from Jacob Sam-la Rose:
HOW TO BE URBAN
Forget what you know.
How many different angles do you speak?
There’s always some other place to be,
and you don’t know what it’s called,
or what time it closes. Can you ever say
you’ve seen a city’s best side?
Do you speak front and refurbished facade?
Watch your back, hood up, eyes front.
Know your way home.
Nothing will ever truly belong to you.
What you have, you borrow, and everything
on a short term lease. Believe, nonetheless.
Call you city, rock and hard, never let a thing
get past you. Guard your softer parts.
Do you speak locked doors and always
over the shoulder? Do you speak a hemmed in sky?
Or do you smile at strangers like one-sided telephone calls,
like a torch beam pointed at the night?
Sirens will ring in your ears like the calls
of common birds. Bury your fears.
Play your hand close.
Research has shown that in Africa web users rely on mobile devices much more than anywhere else in the world. This led to a relaunch of the Badilisha Poetry X-Change website with great mobile accessibility, opening up opportunities to spread African poetry on the continent that birthed it.
David Smith from The Guardian recently spoke to project manager Linda Kaoma to find out more about the site, the decision to focus on mobile browsing and project in general. “Badilisha’s poets include 169 from South Africa, 33 from Kenya, 27 from Nigeria, 26 from Zimbabwe, three from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one from Somalia. Among the 16 African poets in the UK is Lemn Sissay, of Ethiopian descent, who was commissioned to write for the 2012 London Olympics. He can be heard reading his work ‘The Queen’s Speech’,” Smith Writes.
Read the article to find out everything you would want to know about Badilisha Poetry X-Change:
“These days, the language of death
is a dialect of betrayals; the bodies
broken, placid as saints, hobble
along the tiled corridors, from room
to room. Below the dormitories
is a white squat bungalow, a chapel
from which the handclaps and choruses
rise and reach us like the scent
of a more innocent time.”
These are the opening lines of Hope’s Hospice, written by Ghanaian-born Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes. He is among nearly 400 African poets from 24 countries in 14 languages who can now be heard reading their work via mobile phones – a first for Africa and the world.
The mobile site, accessible on smart and feature phones, has been launched by the Badilisha Poetry X-Change, the biggest archive of audio recordings by African poets in the world. It is a significant step on this “mobile first” continent where, with limited landline infrastructure, most people access the internet through their phones rather than on computers.
Fodor’s Travel, an international travel organisation, asked their editors what they were reading and the editor of their “Cities and Cultural Destinations” section, Kristan Schiller, explained why she is excited about the Badilisha Poetry X-Change:
I’m excited about a new mobile site launched by the Cape Town-based Badilisha Poetry X-Change, the biggest archive of audio recordings by African poets in the world.Spawned in 2008 as an annual festival in Cape Town featuring poets from across the continent, Badilisha eventually morphed into a website which was recently relaunched with mobile access. Each poet has a page with photograph, biography, and poems in text and audio. It’s a fantastic way to preserve Africa’s oral tradition and give exposure to emerging artists who otherwise might not be heard.
Some books by poets mentioned featured on Badilisha or anthologies including their work:
Images courtesy of Badilisha Poetry X-change
Writers Write, a South African company offering courses in business and creative writing, has shared its Top 42 Writing Posts of 2014.
The posts, written by Writers Write founder Amanda Patterson and writers and creative writing teachers Mia Botha and Anthony Ehlers, include tips on avoiding the word “very”, commonly misused words to look out for, how to test your plot, as well as some great writing prompts to chase away any potential writer’s block.
Ehlers’s short story “Breaking The Rules” was included in the second Short Sharp Stories anthology, Adults Only. Read an interview with him here.
The top 10 Writers Write posts of 2014 are:
1. 45 ways to avoid using the word ‘very’
2. Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language
3. Eight Commonly Misused Words
4. The Five Elements of a Story
5. Persuasive Writing – Emotional vs Intellectual Words
6. 15 Questions Authors Should Ask Characters
7. The Locked Room – A simple way to test your plot
8. Five Incredibly Simple Ways to Help Writers Show and Not Tell
9. The Importance of Inciting Moments
10. 50 Lyric Titles As Writing Prompts
Read an excerpt from the top post, which according to Writers Writs garnered 1,361,105 views:
45 ways to avoid using the word ‘very’
Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain
‘Very’ is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is
intended to strengthen. ~Florence King
So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays. ~N.H. Kleinbaum
View the handy table that accompanies the post:
Writers Write are offering creative writing courses for 2015 in Johannesburg. The first, in early February, is fully booked, but there is still space on several other courses.
2-5 February (Four Consecutive Weekday Mornings) Fully Booked
7,14,21,28 February (Four Consecutive Saturday Mornings)
9-12 March (Four Consecutive Weekday Mornings)
7,14,21,28 March (Four Consecutive Saturday Mornings)
20-23 April (Four Consecutive Weekday Mornings)
9,16,23,30 May (Four Consecutive Saturday Mornings)
1-4 June (Four Consecutive Weekday Mornings)
View some recent Writers Write book reviews:
Book Review – The Age of Magic
Book Review – Love Loss Life
Book Review – Inspired
Book Review – Face-Off
Book Review – Girl Walks into a Wedding
Rachelle Greeff, outeur van Die naaimasjien en bydraer tot Spoorvat, se bekroonde toneelstuk Rondomskrik speel een van die dae by die US Woordfees.
Die teks neem die moord en verkragting van Anene Booysen as vertrekpunt in ‘n toneelstuk wat snaaks, hartseer en bo alles deernisvol en hoopvol is. Dit kyk na hoe ons mense ons kinders faal. En hoe om te sorg dat kinders nie net oorleef nie, maar vlerke kry.
Renata Redelinghuys, “‘n aktrise wat self al gesukkel het om te kies wat sy by kunstefeeste moet vat of los”, het met Richard September, een van die bekroonde akteurs in Greeff se toneelstuk, gesels om meer uit te vind oor Rondomskrik.
Kyk na die video:
Brittle Paper have announced a new African Fantasy Story Series in which they plan to publish original stories by African authors.
Eugene Odogwu’s story In The Shadow of Iyanibi packs a powerful punch as it kicks off the series. It will be published in three sessions, with the first two parts already delivered.
“Fantasy has a common denominator – imagination. Imagination of the awe inspiring, the amazing, the magical, the otherworldly. Look closely enough and you’ll see that at its core, it’s all the same, just with different names. Magic or Juju, what’s the difference?” Odogwu told Brittle Paper in an interview about being a fantasy writer.
Odogwu also revealed that “Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a great influence, Ovid’s The Metamorphoses even more so”.
Originally from Warri, in Southern Nigeria, Odogwu says his love of fantasy was inspired by the place where he grew up. “Anyone who knows anything about Warri knows that fantasy lurks around its every corner. From tales of men transforming into tubers of yam after touching a stray note on the ground, women birthing tortoises, people riding plantain leafs like private jets to tales of giant birds snatching unsuspecting children from school playgrounds. Oh, trust me, fantasy happens everywhere, not only in the dark recesses of ancient woods.”
Read the article to find out more about this author and artist (Odogwu designs beautiful book covers when he is not writing), his views on fantasy and fiction in Africa and his new story series:
Tell us a bit about your new story series. Where did the idea for “In the Shadow of Iyanibi” come from?
I once heard a Yoruba tale about a tree that demanded the first child of a woman who’d come to it for favors. The idea of a malevolent and effeminate tree-creature seemed so fascinating. I had to explore it. As for Iyanibi, it’s a tribute to the thousands of dark and “evil” forests in all forms of literature, folklores and fairytales.
In The Shadow of Iyanibi is a story about a brave and gifted girl named Ihumbi, who is swept up in a series of frightening encounters involving the search for a missing sister in a forest of deep, dark shadows.
Read the first part:
Ahu clenched the itosi hanging from her neck, the bird feather charm her father had given them at birth. It was all she could do to contain the anger building up inside her.
“Look at your sister,” the boy said, grinning mockingly. “Sitting on her own and talking to an ija-ja. Who spends all their time talking to a bush baby? She’s crazy too.”
The rest of the children in their age group laughed, some pointing fingers at her sister sitting under a tree and talking to a little creature with huge amber eyes.
“I’m warning you, Tamo,” Ahu hissed through clenched teeth. “I’m warning you, hold your tongue.”
Read part two of In The Shadow of Iyanibi:
Ihumbi ran. Her chest burned with each breath she gulped down. Her calves ached each time her feet hit the ground. Her gut felt like it was being ripped from the inside out.
Still, she pushed on. The sound of the asan thrashing about behind her was enough motivation. Its shrill cries and grunts gave her the strength to keep running.
She ran and ran. But her body began to slowdown with each step until she could only flounder about, tired and disoriented.
As she glanced over her shoulder to catch a glimpse of the raging beast, her foot caught against a root. She tumbled forward, headlong into a ditch. Her face was deep in the dark soil before she could even gasp.
According to Brittle Paper, the final part of Odogwu’s story will be published on February 9, with two more series planned for 2015. We can’t wait!
Images courtesy of Brittle Paper