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Check out a Guide to the Best Stargazing Spots in the Southern Hemisphere (Excerpt from Offbeat SA) @PRHSouthAfrica…

Man Booker International Prize Finalists Announced in Cape Town, Including Marlene van Niekerk, Alain Mabanckou and Mia Couto

2015 Man Booker International Prize Panel

Alert! The Man Booker International Prize 2015 nominees were announced in Cape Town at the University of Cape Town today.

In the past the finalists have been announced in Toronto, New York and Sydney and this is the first time the announcement was made on the African continent – the home continent of two-time Booker Prize winner and Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee, who is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of English at UCT.

The Man Booker International Prize differs from the Man Booker Prize as it honours a writer’s body of work and their contribution to international fiction, as opposed to focusing on a single publication.

The Collected Stories of Lydia DavisPhilip RothNew Selected StoriesThings Fall ApartTwilight of the Eastern Gods

The £60 000 is awarded every second year and was won in 2013 by American author Lydia Davis, American novelist Philip Roth in 2011, Nobel laureate Alice Munro in 2009 and by the late Nigerian author Chinua Achebe in 2007. Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare won the inaugural prize in 2005.

The 2015 judging panel, who selected the finalists at their own discretion, includes South African born, UK-based novelist and critic Elleke Boehmer. British novelist Marina Warner chaired the panel made up of Boehmer, British Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam, American editorial director Edwin Frank and literature professor Wen-chin Ouyang, who was born in Taiwan, raised in Libya and is now based in the UK.

Marina Warner

Without further ado, the finalists for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize are:

César Aira, Hoda Barakat, Maryse Condé, Mia Couto, Amitav Ghosh, Fanny Howe, Ibrahim al-Koni, László Krasznahorkai, Alain Mabanckou and Marlene van Niekerk.


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Second ChildhoodThe Seven Veils of SethSeiobo There BelowAfrican Psycho

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Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the announcement, using the hasthtag #MBI15:


Facebook gallery:

Press release

Ten writers are on the judges’ list of finalists under serious consideration for the sixth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.

The authors come from ten countries with six new nationalities included on the list for the first time. They are from Libya, Mozambique, Guadeloupe, Hungary, South Africa and Congo
None of the writers has appeared on a previous Man Booker International Prize list of finalists
The proportion of writers translated into English is greater than ever before at 80%
The finalists’ list is announced by the chair of judges, Professor Marina Warner, at a press conference hosted at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, today, Tuesday 24 March 2015.

The ten authors on the list are:

César Aira (Argentina)
Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
Mia Couto (Mozambique)
Amitav Ghosh (India)
Fanny Howe (United States of America)
Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)
The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 consists of writer and academic, Professor Marina Warner (Chair); novelist Nadeem Aslam; novelist, critic and Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University, Elleke Boehmer; Editorial Director of the New York Review Classics series, Edwin Frank, and Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London, Wen-chin Ouyang.

Announcing the list, Professor Warner comments:

‘The judges have had an exhilarating experience reading for this prize; we have ranged across the world and entered the vision of writers who offer an extraordinary variety of experiences. Fiction can enlarge the world for us all and stretch our understanding and our sympathy. The novel today is in fine form: as a field of inquiry, a tribunal of history, a map of the heart, a probe of the psyche, a stimulus to thought, a well of pleasure and a laboratory of language. Truly, we feel closer to the tree of knowledge.’

Manny Roman, CEO of Man Group, comments:

‘We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker International Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors and translators. The prize underscores Man Group’s charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as our commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support. It’s exciting to see finalists from ten countries, with six nationalities included on the list for the first time, further broadening Man Booker’s international reach. Many congratulations to all the finalists.’

Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, comments:

‘This is a most interesting and enlightening list of finalists. It brings attention to writers from far and wide, so many of whom are in translation. As a result our reading lists will surely be hugely expanded.’

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

The winner is chosen solely at the discretion of the judging panel; there are no submissions from publishers. Lydia Davis won the prize in 2013, Philip Roth in 2011, Alice Munro in 2009, Chinua Achebe in 2007 and Ismail Kadaré won the inaugural prize in 2005. In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The 2015 Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 19 May.

Man Group sponsors both the Man Booker International Prize and the annual Man Booker Prize. The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker in that it highlights one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In seeking out literary excellence the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.

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Verlange, verlies en menslike broosheid in Roela Hattingh se kortverhaalbundel, Kamee

KameeKamee, Roela Hattingh se debuutbundel kortverhale, verskyn eersdaags by Human & Rousseau:

Met Kamee maak Hattingh haar debuut as kortverhaalskrywer. Die 24 verhale in hierdie bundel fokus op sentrale temas soos verlange, verlies, liefde en begeerte, wraak en menslike broosheid. Hattingh is veral geïnteresseerd in aspekte uit die ervaringswêreld van vroue, en daarom tref die leser dikwels vroue as sprekers en protagoniste aan.

Nietemin vind Hattingh se belesenheid en navorsing neerslag in uiteenlopende situasies en vertellerstemme. Die titel (in Engels: “cameo”) simboliseer verlies, herinnering en verewiging.

’n Waardevolle toevoeging tot die Afrikaanse kortverhaaltradisie in die styl van Henriette Grové en Elise Muller.

Oor die outuer

Roela Hattingh is ’n kopieskrywer en strateeg by Flow Communications. Sy was voorheen dosent in kopieskryf en kreatiewe proses aan die Vega School of Brand Leadership, AAA School of Advertising en die Universiteit van Johannesburg. In 2014 het sy ’n beurs van NB-Uitgewers gewen vir haar kreatiewe boek wat sy vir haar Magister-graad aan die Universiteit van Pretoria geskryf het. Haar verhandeling fokus op die werk van Etienne van Heerden. Sy is die outeur van akademiese artikels, en is reeds bekroon met verskeie Pendorings en Loeries.

Hattingh skryf vryskutkopie, maak kunstenaarsboeke, en bied kreatiwiteits- en skrywerswerkswinkels aan.


Sunday Read: "Night", A Reflection on Sleep by Nobel Laureate Alice Munro

This coming week sees the announcement of the finalists for the 2015 Man Book International Prize, an event which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa. Therefore it seems fitting to present to you, as this week’s Sunday Read, a story by a previous winner of this esteemed literary award, Nobel laureate Alice Munro.

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The Love of a Good WomanOpen SecretsSelected StoriesFriend of My YouthThe Progress of LoveSelected StoriesThe Moons of Jupiter

Granta has recently shared an essay by this award-winning author, entitled “Night”.

In it, she recalls the night her appendix had to be removed, remembering that “there seemed to be never a childbirth, or a burst appendix, or any other drastic physical event that did not occur simultaneously with a snowstorm”. This night led her to think about cancer for the first time, albeit briefly as topics such as that were not to be discussed.

Munro goes on to recount her sleeping habits, or lack thereof to the point where she was not herself any more. The essay on sleep evolves to reveal the dark thoughts that almost overwhelmed her, and her eventual victory over sleeplessness.

Read Munro’s essay about the period between sunset and sunrise, a story which first appeared in her anthology called Dear Life:

By this time it wasn’t sleep I was after. I knew mere sleep wasn’t likely. Maybe not even desirable. Something was taking hold of me and it was my business, my hope, to fight it off. I had the sense to do that, but only barely, as it seemed. It was trying to tell me to do things, not exactly for any reason but just to see if such acts were possible. It was informing me that motives were not necessary.

It was only necessary to give in. How strange. Not out of revenge, or even cruelty, but just because you had thought of something.

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Image courtesy of BBC

Free eBook: Complete our Reader Survey and get Herman Charles Bosman's "Lost" Sunday Times Columns for Free

Herman Charles Bosman cover

This week, the Sunday Times publishes an ebook that will help flesh out, in a small way, the enigmatic character of one of South Africa’s most well-known literary characters, Herman Charles Bosman.

The idea was sparked by two newspaper articles: one published in the Sunday Times in 2005 by Bonny Schoonakker, called “Unknown Bosman Treasures Unearthed” and another published in the Mail & Guardian in 2013 by Sean Christie, called “The Good, the Bad and the Bosman”.

The articles, which are reproduced in the ebook, revealed that Bosman wrote short anecdotes and stories for the Sunday Times from 1920, when he was fifteen years old, to the end of 1922, when he turned eighteen and went to the University of the Witwatersrand. He wrote under various pseudonyms: his initials, HCB, and the fanciful pen names Ben Eath (“Beneath”), Will-O’-The-Wisp and Ferdinand Fandango.

We decided to retrieve these stories for a new collection of “lost” Bosman works. Deep into the bowels of the archives we went, scrolling through reels of microfilm, searching for the tales that a teenage Bosman penned. It seemed a simple enough task, but even on microfilm some of the archived articles were faded and worn. In many cases, we struggled to make out the words.

We turned to the National Library of South Africa in Pretoria, which houses original printed copies of the Sunday Times, and found, not eighteen stories, as posited in Schoonakker’s article, but twenty-one.

The stories represent a fascinating complement to the main-line of Herman Charles Bosman’s well-established literary canon. They are as varied in length as they are in subject matter. “The Dagger” by Will-O’-The-Wisp is about the difficulty of writing a short story; it clocks in at 470 words. “The Dilemma” by Ben Eath discusses, in a brief 285 words, whether the writer should consider walking to work or to go by tram.

Brief, brisk and uneven in quality, these early narratives certainly represent an important aspect of Bosman’s juvenilia. At the same time, however, it is worth remembering that Bosman himself once declared his lack of interest in having his “misguided youthful misconceptions dragged up from the past,” as he wrote in a scathing retort to Bernard Sachs’ Multitude of Dreams (1949), a semi-autobiographical account notable for its veiled portrayal of Bosman as a young man.

Yet Bosman’s concerns about the potentially embarrassing or pernicious effect of whatever “youthful misconceptions” may have found their way into his early work are somewhat ironically misguided. Though far from polished or perfect, the stories gathered here offer (perhaps mildly damning) insight into how little Bosman had developed as a writer in the years following their publication.

His particular brand of satire, which ranges from the comically trenchant to the tasteless, is as familiar as his willingness to subvert the assumptions, interests and expectations of his time and place. In this respect, Bosman was a thoroughly modern writer.

The advertisements surrounding his teenage work still have a kind of faded glory. There’s Fairplay Cigarettes: “for the throat”. Chateau Brandy sold “for less than it did 250 years ago”. Austin Colonial Motors, LTD, sold “the car that depreciates least”; and Dr Heinz Nerve Restorative was the only tonic nervine sedative that truly delivered “sound sleep and calm nerves” and gave “many thousands of despairing nerve sufferers new hope”.

One can’t but help suspect the master ironist Bosman – shown in these short pieces as a writer still developing his voice, but whose words bear the essential Bosman gleam – taking some inspiration from these wild claims of commerce.

It’s been quite the adventure searching for Bosman in the archives of the Sunday Times – a bit like time travel. We hope you enjoy what we found.

– Jennifer Platt and Simon van Schalkwyk

To download the free ebook Herman Charles Bosman: A Sunday Times Collection, please complete the survey, or if you don’t wish to, just scroll down for your free ebook:

Herman Charles Bosman: A Sunday Times Collection by Books LIVE

Fiction Friday: Read "Obio" by Nicola Coady from The Bundle of Joy and Other Stories from Africa

The Bundle of Joy and Other Stories from AfricaThe Bundle of Joy and Other Stories from Africa, edited by Daniel Musiitwa, contains over 50 stories that run that breadth of the African continent in terms of the themes and countries they cover.

Reflecting on a continent on the move – one that is bustling with life, creativity, love, laughter, opportunity, hope, and promise – the stories featured in this anthology offer a perspective completely different to the usual one on our precious continent.

Stories were collected by the Africa Book Club from the popular Africa Book Club Short Reads monthly writing competition. Contributors include James Whyle, Mark Mngomezulu, Michael Adejonwo, Winfred Karungi, David Chasumba, Gwendolene Mugodi, Nicola Coady, Lynda Adhiambo Kasina, Constant van Graan, Mercy Dhliwayo and Refiloe Mabejane.

For this week’s edition of Fiction Friday, read Coady’s story, entitled “Obio”, which deals with a man who leaves his village for the first time to find out if he really has been cured, as his mother wants him to believe:

Excerpt from The Bundle of Joy and Other Stories (edited by Daniel Musiitwa) by Books LIVE

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TJ Benson Reviews Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara by Various Authors

Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the SaharaVerdict: carrot

It will be revisited, the choice of opening a short story collection that is meant to, among other things, serve as a benchmark in the history of literature from Africa, with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Shivering. Not that Chimamanda is not the stellar writer that she has been acclaimed to be, in fact some might argue that it is only fitting that a collection of new writing from Africa opens with her name; it is the choice of prose that is the trouble. Is it possible that she could have brought something that she hasn’t done before? Something that didn’t have to do with immigrants, a disaster of sorts and an independent Nigerian woman? We would never know, we might not have another Africa 39.

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