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Ken Barris Reviews 101 Detectives by Ivan Vladislavic

101 DetectivesVerdict: carrot

I expected excellent writing from Ivan Vladislavić when I began reading this collection of short stories, and found it in abundance. However, I did not expect the hilarity I encountered in some of the tales. Not that Vladislavić is humourless by any means, but I seldom have the pleasure of laughing out loud when I read his work.

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Highlights of the 2015 South African Book Fair

The 2015 South African Book Fair

 

Here are some of the highlights of the 2015 South African Book Fair, taking place in Johannesburg from 31 July to 2 August.

The SABF programme was released last week, and will feature over 100 authors, writers, poets, publishers and playwrights.

We’ve picked out some of the unmissable events from this year’s South African Book Fair:

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An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)WastedFriday 10 AM (Brink Room)

Get published!

Mark Winkler talks about how he broke through the lit barrier and two publishers give their tips and suggestions on how to get published.
 
 
 

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Walter and Albertina SisuluFriday 12 PM (Achebe Room)

Why is it important to talk to children in their own language?

In this insightful talk, Elinor Sisulu, NLSA & PUO discuss “Children’s literature publishing in indigenous languages: How do we achieve a quantum leap?” Facilitated by the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation.
 
 
 

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Meaning in LifeThe Arrogance of PowerOn the PostcolonyWhat is Slavery to Me?Education, Economy and Society

Saturday 9:30 AM (Anglo Auditorium)

Goodbye to all that: Decolonising culture and institutions

Thaddeus Metz, Xolela Mangcu, Achille Mbembe & Pumla Gqola, chaired by Salim Vally. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.
 
 

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The ReactiveThe Dream HouseFalse RiverWhat Will People Say

Saturday 11:30 AM (Gordimer Room)

The power of family

Leon de Kock discusses the sometimes complicated, sometimes supportive nature of the family with novelists Masande Ntshanga, Craig Higginson, Dominique Botha & Rehana Rossouw.
 
 

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101 DetectivesBroken MonstersPostcards from Soweto

Saturday 1 PM (Gordimer Room)

Stories from the street

Novelists Ivan Vladislavić, Lauren Beukes & Mokone Molete talk about their cities and the role they play in their lives. Moderated by Bontle Senne.
 
 

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A Flawed FreedomRace, Class and PowerThe Limits of Democratic Governance in South AfricaWhat Will People SaySouth Africa's Suspended Revolution

Saturday 1:30 PM

South Africa at a fork in the road (Anglo Auditorium)

John Saul, Steven Friedman, Louis Picard & Rehana Rossouw, chaired by Adam Habib. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.
 
 

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Hugless Douglas Goes to Little SchoolSaturday 2 PM

Do you want to be an illustrator? (Alice’s Room)

Join award-winning David Melling as he shows you how he came to illustrate books, how he makes characters come to life and how you can learn to do the same. Interactive and fun! Age 7+
 
 

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Sunday 9:30 AM

South African fiction publishing at 21 (Brink Room)

Gatekeeping or rainmaking? – Fourie Botha (Umuzi), Bridget Impey (Jacana), Thabiso Mahlape (The Blackbird), Palesa Morudu (Cover2Cover), Debra Primo (UKZN Press) & David Robbins (Porcupine Press), chaired by Raks Seakhoa. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.
 
 

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10 AM (Alice’s Room)

The Trouble With Cats (DC)

Wonder Woman races to save Batman & Superman from her arch-enemy, Cheetah on an island off the coast of Mozambique. The story takes a twist to Soweto where a young girl has to find her inner heroine & save the day. Lauren Beukes & art by Mike Maihack. Suitable for age 5+ & includes a brief talk on how comics are made. Grown-up comic fans welcome. Dressing up as a super hero is encouraged!
 
 

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African Delights101 DetectivesStrange PilgrimagesThe Reactive

11:30 AM (Gordimer Room)

Shorts

Siphiwo Mahala talks to Ivan Valdislavić, Achmat Dangor & Masande Ntshanga about the art of the short story.
 
 

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The RaftThe LegacyBroken MonstersDark Windows

1 PM (Gordimer Room)

Science fiction, fantasy and horror – what are the rules of this new reality?

Speculative fiction is explored by Fred Strydom, Melissa Delport & Lauren Beukes. Chaired by Louis Greenberg.
 
 

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Bad SexArctic SummerThe Texture of ShadowsWay Back HomeGreen Lion101 Detectives

1:30 PM (Anglo Auditorium)

The South African novel at 21

Leon de Kock discusses with novelists Damon Galgut, Mandla Langa, Niq Mhlongo, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Ivan Vladislavić. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.
 
 

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2:30 PM (Achebe Room)

Want to try your hand at professional editing?

Join this 50-minute hands-on workshop to see if editing is meant for you. “A lightning tour of the skill of editing” will have exercises and questions, so come expecting to be challenged … and supported. Please book early as we will need to restrict the number of participants to 25.
 
 

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3 PM (Alice’s Room)

A dress-up “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”

In celebration of Alice in Wonderland’s 150th anniversary and the launch of Alice in isiZulu, with readings in both English and isiZulu. The Queen of Tarts, Tina Bester, will be serving it up! Prizes for the best-dressed! On the guest list – the Gruffalo, Wally, Floppy, Peter Rabbit and more … The grand finale to the bookfair!
 
 

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Empire, War & Cricket in South AfricaArctic SummerDF Malan and the Rise of Afrikaner NationalismThe Texture of ShadowsStrange Pilgrimages

4 PM (Anglo Auditorium)

The Monuments Men: Rewriting reputation – Rhodes, Malan, Mandela & EM Forster

Dean Allen, Damon Galgut, Lindie Koorts & Mandla Langa, chaired by Achmat Dangor. In conjunction with the M&G Literary Festival.
 
 

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BBC Podcast: Nadia Davids, Lauren Beukes and SJ Naude Discuss Cape Town - Place and Contested Space

Three Umuzi authors were featured in the latest edition of BBC World’s “Writing a New South Africa” series.

Broken MonstersAn Imperfect BlessingThe Alphabet of BirdsThabiso Mohare, a street poet from Johannesburg, travelled to Cape Town to hear more about beautiful yet complex Mothercity which has inspired so many authors to write incredible works. He spoke to Nadia Davids (An Imperfect Blessing), Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters) and SJ Naudé (Alphabet of Birds) as well as poets Nathan Trantraal, Ronelda Kamfer and Toni Stuart and literary activist Thando Mgqolozana.

The discussion was centred around the theme “Cape Town: Place and Contested Space” and offered insight into the authors’ views on the history of the city and how it affects the work of writers, poets and playwrights.

Davids spoke about the undealt-with legacy of slavery in the city; Beukes shared why her sci-fi visions of South African cities are so popular; Naude helped Mohare uncover roots of a language that was appropriated as a tool of oppression but is still felt to be a language of struggle and resistance among the communities where it originated.

 
Related link:

 

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Listen to the 5 Stories Shortlisted for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing

Shortlist for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing

 
Podcasts of the five stories shortlisted for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing have been uploaded and are available to listen to, for free.

South Africans Masande Ntshanga and FT Kola read their own work, as does Nigerian writer Elnathan John, while “The Folded Leaf”, by Segun Afolab of Nigeria, is read by Olu Alake.

The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an award ceremony and dinner at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford, on Monday, 6 July.

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Namwali Serpell’s reading of “The Sack” is coming soon.

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Listen to “The Folded Leaf”, read by Olu Alake, produced by Alice Lloyd:

 

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Listen to “Flying” read by the author, produced by Alice Lloyd:


 

 

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Listen to “A Party for the Colonel”, read by the author, produced by Alex Feldman at Pixiu:

 

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Listen to “Space”, read by the author, produced by Times Media:

 

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Namwali Serpell’s “The Sack”: coming soon.

 

The ReactiveTwenty in 20A Life ElsewhereThe Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesFeast, Famine and PotluckAfrica39

 

Book details

  • Twenty in 20: The Best Short Stories of South Africa’s 20 Years of Democracy by , , , , , edited by Mandla Langa
    EAN: 9781928216421
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

102 Writers and Illustrators Confirmed for 2015 Open Book Festival (So Far)

Confirmed authors for the 2015 Open Book Festival

 

The Book Lounge and the Fugard Theatre have announced the fifth edition of the Open Book Festival, and have released the names of the 82 local and 20 international participants confirmed so far.

The year’s Open Book will take place from 9-13 September in Cape Town. Venues include The Fugard Theatre, Homecoming Centre, Cape Town Central Library and The Book Lounge.

Mervyn Sloman, festival director, says: “We’re thrilled to announce a fantastic line-up for the fifth edition of Open Book. Festival goers have a wealth of stimulating and entertaining experiences to look forward to. South African writers will be sharing the stage with authors from Congo, Denmark, France, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Zimbabwe.

“We’re in the process of finalising the events that make up the festival and the programme will be available at the beginning of August.”

Tickets will be available from early August.

Note: The list of participants below is not final

Home RemediesBroken MonstersShouting in the DarkKopskootDevil's HarvestLion Heart

Confirmed South African authors:

Diane Awerbuck

Lauren Beukes

Elleke Boehmer

Lien Botha

Andrew Brown

Mary Burton

Kay Carmichael

Justin Cartwright

PapwaNaweekThe Last Road TripWhat About MeeraBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsThe Chameleon House

Maxine Case

Toast Coetzer

Gareth Crocker

Raphael D’Abdon

ZP Dala

Rebecca Davis

Melissa de Villiers

Jean de Wet

To Quote MyselfThe FetchShades of DarknessThe Impossible FiveThe Ghost-Eater and Other StoriesDance with Suitcase

Khaya Dlanga

Finuala Dowling

Jonty Driver

Justin Fox

Genna Gardini

Dawn Garisch

Lost and Found in JohannesburgA Renegade called SimphiweThe Search for the Rarest Bird in the WorldBeastkeeperThe Dream HouseJozi

Mark Gevisser

Pumla Gqola

Vernon RL Head

Cat Hellisen

Joey Hi-Fi

Derrick Higginbotham

Craig Higginson

Perfect Hlongwane

TakelwerkThe Space Between the Space BetweenAlphabet of DemocracySynapseGood Morning, Mr MandelaThe Texture of Shadows

Nic Hoekstra

Daniel Hugo

Gerhard Human

John Hunt

Anton Kannemeyer

Antjie Krog

Jacqui L’Ange

Zelda la Grange

Mandla Langa

Debbie Loots

CobraDub StepsBlood tiesRusty BellThe Violent Gestures of LifeThe Alphabet of Birds

Danelle Malan

Anthony Marshall-Smith

David McLennan

Deon Meyer

Andrew Miller

Paul Mills

Zimkitha Mlanzeli

Nthikeng Mohlele

Tauriq Moosa

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho

SJ Naudé

One Hand Washes the Other Power PlaySharp EdgesChants of FreedomHere I AmThe Spiral House

Chris Nicholson

Mike Nicol

Su Opperman

SA Partridge

Mathews Phosa

PJ Powers

Shirmoney Rhode

Claire Robertson

Green LionWhat Will People SayWhat Hidden LiesA Slim, Green SilenceTokoloshe SongBanquet at Brabazan

Henrietta Rose-Innes

Rehana Rossouw

Michele Rowe

Beverly Rycroft

Andrew Salomon

Patricia Schonstein

Stephen Segerman

Katleho Shoro

In die blou kampA Man of Good HopeSkuldigThe RaftChokers en survivorsThe Swan Whisperer

Dana Snyman

Jonny Steinberg

Martin Steyn

Craig Bartholomew Strydom

Fred Strydom

Onkgopotse JJ Tabane

Nathan Trantraal

Marlene van Niekerk

JudaskusThis One TimeThings I Thought I KnewWastedIt Might Get Loud

Rudie van Rensberg

Alex van Tonder

Anja Venter

Mandy J Watson

Kathryn White

Mark Winkler

Ingrid Winterbach

 
 
International authors:

Never Tickle a TigerSex and the CitadelWe Are All Completely Beside OurselvesA Place Called WinterThe Book of MemoryWords Will Break Cement

Marc Boutavant (France)

Shereen El Feki (UK)

Karen Joy Fowler (USA)

Patrick Gale (UK)

Petina Gappah (Zimbabwe)

Masha Gessen (Russia)

The Hormone FactoryUkraine DiariesThe Lights of Pointe-NoireH is for HawkThe House That Jack BuiltLives of Others

Saskia Goldschmidt (Netherlands)

Andrey Kurkov (Ukraine)

Alain Mabanckou (Congo)

Helen Macdonald (UK)

Jakob Melander (Denmark)

Neel Mukherjee (UK)

Foreign Gods, Inc.Into a Raging BlazeDustThe Sleeper and the SpindleOne of UsFind MeReliquaria

Okey Ndibe (Nigeria)

Andreas Norman (Sweden)

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya)

Chris Riddell (UK)

Asne Seierstad (Norway)

Laura van den berg (USA)

RA Villanueva (USA)

Svante Weyler (Sweden)

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Fiction Friday: Dip into Some African Cyber Punk with Nnedi Okorafor's The Book of Phoenix

The Book of PhoenixThis Fiction Friday, read an excerpt from The Book of Phoenix, the new novel from Nigerian-American cyber-punk author Nnedi Okorafor.

The Book of Phoenix – which was released internationally in May – is the prequel to Okorafor’s World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death (2010), and features some kick-ass cover artwork by our very own Joey Hi-Fi.

Okorafor was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, has a PhD in English and is professor of creative writing at the University of Buffalo. As well as novels, she writes short stories and young adult books, and her work is inspired by her Nigerian heritage and her many trips to Africa. She lives in Chicago.

Tor.com’s Brit Mandelo says of The Book of Phoenix: “It isn’t just well written, and it isn’t just smart as hell; it’s also a damn good story, and it kept me reading almost nonstop all the way through.”

Read a synopsis from SFGate:

In this futuristic outing, she focuses on Phoenix Okore, a “speciMen” created by LifeGen Technologies and sequestered in Tower 7 in midtown Manhattan. An “accelerated being,” Phoenix is only 2 years old chronologically but middle-aged biologically. What she knows about the outside world comes mostly from the voluminous reading she is allowed to do by the attendants who provide her with e-readers and basic care.

Phoenix begins a tentative romance with Saeed, another speciMen, whose altered metabolism forces him to eat metal, glass and other inorganic materials. When Saeed witnesses something unspeakably disturbing within the corridors of Tower 7, he commits suicide, an act that causes an anguished Phoenix to recognize her own true nature. Something unimaginably hot burns within her mind and body, and she makes her escape by giving full rein to her newfound power — and the wings that sprout from between her shoulder blades.

On the run and with little notion of where to find sanctuary, Phoenix heads to Africa to begin a new chapter of her life. But even though she finds acceptance and love in her new locale, it seems as if there is no escaping the attention of “Big Eye,” the all-seeing agents of LifeGen. Unless she commits the ultimate act of revenge, Phoenix may never be free.

Mixing aspects of African folklore, magical futurism and superhero exploits, “The Book of Phoenix” blazes with anger for Phoenix and her predicament, and by extension for all people who suffer at the hands of uncaring scientists, bureaucrats and marketers.

The tale is also a gripping examination of the power of myth and of who is allowed to write and preserve history. Toward the end of the book, a character muses, “Now it was a time for stories that were truer than the truth, stories that spoke to the soul.” Okorafor’s fantastical “The Book of Phoenix” has that ring of truth, a superlative adventure that addresses all-too-harsh realities.

Read the excerpt:

There is no book about me. Well, not yet. No matter. I shall create it myself; it’s better that way. To tell my tale, I will use the old African tools of story: Spoken words. They’re more trustworthy and they’ll last longer. And during shadowy times, spoken words carry farther than words typed or written. My beginnings were in the dark. We all dwelled in the darkness, mad scientist and specimen, alike. This was when the goddess Ani’s still slept, when her back was still turned. Before she grew angry at what she saw and pulled in the blazing sun. My story is called The Book of Phoenix. And it is short because it was…accelerated.

I’d never known any other place. The 13th floor of Tower 7 was my home. Yesterday I realized it was a prison, too. Granted, maybe I should have suspected something. The two-hundred-year-old marble skyscraper had many dark sides and I knew most of them. There were 39 floors, and on almost every one was an abomination. I was an abomination. I had read many books and this was clear to me. However, this place was still my home. Home: a. One’s place of residence. Yes, it was my home.

They gave me all the 3D movies I could watch, but it was books that did it for me. A year ago, they gave me an e-reader packed with 700,000 books of all kinds. When it came to information, I had access to everything I wanted. That was part of their research.

Research. This was what happened in Tower 7. There were similar towers around the world but Tower 7 was my home, so this one was the one I studied. I had several classified books on Tower 7. One discussed each floor and some of the types of abominations found on them. I’d listened to audios of the spiritual tellings of long dead African and Native American shamans, sorcerers and wizards. I’d read the Torah, the Bible, and the Koran. I studied The Buddha and meditated until I saw Krishna. And I read countless books on the sciences of the world. Carrying all this in my head, I understood abomination. I understood the purpose of Tower 7. Until yesterday.

In Tower 7, there was “transformative” genetic engineering, the in-vitro fertilization of organic robots, “rejuvenation” surgery on the ancient near-dead, the creation of weaponized weeds, the insertion and attaching of both mechanical and cybernetic parts to human bodies. There were people created in Tower 7, some were deformed, some were mentally ill, some were just plain dangerous, and none were flawless. Yes, some of us were dangerous. I was dangerous.

Then there was the tower’s lobby on the ground floor that projected a different picture. I’d never been down there but my books described it as an earthly wonderland, full of creeping vines covering the walls and small trees growing from artistically crafted holes in the floor. In the center was the main attraction. Here grew the thing that brought people from all over the world to see the Tower 7 Lobby (only the lobby; there were no tours of the rest of the building).

A hundred years ago, one of the landscapers planted a tree in the lobby’s center. On a lark, some scientists from the 9th floor emptied an experimental solution into the tree’s pot of soil. The substance was for enhancing and speeding up arboreal growth. The tree grew and grew. In a place where people thought like normal human beings, they would have uprooted the amazing tree and placed it outdoors.

However, this was Tower 7 where boundaries were both contained and pushed. When the tree began touching the lobby’s high ceiling in a matter of weeks, they constructed a large hole so that it could grow through the second floor. They did the same for the third, fourth, fifth. The great tree has since earned the name of “The Backbone” because it grew through all 39 of Tower 7′s floors.

The Book of PhoenixKabu Kabu Who Fears DeathLagoon

 

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