We couldn’t be more thrilled with this year’s SALA Award Nominees’ List. We’ve got FIVE titles listed in four categories. As a small press, this is extraordinary good news for us. In past years we have had one or two nominees at most. Although our authors have gone on to win SALA Awards, so we are holding thumbs for this year. Some of our most illustrious past winners are Yewande Omotoso for Bom Boy and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers for The Everyday Wife. Yewande’s Bom Boy went on to be shortlisted for the first Etisalat Prize and Phillippa was made this year’s Commonwealth Poet!
This year we have two authors who are shortlisted for the Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award, Makhosazana Xaba’s collection of stories, Running & Other Stories is on the list. AND the title story in the collection was selected as one of the 20 in Twenty best stories in English published since 1994. Xaba’s whole collection is being read on SAFM in their reading slot at 11.45 each weekday. And Khosi as she is known to her friends and fans, has also been nominated for a Mbokodo Award.
Reneilwe Malatji’s collection of stories, Love Interrupted, is also in the running for the Nadine Gordimer award. AND WE heard in the past weeks, that this collection has won the 2014 Aidoo-Snyder Award.
Toni Strasburg’s memoir about her life as a documentary film-maker in the front-line states during the apartheid years Fractured Lives is shortlisted in the Creative Non-Fiction category. CA Davids’ debut novel, The Blacks of Cape Town has been nominated in the First Time Published Author category. Davids was at the Edinburgh Festival and the Open Book Festival in the past few months. And last but not least, Thandi Sliepen has been shortlisted in the Poetry category for her debut collection, The Turtle Dove Told Me.
Here is the full list of nominees for these awards. We are delighted to see that another small, independent publisher, Dye Hard Press has three titles short-listed. Viva! Small publishers, viva!
Congratulations to all nominees and their publishers.
SOUTH AFRICAN LITERARY AWARDS 2014 NOMINEES
Themba Patrick Magaisa, Mihloti ya Tingana (Xitsonga, published by TP Magaisa)
Khulile Nxumalo, Fhedzi (English, Dye Hard Press)
Kobus Moolman, Left Over (English, Dye Hard Press)
Thandi Sliepen, The Turtle Dove Told Me (English, Modjaji Books)
Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award
Gary Cummiskey, Off-ramp (English, Dye Hard Press)
Makhosazana Xaba, Running and Other Stories (English, Modjaji books)
Reneilwe Malatji, Love Interrupted (English, Modjaji Books)
Liesl Jobson, Ride the Tortoise (English, Jacana Media)
K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award (For Young Writers)
Marli Roode, Call it Dog (English, Penguin Books)
Jason Staggie, Risk (English, Umuzi Publishers)
Jamala Safari, The Great Agony and Pure laughter of the Gods (English, Umuzi Publishing)
Creative Non-Fiction Award
Sihle Khumalo, Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu (English, Umuzi Publishers)
Toni Strasburg, Fractured Lives (English, Modjaji Books)
First-time Published Author Award
Claire Robertson, The Spiral House (English, Umuzi Publishers)
Carol-Ann Davids, The Blacks of Cape Town (English, Modjaji Books)
James Siddall, Dystopia (English, Jacana Media)
Lifetime Achievement Literary Award
Literary Translators Award
Nhlanhla Maake, Malefane (Sesotho/English, Ekaam Books)
The programme for the 2014 McGregor Poetry Festival, which is taking place this weekend from 23 – 26 October, features an exciting line-up with something for everyone: Poetry readings, discussions, excursions, film screenings, art exhibitions and music in celebration of the written word with award-winning artists and budding wordsmiths alike.
Books LIVE community members Helen Moffet, Liesl Jobson, Daniel Hugo, Leon de Kock, Finuala Dowling, Justin Fox and Patricia Schonstein join Amy Kaye, Ian McCallum, David Messineo, Toast Coetzer, Marié Heese, Bob Commin, Joan Metelerkamp, Wilna Snyman, Adrian van Wyk, Danie Marais, Philip de Vos, Kerry Hammerton, and many more for four days of poetic festivities.
Ticket prices vary and can be bought at the door or via Computicket. Venues are scattered all over the beautiful town of McGregor and include Temenos, Wahnfried, the Edna Fourie Gallery, Villagers, Green Gables and the local pubs.
Have a look at the programme:
2014 McGregor Poetry Festival Programme
In ‘n inskrywing op Versindaba stel Wicus Luwes ondersoek in na die kuns en betekenis van spoorsny, met verwysing na die werk van Heilna du Plooy en GR von Wielligh.
In die artikel bespiegel Luwes oor die nomadiese eienskappe van die San en hoe ons meer oor hulle te wete kan kom, asook oor die skrywer as spoorsnyer. In sy soektog na die San volg Luwes nie net fisiese spore nie, maar raadpleeg hy ook stories wat spore agterlaat.
Luwes vind hierdie spore in Von Wielligh se stories in sy bundel, Versamelde Boesmanstories 1:
“Die verhale van die San is ’n verdere manier om die spore van die spoorsnyers te volg:
“Ou ‘Ga (Nag) en sy ou vrou ‘Gagen (Duisternis) het in ’n klipspelonk gewoon. Hulle het nie seuns gehad nie, maar drie dogters.”
“Kou, die oudste van die drie dogters, is in die berge verander. Haar man, die seun van Hottentotsgot, is verander in ’n voël, of windvoël.”
Luwes spekuleer oor die skrywer as spoorsnyer: “Om spoor te sny deur die gedagtes of drome verg ander vaardighede, maar gelukkig oorvleuel heelwat van die sintuie. Die skrywer as spoorsnyer moet ook die habitat leer ken en weet waar om die wippe of droomvangers vir hierdie doeleinde op te hang.”
Heilna du Plooy se gedig “In hierdie land” wys hoe die skrywer spoorsny. “In hierdie land” verskyn in haar bundel, In die landskap ingelyf:
hoe gelukkig golf verdrukking oor die land
al op die een voet, dan op die ander een
die smart elke keer ’n huppelende band
al op die een voet, dan op die ander een
rooi uitgeflap vanaf die Kaap, die Baai tot in Ixopo
al op die een voet, dan op die ander een
in elke dorp en stad tot in die bog van die Limpopo
al op die een voet, dan op die ander een
Verdict: carrot with criticism
Of the twelve workshop stories, the titular The Gonjon Pin by Martin Egblewogbe (Ghana) and The Lifebloom Gift by Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya) were a true discovery. Reminiscent of the mad and irresistible story-telling of such authors as the Israeli Etgar Keret or the Welsh Alex Burrett, these surreal tales made me sit up, laugh, shake my head, and marvel at the incredible power of the genre. Egblewogbe has his characters dealing with a man’s functioning genitals hanging on a study wall. Adan creates a world where an unusual man spreads cult love by stimulating people’s moles. It is gems like these that make reading anthologies worthwhile.
Joanne Hichens – editor of the Adults Only, the second annual Short.Sharp.Stories Awards anthology – interviews Anthony Ehlers. His story “Breaking The Rules” was selected for inclusion in the anthology.
Anthony Ehlers is a writer, scriptwriter and creative writing teacher. In 2014, his scripts were shortlisted for the Jameson First Shot competition, as well as the European Independent Film Festival. In 2010, his story “Limerence” was a runner-up in the annual Woman & Home short story competition. He is one of only two authors to appear in both the inaugural Short.Sharp.Stories collection and this one; his story “41” was featured in Bloody Satisfied in 2013. After twenty years of writing, he believes he has found his voice in the short-story format; the irony is not completely lost on him. Follow Anthony on Twitter – @AnthonyEhlers.
As a successful short story writer with various credits to your name, including being published back to back in the Short.Sharp.Stories anthologies, what, for you, is the most important aspect to consider when writing the short story?
There’s nowhere for a writer to hide in a short story – so writing something credible is important for me. I also like to focus on theme before plot, which you might not do in a novel. “Breaking the Rules” was about recovery and loss. The idea of a road trip as a plot device came later.
When it comes to the popularity of the short story – is it back in fashion? Has it ever been out of fashion? Is it on the up and up?
I don’t think the short story will ever be as popular as the novel. It’s always going to be a bit niche – and I think that’s fine, that’s exactly its place in the mix.
It would be great if there were more platforms for the short story in South Africa. Not many magazines feature short stories.
As a writing teacher who has taught on writing erotica, what’s your take?
Erotica can be a sub-genre of romance. For all its kink, Shades of Grey by EL James is a love story – Wuthering Heights with handcuffs. There is a balance between emotional and sexual tension, but the story is highly idealistic and has a happy ending. It’s a safe way to explore fantasies and sexuality.
On the other side of the rubber sheets, erotica can drag us away from genre. In the Cut by Susanna Moore, for example, is a form of experimental fiction that uses its erotic elements to show dramatic irony. It is a disturbing book, showing how chillingly vulnerable women are to men’s power.
Did anything in particular inspire you to write “Breaking the Rules”?
Most erotic stories are told in the heat of the moment. So I wanted to experiment with time and distance in the narration – Catherine looking back at her affair with Damian after several years.
I also tried to explore the irony of Damian seeking escape in his own fantasy of a road movie, only to be trapped by his own past.
You write such a successful sex scene from a woman’s point of view. Was this a challenge?
I always try to find my way into a story by putting something of me in the characters. I couldn’t write “Breaking The Rules” from Damian’s viewpoint; he had to remain impenetrable and mysterious. Catherine was the only other voice.
Indeed. For me, stories ring true when the writer clearly has an emotional connection to the characters.
There is a lot of me in Catherine. I was never in a Narcotics Anonymous programme, but I was part of an affiliated support group, Al-Anon for a few years – so I understood addiction and co-dependency. We’ve all had crazy love affairs leave scars. Scars make good stories.
Was there any advice you considered when writing the sex scenes?
I think some writers play it tame when it comes to writing sex. My view is that a writer should not be afraid to write something radical, primal, personal. In Breaking the Rules, I wanted to show how sex could be a form of healing for Catherine – cathartic even.
In general, what themes do you like to explore in writing?
I’m drawn to themes of obsession. Beautiful and broken characters fascinate me. People who want something or someone they can’t have – or try to hold on to something at all costs.
Thanks, Anthony, for delivering on another fast-paced and riveting story.
The New Yorker has published a previously untranslated short story by Haruki Murakami – the Japanese author who has been bookies’ favourite to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for many years. 2014 proved to not be his turn, once again, with this year’s Nobel prize going to French author Patrick Modiano.
The story, titled “Scheherazade”, is about a man called Habara who cannot leave his house (for reasons not shared with the reader). He keeps a diary where he writes about the stories told to him by someone he calls Scheherazade, an eccentric woman who takes care of his needs.
Read Murakami’s story:
Each time they had sex, she told Habara a strange and gripping story afterward. Like Queen Scheherazade in “A Thousand and One Nights.” Though, of course, Habara, unlike the king, had no plan to chop off her head the next morning. (She never stayed with him till morning, anyway.) She told Habara the stories because she wanted to, because, he guessed, she enjoyed curling up in bed and talking to a man during those languid, intimate moments after making love. And also, probably, because she wished to comfort Habara, who had to spend every day cooped up indoors.
Because of this, Habara had dubbed the woman Scheherazade. He never used the name to her face, but it was how he referred to her in the small diary he kept. “Scheherazade came today,” he’d note in ballpoint pen. Then he’d record the gist of that day’s story in simple, cryptic terms that were sure to baffle anyone who might read the diary later.
The New Yorker‘s Deborah Treisman spoke to Murakami, asking him about the story, the characters and the possibility of a sequel. Read the article:
Your story in this week’s issue, “Scheherazade,” is about a man who is being held in a house that he can’t leave, where he is visited twice a week by a woman who has been hired to bring him food and supplies, and perhaps also to attend to his sexual needs. We never learn, in the story, why Habara can’t leave the house. Do you know?
Sorry, but I don’t know the exact circumstances that brought about the situation, either. Of course, I have a few ideas about what might be the cause, but I expect my readers do as well. I’m not trying to make a big secret out of it—in fact, I think if you took their hypotheses and mine and stacked them on top of each other you’d have an important form of author-reader communication. Because what’s important isn’t what caused Habara’s situation but, rather, how we ourselves would act in similar circumstances.