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Waarom hou kinders so baie daarvan om reeksboeke te lees? Jaco Jacobs verduidelik

Professor Fungus en die jelliemonsters van MarsStalmaats 6: Komaan, KarenZackie Mostert en die meisie-molesBastian Blom en die magtige moerasmonster

“In die verlede is daar dikwels neergesien op reeksboeke. Dit is beskou as nie ‘literêr’ genoeg nie en daar is selfs beweer dit maak van kinders lui lesers. Deesdae besef baie ouers, onderwysers en bibliotekaresses gelukkig dat ’n lekker boekereeks dikwels die perfekte manier is om ’n huiwerige leser se leeslus te prikkel.”

Só skryf veelbekroonde en gesoute reeksboekskrywer Jaco Jacobs in sy jongste bloginskrywing. Hy verduidelik waarom reeksboeke so gewild is by kinders:

1. Die karakters voel soos ou vriende.
2. Jy kan voorspel of jy van die storie gaan hou.
3. Herhaling is pret.
4. Reeksboeke het versamelwaarde.
5. Dit laat jou naels kou.

Lees Jacobs se artikel vir ‘n omskrywing van hierdie punte:

1. Die karakters voel soos ou vriende.

Eintlik is dit geen verrassing nie. Waarom kyk jy graag na jou gunsteling-TV-reeks? Heel moontlik omdat jy daarvan hou om te sien wat die karakters, met wie jy nou al goed vertroud is, in elke episode aanvang. Wanneer ’n leser byvoorbeeld ’n nuwe Zackie Mostert-boek optel, weet hy reeds wie hy tussen die blaaie gaan teëkom – die ondeunde Zackie en sy beste pel, Vincent, die klaerige mevrou Langenhoven van langsaan met haar nare kat, en Anton die skoolboelie wat sy bes probeer om Zackie se lewe te versuur.


Read an excerpt from Nick Wood's debut Azanian Bridges, an alternate reality thriller where apartheid still rules

Read an excerpt from Nick Wood’s debut novel Azanian Bridges, where apartheid rules in a dark alternate reality
Azanian BridgesAfrican MonstersAfrosfv2The Stone Chameleon

Azanian Bridges, Nick Wood’s debut novel, is published and due to be launched at the British Science Fiction Association Convention this Easter, and the author has kindly given Books LIVE an excerpt to share.

Wood is a South African-British clinical psychologist, researcher and genre writer, with stories in two recently published anthologies, Afrosfv2 and African Monsters. His Young Adult novel The Stone Chameleon was published in 2004. He is also a reader for the Short Story Africa Day Prize.

Like Nikhil Singh’s Taty Went West, which we featured as our Fiction Friday recently, Azanian Bridges was longlisted for the inaugural Kwani? Manuscript Prize in 2013. It has impressive shouts from authors such as Sarah Lotz, Ian Watson and Ursula K Le Guin, who says: “I read Bridges with much pleasure … chilling and fascinating.”

The novel’s cover art is by Capetonian illustrator Vincent Sammy.

Azanian Bridges is a socially acute fast-paced thriller that takes place in an alternate modern day South Africa where apartheid still rules, and a young man, Sibusiso Mchunu, finds himself in possession of a secret that could offer hope to his people. Pursued by the ANC on one side and Special Branch agents on the other, Sibusiso has little choice but to run.

Wood explained a little bit about the process of writing the novel, and his decision to partner with Long Story Short.

“Busisiwe Siyathola, a clinical psychologist working at the hospital where some of the novel’s scenes are set (I worked there too, a good few years ago now), helped with beta advice, particularly with Sibusiso and all the Zulu references.

“I also agreed to share author royalties with Long Story Short as it felt unethical for a white writer to solely benefit from a tale around apartheid.”

Read the excerpt:

* * * * *


Chapter 1 – Sibusiso’s Start

I never knew it would be so hard to say goodbye – especially to my father. (I leave him until last.)

         “Sala kahle, tata!” I say, bowing my face so he cannot see my eyes.
         For a brief moment, he holds me close to him and I can smell the Earth, sweet, sharp sweat and the decades of cattle manure on his skin. His jacket buttons poke into my stomach – he has indeed dressed for this occasion too. He is so like a fragile bird – a kiewietjie comes to mind for some reason – but then he pushes me away, turns and walks off in a hurry and without looking back. He has left me with a little gift, a small beige plastic digi-disc, on which I can record the happenings in my life. I put it in my pocket.
         Since when did my father get so old, so delicate, so suddenly?
         I look over my brother and sisters’ heads to watch his stiff blue-jacketed back disappear into the house. The brown door shuts against yellow brick and the late afternoon sun glints off the corrugated silver eaves and roof.
         Behind our master’s house, I hear the cows sounding out as a dog barks, unsettling them.
         Lindiwe is crying openly but I keep my own eyes dry. I am the eldest son; I am strong.
         There is time for one last hug before the taxi arrives.
         Mandla grips my arm tight. ”Careful brother,” his eyes are almost on a level with my own, despite the three years I have on him, “There is much danger and distraction in the city.”
         I nod and brush my lips with the back of my left hand to hide my smile: “I hear what you say, Mandla – you repeat father too – but I will be careful.”
         He grins and puffs his 15-year old chest, which looks increasingly like a solid drum of utshwala besizulu – but only the finest of beer.
         There is a high-pitched car hooter sounding behind me. Father had to pay much to have the man detour off his route to come here.
         My five sisters wave as I step with difficulty into the crowded taxi; the door is slid fully open, the minibus is silver and muddy brown from the farm tracks splatter of early-summer showers.
         The driver accelerates before I can sit. I fall into a large woman’s lap and realise there is indeed no seat. She shovels me aside with a large forearm and I sway, trapped between her fat hip and a thin man’s sharp thighbone. He wriggles a bit like a contortionist and my buttocks manage to find some sticky leather to ease the weight off my feet.
         My grey Sunday slacks sticks to the seat, as we sway around and bump over farm potholes.
The ‘gamchee’, as the Cape Coloured people call them, waves a hand towards me from the front seat: “Where you going again, boy?”
“Fundimiso College, Im-, Imbali,” I say, finding it hard to breathe, crushed as I am as the large woman squeezes against me.
         The gamchee turns to the driver, who is accelerating into a violent right-turn onto the tarred road: “Seems like we have a clever boy in our taxi, hey Smokes?”
         Smokes just grunts from under his Man U cap and shakes his dreads. I see he has an OPod plugged into his ears.
         I plug an earpiece into my ears, folding my arms tightly over my old music pod and the rands strapped in a leather purse across my stomach inside my white buttoned shirt, the purse hot and wet against my skin from the late afternoon heat.
         The sky still looks clear – no gathering thunderstorm tonight it seems. I glance across at the passengers swaying and talking in front of me. They’re arguing about the price of bread.
         I am too tired to listen and try to sleep. Keeping my arms crossed across my hidden money pouch, I doze in fits and starts to random braking, accelerations and Church-Rap from the Crischen-Niggaz.
         I finally fall asleep to Muth’fuckas Who Don’t Know Jesus
         The fat woman is climbing over me and I see she has a baby hanging off her right hip, swinging it onto her back as she steps outside. It’s built like me; it keeps right on sleeping …
         Then I see the driver getting out too – what’s his name?
         I look across to the open door and see I’m the last one inside. I stretch and rub my eyes. My OPod has gone silent.
         A big white man with a fierce brown handlebar moustache and blue police cap sticks his head inside: “Out, kaffir!”
         Hayi no, it must be a roadblock.
         I step outside, sweating hard, although the sun is low and the air is cooling.
         There’s a mellow yellow police van parked in front of us. We’re pulled off to the side of the road, traffic whooshing past us and down the hill, down into the smoky valley of umGungundlovu – or Pietermaritzburg as the boere like to call it.
         So close, why did they have to stop us now?
         Fierce-moustache policeman is going through the driver’s papers. Two other black cops are rummaging through our taxi, looking for guns or drugs, probably both.
         “Hey, line up!” the white cop shouts, throwing the driver’s papers back at him – Smokes, that’s his name, catches the papers deftly with a weary shrug of his shoulders and turns back to his cab.
         We stand in a ragged line, all nine of us, as he slowly works his way through our dompas. My hands are clammy as I pull mine out of my hip pocket.
         He moves alongside me and snatches it from my hand; as if angry they’ve all been in order so far.
         I sweat, even though it’s getting cold, the sun sinking below the city’s smog.
         He looks at me and I’m reminded of Ballie Boetze, the big white South African world-boxing champion from several decades ago – whose face has received a nostalgic comeback on TV since his death, advertising Rocket Jungle Weetie-Oats.
         “Hey, why you sweating so much, boy, what you hiding?”
         “Nothing, sir!” I hate my sweat and my use of “sir”, but all I want is to get to College safely.
         “Ach man, they can go!” He slaps my dompas into my open palms.
         I see the two black cops are standing behind him, hands on hips, empty.
         “Next time I’ll give you a bledy fine for over-crowding, hey!” he shouts at us as we climb back into the taxi.
         Smokes lights a cigarette, but no one says anything.
         This time I find a space next to the window and keep my face averted from the others, watching the lights popping up like fireflies, as the quick dusk deepens into murky darkness.
         The rest of the journey is made in a tense silence – as for me, I shake until the end.
         I miss my father already.

Book details

Hoe klink LAPA-skrywers se skryfklankbane? Vind uit!

OfferlamEwebeeldProoiPleisters vir die dooiesStiletto's van staalSelna Visser: My hel in Dubai
’n Goeie dag vir boomklimPlasentaLemMiddernagklubDie tuiskomsOpdrag van oorkant

Bekende boekjoernalis Ilse Salzwedel het onlangs ‘n interessante insetsel op haar RSG-radioprogram Skrywers en Boeke gehad waar sy vir van die land se grootste skrywers gevra het wat hulle gunstelingmusiek is om mee te skryf.

Sy het ook by ‘n hele paar LAPA-skrywers aangeklop.

Luister na die twee potgooie om uit te vind hoe onder meer Fanie Viljoen, Bernette Bergenthuin, Chanette Paul, Sophia Kapp, Alta Cloete, Jaco Jacobs, Peet Venter en Christien Neser se klankbane klink:



Winners of the 2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards announced



Alert! The Bessie Head Heritage Trust has announced the winners of the 2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards.

The Bessie Head Short Story Awards reward original and unpublished short stories in English, and are open to citizens and residents of Botswana. The facilitators include three past winners: Wame Molefhe, Wazha Lopang and Lauri Kubuitsile.

This year’s award judges were Zukiswa Wanner, Karen Jennings and Fiona Snyckers.

Without further ado:

2015 Bessie Head Short Story Awards winners

  • First place: Donald Molosi, for “The Biggest Continent”
  • Second place: Siyanda Mohutsiwa, for “And Then We Disappeared into Some Guy’s Car”
  • Third place: Vamika Sinha, for “Love and Other Almosts”

Molosi and Mohutsiwa were both recently longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize,

First place prize money is 2 000 pula (about R2 900), second place P1 500, third place P1 000. Prizes have been donated by Diamond Educational Publishers.

The award ceremony is being held on Saturday, 23 January, at the National Museum in Gaborone, at 2 PM, with a keynote speech by Kubuitsile.

Congratulations to the winners!

Go Tell the SunA Memory This Size and Other StoriesSigned, Hopelessly in Love

Book details

Get your teen novel published - enter the 2016 MML Literature Awards

Pearson has made a call for submissions for the 2016 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards (MMLLA).

The MMLLA serve to develop quality literature in all official languages for young readers and to encourage a love of reading in learners’ mother tongues.

Each year a new theme is selected to ensure a wide variety of literature is created and supported. Last year the MMLLA celebrated Children’s Fiction and in 2014 it explored the genre of Drama.

The selected theme for 2016 is Teen Novels, with a call made for original stories aimed at individuals between the ages of 14 and 16. This was also the theme in 2013.

Writers have until 30 April, 2016 to submit their teen novels. Pearson will also be hosting writing workshops in Cape Town for those in need of a bit of extra help. For more information read the press release below:


* * * * * * * * *




Pearson invites experienced, new and aspiring writers to submit their unpublished and original Teen Novels for learners aged 14 to 16 as part of the 2016 Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards.

Stories can explore the following themes but are not limited to: comedy, romance, fantasy, sport and adventure.

Give South African teenagers the gift of reading in their mother tongue.

Download your entry form here.


  • R10 000 will be awarded to each winner and the winning entries will be considered for publication by Pearson.
  • R3 500 will be awarded to each finalist.

Closing date for entries is on 30 April, 2016.

Applications for the 2016 MML Writing Workshops are now open

Workshops will be held in Cape Town (CBD) on 18 February and Sandton on 25 February, 2016.

To add your name to the list simply download and complete the application email it to

Like us on Facebook to receive important information and competition updates.


Carina Diedericks gesels oor die Thomas@-reeks en die eienskappe van goeie jeugfiksie

Bekendstelling van die Thomas@-reeks op kykNET


Carina Diedericks is die skepper van die immergewilde Thomas@-reeks wat handel oor die manewales van Thomas en sy maats: Alex, Lilian, Hannes, Thabo en Lukas.

Die Thomas@-avonture is in 2013 in ‘n televisiereeks omskep en, die agste boek in die reeks, is in 2011 met ʼn silwer Pendoring Reklametoekenning bekroon.

Books LIVE het met die skrywer gesels oor, onder meer, die prikkels wat aanleiding gegee het tot die reeks, haar skryfproses, die eienskappe van moderne jeugfiksie en die moets en moenies wat jeugboekskrywers liefs in gedagte moet hou.

Lees die onderhoud:


* * * * * * * *

Waar het jy aan die idee vir die Thomas@-reeks gekom?

LAPA het in 2000 my genader om ’n jeugboek te skryf na aanleiding van kortverhale van my wat gepubliseer is. Ek het gedink dit is ’n maklike opdrag, maar toe ek wou begin, het ek besef ek het nie ’n idee hoe tieners se lewens lyk en werklikheidsverstaan werk nie. Ek het dit toe eers gelos en begin lees. Amper ’n jaar lank. Ek het besef dat reeksboeke geweldig sterk is en dat daar enorm baie ruimte binne die Afrikaanse jeugmark is vir ’n nuwe wending. Ironies genoeg was die bedoeling nie om Thomas ’n reeks te maak nie, maar nadat ek geskryf het, was ek nog nie klaar met die karakters nie. Wat die karakters betref is hulle ’n vermenging van my twee ouer broers.

Hoekom is die reekstitel Thomas@ en nie net Thomas nie (soos Trompie, Saartjie ens)?

Ek wou dit kontemporêr maak en tegnologie is so ’n groot deel van my – eintlik almal – se lewens dat dit vir my belangrik was om dit te laat deurskemer. Tegnologie figureer sterk in die reeks. Dis ’n uitdaging, want ek moet dit so skryf dat dit modern bly sonder om te veel detail (soos handelsmerke en weergawes) te gee wat die boek prematuur kan laat verouder.

Wat is die belangrikste eienskappe van moderne jeugfiksie?

Die skrywer se eerlikheid, integriteit en respek vir die leser. Die dae is verby wat skrywers dink hulle gaan “gou” ’n jeugboek skryf en veral waar skrywers hul in ’n posisie bo jongmense plaas en af kyk en af skryf en neersien op hulle. Skrywers soos Barrie Hough en Marita van der Vyver het met hulle jeugboeke daardie weg gebaan vir ons wat op hulle hakke gevolg het.

Watter jeugboeke het jy op skool gelees?

Ek het álles gelees waarop ek my hande kon lê. Gelukkig was boeke en lees groot in ons familie en ons het die drumpel van biblioteke van Johannesburg tot Kaapstad deurgetrap. In daardie dae was daar ook die Daan Retief Boekklub. Elke maand het jy ’n “Japsnoet-boekie” oor ’n interessante onderwerp gekry, ’n aktiwiteitsboek en ’n storieboek. My gunstelinge was beslis die reekse: Maasdorp, Trompie, Saartjie, Jasper, Uile, Groenweide, Bienkie, Mienkie, Meintjie, ens. En dan Engelse reekse soos Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Choose your own adventure … Ek kan baie lank aanhou met my lys van gunstelinge! Later op hoërskool het ek André P. Brink ontdek en ook Etienne van Heerden, Marita van der Vyver, Dalene Matthee, Ingrid Jonker en so aan.

Wat is die grootste verskille tussen destydse jeugboeke en dié van vandag?

Aanvanklik was daar ’n eenvoud en ’n amper onskuldige, lieflike benadering. Ontsnappingsletterkunde. Kyk na Alba Bouwer, Sita (SS de Kock) en MER (Maria Elizabeth Rothmann). Ook die reekse wat al so ver terug as die 1930′s (Maasdorp en Keurboslaan) en die 1950s (Saartjie en Trompie) verskyn het. In die 1970′s en 80′s het daar egter ’n ommeswaai gekom wat die Afrikaanse jeugboek enorme skade berokken het. ’n Handvol akademici het besluit dat boeke “goed” moet wees vir ’n kind. Of die kind van die storie gaan hou al dan nie, was irrelevant. Alle reeksboeke is as ongeskik vir lees verklaar en selfs van biblioteekrakke verwyder. Die boeke was vaal, deprimerend en het ten minste twee geslagte vervreem van Afrikaanse letterkunde. Die akademici het op prys- en voorskryfkommitees gesit en natuurlik het die uitgewers gefokus op wat hulle wou hê. Ek was in ’n Engelse skool en na aanleiding van ’n gruwelike depro voorgeskrywe boek het een van my vriendinne gevra: “M’am, are all Afrikaans people poor and depressed?” I rest my case.

Vertel ons van jou skryfproses – hoe besluit jy op ’n tema en hoe ontwikkel jy jou karakters?

Stories vlieg letterlik om ons rond. Jy moet net weet waar om te kyk. Dit kan ’n brokkie van ’n gesprek wees wat jy afluister. Of iets wat jy sien. Of onthou. Of alles vloei saam en vorm iets nuut. Dieselfde geld vir temas. Dis moeilik om dit mis te kyk. Karakters is sameflansings van mense wat ek ken of gesien of beleef het. Jy speel matchmaker en sien gou dat ’n sekere tema nou ’n sterker storie gaan maak en dat hierdie of daardie karakter pas by die storie. Ek doen nie vreeslike beplanning voor die tyd nie. Ek het ’n basiese idee waaroor die storie moet gaan, die kernkarakters en net daardie eerste sin. Dan spring ek weg. ’n Ent in die boek in sal ek halt roep en navorsing doen of die res van die boek uitlê.

Wat is die moets en moenies wat jeugboekskrywers in gedagte moet hou?

Maklik. Daar is net twee moets: 1. Lees 2. Respekteer jou leser.

Thomas is nie ’n tipiese held nie, hy maak foute en is dikwels die een wat gered moet word. Hoekom het jy hom so geskryf?

Ek dink hierdie James Bonderige hoofkarakters in “realistiese” jeugboeke werk nie. Niemand kan goed wees in alles en ongedeërd uit alle situasies stap nie. Ek wou ’n tipe anti-held skep waarmee lesers kan identifiseer.

Thomas en Alex se verhouding is ’n interessante storielyn. Hoe skryf jy oor romanse in ’n jeugreeks? (En hoekom het Lukas en Lilian nooit bymekaar uit gekom nie?)

Wel, die reeks is nog ver van klaar, so wie bymekaarkom en wie nie, is ’n ope vraag!

Hoe was dit om aan die televisiereeks te werk?

Fantasties. Ek was deel van die skryfspan en dit was heeltemal iets anders gewees om vir TV te skryf as wat jy ’n boek skryf. Skielik het jy die visuele waarmee jy kan speel, maar aan die ander kant moet jy goed soos uitvoerbaarheid van storielyne en tonele, asook kostes in gedagte hou. As jy skryf, is daar geen begroting wat jou kreatiwiteit aan bande lê nie. So het ek byvoorbeeld gedink ’n toneel waarin Thomas aan ’n rotslyn op Tafelberg hang, sal verskiklik cool wees. Maar toe blyk dit dit is nogal duur om helikopters te huur, kameramanne by helikopters te laat uithang, permitte om op die berg te skiet te kry en waaghalse te gebruik vir ’n toneel van hoogstens 10 minute! Who knew?