Alex Smith’s New Novel, Four Drunk Beauties, Out this May
Left to rot in an Iranian prison and under the shadow of death, Kamaal tells fellow-insurgent Drew the story of the four drunk beauties – Elvira the housekeeper and ex-assassin, Lou the Senegalese sculptor, virtuoso cellist Mimi, and Adriette, a food fundi from the Free State.
The two men follow the beauties’ wild chase through Iran in pursuit of a killer, a quest undertaken to prevent a catastrophe. And all the while the ancient and modern flavours of a country – its poetry, architecture and music – come to life in the rich and sensual tapestry of Alex Smith’s story-telling.
About the author
Born in Cape Town, Alex Smith has lived in China, Taiwan and the UK, and when still working as a designer and textile merchant travelled extensively to other parts of the world, but she is thrilled to be back in Africa, writing, and living across the road from the sea. Secretly she thinks she’s a fish, a walking fish, a mudskipper (as she confesses in this blog post: On Fish and Men With Film In Their Socks), and there’s no secret she’s a dedicated booknik.
To satisfy her dual habits of book and sea fetishism she walks along the sea ten kilometres a day to work in one of the finest bookshops on the African continent – a bookshop with a spectacular view of the harbour, the boats and Table Mountain beyond. Alex’s first novel, Algeria’s Way, set in Spain, was published in 2007 and her first non-fiction novel, Drinking from the Dragon’s Well, sent in China, was published in 2008 and was included in the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award longlist for that year.
She received the 2010 Sanlam Youth Literature Award in silver for Agency Blue, a teen adventure novel set in Cape Town, and was shortlisted for the 2009 PEN/Studinsky Literary Awards judged by JM Coetzee for “Soulmates”, which is part of the New Writing from Africa anthology, and in 2009 her story “Change” was included in the prestigious Touch anthology of stories by 25 top SA authors. She was a finalist in the 2009 SA Blog Awards in the category Best Post on a South African Blog for A Video to Celebrate International Mother Language Day and the Close of International Year of the Languages, a blog post written in 29 languages of Africa.
Being a booknik, naturally Alex is passionate about the accessibility of books in mother languages, in 2008/2009 she volunteered to promote the Little Hands Trust’s blog at BOOK SA and conducted a series of interviews with African authors on their childhood memories of books and reading. Two of her favourite formative reading experiences interviews were with Ugandan poet Susan Kiguli and South African author/journalist Darrel Bristow-Bovey.
Alex has an MA from UCT.