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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Die Alibi Klub deur Jaco van Schalkwyk benoem vir die 2015 Jan Rabie Rapport-prys

Open Book 2014: Afrikaanse voorlesing

Die Alibi KlubThe Alibi ClubJaco van Schalkwyk se debuutroman is vir die gesogte Jan Rabie Rapport-prys benoem.

Die Alibi Klub kom teen Francois Smith se Kamphoer en Stephanus Muller se Nagmusiek te staan vir die 2015 prys met ‘n kontantwaarde van R35 000. Die wenner sal op 19 November in Kaapstad aangekondig word.

Die Engelse weergawe van Van Schalkwyk se roman, The Alibi Club, is vroeër vanjaar vir die UJ Debuutprys benoem en het ook die langlys vir die 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge-fiksieprys gehaal.

Die Alibi Klub het in September verlede jaar by Umuzi verskyn en vertel die verhaal van ‘n jong Suid-Afrikaner wat homself in 1998 in New York vestig. Hy werk as ‘n kroegman in ‘n nagklub, The Alibi, waar hy verskeie karakters ontmoet.

Lees ‘n uittreksel:

The Alibi is ’n dive bar-hool. Die plek het geen sign nie. Al wat wys dat dit ’n bar is, is ’n neon Budweiser-sign wat in die venster hang. ’n Krom Guinness-sign hang langsaan. Die venster is ’n los stuk Plexiglas, twaalf voet breed en ’n halfduim dik, aan die raam vasgeplak met duct tape. Dit is meer ’n lens as ’n venster – verbuig van die sigaretrook, dof gekrap en vuil. Langs die venster lei drie steil sementtrappies af na ’n glasdeur met ’n dik houtraam. Almal val by The Alibi in. ’n Mens moet die deur met jou momentum teen ’n veer aan die binnekant oopwerk.

Wanneer die son skyn staan die deur oop, met ’n stuk tou aan ’n haak teen die muur vasgebind. Wanneer die tou breek, word ’n boks leë bierbottels gebruik om te keer dat die deur toeswaai. Drie gebreekte toue lel teen die muur. Dit is ’n sterk veer. Budweiser-bokse dissiplineer hom die beste. Budweiser se bokse is van kommersiële karton gemaak. Elke boks kom met vriendelike dragate aan die kante. Ander bierbokse gee binne ’n middag in. Leë bierbottels, party in bokse, staan teen die linkermuur tussen die deur en die counter gepak. Bo hulle draai ’n paar vrugtevlieë.

Die meeste van die bokse is oopgeskeur en struktureel mank. Dit is net die Budweiser-bokse wat oorleef.


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John Hunt Named on the TRUE Africa 100 List of Mavericks and Game-changers (Plus: Interview)

The Space Between the Space BetweenThe Art of the IdeaJohn Hunt has been named on the “TRUE Africa 100″, a list of “innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks” who are “shaping the Africa of tomorrow”. Hunt chatted to TRUE Africa about his life and work.

Hunt is the co-founder of legendary advertising company TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, which worked closely on Nelson Mandela’s first ANC election campaign. In 2003 he became the creative director of TBWA Worldwide. But he will be more familiar to Books LIVE readers as the author of The Art of the Idea: And How It Can Change Your Life, and his debut novel, The Space Between the Space Between, which was published this year.

In the interview, Hunt chats about how to conquer the African market, his African of the year – public protector Thuli Madonsela – and where he thinks South Africa is heading:

You delve into contemporary South Africa in your latest book The Space Between the Space Between. Where do you see the country heading?

I think South Africa is at a delicate crossroads. Sometimes I feel we’re such a young democracy, we’re not too sure what to do with it. It’s exciting and massively interesting that we’re a work in progress but I feel the country lacks a clear vision of what it wants to be. The heady days of Mandela are long gone and those big shoes have been filled by tiny feet.

I believe if the country doesn’t find its direction over the next five years we will have done our children a huge disservice. This country has incredible potential. It’s full of smart and generous people but it’s not aligned, so not enough is achieved.

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Boy on the Wire by Alastair Bruce Named a Best Book of the Month by Amazon UK

Boy on the WireBoy on the Wire by Alastair Bruce was selected as a Best Book of the Month (Fiction) for August by

Bruce’s novel was featured alongside The Shepherd’s Crown, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, and Miranda July’s The First Bad Man.

The Boy on the Wire was released in July. It is the story of two brothers whose lives are ripped apart by the loss of their other brother, the fine woven fabric of our memory, and what happens when it is damaged.

Check out more Best Books of the Month lists:


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Another Feather in Lauren Beukes’ Cap: Broken Monsters Book Trailer Wins a Loerie Award

Broken MonstersThe official book trailer for Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes has won a Loerie Award.

The trailer, directed by Marc Sidelsky and produced by Mr Alexander production company, Chanelle Critchfield and Sanra Broekman, received the award on Sunday, 16 August, at the 37th Annual Loerie Awards held at the Durban ICC.

After hearing the news, Beukes tweeted:

For a complete list of all the winners, read the article on Bizcommunity.

The trailer starts with the words of the villain, Clayton Broom, describing a dream he had of “a boy with springs for feet so he could jump high”. For those who’ve read the book, these chilling words will let shivers run down your spine.

Watch the video:

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Another Accolade for Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes: ALA’s List, “The Year’s Best Crime Novels”

Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersBooklist, a book-review magazine published by the American Library Association, has included Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes on their stellar list titled “The Year’s Best Crime Novels”.

This list covers books reviewed by the magazine from May 1, 2014, through April 15, 2015. The original review of Broken Monsters, which was published in October last year, is locked behind a paywall but, if you so wish, can be accessed here (they have a 14-day free trial option).

Bill Ott, who compiled the list, has the following to say about Beukes’ novel:

We’re all about genre-blending this year, so it’s no surprise that our leadoff top 10 selection is straddling the worlds of police procedural and horror. Yes, Detroit homicide detective Gabriella Versado is tracking a serial killer, but not just any serial killer: this one likes to fuse the upper halves of his victims’ bodies with various animal parts. Think Peter Straub meets Karin Slaughter and Chelsea Cain.

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“I’m a Lucky Man”: Ivan Vladislavic on His Distinguished Professorship at Wits and Windham Campbell Prize

Ivan Vladislavić, who was recently awarded the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes for Fiction, says he is enjoying his new post in the Wits University Creative Writing Department.

The FollyFlashback HotelPortrait with KeysDouble Negative

Vladislavić was born in Pretoria, and studied at Wits over 40 years ago. He is a renowned editor, and has long been considered one of Johannesburg’s most important writers of place, although international recognition of his work has been slower to develop. He told Wits Vuvuzela that he was “ready to give back some of the knowledge”.

Vladislavic said: “The energy of Braamfontein is fascinating and I love the way that Wits has helped to shape the urban development of Braamfontein, with projects such as WAM.” He sees Wits’ help in urban development as a positive factor in his decision to join the Wits team.

The Windham Campbell Literature Prizes come with award money of $150,000 (about R1.7 million), but Vladislavić says the attention the prize has brought is equally rewarding.

“The prize is already attracting attention to my books, which is wonderful news for me and my publishers. The money is very welcome too. For most of my working life, I’ve been a freelancer and it hasn’t always been easy to make ends meet. Two extraordinary things have happened to me recently: I took up a distinguished professorship at Wits and now I’ve won this prize. Together these two strokes of good fortune will allow me to pursue my own work in a way that’s never been possible before. I’m a lucky man,” he told BDlive.

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Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters Awarded Best “Adrenaline” Read by The Reading Council

Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersAlert! Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes has been selected as the Reading List Council’s top “Adrenaline” book of 2015.

The Council, which consists of 12 librarians who are experts in readers’ advisory and collection development, selects one book from eight different categories, and publishes a respected Reading List in January each year.

The Reading List Council “seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merits special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them”.

On the shortlist, topped by Beukes, are Mr Mercedes by Stephen King, The Runner by Patrick Lee, The Son by Jo Nesbo and Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta – all big names in international literature.

This is yet another great accolade for Broken Monsters and a great feat for Beukes.

The Reading List Council has announced the 2015 selections of the Reading List, an annual best-of list composed of eight different fiction genres for adult readers. The list was announced today during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2015 selections are:


“Broken Monsters” by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland Books)

Detroit serves as the economically battered backdrop of this inventive, visceral suspense story about a series of bizarre murders that draws a group of memorable characters into a complex web of violence. Smart, stylish and addictive, this page-turner shows how the American Dream has failed many on a personal level.

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Excerpts from Umuzi’s Three SALA Award-winning Books, by Claire Robertson, Jamala Safari and Sihle Khumalo

Three Umuzi authors were rewarded for their literary work at the 2014 South African Literary Awards (SALAs) in November:

Find more information on each of these books as well as excerpts below:

The Spiral House The Spiral House is a grand tale of love, wig-making and the Enlightenment set in the Cape Colony.

Telling two stories, this debut novel exposes what binds us and sets us free. In his review Jonathan Amid describes it as follows: “a dense, demanding novel that requires from its reader an emotional investment and a willingness to listen. The voices that ultimately emerge are haunting, and sublime.”

Read an excerpt from Robertson’s first novel:

As you know, a head is a deal heavier than it looks. That is one reason you do not want to drop it anywhere near your feet. Another is that it takes a long age to push it back into shape if it should fall on its sides or on the back. The face matters less but the sides and the back take an age to put right and he almost always could tell if you had gone and dropped it while he was out.

He was out when they came so sudden to the door and I stumbled and let the thing fall but held on at the last and spared it and my toes and set it on the sill of the street side window, where there was light to see by. At their end of the shop the man blocked light from the door and the woman who walked before him moved under a dull cloud. She stopped three steps in and spoke to her man without a look at him or me, or anywhere but at her hands in finger gloves held at her stomach, pressing the dark stuff against her. She said:

‘Melt. Ask after the master.’


* * * * * * * *

The Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the GodsThe Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the Gods was shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize and has been described as “a crucial addition to the body of literature documenting the scars of war on children”.

Safari, who himself is a refugee, wrote this gripping narrative by recalling his own experiences. It tells the deeply affecting story of Risto Mahuno’s agony as he flees unthinkable circumstances in the DRC, travelling more than 2 000 km to a refugee camp in Mozambique.

In this excerpt Risto is interviewed by the management of the refugee camp, an event which causes him to recall the ghosts of his past:

The interviewers started with their soft smiles, with easy questions, the
news of the camp, and so on. Then they went on to ask about name, family, town and country of origin.
‘The whole camp is talking about your last harvest of tomatoes,’ said Mr Thomaso Dwanga, the only Mozambican at the interview table; he spoke a nice Swahili.
‘You know this camp talks about anything, even a rain that the heavens have not yet thought about.’
The two refugees present, Mr Rashid and Mama Lemwalu, who represented the board on camp management, were astounded by the wisdom of the young boy; they had heard about it, but now they saw it for themselves.
‘You know this is your second and last interview,’ Mr Thomaso reminded Risto.
‘Yes, Sir.’
‘I believe you are ready to talk today,’ added Mr Thomaso.
‘Let me remind you, any lies will lead to rejection of your application for refugee status, and then deportation. We are here to help you formulate a good report for the United Nations. Ask questions when
you don’t understand well.’ These were the wise words of Mama Lemwalu.


* * * * * * * *

Almost Sleeping My Way to TimbuktuAlmost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu is Khumalo’s account of travelling to West Africa by public transport.

Armed with his infamous sense of humour, an unexpected sensi­tivity towards his host countries and irrepressible optimism Khumalo journeyed through Francophone Africa without speaking the lingua franca.

In her review of this award-winning book, Margaret Whitaker writes: “By the end, it’s Sihle Khumalo (1), West Africa (0). You’ll be cheering our man all the way to the end.”

Read about Khumalo’s time in Sénégal:

My thoughts as the plane was about to touch down just after 16:00 were interrupted by the sight of a massive bronze statue on the left-hand side of the aircraft. I had, as part of my research for the trip, read about this statue. I had seen the pictures and knew it was huge. Still, the sheer size of the family emerging from a hilltop – a woman, a man with his right arm around her waist, and a child sitting on his left shoulder pointing towards the open sea with her small left hand – took me by such surprise that my jaw dropped.

South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki, an African Renaissance man, and former Sénégalese President Abdoulaye Wade must be beaming with African pride whenever they fly past the monument, I thought. Both gentlemen were part of the Africa-can-and-mustsolve-her-own-problems-the-African-way philosophy. What a pity that neither men lasted very long as head of state. Mbeki couldn’t even attend the grand opening of this monument as president of South Africa, because by April 2010, which was also the 50th anniversary of Sénégal’s independence from France, he had long been succeeded by a sexy singing-anddancing man from Nkandla.

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New Edition of Claire Robertson’s Sunday Times Fiction Prize Winning Debut, The Spiral House

Benjamin Trisk, Claire Robertson and Stephen Haw

The Spiral HouseA new soft cover edition of The Spiral House by Claire Robertson is now available from Umuzi:


A grand tale of love, wig-making and the Enlightenment set in the Cape Colony.

Katrijn van der Caab, freed slave and wigmaker’s apprentice, travels with her eccentric employer from Cape Town to Vogelzang, a remote farm where a hairless girl needs their services. The year is 1794, it is the age of enlightenment, and on Vogelzang the master is conducting strange experiments in human breeding and classification. It is also here that Trijn falls in love.

Two hundred years later and a thousand miles away, Sister Vergilius, a nun at a mission hospital, wants to free herself from an austere order. It is 1961 and her life intertwines with that of a gentleman farmer – an Englishman and suspected Com­munist – who collects and studies insects and lives a solitary life. While a group of Americans arrive in a cavalcade of caravans and a new republic is about to be born, desire is unfurling slowly.

In Claire Robertson’s majestic debut novel, two stories echo across centuries to expose that which binds us and sets us free.

“It is a powerful, often darkly comic and richly rewarding work.”

- Andrew Donaldson, The Times

“This extraordinary South African novel twists together two stories, set 200 years apart.”

- Good Housekeeping magazine

“Roberston’s novel is highly original and fascinating, and a second reading is even more pleasurable”
- Jane Rosenthal – Mail & Guardian

“It is an extremely assured debut novel, and a wonderful read.”
- Suzy Brokensha – Fair Lady

About the author

Claire Robertson lives in Simon’s Town. She has spent the past 30 years as a journal­ist, reporting from South Africa, the US and USSR. She has worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and television, and now works as a senior copy editor on the Sunday Times. She has won awards for her reporting and her work is carried in several anthologies. The Spiral House is her first work of fiction.

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Podcast: Claire Robertson Chats About Winning the Sunday Times Fiction Prize for The Spiral House

The Spiral House Claire Robertson spoke to Jenny Crwys-Williams on the 702 Talk Radio Book Show about winning the 2014 Sunday Times Fiction Prize for The Spiral House.

Robertson says she was “stunned” by the award, and praised Joey Hi-Fi’s cover design as “superbly beautiful”.

Crwys-Williams notes a current trend in South African writing, beginning with André Brink’s Philida and continuing with Karel Schoeman’s Portrait of a Slave Societywhich was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Award – of writing early South African slave history.

Robertson says she believes the trend is more of “going back to South African history”, in general. “We all know that we were never told, or never learned, what really happened,” the debut novelist says.

Listen to the podcast (Robertson’s interview starts at 6 mins):

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