Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE


@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

The Hardest Thing Lauren Beukes Has Ever Written, and Why She Wants to Eat Jennifer Egan’s Brain

MaverickBroken MonstersThe Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes was recently interviewed by Alex Segura for Pen America about her “enthralling and immersive fiction”.

Segura asks Beukes about how she came to write for a living, and where she writes. The author admits that she would like to “absorb” Jennifer Egan’s powers, by means of eating her brain if necessary.

Beukes says that she would like to have been a anti-apartheid activist because the enemy was simple – she wishes that “current social issues were as easily defined and that there was a clear path of resistance.” This leads into a discussion of the hardest thing she has ever had to write:

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever put into words? Why does it stand out for you?

The most daring thing I’ve wanted to put into words was vetoed by my editor. I wanted to describe my terrified heroine’s heart thumping “like an avalanche of ponies.” I still like the metaphor. Can’t you just see it? The ponies tumbling down the scree, all clattering hooves and dust? But the hardest thing to write, which still upsets me and makes me sick and angry, was the essay I wrote, “All The Pretty Corpses,” about the murder of my cleaning lady’s daughter in 2010 and how I believed in the fairytale of justice until the moment in the prosecutor’s office when he told us he was going to have to throw the case out. It was devastating, and it has fed into how I write about violence—what it is, what it does to us, how we talk about it, what it means when we lose someone, how violence is shocking and contemptible, how we shouldn’t let this shit go.

Related stories:

Book details

» read article

“Last Week Made Me Realise How Much Like a Blunted Blade I Have Become” – Maire Fisher on #FeesMustFall

BirdseyeA week of student protests aimed at lower fees for tertiary education, and eventually free education, initially left Máire Fisher seething and frustrated.

“My son is a third-year student at UCT who has worked his butt off this year. So when the #FeesMustFall campaign started, I was really pissed off,” the Birdseye author writes in a recent column for The Times. However, as the week unfolded and voices on the ground grew louder than often sensationalist media reports, she came to understand the protests.

Read Fisher’s article to see why she says “last week made me realise how much like a blunted blade I have become” and what lessons she will be taking away from the #FeesMustFall protests:

I didn’t take #FeesMustFall seriously. I’ve grown so used to daily, if not hourly, news of corruption that I couldn’t see what good any further protest would do, besides disrupting study week and having a detrimental effect on exams.

Last week made me realise how much like a blunted blade I have become. I expect things not to work; I expect protests not to work; I’m apathetic and negative. I follow the news, and inject most of it with large doses of cynicism (the same cynicism I experienced at the beginning of the week, thinking the protesting students were probably hoping for exams to be postponed or cancelled because they were failing).

Follow these links for more about Fisher’s debut novel and her thoughts on creative writing:


Book details

» read article

Cover Revealed for the North American Edition of Masande Ntshanga’s The Reactive


The ReactiveThe cover for the North American edition of The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga has been revealed by his publisher in that region, Two Dollar Radio.

Two Dollar Radio acquired the rights to The Reactive in May – and optioned the rights to a film adaptation as well.

A second international publishing deal for The Reactive was sealed in June, when Verlag das Wunderhorn acquired the German rights.

Ntshanga shared the cover on Twitter:

The cover was designed by local illustrator Pola Maneli:

Two Dollar Radio shared a picture on Instagram:



Book details

» read article

A Musical Exploration of The Seed Thief: Listen to the Playlist that Inspired Jacqui L’Ange’s Story

The Seed ThiefBefore the release of The Seed Thief, author Jacqui L’Ange shared a playlist on her blog of songs that inspired the story.

The Seed Thief is L’Ange’s striking and richly imagined debut novel which moves from Table Mountain to the heart of Afro-Brazilian spiritualism.

Lovers of Brazilian music will especially enjoy this collection of songs, which have been shared on Rdio, Spotify and Simfy.

Read the article and listen to the music:

If you’re into Brazilian music, you’ll find something to love here. (It’s not all Brazilian, but most of it is, since you can never have too much of that.) If you’re discovering these songs for the first time, I hope they’ll kick off a journey of new musical exploration.


Also read:

Book details

» read article

Spanish Translation of Henrietta Rose-Innes’ Nineveh to be Launched in Mexico in October

Green LionNinevehHomingThe Rock AlphabetShark's Egg

Henrietta Rose-Innes has announced that her novel Nineveh will soon be launched in Mexico.

The Spanish translation of Nineveh will be published by Mexican publisher Almadia and Rose-Innes will be at the Oaxaca International Book Fair to launch the book in October.

Follow Henrietta Rose-Innes on Facebook for more:

Book details

Image: Martin Figura

» read article

The World Responds to Our Science Fiction, so Why Won’t We Admit it Exists? – Fred Strydom

The RaftFred Strydom recently wrote an article for Medium in defense of science fiction and fantasy in South Africa.

The author of The Raft ponders South Africans’ tendency to prefer non-fiction over fiction and explains why we need the genre of science fiction to make sense of our world.

Strydom writes: “The truth is that fiction needs a bigger voice in South Africa, and science fiction, being the loudest of all fictions, could be our way of breaking through. As with District 9 by director Neill Blomkamp and Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, the world seems to respond to our science fiction.”

Read the article:

Science fiction is the genre of invention and re-invention. Of expansion. Of universal truth. Of absolute fabrication. It’s the genre of freedom itself.

In the end, science fiction should be allowed to declare that we’re not only a country of looking back but one of looking forward. Besides writing, producing and reading more of it, we should also, as a nation, be rewarding it. Hell, at least admitting it exists. We could start with new shelves at our local book stores, so that novels such as The Raft don’t have nestle in the brilliant but genre-irrelevant company of other South African novels under “General Africana”. We could also be using speculative fiction in schools to encourage readership in a generation willing to spend their pocket money on some new US science fiction blockbuster every other week, or wait up for it on TV on Saturday nights, or display a favourite make-believe character on their t-shirts.

Related news:


Book details

» read article

George RR Martin Thinks You Should Read Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken MonstersLauren Beukes Broken Monsters has been reviewed by none other than George RR Martin, superstar author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series that spawned Game of Thrones, one of the most popular television programmes ever created.

Martin included Beukes’ latest book on his list of nine “recent science fiction and fantasy recommendations”.

Beukes’ tweeted her elation:


* * * * *

Read what Martin had to say about Broken Monsters:

Martin’s Verdict: “Set amidst the urban decay of contemporary Detroit, this one has a vivid sense of place and a colorful and interesting cast of characters, but it gets very strange at the end, where the Lovecraftian elements come to the fore… I found it an engrossing read all the same, and I will be looking forward to whatever Lauren Beukes does next. She’s a major, major talent.”

Related news

Book details

» read article

Lauren Beukes’ Not-so-secret Love Affair with Comic Books, and News of Her Forthcoming Publication

Broken MonstersThe Shining GirlsIn a recent interview for Business Day, Sue Blaine writes that although Lauren Beukes’ first love is novels, “her affair with graphic novels is serious”.

Beukes and Joey Hi-Fi, the cover designer for a number of Beukes’ books, have written a comic book for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, titled Survivors’ Club. They are both very excited about the publication, but have been “sworn to secrecy” until it is published.

In the article, Beukes tells Blaine the fortuitous meetings that have made her dream of writing a comic book a reality:

“I always read comics,” says Beukes, listing as her childhood fare the British comics Misty, Bunty and 2000AD, in which Judge Dredd is a character. “I always wanted to write one, but I didn’t know how.”

That changed when she went to Worldcon (the World Science Fiction Convention) in 2009. “If you have to share a room and eat manky noodles, it’s totally worth it,” she says of the World Science Fiction Society’s annual convention. There she met American writer-artist Bill Willingham. Now she has written a few and worked on others, including a delightful 10-page Wonder Woman comic in which the superhero goes to Soweto and meets a little girl called Zozo.

Book details

» read article

Reflecting India in Fiction: Praise for the Work of Imraan Coovadia and Jassy Mackenzie

Tales of the Metric SystemAnu Kumar recently wrote a very interesting article for Scroll sharing “everything you wanted to know about South African fiction by writers of Indian origin” – before, during and after apartheid.

Included in the rich list of relevant books are Imraan Coovadia’s The Wedding and his most recent novel, the 2015 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize shortlisted Tales of the Metric System.

“Yet another writer setting his tales in a tumultuous post-apartheid South Africa is Imraan Coovadia, whose books beginning with The Wedding cover a wide terrain,” Kumar writes. Read the article to find out more:

In 1983, J.M. Coetzee talked of South African literature “as a literature in bondage. It is less than human.” He meant the political burden that the literature of the region continues to carry, four decades later. Indian writing from the country faces not merely this political burden but also a historical one, one which is arguably different from other communities.

Indeed, identity, along with the history that shapes it, has for long played a big role in Indian writing from Africa in general and South Africa in particular, where the Indian population was discriminated against in different ways in an apartheid regime. The change promised, or what has fallen short in post-apartheid South Africa, is reflected in the writing of South African Indians in large measure.

The National, Abu Dhabi Media’s first English-language publication, published an equally interesting article, focusing on the way characters from the Indian diaspora have made their mark on international fiction, no longer being stereotyped in borderline offensive ways.

One of the authors who has achieved well-rounded representation, according to the article, is Umuzi author Jassy Mackenzie:

Random ViolenceStolen LivesThe Fallen

“Moving south of the African continent, we have Superintendent David Patel of the Johannesburg Central Police, the detective partner and (unaware love interest) of private investigator Jade de Jong, the daughter of his old police superior. Patel appears in three book in the series by Jassy Mackenzie – Random Violence (2010), Stolen Lives (2011) and The Fallen (2012)”

Read the article:

Politicians, business magnates, sports stars – the Indian diaspora has done well for itself in its new homes around the world and, on a literary basis, crossed another test of acceptance with their depiction in fiction as regular, non-stereotypical characters. From police inspectors to businessmen to cooks, Indians overseas are increasingly figuring in a range of tales by non-Indian writers.

Book details

» read article

“Baxter is a Unique Case”: Read an Excerpt from Kill Baxter by Charlie Human

Apocalypse Now NowKill BaxterKill Baxter is the exciting sequel to Charlie Human’s incredible speculative fiction debut, Apocalypse Now Now:

The world has been massively unappreciative of sixteen-year-old Baxter Zevcenko. After unfairly being sent to a magical training school that’s part reformatory, part military school, Baxter has to saved the world from the apocalypse. Again.

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared a short excerpt from Kill Baxter in which you can read the application form sent in to Hexpoort, the school Baxter detests so much but ends up having to protect. It makes special note of Baxter’s unconventional genetic make-up:

“Baxter is a unique case. His genetic lineage is a strange hybrid of Siener, the Afrikaner mystics active primarily during the Boer wars, and the Murder, the shape-shifting giant Crows that have been responsible for the deaths of many in the Hidden community.”

Read the excerpt:

Applicant: Baxter Zevcenko

Age: 16

Baxter was brought to the attention of the Hexpoort admissions faculty by the MK6 agent codenamed Tone. As with any potential student, careful attention must be paid to his genetic history, magical skills and psychological make-up profile. The following profile was compiled from extensive MK6 surveillance of the subject and interviews with all involved in his case.

Book details

» read article