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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

“It’s an Incredible Boost”: Masande Ntshanga Reflects on the Success of The Reactive

The ReactiveFrom achieving an international book deal (film rights included) to being shortlisted for not one but three esteemed literary awards, 2015 has been a killer year for debut author Masande Ntshanga.

The author of The Reactive spoke to Dispatch LIVE this week about being shortlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize, the 2014/2015 University of Johannesburg Prizes for South African Writing, the Caine Prize for his short story “Space” and his upcoming trip to Italy for the 2015 Civitella Ranieri Fellowship.

“It’s an incredible boost, not just for the sake of the book’s exposure, which is great, but also for my own,” Ntshanga says.

Read the article for the author’s thoughts on contemporary South African writing:

“In terms of recognition, though, I feel like we’re at the point where different parts of the world are starting to pay attention to contemporary South African writing, which is a good development.

“Lastly, I’ve always felt that South Africa had enough innovation, but only that it isn’t always represented.

“For example, more experimental writers might publish with smaller houses that don’t have the marketing reach to compete with bigger ones.

“Unfortunately, that also has to do with the readership and how many people have a taste, as well as a demand, for innovative fiction.”

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Koos Roets to Produce Film Versions of Two Novels by Author Carol Campbell

Carol CampbellMovie rights to Durban-based author Carol Campbell’s highly acclaimed two novels Karretjiemense and ‘n Huis vir Ester have been optioned by well-known South African film maker Koos Roets in a co-production arrangement with actor and director André Stolz, known for his roles in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Stander.

KarretjiemenseMy Children Have Faces’n Huis vir EsterEsther's House

Roets, the celebrated director of, among others, the Afrikaans classic Koöperasiestories, and Stolz intend to shoot the films back to back. Roets will direct ‘n Huis vir Ester and act as director of photography on Karretjiemense. Stolz will in turn direct Karretjiemense, and act as production manager on ‘n Huis vir Ester.

Both directors are celebrated for being ‘hands on’ and very passionate about their projects, and will be adapting the novels for screen themselves.

Carol Campbell rose to prominence with her bestselling debut novel Karretjiemense, a novel about the nomadic donkey-cart people of the Karoo. She is known for crafting moving stories which are simultaneously poignant and hopeful. Campbell is a journalist who has worked for the Argus, the Cape Times and the Mercury. She currently works as news editor for The Daily News in Durban, where she lives with her family.

Contracts were negotiated by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie of the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.

Karretjiemense and ‘n Huis vir Ester are also available in English as My Children Have Faces and Esther’s House respectively.

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An Initiation Ceremony Gone Wrong: Read an Excerpt from The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga

The ReactiveIn Masande Ntshanga’s debut novel The Reactive the young author uses “rhythmic prose” and “striking lyricism” to deliver the gut-punching narrative of secrets, memory, drug abuse and family.

Aerodrome has shared an excerpt from this novel, in which Lindanathi, the protagonist, remembers a pivotal moment in his life: the day his brother died, an event he had a hand in. “Ten years ago, I helped a handful of men take my little brother’s life. I wasn’t there when it happened, but I told Luthando where to find them,” Lindanathi recalls.

Read the excerpt to understand what happened when an initiation ceremony went the wrong way and how it haunts the older sibling to this day:

Ten years ago, I helped a handful of men take my little brother’s life. I wasn’t there when it happened, but I told Luthando where to find them. Earlier that year, my brother and I had made a pact to combine our initiation ceremonies.

This was back in 1993.

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Random House Struik-Approved Non-fiction Short Course with Mike Nicol

Random House Struik and Get Smarter are offering a 16-week online short course in non-fiction writing, instructed by accomplished author Mike Nicol.

Of Cops and RobbersBlack HeartKiller CountryPayback

The course is designed for either aspiring or current writers and consists of 12 modules, covering research, first-person narration, character, description, dialogue and preparing for publication.

By the end of the course, you will have completed a compelling 10-page non-fiction story – an autobiography, memoir, biography, travel adventure, or even historical event. The course includes 12 weeks of teaching and a 4-week writing interval, during which you will work on your story. Network with fellow writers, share work, contacts and ideas, and review one another’s pieces as part of your own writing process. At the end of the course, receive the opportunity to submit your manuscript for consideration to be published under Random House Struik’s eKhaya imprint.

Course Details

  • Start date: 7 May 2015
  • Registrations close: 30 April 2015
  • Duration: 16 weeks online, 7 hours per week
  • Course instructor: Mike Nicol
  • Course consultant: Nomfundo Chirwa (, 021 447 7565)
  • Cost: R10,500 (Incl. VAT)
  • More information: Get Smarter

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io9 Selects Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters as One of The Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books Of 2014

Broken MonstersThe daily science and culture online publication io9 recently released a list of the 22 best science fiction and fantasy books of 2014, which includes “a number of brilliant category-defying books”.

Lauren Beukes, with her latest novel Broken Monsters, joins the likes of William Gibson, Jeff Vandermeer, Andy Weir, David Mitchell and Lev Grossman on the list.

2014 was a superb year for Beukes, whose Broken Monsters received numerous awards as well as a Twitter shout-out from legendary horror author Stephen King: “Scary as hell and hypnotic. I couldn’t put it down. Next month. I’d grab it, if I were you.”

Read the article:

Like her previous novel, The Shining Girls, this is a supernatural thriller that’s as much about the lives of cities as it is about a murderer and his victims. This time around, she tells a story of present-day Detroit, and her macabre story of a killer tinged with supernatural elements becomes an examination of fame and social media — and what the spotlight of notoriety does to people.

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Imran Garda Dismantles the Invictus-Inspired Madiba-Blessed Catharsis in The Thunder That Roars

The Thunder That RoarsImran Garda spoke to Neelika Jayawardane about the characters and themes in his debut novel, The Thunder That Roars.

Garda was named one of the Mail & Guardian’s top 200 Young South Africans under the age of 35 this year, and The Thunder That Roars was also longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature.

The Thunder That Roars is centred around the protagonist Yusuf Carrim and his search for his disenfranchised gardener, Sam. Yusuf is a South African investigative journalist from Indian descent and a liberal Muslim. Sam is a Zimbabwean in exile, mistreated by South African authorities, en route to Libya in search of a better life. Garda says that the crucial difference between Yusuf and Sam is that Yusuf has choices in life while Sam has to hustle to survive.

Jayawardane asked Garda about the relationship between employer and employee in his novel. The author spoke about the protagonist’s journey from Zimbabwe to Lampedusa and the central issues of migration and displacement.

Read the article:

Beyond the transactional relationship, beyond platitudes about how much the gardener and the maid are “part of the family”, there’s little knowledge about those family members’ day-to-day lives. However, in The Thunder that Roars, you create entanglements that don’t allow us — or the Carrims — to pretend to a distance. Can you speak about why you added those complications and entanglements into these characters’ lives?

Great question. I love the entanglements. A big part of doing this was a desire to explore the nuances in post-Apartheid SA and how it relates to similar parallels in the global village. We often got to see work on SA (film, literature) that shows a white guy and a black guy, a racist Apartheid backdrop, some sort of Invictus-inspired Madiba-blessed catharsis. The white guy ceases to be racist. The black guy forgives. South Africa rides off into the sunset happily…

I wanted to dismantle this through the prism of Indian-Black relations, Black SA-Black Zimbabwean, SA relations to foreigners in general, Rich-poor, City-Rural… and “Prof” is one of the voices of conscience in the book. I love him dearly. Maybe someday I’ll write about him as a lead character.

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Damon Galgut Reveals Childhood Clues to His Writing Compulsion

Arctic SummerDamon Galgut, author of Arctic Summer, was interviewed by Alexander Matthews for Aerodrome recently.

Matthews visited Galgut in his flat, and asked him about what inspired him to write. Galgut spoke about how he first came to love reading and how writing became a compulsion.

He said that he first traveled to India because it was possible to eke out a living with very little money, and it gave him space and silence to write. It was this trip that spurred him to think about EM Forster, and eventually write Arctic Summer.

Galgut says his friends are “probably the most important element of my emotional life, adding that he admires Forster’s strong loyalty: “Forster very famously said that if he had to choose between betraying his country or betraying his friend, he hopes he’d have the guts to betray his country. I admire that view a lot. I think if all of us placed affection for other people before national loyalties, the world would be a much better place.”

Read the interview:

We sit down on sofas, casting small talk aside. The voice recorder is glowing.

Why does he write?

“There’s a certain mystery attached to why anybody writes books. And maybe it’s best left as a mystery,” he says.

But there are, at least, some clues he is willing to share: a “traumatic childhood” – five years of chemotherapy which began when he was diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of six. He was read to frequently during that period, learning to associate stories as a “positive space”

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Esther’s House: Carol Campbell Wrote About People Facing Extreme Poverty and Breaking Free

Esther's House'n Huis vir EsterThe Mercury’s Patrick Compton recently interviewed Carol Campbell, asking her about her new novel, Ester’s House.

Campbell tells Compton about her time living in Prince Albert where she was exposed to the harsh realities faced by people living in the township on the outskirts of the Karoo town, an experience which influenced the base of this book. She wrote about how they overcome these challenges, if at all.

“I could see the story, and I knew how to tell it. And I also knew that it had to be a book that had a lasting life. Journalists write these kinds of stories all the time, but they have a very short life,” Campbel said. She tried her best to put faces to the countless lives struck by poverty by showcasing the desperate situations they face in order to survive.

Read the article:

What is it like to live in a shack or an abandoned water pipe? If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be a middle-class South African who will probably have little idea and even less interest in imagining the grim details.

But this desperate condition is the daily experience of hundreds of thousands of South Africans.

With her first two novels, Carol Campbell has poured dramatic light on the darkness that cloaks the “invisible” people of the Karoo. The first, My Children Have Faces, is about the “donkey-cart people” there.

Published last year to great acclaim, the book has already sold an impressive 10 000 copies.

Now, with Esther’s House, Campbell has dramatised the lives of people who try to break free of the cycle of poverty that afflicts them, specifically those people who live in shacks which they call hokke (literally animal cages).

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Art-Movie-Book Spends an “Inspiring Evening” with Lauren Beukes and Dominique Botha

Lauren Beukes and Dominique Botha

Broken MonstersFalse RiverThe online magazine Art-Movie-Book met up with Lauren Beukes and Dominique Botha after they recieved their respective University of Johannesburg literary awards and was completely enamoured with the two women.

“An awe inspiring evening for me to meet these two women! The few notes I shared with you here, don’t touch the vast landscape of the talent I was met with in chatting to these two award winning authors, so the best I can do is rather to encourage you to read the books,” writes the lifestyle journalist.

Beukes was awarded the R75 000 main prize for The Shining Girls, while Botha recieved the R30 000 debut prize for False River.

Read the article for Art-Movie-Book‘s extraordinary photos of Beukes and Botha:

I walked into the room where I was to meet the two winners of the University of Johannesburg literary awards. A woman sat on a barstool, gazing out of the panoramic window at the Jo’burg skyline straight after a Highveld thunderstorm. She was elegant and graceful in her designer 1950’s inspired dress and velvet heels. The only thing missing was a Martini or a drink that would catch the light piercing through the window. Picture perfect – like the scene from a movie. It was Dominique Botha, the winner of the University of Johannesburg prize in Literature for False River, her debut novel.

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Johan Vlok Louw: “Ek is eintlik maar ’n instrument wat die karakters vorm gee” (Video)

Die sirkel van bekende dingeKaroo DuskJohan Vlok Louw het met sy uitgewer, Fourie Botha, oor sy jongste boek, Die sirkel van bekende dinge, gesels by die Protea Boekwinkel in Stellenbosch.

Louw verduidelik dat die Karoo-dorp in die boek ’n samevoeging is van al die Karoo-dorpe wat hy al besoek het. “Jy plaas jou karakters in ’n spesifieke omgewing, en die omgewing het dan ’n spesifieke invloed op die karakters.”

Die skrywer sê sy karakters beheer die boek: “Ek is eintlik maar ’n instrument wat die karakters vorm gee.”

Louw gesels ook oor sy kinderdae en die manlike figure in sy lewe wat hom beïnvloed het. “Hulle was baie moeilike mans gewees,” vertel Louw. “Hulle het hier in Voortrekkerstraat af kop gestamp van die een hotel na die ander hotel.”

Die sirkel van bekende dinge is ook in Engels beskikbaar as Karoo Dusk.

Luister na die klankopname van die gesprek:


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