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Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

BBC Podcast: Nadia Davids, Lauren Beukes and SJ Naude Discuss Cape Town – Place and Contested Space

Three Umuzi authors were featured in the latest edition of BBC World’s “Writing a New South Africa” series.

Broken MonstersAn Imperfect BlessingThe Alphabet of BirdsThabiso Mohare, a street poet from Johannesburg, travelled to Cape Town to hear more about beautiful yet complex Mothercity which has inspired so many authors to write incredible works. He spoke to Nadia Davids (An Imperfect Blessing), Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters) and SJ Naudé (Alphabet of Birds) as well as poets Nathan Trantraal, Ronelda Kamfer and Toni Stuart and literary activist Thando Mgqolozana.

The discussion was centred around the theme “Cape Town: Place and Contested Space” and offered insight into the authors’ views on the history of the city and how it affects the work of writers, poets and playwrights.

Davids spoke about the undealt-with legacy of slavery in the city; Beukes shared why her sci-fi visions of South African cities are so popular; Naude helped Mohare uncover roots of a language that was appropriated as a tool of oppression but is still felt to be a language of struggle and resistance among the communities where it originated.

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New Podcast Series from Short Story Day Africa: Diane Awerbuck Reads a Short Story by Ivan Vladislavic

Short Story Day Africa has introduced a new podcast series, with the first episode featuring Diane Awerbuck reading Ivan Vladislavić’s “Hair Shirt”, which comes from his new collection of short stories, 101 Detectives.

Home RemediesCabin FeverGardening At Night
101 DetectivesThe FollyThe Restless SupermarketPortrait with KeysDouble NegativeFlashback Hotel


Awerbuck, who is the author of Gardening at Night, Cabin Fever and Home Remedies, says she chose this particular story because it deals with the idea of the outsider in a number of interesting ways.

Following her reading, Awerbuck chats to Donal Davern about the story.

Listen to the podcast:


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John Maytham: Beverly Rycroft’s A Slim, Green Silence is Written With a Poet’s Sensibility

A Slim, Green SilenceCapeTalk’s John Maytham recently reviewed A Slim, Green Silence – the debut novel by award-winning poet Beverly Rycroft – calling it a “delicious” book.

Rycroft captures and describes the small Eastern Cape town of Scheeperstown “beautifully”, says Maytham, and transports the reader to the rural area in question. He gives a breakdown of the story and says, in closing:

“It’s written with a poet’s sensibility, and it’s just a joy to read.”

Maytham’s discussion of A Slim, Green Silence starts at 3:10. Listen to the podcast:


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Ivan Vladislavic Chats About His Decision to Dedicate 101 Detectives to Chris van Wyk

101 DetectivesIvan Vladislavić was in the Classic FM studio recently to chat about his new collection of short stories, 101 Detectives.

Vladislavić’s latest book has been eagerly received, and he says it was the product of many years of writing.

“It’s quite a wide-ranging collection in terms of the times in which the stories were written, because I haven’t had an actual book of stories since 1996,” Vladislavić says.

“In fact, the first story in this book, ‘The Fugu-eaters’, goes back to that same year. So there’s a range of pieces – the most recent ones were written in the middle of last year, just before the book went into production, so there’s around 20 years of work there.”

101 Detectives is dedicated to Chris van Wyk, the beloved South Africa poet, editor and author who died in October last year.

Van Wyk worked as an editor at the literary magazine Staffrider, and wrote one of the most quoted anti-apartheid poems, “In Detention”, winning the Olive Schreiner Prize for the collection it appeared in. But it was his memoirs, Shirley, Goodness & Mercy and Eggs to Lay, Chickens to Hatch, that brought him widespread acclaim.

“It’s something that pains me deeply,” Vladislavić says. “I think Chris had really found his voice as a writer over the last years, and I know that he was working on a novel, had been for many years, and I was just waiting with huge excitement to see where he had gone with the skills he had learnt as a memoirist, applying them in the world of fiction.

“I think it’s a huge loss.”

Listen to the podcast:

101 Detectives will be launched at Love Books on Wednesday, 6 May, with award-winning author Dominique Botha in conversation with Vladislavić. Click here for details.

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Writing is Like Running: Do it Early in the Morning – John Hunt (Podcast)

The Space Between the Space BetweenJohn Hunt chatted to Classic FM about his first novel, The Space Between the Space Between, and his writing process.

Hunt is a co-founder of agency network TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris and currently worldwide creative director of TBWA. His book The Art of the Idea was published by Zebra Press in 2009.

He explains how he juggles a full-time job and writing a novel:

“It took me a long time, five years,” Hunt says. “I wish I could be one of those who, sort of, have a glass of wine, and work as the sun goes down. But I’m the exact opposite. I have to go to a closed room, no noise, family calls me ‘grumpy’ if they interrupt and I’m working.

“I got into the habit of working every morning, early, before the rest of my day started. I’m not a keen runner but people say the same thing with running, you have to get up, you have to go. So I did all the writing before breakfast or before going into work and that seemed to work best.”

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Podcast: ZP Dala Talks About Her Debut Novel, What About Meera

What About MeeraZP Dala spoke to SAfm about her novel, What About Meera, recently.

What About Meera, Dala’s debut novel, is being widely praised. However, a dark cloud was cast over the book’s launch at the Time of the Writer Festival in Durban last week, as Dala was brutally attacked after professing admiration for Salman Rushdie.

Dala’s conversation with Nancy Richards took place before the tragic occurrence, and it is worth remembering that the book itself deserves attention independent of the attack on its author.

What About Meera was Richards’ “hero book” of the week. Dala, a psychologist by profession and qualified physiotherapist, has worked with autistic and special needs children and adults, as well as their families, in Dublin, Ireland as well as Durban, and says: “I have a very intimate knowledge of the journey of these people, which are not very very easy journeys.”

Dala also says it was very important to her that she told these stories “with respect”.

Listen to the conversation:

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SJ Naude Chats to The Guardian About The Alphabet of Birds and Being a White South African (Podcast)

The Alphabet of BirdsAlfabet van die voëlsSJ Naudé made an appearance on The Guardian‘s Book Podcast recently.

Naudé chatted about the process of translating his own short story collection, Alfabet van die voëls, into English. The English version, The Alphabet of Birds, was published in October last year.

The conversation also covers the psyche of white South Africans, and Naudé is asked: “Your white South Africans in the collection are adrift from what one of them calls ‘this strange continent’, they seem never at home in it, but unable to resist its pull. Is that how it feels to be a white South African, with an encumbering passport, as one of them describes it, at the beginning of the 21st Century?”

“I think South Africans, white South Africans particularly, have traditionally had almost a 19th Century notion of home, when it comes to South Africa,” Naudé says. “It’s almost a sense of South African exceptionalism; home being more of a home than anywhere else. It’s a somewhat new thing for South Africans to be living scattered across the world, but the reality is of course that living in cosmopolitan cities is, for many other people in the world, nothing new.”

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Podcast: Imraan Coovadia Chats About How He Complicated Conventional Narratives in Tales of the Metric System

Tales of the Metric SystemImraan Coovadia chatted to Nancy Richards on SAfm’s Literature recently about his latest novel, Tales of the Metric System.

Coovadia explained the title of his novel, which was inspired by South Africa’s adoption of the metric system in 1970, coincidentally the year in which Coovadia was born.

“I think life and writing are so complicated that anything that looks like a well-executed plan is only well-executed in retrospect,” he says. “Very few writers manage to have a well-executed plan in advance of the execution.

“So any book starts in one particular place, but I did have a sense that I wanted to cover a period of immense change in consciousness, history, political economic social arrangements, and the one that I was most familiar with, because it’s the span of my life.”

Coovadia says he is also interested in how the way in which people experience their own personal stories interacts with larger, more abstract historical stories. He believes that conventional narratives can obscure “what really happened”.

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Podcast: Carol Campbell Tells Nancy Richards More About Esther’s House

Esther's House’n Huis vir EsterNancy Richards spoke to Carol Campbell on SAfm about her second novel, Esther’s House.

“It was conceptualised in Afrikaans, but written in English and then Kirby van der Merwe translated it back into Afrikaans,” Campbell says.

The author also shares the story of how she found herself living in an Afrikaans community as an English speaker and how that environment shaped the book.

Esther’s House is based on real stories of people waiting for what feels like forever to receive RDP houses in the Oudtshoorn area, revealing the emotional turmoil that comes with poverty and the “hangover of apartheid” which is still evident today. Campbell says that she hopes that her book can act as a bridge of social understanding in showing readers a side of South Africa which is not often discussed or witnessed by middle class citizens.

Listen to the podcast for Campbell’s discussion with Richards:


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Podcast: Jassy Mackenzie Speaks About Women Abuse in Breathless

BreathlessJassy Mackenzie recently spoke to Sue Grant-Marshall about her latest novel, Breathless.

In Breathless Mackenzie drew from real life occurrences of women abuse to depict the dynamics between the main character, her abusive husband and her saviour.

During a trip to the Kruger Park Erin Mitchell’s car washes off a flooding bridge and she lands on the hero Nicholas’ estate. Erin is separated from her jealous husband by the barrier of the river, and he phones her multiple times a day and accuses her of cheating.

While the bridge is being rebuilt Erin is conflicted by her feelings for the hero and her loyalty to her husband. The author speaks about what battered women feel when they are in a situation of violence: “When you feel that something is your fault, you only want to try harder to make it right.”

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