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Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

Now in English: The Alphabet of Birds, SJ Naude’s Pulsating Collection of Short Stories

The Alphabet of BirdsThe English translation of SJ Naudé’s award-winning debut, Alfabet van die voëls, to be published by Umuzi as The Alphabet of Birds:

“Cool and intelligent, unsettling and deeply felt, Naudé’s voice is something new in South African writing.” – Damon Galgut, author of Arctic Summer

From an ancient castle in Bavaria and a pre-war villa in Milan, to a winter landscape in Lesotho and the suburban streets of Pretoria, the stories in The Alphabet of Birds take an acute look at South Africans at home and abroad.

In one story, a strange, cheerful Japanese man visits a young South African as he takes care of his dying mother; in another, a woman battles corrupt bureaucracy in the Eastern Cape. A man trails his lover through the underground dance clubs of Berlin, while in London a young banker moves through layers of decadence as a soul would through purgatory.

Pulsating with passion, loss, and melancholia, SJ Naudé’s collection The Alphabet of Birds is filled with music, art, architecture, myth, the search for origins and the shifting relationships between people.

About the author

SJ Naudé studied law at the University of Pretoria as well as at Cambridge and Columbia. He also holds an MA in creative writing. The Alphabet of Birds in Afrikaans was awarded the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and the Jan Rabie Rapport Prize. In 2013 he was awarded the Jan Rabie and Marjorie Wallace Writing Scholarship. Having worked in New York and London for many years, he currently lives in Cape Town.

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Umuzi Authors at Open Book Festival 2014 (17-21 September)

The 2014 Open Book Festival is being held in Cape Town from Wednesday 17 to Sunday 21 September. Umuzi authors to look out for at the festival include Damon Galgut, André Brink, Johan Vlok Louw, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Justin Fox, Diane Awerbuck, Imraan Coovadia, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Tony Park, Meg Vandermerwe, Andrew Salomon and Ivan Vladislavić.

Arctic SummerPhilidaKaroo DuskDie sirkel van bekende dingeDie Alibi KlubThe Alibi ClubWhoever Fears the SeaThe Ghost-Eater and Other StoriesTales of the Metric SystemNinevehDark HeartZebra CrossingTokoloshe SongThe Folly

 

Wednesday 17 September

Writing Sexuality
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 2 PM to 3 PM
Damon Galgut, Michiel Heyns and Karina Szczurek speak to Karin Schimke.

Art of the Essay
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 4 PM to 5 PM
Imraan Coovadia and Geoff Dyer talk to Hedley Twidle.

Afrikaanse Voorlesing
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM
Kom luister na Andre P. Brink, Karin Brynard, Henry Cloete, Johan Vlok Louw, Jaco van Schalkwyk en Ingrid Winterbach.

Writing to be Read
Venue: Fugard Annexe 2
Price: R40
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM
Andrew Brown, Justin Fox and Fiona Leonard discuss their entertaining, issue driven novels with Diane Awerbuck.

Thursday 18 September

Tribute to Nadine Gordimer
Venue: Fugard Theatre
Price: Free
Time: 2 PM to 3 PM
Imraan Coovadia, Billy Kahora and Margie Orford read from Nadine Gordimer’s work and share stories about her influence on their creative lives. Curated by Karina M Szczurek.

Landscape Architects
Venue: Fugard Annexe 1
Price: R40
Time: 4 PM to 5 PM
Kader Abdolah, Damon Galgut and Marguerite Poland discuss constructing the literary foundations of their respective novels. Chaired by Jacqui L’Ange.

Surprising Diversions
Venue: Fugard Theatre
Price: R40
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM
Rabih Alameddine, Geoff Dyer, Deon Meyer and Henrietta Rose-Innes share a passion unrelated to their work as writers. Chaired by Ben Williams.

Friday 19 September

Wilbur Smith
Venue: Fugard Theatre
Price: R40
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM
After worldwide sales of more than 120 million books, Wilbur Smith launches his latest novel, Desert God, in the company of Kevin Ritchie.

Cry the Beloved Other Country
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM
Distance gives you an edge. Damon Galgut and Zakes Mda talk to Alison Lowry.

Saturday 20 September

The Episodic Novel
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 2 PM
Imraan Coovadia (Tales of the Metric System) and Philip Hensher (Emperor’s Waltz) answer questions from Fourie Botha.

IPA 1: Independent Feminist Publishing – Experiences from Around the World
Venue: Fugard Annexe 2
Price: R40
Time: 2 PM to 3 PM
Meg Vandermerwe discusses the experiences of feminist publishers, Susan Hawthorne (Spinifex, Australia), Colleen Higgs (Modjaji, South Africa) and Ritu Menon (Women Unlimited, India).

Under Pressure: Writing the next one
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 4 PM to 5 PM
Thando Mgqolozana and Ivan Vladislavic talk to Alison Lowry.

Fantasy and Crime Fiction – 2 sides of the same coin?
Venue: Fugard Theatre
Price: R40
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM
Raymond E Feist, Deon Meyer and Andrew Salomon discuss why crime is at the heart of fantasy and why crime fiction often ends with fantasy. Chaired by Greg Fried.

Writer Sports – Would I lie to you?
Venue: Fugard Theatre
Price: R40
Time: 8 PM to 9 PM
6 Authors, 2 Teams. Some lies. Some truth. Can you tell the difference? Featuring Mike Carey, Imraan Coovadia, Geoff Dyer, Sarah Lotz, Niq Mhlongo & Zukiswa Wanner. Ben Williams – MC.

Sunday 21 September

Because We Can
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 12 PM to 1 PM
Geoff Dyer, Mark Gevisser and Ivan Vladislavic try to keep on topic with Bronwyn Law-Viljoen. What topic?

Cutting Edge Fiction
Venue: Fugard Studio
Price: R40
Time: 4 PM to 5 PM
Sarah Lotz, Oliver Rohe and Jaco van Schalkwyk discuss pushing fictional boundaries with Diane Awerbuck.

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Zombie Outbreak in Parliament: Lauren Beukes Reads a Short Story She Wrote While in Studio (Podcast)

Broken MonstersLauren Beukes was in studio at 5FM last week to discuss her new novel, Broken Monsters with Nick Hamman and Kim Schulze.

Hamman and Schulze took reader suggestions for characters and locations and gave Beukes 10 minutes to write a short story using these. “The zombie outbreak happened in parliament. It was the best thing which ever happened to the country,” the story starts.

Listen to the “zombie politician/ preggers teenager/cult/zoo keeper murder story”:

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Uittreksel uit “Die mobile”, ’n kortverhaal wat verskyn in Alfabet van die voëls deur SJ Naudé

Alfabet van die voelsNamibiana Buchdepot het ‘n uittreksel gedeel uit een van die kortverhale wat in die bekroonde Alfabet van die voëls deur SJ Naudé verskyn.

In “Die mobile” word ‘n sterwende kankerpasiënt obsessief betrokke by die lewens van verwaarloosde vigslyers in ‘n afgeleë dorpie ver van almal wie haar lief het. Lees oor haar tyd in die plek vol “pondokke, kaias en strooise” en die verpleegkursus by die dorp se opleidingskollege:

Sandrien is die enigste wit vrou in Bella Gardens. Sy is trouens die enigste wit mens in die dorp. “An establishment for the accommodation of women travellers,” lui Bella Gardens se webbladsy. “The most luxuriant home for females,” lui die brosjure in die skemer voorhuis. ‘n Mens sou dit straks kon aansien vir ‘n oord vir ongehude moeders. Haar hospita is Mrs Edith Nyathi, wat haarself voorstel as weduwee en afgetrede matrone van Frere-hospitaal. Sy raak nooit uitgepraat oor haar “second life” nie. Haar wenkbroue lig en haar kop knik vorentoe wanneer sy die frase uitspreek. Die gastehuis is haar aftredebelegging, vertel sy, “my little egg”. Sy huur genoeg huiswerkers sodat sy bedags breedbeen op die stoep met ‘n sigaret kan ontspan; laataand soms met ‘n sigaar. Mrs Nyathi verhef nie haar stem nie. In haar diens is daar ‘n falanks bedeesde dorpsmeisies wat regstaan om knetterende Engelse ontbyte te braai of baddens en plankvloere tot ‘n hoë glans te poleer.

Boek se tuisblad


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We Need New Names Characters Return in NoViolet Bulawayo’s Story “Happy Birthday Africa President”


We Need New NamesThe day before Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe turned 90, the Munyori Literary Journal published a short story by NoViolet Bulawayo titled “Happy Birthday Africa President”, featuring characters from her debut novel We Need New Names.

The day after the story was published, Bulawayo was announced the winner of the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature. She won the Caine Prize in 2011 and last year We Need New Names was shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award.

In “Happy Birthday Africa President”, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Sbho and Stina discuss the posters of their president that have popped up all over the place, announcing his 90th birthday. The narrator, who is possibly Darling, thinks to herself that her grandfather, who isn’t even close to 90, looks far older than this man with his “fresh and finely polished” skin: “if you could buy skin, his would be expensive none of us would afford it.”

Bulawayo introduces a new character, Brother Nkululeko, who gets into an argument with Stina over their differing views of government officials:

We get to Number 10 to find the president raising fists all over. On the big wall around the power station that caught fire last Sunday, on the tall gates of the blue Zioja church, on the fat pole where we sometimes play spin, on the shed where Clifford cuts hair, on the durawall that surrounds the tuck-shops where old ladies sit selling all sorts of stuff, on the sides of the shed where people wait for combis to town, on the trees along the main road—the posters are everywhere. We stand in a huddle by the power station wall and tilt our heads and look at the posters one by one even though they are exactly the same.

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Image courtesy The Chronicle Herald


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Video: Diane Awerbuck Reads from Her Short Story, “Duwweltjie”

Home RemediesLast year’s Bloody Parchment event, which was part of HorrorFest, took place at The Book Lounge. Diane Awerbuck gave a reading from her short story, titled “Duwweltjie”, which is about disease.

“It’s about a family, the mother’s had her tongue operated on, which they still do, by the way. If you get tongue cancer they just cut it off,” Awerbuck says before reading from the story. Her latest novel is Home Remedies.

Watch the video:

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SJ Naudé oor sy literêre invloede, die boeke wat hy lees en die roman waaraan hy werk

Alfabet van die voelsSJ Naudé is onlangs met die Jan Rabie en Marjorie Wallace-skrywersbeurs ter waarde van R350 000 beloon vir die potensiaal wat hy getoon het met ‘n voorgestelde roman. Die Burger het met hom gesels oor hierdie boek waaraan hy nou werk, die skrywers wat hom beïnvloed en die ewig-moeilike vraag: “Hoekom skryf jy?”. Hierop antwoord hy: “Ek is bang as ek uitvind, hou ek dalk op.”

Naudé, outeur van die bekroonde kortverhaalbundel Alfabet van die voëls, noem dat daar te veel boeke op sy bedkassie lê. Onder die boeke wat vir hom loer is Open City van Teju ­Cole, Kaar van Marlene van Niekerk, Deborah Levy se Black Vodka en Christopher Isherwood se Goodbye to Berlin. Hy span nou sy skrywersbeurs in om te werk aan ‘n roman “oor ’n sukkelende Suid-Afrikaanse filmskoolstudent in Londen” wat afspeel “in die lang skadu van ’n skendende stuk Europese geskiedenis”.

Hoekom skryf jy?

Ek is bang as ek uitvind, hou ek dalk op. Miskien om voortdurend iets binne of buite mensself te probeer verander? (Uit die literêre geskiedenis blyk dit eersgenoemde het ’n groter kans op sukses as laasgenoemde.) Om so outentiek as moontlik te probeer kommunikeer? Nuanses eers fyn te kalibreer voordat die seine uitgestuur word? (Die teenoorgestelde van uit die heup uit skiet.) Om jou te verbeel dat jy ’n ideale gemeenskap help skep, bestaande uit lesers en skrywers?

Vir wie skryf jy?

Soms vir myself, soms vir mense wat mens liefhet, soms vir magshebbers waarvoor mens kwaad is (maar wat jou sekerlik nooit sal lees nie). Eindelik vir enigiemand wat by jou sensibiliteite aanklank vind.

Boekbesonderhede


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SJ Naudé gesels oor die Jan Rabie en Marjorie Wallace-beurs en sy beoogde roman

Alfabet van die voelsSJ Naudé, skrywer van die kortverhaalbundel Alfabet van die voëls, het onlangs die Jan Rabie en Marjorie Wallace-skrywersbeurs ter waarde van R350 000 in ontvangs geneem. Die konsep vir ‘n beoogde roman wat Naudé aan die beoordelaars voorgelê het, het hulle laat besluit om hierdie beurs – die grootste in die land – aan hom toe te ken. Dit sal hom in staat stel om aan die roman te kan werk.

Die voorgestelde roman gaan onder meer oor “‘n sukkelende Suid-Afrikaanse filmskoolstudent in Londen, ‘n soektog na ‘n verlore vroeë Duitse film in Berlyn, ‘n stormagtige liefdesverhouding, ‘n sonsverduistering en ‘n industriële rock band. Alles in die lang skadu van ‘n skendende stuk Europese geskiedenis,” het Naudé in ‘n onderhoud met Naomi Meyer van LitNet gesê:

Hallo Fanie, baie geluk met die toekenning van die Jan Rabie Marjorie Wallace-beurs. Die grootste skrywersbeurs in die land! Laat ek afskop met die vraag op almal se lippe: Hoe voel mens as so ’n beurs jou te beurt val?

Dankie, Naomi. Verrassing was my eerste reaksie. En ek is bly en dankbaar. Dit is ‘n seldsame geleentheid, en nie net in Afrikaans en Suid-Afrika nie. Behalwe dalk vir ‘n handjievol gevestigde internasionale skrywers, is dit ongewoon in enige taal en land om ‘n kans te kry om vir ‘n lang tyd – ononderbroke en ongesteurd deur die daaglikse sleur – aan ‘n ernstige roman te werk. Dit is natuurlik ook ‘n verantwoordelikheid. Ek ervaar ‘n gesonde graad van ontsag in die aangesig van die taak wat voorlê, veral as ‘n mens Jan Rabie en Marjorie Wallace se kulturele nalatenskap en hul gulheid van gees in gedagte hou. ‘n Mens sal ook graag die vertroue wat die UWK en die beurskomitee in ‘n mens stel, waardig wil wees.

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Video: Graham Riach Discusses “The Post-apartheid Short Story” on Cambridge PhDcasts

The latest episode of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities’ Cambridge PhDcasts features Graham Riach discussing “The Post-apartheid Short Story” with John Gallagher. Riach, who started his PhD on the contemporary South African short story at Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2011, begins by discussing the origins of the written short story in South Africa, which he says started appearing around the mid 1800s and tended to be fireside tales of adventures, written in an oral style.

The Loss Library The One That Got AwayYou Can't Get Lost in Cape TownHoming

The reading list Riach used for the discussion includes Missing Persons, Propaganda by Monuments & Other Stories and The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories by Ivan Vladislavić, You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town and The One That Got Away by Zoë Wicomb and Shark’s Egg and Homing by Henrietta Rose-Innes.

Watch the discussion:

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Monique Mortlock Notes the Themes of Death and Memory in The Ghost-Eater and Other Stories

The Ghost-Eater and Other StoriesMonique Mortlock attended the launch of the e-book The Ghost-Eater and Other Stories, where some of the 31 contributors spoke about their short stories in the anthology. “Although each story is uniquely different, the themes of death and memory run through the book, tying them together,” Mortlock notes in an article for LitNet.

She quotes Jolyn Phillips (“Fraans”), Sandra Hill (“By Any Other Name”), Tembi Charles (“Long Life”) and Bronwyn Douman (“The Embrace”) about their contributions.

One thing about bookworms: they do not let anything deter them from some time with fellow literature lovers. This was proven at the launch of The Ghost-Eater and other stories on Sunday, 8 September at Warren Editions Project Space (just around the corner from The Book Lounge). Although it was a cold and wet afternoon in the Mother City, over thirty people crowded into the small art studio.

The event formed part of the annual Open Book Festival which has been underway since the 7th of September and ended on the 11th of September.

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