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Archive for the ‘Umuzi’ Category

Archipelago Books to Host Readings and Conversations with Ivan Vladislavic in USA

The Folly101 DetectivesArchipelago Books will be hosting Ivan Vladislavić in New York and Massachusetts during the month of October.

Vladislavić will be reading from his latest US release – The Folly – at four seperate events. 101 Detectives, an anthology of short stories, is the latest work by this celebrated South African author, published locally by Umuzi.

The four events sees him in conversation with renowned novelist and critic Katie Kitamura; Vanity Fair journalist and PEN World Voices advisor Anderson Tepper and University of Massachusetts director of Interdisciplinary Studies Stephen Clingman.

Don’t miss these opportunities to listen to one of South Africa’s greatest living authors!


  • Date: Monday, 5 October 2015
  • Time: 7 to 9 PM
  • Venue: Community Bookstore,
    143 Seventh Avenue,
    Brooklyn, NY 11215
    United States | Map
  • Interviewer: Katie Kitamura
  • More information: Archipelago Books

New York

  • Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2015
  • Time: 7 to 9 PM
  • Venue: Book Culture,
    450 Columbus Avenue
    New York, NY 10024
    United States | Map
  • Interviewer: Anderson Tepper
  • More information: Archipelago Books

Bard College

  • Date: Wednesday, 7 October 2015
  • Time: 7 to 9 PM
  • Venue: Bard College, Bard Hall
    70 N Ravine Roadd,
    Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504
    United States | Map
  • More information: Archipelago Books

University of Massachusetts Amherst


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“I Grew Up in a Space Where Language Was Alive” – We Need New Names Author NoViolet Bulawayo

We Need New NamesThe German publication DW Akademie caught up with NoViolet Bulawayo on her first visit to Germany to speak about her critically acclaimed novel, We Need New Names.

In the story, Bulawayo shares a personal anecdote about her own name. Her birth name is Elizabeth Tshele but she decided to change it to NoViolet to honour her mother, Violet, who passed away when she was 18 months old. “No” means “with” in Ndebele, she explained, and she chose Bulawayo as her surname after her hometown.

Bulawayo talks about the title of her novel, the turbulence in Zimbabwe that sparked the story, the autobiographical elements and the biggest differences between herself and her protagonist, Darling. “My childhood was very normal and beautiful. Zimbabwe in the 80s was this land of promise,” she says. “But as Darling does not know the stability my generation enjoyed and experienced, her childhood is really under pressure.”

Read the article, in which the author speaks about the beauty of the language in the text, the language of her heart:

The language you chose for your protagonists, the children who live in Paradise, is a mixture of African and English vocabulary, neologisms, incantations, curses. How did you find this strong and colorful language?

I’d say I’m indebted to my culture. I grew up in a space where language was alive. Language was currency. I wanted to write a book that captured that, that would resonate especially with readers coming from that space. And a part of it also came from the fact that I was raised by storytellers, especially my father and my grandmother, of course the women who stayed home when I was growing up, they talked, they gossiped. So I was very conscious of language as a living beast. I wanted the book to be a celebration of that. I wanted that color and that texture and that pulse present.

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Lauren Beukes: Finding Stories is Easy, You Trip Over Them in the Street … But Writing Them (Video)

Broken MonstersLauren Beukes, author of Broken Monsters, was recently the featured Young Creative on Morning Live, where she was interviewed by Samm Marshall.

Marshall introduced Beukes as “by far one of the best fiction crafters this country has ever seen”. He asks Beukes, who is a journalist by profession, about how she finds her stories that resonate with readers. She says: “Finding stories is easy, you trip over them in the street. But … it’s the actual writing that’s hard.”

Beukes shares her excitement about the South African literary scene and tells stories about her intensive research process.

Watch the video:

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View the UK Cover For Mike Nicol’s Upcoming New Crime Novel, Power Play

Old Street Publishing revealed the UK cover for Mike Nicol’s upcoming fifth crime novel, Power Play.


The novel will be published by Umuzi locally and Old Street Publishing in the UK, and is scheduled for release in June. See the local cover here.

In the book, Nicol offers readers a look at modern day South Africa, writing about power politics, gang lords, gang soldiers, spooks, murders, rape, and gang reprisals that characterise the gang wars of the Cape Flats. It features two strong females – one good, one bad.

Nicol is a journalist and writer, and teacher of online writing courses on creative writing and non-fiction narrative. He lives in Cape Town. All of his crime titles have been published by Umuzi, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Of Cops and RobbersDieners en DonnersPaybackKiller CountryBlack Heart

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One Man’s Odyssey Across a World Without Memory: Presenting Fred Strydom’s Debut Novel, The Raft

The RaftUmuzi is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of The Raft, Fred Strydom’s debut novel:

“The day every person on earth lost his and her memory was not a day at all. In people’s minds there was no actual event … and thus it could be followed by no period of shock or mourning. There could be no catharsis. Everyone was simply reset to zero.”

On Day Zero, humankind collectively lost its memory. The collapse of civilisation was as instantaneous as it was inevitable. For a man named Kayle Jenner, confined by a regime to a commune on a remote beach, all that remains is the vague and haunting vision of a son …

That, and a wooden raft. It is a raft that will set Kayle on a journey across a broken world to find his son.

Braving a landscape of elusive encounters, a maze of other people’s dreams, and muddled memories, Kayle will discover more than just his lost past. He will discover the truth behind Day Zero – a truth that makes both fools and gods of men.

About the author

Fred Strydom studied Film and Media at the University of Cape Town. He has taught English in South Korea and has published a number of short stories. He currently works as a television writer and producer in Johannesburg, where he lives with his wife, three dogs, cat and horse.

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The Space Between the Space Between: New Novel By John Hunt Reflects the Turbulence of South Africa Right Now

The Space Between the Space BetweenJohn Hunt’s new novel, The Space Between the Space Between, will be published by Umuzi next month:

In some ways, it all begins with a very bad day for Jethro. First, he’s attacked by an angry man who takes his good intentions the wrong way, then he’s robbed in the middle of the night by two men who try to iron out of him – literally – where he keeps his valuables. The problem is that Jethro’s valuables consist of a box of photos and other keepsakes – which only aggravates his assailants. Traumatised, he seeks counselling. With Dr Chatwin Jethro traces his bond with his best friend, Sam, the loss of his girlfriend, his encounters with the enigmatic artist Matsotso Cecilia Dumisa, and why he carries a hat, a shoe and a painting around with him everywhere.

Set in the turbulence of South Africa right now, The Space Between the Space Between tells the story of a young man trying to stay afloat as he’s assaulted by life’s cross-currents. The novel honestly and humanely portrays South Africa today without reverting to moral or political grandstanding. As Jethro ricochets through life, a story of loss, the gaining of wisdom and a little healing emerges.

About the author

John Hunt is the founder of agency network TBWAHunt Lascaris and is currently Worldwide Creative Director of TBWA. In 1993 he was intimately involved in Nelson Mandela’s first election campaign. The author of a number of television dramas, he was named SA Playwright of the Year for Vid Alex, a play exposing censorship during the apartheid years. His book The Art of the Idea, which celebrates the power of ideas to move the world forward, has been translated into several languages.

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Black Heart by Mike Nicol in the Top 10 Crime Novels Published in Germany in 2014

Black HeartThe German translation of Black Heart, the third book in Mike Nicol‘s Revenge Trilogy featuring Mace Bishop and Pylon Buso, has been voted as one of German weekly magazine Die Zeit‘s top 10 crime novels published in Germany in 2014.

Nicol’s book was placed fourth in the top 10 by a panel of judges selected by KrimiZeit, a joint programme between Radio Bremen, NDR and Die Zeit.

Black Heart is described by Die Zeit as “mercilessly good”. It is set in Cape Town and brings an end to Sheemina February’s vendetta against security operative Mace Bishop.

Have a look at 2014′s top 10 crime novels in German, according to Die Zeit:

3 Oliver Bottini: Ein paar Tage Licht
DuMont, 512 S., 19,99 €

Algerien/Deutschland. Deutscher Ingenieur von Islamisten entführt! BKA-Mann Eley und algerische Militärs suchen fieberhaft. Parallel in D: Politgerangel um Rüstungsexport. Interkulturelle Liebschaften, demokratische Terroristen – ausgefuchster Politthriller, erhellend durch Möglichkeitssinn. Bestürzend aktuell.

4 Mike Nicol: Black Heart
Aus dem Englischen von Mechthild Barth; btb, 480 S., 9,99 €
Kapstadt. Nachdem Sheemina February Mace‘ Tochter entführt und seine Frau umgebracht hat, will sie ihn und Kumpel Pylon endgültig fertigmachen. Im Finish der “Rache-Trilogie” steht für die beiden Ex-Waffenhändler alles auf dem Spiel: Ruf, Geld, Leben, Familie. Gnadenlos gut.

Watch the trailer for the English version of Black Heart:

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Liggies vir ’n doel: Hanlie Retief vind meer uit oor ’n Kersfees-gemeenskapsprojek in Danville

OraniaHanlie Retief het met Brenda van der Merwe gesels oor Die Danville Liggiehuis, ’n gemeenskapsprojek wat al vir twintig jaar kospakkies en geskenke aan behoeftiges in Danville skenk.

Van der Merwe en haar man Dries het die projek begin toe hulle die nood in hul gemeenskap raakgesien het. Retief skryf dat die egpaar nie geld ontvang nie, slegs skenkings.

“Brenda het al ses toekennings vir haar projek gewen – van die ATKV regdeur tot by die Kolonnade se hogere Erdekruik-prys, maar sy keer woes as ons haar alleen wil afneem,” vertel Retief.

Lees die artikel:

“Almal sien altyd net die liggies raak, maar my liggies is liggies met ’n doel.”

Dis ’n projek waaroor hulle eintlik gestrompel het. Brenda was 29. Dries, ’n bakwerker, was toe bedags by Northwest Star busse aan die bou en herstel. Douvoordag uit die huis, saans met ghries onder die naels weer tuis.

Brenda het ’n Kersvader uit draad prakseer, toe sit hulle hom in die doringboom buite met ’n paar liggies by. Toe hulle agterkom die karre stop saans om te kyk, prakseer Dries ’n toutjie om die Kersvader se een arm, en as ’n kar stop, trek hy die toutjie en Kersvader waai vir sy gehoor.

Toe begin hulle kinders uitnooi om briefies vir Kersvader te skryf en in ’n boks te gooi. En tussendeur die poppe-en-karretjies-bestellings vra party: seblief, net ’n bord kos vir Kersdag, of skoolskoene, of potlode…


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Video: Brendon Bell-Roberts Tells Graeme Richards About the Brilliance of South African Designs

100 Good IdeasBrendon Bell-Roberts, co-author of 100 Good Ideas: Celebrating 20 years of democracy, spoke to Graeme Richards on Expresso about his book and the process of writing it.

Richards asks Bell-Roberts if he thinks, after writing and researching this book of brilliant South African ideas, that they share a common thread. Bell-Roberts says he found that some of the best ideas and greatest innovators came from areas with limited resources. He stresses the importance and value of nurturing these ideas.

Watch the video:

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Excerpt from Kill Baxter by Charlie Human: A Lesson in Fighting from the Shadow Boer

Kill BaxterFrom the author of Apocalypse Now Now comes an explosive tale of magic and ass-kickery – Kill Baxter by Charlie Human.

No one cares that 16-year-old Baxter Zevcenko saved the world that other time, instead he gets shipped off to Hexpoort, a kind of reform school, where he butts heads with the school bully.

Random House Struik has shared an excerpt from Kill Baxter that takes a look at Hexpoort where boys like Baxter learn to fight with magic and fists alike. In the extract the Shadow Boer gives the boys a lesson on life and all the nasties out there:

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It’s five weeks after I first stepped through the Hexpoort gates when the Shadow Boer takes us to a field within the school boundaries. In it is a paintball-splotched fake town complete with junked cars with what look like real bullet holes in them. A metal frame on the side of the field holds dozens of black punching bags swaying in the breeze.
    The Boer stops us in front of the bags. ‘You are here to be learning Combatives, your real fokken education here at Hexpoort,’ he says, scratching his beard. ‘Listen here, mah sunshines. Mamma Nature, in her favouritest quest to fuck wif the human race, has given us this limp wet rag for a body and skopped us out into the world with beasts and monsters whose DNA has fokken being pumping iron at the evolution gym.’
    He walks up and down in front of us, looking each one of us in the eye as he passes. ‘If a bookie looked at us, no claws, fangs, no scaly armour, the oke would have placed odds on us being knocked out in the opening rounds of our evolution. But we didn’t just survive, we fokken rocked the party, ek sê. We climbed to the top of the food chain wif a goddamn stone knife between our teeth.’ He waggles his thumbs. ‘Everyone say “thanks, thumbs”. The point, julle klein naaiers, is give up all sense of romance. Your stupid little spaghetti bodies are not well designed for kicking ass. Too many soft spots.’ He jabs a kid in the neck with his finger and the kid collapses in a heap on the ground. The Boer grabs him by the shirt, hauls him to his feet and pats him on the back.
    ’The only trick to fighting is to find the soft spots in your enemy and then stab, gouge, crush and bite them until the fokken thing stops moving. And then stamp on his head just to be sure. Any questions?’
    One kid raises a trembling hand.
    ’Ja, you,’ the Boer says.
    ’Why do we have to learn fighting?’ the kid says. ‘Why can’t we just use magic?’
    I grit my teeth and wait for him to get hit in the throat, but the Boer nods.
    ’The first rule, mah sunshines, is to keep the energy you have like you’re on the last bar of your cell-phone battery. Magic takes energy to use. If it’s easier to club something to the ground with a spade and then stomp on its head, then you do that rather. But the best is a combination of the two.’
    He grabs the kid who asked the question. ‘Boom, flash spell to the eyes, grab him by the throat, headbutt. Nighty-night.’ He doesn’t hit the kid hard but he drops too. The Boer sighs, then leans down and pulls him back up to his feet.
    ’Ja, mah sunshines. Demons, elementals, Treskulls, Obayifo, Nahuda and a thousand other fokken nasties are out there, and these okes are really not nice. I’m going to teach you how to fight them with whatever you have. No offence, but those namby-pamby magic theorist bookworms might be teaching you all that “oooh, let’s get in touch wif our feelings” magic shit, but you meet a demon, they gonna fuck you up six–love if you try to get all philomasophical with them. We’ll do Musangwe boxing, Zulu stick fighting, Cape Flats knife fighting, and street-fighting magic. We’ll fokken do muay thai and you thai and everyone thai. We’ll do ju-jitsu, karate, kung-fok-you and every other fokken chop suey thing you can imagine. By the time I’m done with you, you’ll have a fighting chance against the terrible things that stalk the night, do you unnerstand me?’
    ’Yes, Boer,’ the class mumbles.
    ’No, you don’t. Do you fokken unnerstand me?’
    ’Yes, Boer,’ we shout.
    ’Ja, well you better. Now start punching those fokken bags.’
    I put on a pair of dirty gloves and start hitting the bag half-heartedly. I’m really not in the mood for this.
    ’You!’ The Boer strides over to me. ‘You’re not giving it a fokken detoxifying face mask.’ He takes the bag between his thick hands and strokes. ‘Would you like a nice massage now, bag?’ he says in a falsetto voice. ‘How about some lekker chamomile tea?’ Then he steps back and hits it so hard that everyone flinches. ‘Ag, ja, sorry, bag. That’s not going to happen.’ He leans across so that his face is right next to mine. ‘Hit it!’ he shouts, so loud that my ears ring.
    So I punch and continue punching. I hit the bag until my arms hurt. I picture everyone I hate: Anwar, Hekka, even Basson. My face is streaming with sweat, my T-shirt is soaked and I feel like my arms have been jolted from their sockets. The Boer looks at me with his dark eyes. ‘Better,’ he says with a nod. ‘Now kick.’

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