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Revealed! The Joey Hi-Fi cover for A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg: A City Novel by Harry Kalmer (Plus: Excerpt)

Revealed! The Joey Hi-Fi cover for A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg by Harry Kalmer

Penguin Books South Africa has revealed the cover for A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg – Harry Kalmer’s new novel – designed by the legendary Joey Hi-Fi.

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is the English translation of the critically acclaimed ‘n Duisend stories oor Johannesburg, which was shortlisted for seven Afrikaans literary awards.

A Thousand Tales of JohannesburgThe book tells the story of a city, its architecture, its history and its diverse communities, from the pre-Johannesburg Highveld of the 1880s to the xenophobia of 2008.

Scroll down for an excerpt!

Kalmer has written 23 plays and six works of fiction, but A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is his first book in English.
The author says:

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg: A City Novel is my first book in English. I wanted it to look special so I asked publisher Fourie Botha to approach Joey Hi-Fi.

The book is set against the backdrop of the xenophobic violence of 2008. However architecture and specifically modernist architecture is central to the book. The postcard-like photo of Commissioner Street in the 1970s features two modernist buildings on the left and on the right, the deco New Library hotel against a Kodachrome blue Highveld sky.

There are so many things I love about this cover. The letters of the title mixing the old and the new. The torn photograph that allows old street maps, pictures and post cards to peak through as if to tell, like the book, the layered, tattered story of a constantly morphing city. Its history from mining camp to European Modernist skyline to the African megapolis it is today.

I chose Joey hoping he would do something as stark, modern and bold as some of his other work. Instead he created a cover that tells its own story before the reading even starts. An additional tale added to the many stories already inside the book.

Joey Hi-Fi describes the design process:

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is a moving and intricately interwoven tale about the inhabitants of Johannesburg. It spans more than a hundred years. From the late 1800s all the way through to 2008. The challenge here was to visually capture those stories and the passing of time in an authentic fashion. Something that was true to the characters therein as well as the tone and mood of the novel.

My concept for the cover was sparked by the many references to photographs in the novel. And since photographs are a record of the passing of time, I wondered: What if all the decades spanned in A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg collided in one photograph? And what if that photograph had been torn and worn away to reveal past events? Much like an archaeological excavation, where the deeper you dig the further into the past you go. In a way it is a metaphor for the city itself. The new built upon the old. Scratch beneath the surface and you will unearth some clue to the past.

So I decided to combine typography, illustration and photography in an intricately assembled collage. One photo that incorporated all the decades covered in the novel. I wanted the cover to have a measure of authenticity. To look as much as possible like a photograph of a Johannesburg street scene that has been crumpled, torn and weathered by the passing of time. To do this I redrew old maps of Johannesburg, illustrated and collaged together Johannesburg street scenes (from various decades) and recreated Boer prisoner of war letters. The cover typography is inspired by the lettering found on old maps from the early 1900s. Each element on the cover reflects some event or character in the novel.

Designing this cover was a fascinating deep dive into the rich history of Johannesburg and its people. A history which Harry Kalmer has beautifully captured in A Thousand Tales Of Johannesburg.

About the book

A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is Harry Kalmer’s spellbinding ode to Johannesburg and its people.

This is the story of Sara, who poses stiffly for a photo with her four children at Turffontein concentration camp in 1901, and of Abraham, who paints the street names on Johannesburg’s kerbs. It is the tale of their grandson Zweig, a young architect who has to leave Johannesburg when he falls in love with the wrong person, and of Marceline, a Congolese mother who flees to the city only to be caught up in a wave of xenophobic violence.

Spanning more than a hundred years, A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg is a novel that documents and probes the lives of the inhabitants of this incomparable African city – the exiled, those returning from exile, and those who never left.

About the author

Harry Kalmer is an award-winning playwright and novelist who has authored six works of fiction and 32 plays. His novel En die lekkerste deel van dood wees was the runner-up in the 2007 Sanlam/Insig Groot Roman competition. Briewe aan ‘n rooi dak, based on the letters of Magdalena Otto, received the Anglo-Gold Aardklop award for best new drama in 2001, and was adapted for television and broadcast. In 2014, his drama The Bram Fischer Waltz won the Adelaide Tambo Award for Human Rights in the Arts. He lives in Johannesburg.

Excerpt from A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg

‘What is it like to be back in Johannesburg?’ Meredith’s voice sounded thin over the phone from Seattle.

‘Odd. It’s very different from when I left.’

‘It’s more than forty years, Dad. Places change, time moves on.’

‘I know but it is totally different. It is like an African city.’

‘It is an African city.’

Zweig did not respond. To speak about the emotions he had felt since his arrival in Johannesburg three
hours earlier would have been too difficult. Instead he asked her about work.

He remained seated on the bed with the phone in his hand after the conversation ended and realised how little he and Serenita had told their daughters about Johannesburg. To them it was merely the place where their parents lived before they moved to London.

Zweig felt like some Bach, but his iPod wasn’t charged. He craved a cigarette for the first time in fifteen years. The white telephone on the white bedside table rang. Cherie asked if he wanted white or red wine with his dinner.

Zweig put on clean clothes. A few minutes later Cherie was at the door with a plate of food, a glass and a carafe of white wine. She placed it on a coffee table. Arabic music was playing somewhere in the hotel. Zweig sat down in one of the chairs and poured a glass of wine. The chicken was tasty. It was the first meat he had eaten in a long time.

When he had finished his meal, he once again picked up the copy of Moby Dick but still found it difficult to read.

He undressed and took a photo of Serenita in a standing frame from his shoulder bag.

‘You won’t believe it, Serenita.’ He smiled at the photo. ‘I’m back in Johannesburg. An old man in his vest and his underpants sitting at the edge of a bed.’

He unfolded the back support strut of the frame and placed it on the table.
Then he climbed in under the duvet and turned off the bedside light.

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Tim Noakes joins Penguin Random House South Africa authors to make Banting more affordable


Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) is proud to announce that Professor Tim Noakes will co-write his next Banting book with PRHSA authors Bernadine Douglas and Bridgette Allan.

The Banting Pocket Guide will be published in partnership with The Noakes Foundation (TNF) early in 2017.

Noakes, who started the Banting revolution in South Africa, and TNF are passionate about making the Banting lifestyle affordable and accessible to all South Africans. Douglas and Allan share this objective and have already made the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet more inclusive with their books The Banting Solution and Die Banting-oplossing, published early in 2016.

The Banting SolutionDie Banting-oplossing

The Banting Pocket Guide will be user-friendly and provide all the tips and advice readers will need to start, successfully conclude and maintain their Banting diet. It will also offer more affordable solutions and include products that are more accessible to people of all walks of life. The author trio and TNF are also planning further Banting titles in this line with PRHSA.

On his decision to join PRHSA and The Banting Solution authors Douglas and Allan, Noakes says:

The focus of TNF’s Eat Better South Africa! campaign is to take the Banting Revolution to all South Africans. I am very appreciative of the chance to partner with Bernadine and Bridgette to advance our common goal – to help all South Africans understand that what we eat each day is a key determinant of our long-term health. This book provides practical information of how we can eat high-quality, healthy foods, even on a restricted food budget.

PRHSA is thrilled to have TNF on board. The foundation is a non-profit corporation founded for public benefit. Its aims are to advance medical science’s understanding of the benefits of a LCHF diet by providing evidence-based information on optimum nutrition that is free from commercial agenda. Jayne Bullen, manager of TNF says: “We are excited about this new partnership to support dietary changes needed in all populations with a clear message of Ubuntu behind it. Noakes’s proceeds from this book will go towards the TNF’s Eat Better South Africa!”

Douglas and Allan feel very privileged to have Noakes and his foundation involved in their next book. Allan said: “With the involvement of Tim and his fantastic team I am tremendously excited at the potential that The Banting Pocket Guide has to improve health across South Africa.” Douglas added: “It’s an absolute honour to have Prof. Noakes and The Noakes Foundation on board to take a healthy lifestyle to the next level.”

PRHSA is also looking forward to publishing the follow-up to Noakes’s Challenging Beliefs in 2017. The new book will include more on the LCHF diet and the highly controversial HPCSA trial.

Book details

  • Die Banting-oplossing: Jou laekoolhidraat-gids vir permanente gewigsverlies by Bernadine Douglas, Bridgette Allan
    EAN: 9781776090365
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Kom geniet ’n Boek en Koek-viering van Lugkasteel deur Annelie Botes in Pretoria

Uitnodiging na die bekendstelling van Lugkasteel deur Annelie Botes

LugkasteelGraffiti Zambezi Junction en Penguin Random House nooi jou graag na die bekendstelling van Annelie Botes se jongste boek, Lugkasteel.

Die geleentheid vind plaas op Donderdag, 1 Desember by O’Galito Zambezi Junction en begin om 9:00 vir 9:30. Kaartjies kos R70 per persoon en sluit in heerlike versnaperinge.

In Lugkasteel vertel die gesoute skrywer die verhaal van haar destydse pos in Engeland as goewernante van vier onhebbelike bloubloed-seuntjies.

Moenie dit misloop nie!



Wen een van vyf eksemplare van Christelle van Rooyen-Wessels se debuutroman, Adder

AdderAdder deur Christelle van Rooyen-Wessels is nou beskikbaar by Penguin:

Klara Francke het ’n donker geheim. Sy is vasgekeer in ’n giftige huwelik met die sadistiese Johan. Sy leef in konstante vrees vir haar eie lewe en dié van haar tienerjarige seun. Wanneer Johan die nuwe ingenieur wat by die sonkragaanleg buite die dorp begin werk het vir ’n braai nooi, is daar onmiddellik ’n wedersydse aangetrokkenheid tussen Klara en haar man se kollega.

Terwyl Klara worstel met haar onverklaarbare – en ontoelaatbare – gevoelens, spook speurder Basie Snyman en sy kollega om die moorde op twee jong meisies op te los. Hulle weet hulle werk teen tyd wanneer ’n derde meisie verdwyn. Kort voor lank ontdek die speurders ’n skakel tussen die drie slagoffers: Klara Francke …

Oor die outeur

Christelle van Rooyen-Wessels is op De Aar gebore en is tans die redakteur van een van die oudste gemeenskapskoerante in die land – die Stellalander. Sy woon in Vryburg in Noordwes. In 2004 ontvang sy die Sanlam Gemeenskapsperstoekenning vir Joernalis van die Jaar: Menslike Nuus. Adder is haar debuut.

Vyf gelukkige lesers kan elkeen ‘n kopie van Adder wen. Om in aanmerking te kom vir die prys, besoek Penguin Random House SA se webtuiste en voltooi die kompetisievorm voor Woensdag, 30 November.


Cover revealed for Marita van der Vyver’s new novel to be published early 2017

Marita van der Vyver’s new novel to be published early 2017Marita van der Vyver’s new novel to be published early 2017
Swemlesse vir 'n meerminA Fountain in FranceOlinosters op die dakDie coolste ouma op aardeWinter Food in ProvenceWinterkos in Provence

Penguin Random House will be publishing Marita van der Vyver’s 13th novel, You Lost Me, early in 2017 in English and Afrikaans.

The author, who lives in France, will be in South Africa to promote the novel in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria in March and May 2017. Readers will also have the opportunity to see her in Stellenbosch during Woordfees, and at the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

You Lost Me is the story of Willem Prins, a disillusioned South African writer who, after little success, finds himself in Paris to promote an erotic novel he wrote under a pseudonym – to his great embarrassment. It’s here that he meets Jackie, a young South African who works in the city as au pair. The two of them happen to be together on the night that the Paris terror attacks strike.

You Lost Me is contemporary and thrilling; wickedly funny yet poignant. The novel reinforces Van der Vyver’s position as one of the country’s best-loved writers since the publication of her first novel, Entertaining Angels.

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Photograph by Robert Hamblin for Vrouekeur

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Don’t miss the launch of Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew at Love Books

Invitation to the launch of Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic: A Tannie Maria Mystery

Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic: A Tannie Maria MysteryUmuzi and Love Books are delighted to be hosting international success story Sally Andrew for the launch of her new Tannie Maria mystery, Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic: A Tannie Maria Mystery.

The event will take place on Thursday, 1 December, when Andrew will be in conversation with Michele Magwood of the Sunday Times.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 1 December 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Michele Magwood
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Love Books,, 011 726 7408

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Annelie Botes herroep ou herinneringe in Lugkasteel (Plus: Wen 1 van 10 eksemplare!)

LugkasteelLugkasteel deur Annelie Botes is nou beskikbaar by Penguin:

In Sabbatsreis vertel Annelie Botes hoe sy in 2004 blindelings op ’n vliegtuig geklim het om in Engeland ’n ouma te gaan soek wat sy kon oppas. Om haar skuld te betaal. Vir ’n hellejaar (ook met heelwat hemelse oomblikke!) word sy Granny se hoeder.

Maar genoeg is selde genoeg. Kwalik ses maande nadat sy teruggekom het Baai toe, vlieg sy wéér Engeland toe. Dié keer as die goewernante van vier onhebbelike bloubloed-seuntjies. En, soos Aspoestertjie, bevind sy haar in ’n grillerige ou kasteelhuis, en sy is net ’n kasteelbediende. Sy ly honger; sy verkluim. Sy moet haar karige leefruimte deel met die wandelende gees van ’n vrou wat lankal oorlede is, maar steeds snags in die kasteelgange rondloop.

Om vir haar ’n wegkruipplek te skep, rig sy ’n antieke Mercedes-Benz vol muisneste, wat verlate in ’n plaat onkruid staan, in as haar heiligdom. Droomplek. Dinkplek. Huilplek.

Tien jaar later sit sy by haar ou bruin lessenaar en rol die kamera terug na daardie tyd. Bekyk die glasskoentjies wat elke mens langs die pad verloor. Lugkastele wat tuimel. Alles net swaanveertjies in die winterwind. Tog, ondanks ons stukkende vlerke, leer ons vlieg. Hoër en verder as wat ons ooit kon droom.

Soms. Soms nie.

Oor die outeur

Annelie Botes woon in die Oos-Kaap en skryf in Engels en Afrikaans. ‘n Groot aantal boeke het al uit haar pen verskyn waarvan menigde vertaal is. Raaiselkind (ook in Engels beskikbaar as Riddle Child) het in 2003 verskyn en is aangewys as voorgeskrewe boek in die Wes-Kaap.


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Tien gelukkige lesers kan elk ‘n kans staan om ‘n kopie van Lugkasteel te wen. Slegs een inskrywing per persoon word toegelaat. Voltooi die kompetisievorm voor 18 November 2016 om in te skryf:


The wine connection in Mark Winkler’s The Safest Place You Know

The man behind the character: True-life inspiration in Mark Winkler’s The Safest Place You Know

The Safest Place You KnowMark Winkler’s third novel, The Safest Place You Know, is set in the 1980s in South Africa. Much of the action takes place on a wine farm in the Cape – a vast estate owned by a wealthy heiress.

Today South Africa’s wine industry enjoys international recognition and is a significant player on the world stage; back then, things were very different. The author discusses the state of the wine industry in South Africa in the 1980s, and considers how things have changed over the past thirty years:

In the 1980s, the South African wine industry focused on selling its product on price rather than quality. International sanctions had begun to have a severe effect on the South African economy, and the result was a surplus of mediocre and unsalable product, referred to as a “wine lake”. Millions of litres were dumped into rivers and dams in the attempt to reduce supply and to push up demand. Only the most visionary of grape farmers, like the fictitious Oliver Maidenstone Basset, had begun to concern themselves with quality. They introduced new technology and innovative, if controversial, techniques, such as the green harvest practised on the Basset estate. Though not immediately profitable at the time, such initiatives would become the norm, raising the international reputation of South African wines.

The Safest Place You Know follows a young man who, after his father’s violent death, leaves the family farm in the drought-stricken Free State with no plan, and with no way of knowing that his life will soon be changed for ever by two strangers he encounters on his journey south: a mute 12-year-old girl who bears a striking resemblance to his late niece, and a troubled lawyer who detests the Cape wine estate she’s inherited from her cruel and arrogant father. As they become entwined in each other’s lives and secrets, it becomes clear that the enigmatic little girl will play more of a role in their redemption than anyone suspects.

About the author

An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything)WastedMark Winkler is the author of the critically acclaimed novels An Exceptionally Simple Theory (of Absolutely Everything) and Wasted, which was longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. His short story “When I Came Home” was shortlisted for the 2016 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and “Ink” was awarded third place in the 2016 Short Story Africa competition.

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Another international book deal signed for The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga

Read ‘Space II’ – a new story by Masande Ntshanga
The ReactiveThe Reactive

After much interest in the United Kingdom, publisher Jacaranda Books have acquired the rights to publish Masande Ntshanga’s acclaimed literary novel The Reactive in the UK and across the Commonwealth.

An American edition of the novel was published earlier this year, and German translation rights have also been sold.

The Caine Prize-shortlisted author’s debut novel is a poignant, life-affirming story about secrets, memory, chemical abuse and family, and the redemption that comes from facing what haunts us most.

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

The Reactive was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and longlisted for the Etisalat Prize for literature.

A recipient of a Fulbright Award, a Mellon Mays Foundation fellowship, and a Civitella Ranieri fellowship, Ntshanga also won the 2013 PEN International New Voices Award.

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A very South African book: Irna van Zyl launches her new crime novel Moordvis at Love Books

Launch of Irna van Zyl's Moordvis/Dead in the Water
Dead in the WaterMoordvis

Irna van Zyl launched her new crime novel Moordvis (published simultaneously in English as Dead in the Water) at Love Books in Melville, Johannesburg recently.

Van Zyl was joined onstage by Ruda Landman, former presenter of investigative television programme Carte Blanche.

Rather than just telling a story, Van Zyl says her latest book is also an effort to break prevalent South African stereotypes.

“Some of the heroes are not white,” she said when asked whether white people saw the issue of crime as a black problem.

Van Zyl tied the problem to both races. Her explanation being that while criminals can be black, behind them might be white people.

Launch of Irna van Zyl's Moordvis/Dead in the Water

By using Storm van der Merwe as her female protagonist in her book, Van Zyl has broken away from the prevalent crime novel tradition of using males as lead detectives.

But, why a crime novel when we are any bombarded with crime news on daily basis? And why crime as a genre for a writer who has had more experience running media companies and working as editor for some well-known South African media publications? These were some of the questions Van Zyl wrestled with that night.

“Crime reading is a form of escapism,” Van Zyl said.

Launch of Irna van Zyl's Moordvis/Dead in the Water

Another topic Van Zyl commented on was the issue of low book sales in South Africa compared to overseas markets, like the United States, for example. While the Afrikaans market reported low sales, “South African English books suffer even more,” said Van Zyl.

Van Zyl, who set the book in a fictitious town of Grootbaai, described the book as “very South African”.

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Lungile Sojini (@success_mail) tweeted live from the event:

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