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Win a Signed Copy of Unbelievable! in a Live Twitter Chat with Chad le Clos

Unbelievable!Participate in a live Twitter chat with Chad le Clos this afternoon and you could win a signed copy of his Olympic memoir, Unbelievable!.

The live chat will start at 3:30 PM today (Thursday). Follow Le Clos on Twitter on @chadleclos, and keep an eye on the hashtag #unbelievable to keep track of the conversation.

Press release:

Twitter Chat Guidelines | Unbelievable! by Chad le Clos and Myan Subrayan
Date: 24 April 2014
Time: 15:30 SAST -16:30 SAST
Hashtag: #unbelievable

How to join the conversation

1. If you already have a Twitter account, please log in at 15:30 on 24 April 2014. However, if you do not have a Twitter account, simply follow this link to create one now:

2. Follow the hashtag #unbelievable to keep track of the conversation.

3. To post a question or to comment, please include #unbelievable at the end of your post.

4. Please take note of the following:

The topic for discussion will be centred around Chad’s book. If you would like to ask a question that does not relate to the topic at hand, he will do his best to answer – depending on time constraints.
Please remain pleasant and courteous at all times. Rude or obscene questions will not be answered and you will be blocked with immediate effect.
Please do not post the same link, question or comment more than once.
Questions will be answered on a first come, first served basis (i.e. Chad will answer one question per person before he moves on to your second question).
If you’re late in joining the conversation, please take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with what’s been said to avoid asking the same questions.
If you want to respond to anyone else’s question or comment, please remember to include their Twitter handle in the beginning of your response (e.g. @name).
Make sure your Twitter feed is not private. If this is the case, others won’t be able to see your post, even if you use the correct hashtag.

5. The participant who asks the best question (as decided by Chad le Clos) will win a signed copy of Unbelievable! Please familiarise yourself with the Terms and Conditions of this promotion.

Book details

Karen Paolillo Describes Her Fight to Protect a Family of Hippos in A Hippo Love Story

A Hippo Love StoryNew from Penguin Books, A Hippo Love Story by Karen Paolillo:

When the threads that hold human society together unravel, the animal kingdom suffers.

Karen Paolillo discovered this first-hand in Zimbabwe when she developed a close connection with thirteen hippos in their natural habitat, the Turgwe River.

Her mission to save these exceptional animals after they came under threat of drought, land invasions and poachers developed into a beautiful African love story. It is also the stirring tale of how one woman faced personal and financial adversities while ensuring the survival of a family of hippos, with Bob, a three-ton bull, as their leader.

With the establishment of the Turgwe Hippo Trust, Karen has triumphed as guardian of the hippos, and the animals have prospered ever since. A Hippo Love Story shares this heroic journey of a nature lover who became an ally of one of Africa’s most fearsome animal species.

About the author

Karen Paolillo was born in the UK, where she grew up surrounded by an assortment of domestic and exotic animals. Since she has founded the Turgwe Hippo Trust she has become known as the ‘hippo expert’, being called on by BBC Wildlife Magazine whenever they need a hippo question answered. She has also been featured in a National Geographic TV serial and on several TV shows, including 50/50 in South Africa.

Follow Paolillo on Twitter @Turgwetrust or visit her website.

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Chad le Clos Will be Signing Books at Sportsmans Warehouse in Durban

Book signing of Unbelievable! by Chad le Clos

Unbelievable!Join Chad le Clos for a book signing of his new autobiography, Unbelievable!

Le Clos will be at Sportsmans Warehouse in Durban on Saturday, 26 April, and will be available from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM to sign your copy of his book.

Don’t miss this chance to meet an Olympic hero!

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, 26 April 2014
  • Time: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Venue: Sportsmans Warehouse,
    Shop G215, Gateway Mall,
    1 Palm Boulevard,
    Durban | Map
  • RSVP: 031 566 1130

Book Details

Fiona Leonard Reveals her Literary Heroes, Including Italo Calvino and JK Rowling

The Chicken ThiefFiona Leonard, author of The Chicken Thief, shares her thoughts on writing, and reading, in a short interview with The Times.

Leonard says the book that most affected her was If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino, but adds that she counts JK Rowling, author of the wildly successful Harry Potter novels, among her literary heroes, simply because of the effect Rowling had on so many children’s lives.

Who are your literary heroes?

Michael Ondaatje, Juliet Marillier, and JK Rowling – because anyone who can inspire kids to read 700-page books is a heroine.

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Trevor Romain Entertains at Launch of Random Kak I Remember About Growing Up in South Africa

Random KakA good number of people who remember Trevor Romain’s children’s books joined his friends and family last Thursday to hear him tell some of the stories of his childhood and adolescence in Johannesburg. The event held at the Linksfield school hall celebrated the launch of Romain’s latest book, the hilarious collection of illustrations Random Kak – I remember about growing up in South Africa, and took the form of a performance, with proceeds from the R100 cover charge going to the Botshabelo orphanage.

Despite the Linksfield school hall not being the warmest of venues, Romain immediately engaged the audience with his easy charm and ability to recall poignant images of the past that struck a chord with many. The school was in fact a fitting venue as Romain is an “old boy”. Born in Joburg, his childhood beat was Sandringham, Linksfield and Orange Grove. He had a number of props on the stage taken from his mother’s house – “My mom keeps everything”: a Five Roses Tea caddy, a ruler of the sort teachers used for disciplining naughty kids;,and his “suitcase of memories” (actually full of cue cards).

Romain recalled being a short guy, often called an “idiot” because of his dyslexia. At King Edward’s School (KES) he was told he didn’t have the talent to take art for matric (He wanted to go to an art, ballet and music school because of the beautiful ballet girls!). This stopped him drawing for 21 years, until he went to an art exhibition in his 30s and said to himself: “I can do that!”

After working in advertising for a number of years, he was visiting a friend in No. 1 Military Hospital and saw a 5-year old Ovambo boy who had lost both his legs in a landmine explosion. This child touched his heart that day and he made up his mind to work with children: telling jokes, teasing them and using art as therapy. He was invited by the United Nations to go to Burundi and the Congo to use humour and art as therapy for former child soldiers in the hospitals and orphanages.

Romain reminded the audience of some of the words he remembers from his youth in the 70s and 80s, like schloep (to brown nose); chookie (jail); tjorrie (car); jacks or flaps (canings); and his favourite – jags (randy).

His book is filled with nostalgic images for those who were young in those years: Hubby Bubbly cold drinks and Lion Lager; places like the Doll’s House roadhouse, “where a lot of kak went down”. Murmurs of recognition greeted his memories of disco clubs like Plum Crazy and Barbarellas, and radio shows like Mark Saxon and Squad Cars, LM Radio and watching The World at War on TV.

Romain explained how he has managed to keep all these memories alive. He said he was inspired by a man he met on a train to Pretoria while in the army – a recce who was on his way to Ward 17 at No. 1 Military Hospital “for a rest”. This man was polishing a wooden box in which he said he was going to put all the ghosts who were tormenting him and then bury it in the ground. Romain decided to keep a memory box where he put all his favourite things, including jokes, stories, clippings and sentimental items.

The last 28 years of Romain’s life have been spent in Austin, Texas. He describes himself as a “doctor of mischief”, working with children who have cancer and writing over 50 books for kids.

Romain ended off his performance with the thought that “today’s random kak is tomorrow’s nostalgia, so go out and make some kak”.

Photo gallery

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Penguin Books South Africa Authors at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (16 – 18 May)

The 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from 16 to 18 May. Penguin Books South Africa authors at the festival to look forward to include Gareth Crocker, Paige Nick, Meg Fargher, Helen Walne, Reg Lascaris, Savannah Lotz (Lily Herne), Jeremy (Jerm) Nell and Tan Twan Eng.

KingHow Children Experience Trauma and How Parents Can Help Them CopeLessons from the Boot of a CarJerm WarfareDeath of a SaintThe Garden of Evening MistsThis Way Up

Friday 16 May

10 AM – 11 AM (Council Chamber)
Sue Grant-Marshall chats to first-time authors Penny Lorimer (Finders Weepers) and Helen Walne (The Diving).

Are there boundaries to your imagination?
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Savannah Lotz (aka Lily Herne) grills Louis Greenberg (Dark Windows), Charlie Human (Apocalypse Now-now) and Sarah Lotz (The Three) about their limits, if they have any.

Writing Through the Pain
1 PM – 2 PM (Old School Hall)
Karin Schimke (Bare & Breaking) probes the healing power of words with Dominique Botha (False River), Yewande Omotoso (Bom Boy) and Helen Walne.

Whose Perspective is it Anyway?
4 PM – 5 PM (Church Hall)
Sue Grant-Marshall considers the points of view of Gareth Crocker (King), Niq Mhlongo (After Tears) and Steven Boykey Sidley (Imperfect Solo), and how these are represented in their work.

What’s Happened to the Funny Pages?
4 PM – 5 PM (Congregational Church)
Funny folk John Curtis, Deni Brown, Andy Mason, Jeremy Nell and Gavin Thomson consider what’s wiping the smiles off the faces of many editorial cartoonists.

Saturday 17 May

For Love or Money
10 AM – 11 AM (Hospice Hall)
‘Why do you write, if not for money?’ is the question Hagen Engler asks of novelists Gareth Crocker, Sarah Lotz, and Kgebetli Moele.

Remember the way poetry was taught at school?
10 AM – 11 AM (art in the yard gallery)
Three outstanding English teachers – Michael King, Meg Fargher and John Holtman – reflect on why people have such intense memories of the poetry classroom.

Iconic Columnists
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Hospice Hall)
We all have favourite columnists. Ben Williams introduces three whose columns have growing readerships of devoted followers: Darrel Bristow-Bovey (In His Own Write), Ndumiso Ngcobo (Sunday Times Lifestyle) and Paige Nick (A Million Miles From Normal).

Truth be told
1 PM – 2 PM (Old School Hall)
Does fiction do a better job of telling the truth, as Doris Lessing averred? Michele Magwood explores the issue with novelists Damon Galgut, Njabulo Ndebele and Tan Twan Eng (The Garden of Evening Mists).

The Past is Never Past
4 PM – 5 PM (Old School Hall)
Four authors whose books are set both in the past and the present tell John Maytham why they took the difficult route of different places and time zones: Justin Cartwright (Lion Heart), Claire Robertson, Tan Twan Eng and James Whyle.

Sunday 18 May

Between Reality and Imagination
10 AM – 11 AM (Congregational Church)
Michele Magwood discusses the process of creating fiction from observed and lived experiences in specific cultural contexts, with Israeli Shifra Horn, Australian Thomas Keneally and Malaysian Tan Twan Eng.

The Subtle Seductions of Advertising
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Church Hall)
John Maytham inveigles veteran admen John Hunt (The Art of the Idea) and Reg Lascaris (Lessons From the Boot of a Car) to talk about the tricks of their trade and some of its new directions.

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Podcast: Sue Grant-Marshall Talks to John Carlin About Knowing Mandela

Knowing MandelaWhile writing his award-winning book Playing the enemy, which was adapted to the blockbuster film Invictus, John Carlin had to leave out certain details that weren’t relevant to the story.

In an interview with Sue Grant-Marshall for Radio Today, Carlin said that because the focus of his previous book had been the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the way president Nelson Mandela had used sport to unite the nation, he could not add all of his personal experiences of getting to know Mandela during his time as a journalist working in South Africa. In his new book, Knowing Mandela, he finally shares these details.

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Sue Grant-Marshall Full of Praise for John Carlin’s Intimate Portrait of Nelson Mandela

Knowing MandelaSue Grant-Marshall says John Carlin’s Knowing Mandela “sheds fresh and intimate light” on former president Nelson Mandela.

Writing for Business Day, Grant-Marshall praises Carlin’s skills as a journalist and storyteller, and says he “clearly delights in telling tales about Mandela”, of which he has many.

She also reveals Carlin’s next project – a book on the Oscar Pistorius trial: “a story that neither Homer or Shakespeare would have dared to make up”. Carlin says he believes South Africa has examples of both the best and the worst kinds of people in the world.

Carlin has been covering South Africa as a journalist and author for 25 years. He describes the country “an addiction, a good or a bad drug — whichever way you choose to look at it. I just keep coming back.”

He has little patience with those who are intensely negative about South Africa, pointing out that while we have a president “who is seemingly corrupt, he is however booed in public”. He invites us to imagine Russia with a public protector, adding “there are few countries in the world where people are held accountable in such a way.”

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Verraad, selfverwyt en spioenasie in dié uittreksel uit Zirk van den Berg se Halfpad een ding

Halfpad een dingHalf of One ThingZirk van den Berg stel in sy jongste roman Halfpad een ding ondersoek in na die onbesonnenheid en teenstrydighede van trou en liefde in ‘n unieke benadering tot die narratief rondom die Suid-Afrikaanse oorlog. Gideon Lancaster, ‘n Nieu-Seelander, infiltreer die Boerekommando waar sy lojaliteite verstrengel raak wanneer hy vriendskapsbande met die boere smee en verlief raak op ‘n boerenooi.

LitNet het ‘n uittreksel uit hierdie spannende oorlogroman gedeel waarin Lancaster, die hoofkarakter, sy besluite in oënskou neem en met selfverwyt nadink oor sy plek in die oorlog: “Gideon Lancaster het met een en dieselfde daad albei kante in die Boereoorlog verraai, en hy voel self verraai. Vandat hy ses weke tevore in die hospitaal in Bloemfontein bygekom het, wil hy oor niks anders dink as net oor wat met hom gebeur het nie. Noudat hy uiteindelik op die trein is, op pad huis toe, is daar niks anders wat sy aandag vereis nie.”


18 Januarie 1902

Gideon Lancaster het met een en dieselfde daad albei kante in die Boereoorlog verraai, en hy voel self verraai.

Vandat hy ses weke tevore in die hospitaal in Bloemfontein bygekom het, wil hy oor niks anders dink as net oor wat met hom gebeur het nie. Noudat hy uiteindelik op die trein is, op pad huis toe, is daar niks anders wat sy aandag vereis nie. Hy kan versonke raak in gedagtes, in die hoop om uit te vind hoe en hoekom sy lewe hierdie verloop geneem het.

Het dit begin op die dag toe hy die Boervrou Esther die eerste keer gesien het, of toe Majoor Bryce hom gevra het om onder die Boere te spioeneer? Natuurlik kon hierdie dinge net gebeur omdat hy in die eerste plek in Afrika was, as soldaat. Die eintlike begin was dus toe Nieu-Seeland oorlog verklaar het teen die Boererepublieke en hy daarby ingeval het; toe hy geantwoord het op die roepstem van sy koningin, sy land en sy eie rustelose aard. Maar dit sou hy beswaarlik gedoen het as dit nie was vir daardie keer toe hy die peloton Rooibaadjies in Queen Street afgemarsjeer sien kom het nie, met hul bajonette gerig teen die hemele wat op hulle neerreën.


Win a Signed Copy of Chad le Clos’ Inspirational Memoir, Unbelievable!

Unbelievable!Penguin Books are giving away ten signed copies of Chad le Clos’ Olympic memoir, Unbelievable!

Unbelievable! traces Le Clos’ dramatic gold medal win at the 2012 Olympics, when he beat Michael Phelps – his childhood hero and the world’s number one – in the 200 metre butterfly final. It’s an inspirational read.

To stand a chance of winning a signed copy of Unbelievable!, simply fill in your details on the Penguin Books website.

Book details

Image courtesy of Penguin Books