Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category
John van de Ruit will be taking part in the Knysna Literary Festival on Friday 21 March. The festival runs from the 18th to the 23rd this month.
Van de Ruit will be discussing his bestselling Spud series and film adaptations. The event starts at 9 AM at Simola Hotel & Spa. Visit the Knysna Festival Website and booking details.
Don’t miss it!
John van de Ruit – South Africa’s bestselling author of all time with over 500 000 books sold – to present “The Making of Spud” as part of the Knysna Literary Festival.
Author John van de Ruit will be appearing at the Knysna Literary Festival to chat about his globally successful Spud series on Friday 21 March from 09h00 – 10h30 at the Simola Hotel & Spa.
His debut novel, Spud remains a publishing phenomenon in South Africa, smashing all local fiction records. Following Spud’s release in September 2005, the sequel Spud – The Madness Continues… (2007) received rave reviews and both books have since been published around the globe. The penultimate book in the side-splitting series, Spud – Learning to Fly, was released in 2009. The fourth and final book in the series, Spud – Exit, Pursued by a Bear was released in 2012.
In total, the Spud series has sold over half a million copies in South Africa alone, and in December 2010 a feature film was released in Southern Africa starring John Cleese and Troye Sivan. The film debuted at number one at the South African box office. A second film, of Spud – the Madness Continues… was also released in South African cinemas just last year.
Witty, charming, and consistently hilarious, Spud combines the prep-school humour of The Catcher in the Rye with the rebellious teen antics of Dead Poet’s Society. Though John van de Ruit’s 13-year-old protagonist Spud (real name: John Milton) may hail from Durban, South Africa, his adventures, insecurities, and humour are universal.
Over the course of the four novels, Spud’s growth as a character was a process with which many identified. Van de Ruit elaborates: “Spud’s gone from a naive boy who didn’t quite realise the joke. But by book four there’s an irony to how he describes his fellow guys. There’s a surety in Spud – he doesn’t fear. He was scared in book one, yet here’s a boy who has grown into his skin.” He continues, “The series gained an extra dimension in film, with actor John Cleese adding his particular brand of humour to the milieu.”
John van de Ruit is an actor, playwright and author who was educated at Michaelhouse and received a Masters degree in Drama and Performance studies from the University of KwaZulu – Natal.
Tickets are priced at R50 per person and can be purchased via EFT.
Presented by Pam Golding Properties, the 5th annual Knysna Literary Festival takes place 18-23 March 2014 with 12 events and 18 top authors taking part. For more information, visit www.KnysnaLiteraryFestival.co.za or phone 044 382 5574.
Follow us on Twitter: @KnysnaLitFest
Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KnysnaLiteraryFestival
The Knysna Literary Festival proudly supports local charities, e’Pap Children’s Feed Project and the TSiBA Eden Campus Library.
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Lauren Liebenberg – whose third novel, Cry Baby, is out now – offers some advice on getting your book to print, in the following interview with Get Your Book Published.
Liebenberg’s debut novel, The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam, was shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and longlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize.
She explains her writing and editing process, and admits that the extensive research she undertakes can often put the pacing of the book out of kilter. Liebenberg also shares her one simple tip for overcoming writer’s block: “Read a good book.”
What advice can you give aspirant writers?
There is no room in publishing for coy apologists nor, ironically, for ego. You have to believe in what you’ve written and be prepared to convert sceptical others. At the same time, you need to take a great deal of rejection and criticism – not all of which should be deflected. The good news is that the ego-bruising ordeal of getting into print will stand you in excellent stead for bad reviews, (which are like eavesdropping on a conversation about yourself in the smoke-room, in which everyone agrees that you suck)!
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New from Penguin Books, Half of One Thing by Zirk van den Berg:
Gideon Lancaster, a New Zealand soldier fighting for the British, infiltrates a Boer commando. He soon finds himself entangled in a confusion of loyalties as he becomes better acquainted with the men and, worse, falls in love with Esther Calitz, a Boer woman of considerable mettle who demands his loyalty over every other allegiance. Between Esther and Commandant Jacob Eksteen, his taciturn rival in love and a man of clear black-and-white convictions, Lancaster navigates his way only with great difficulty. So powerful are the conflicting demands of fidelity and love that he seizes a quixotic opportunity when a large British battalion is mobilised in what is to be the final triumph of the imperial forces.
Also available in Afrikaans as Halfpad Een Ding.
About the author
Zirk van den Berg made his literary debut with a volume of Afrikaans short stories in 1989, followed by a short historical novel. After moving to New Zealand in 1998, he switched to writing in English. His crime novel, Nobody Dies, was published to considerable acclaim in New Zealand and saw an Afrikaans edition released as ’n Ander mens in South Africa in 2013. Half of One Thing is his first English novel to appear in his native South Africa. Van den Berg is a language practitioner in Auckland.
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Lauren Liebenberg spoke to Get It Joburg North about her latest novel, Cry Baby, the contradiction of the “work-life balance” and her membership of the “Scheduled Drug Club”.
“Cry Baby is part confession (that I should have saved for my Bad Mommy memoirs). It’s also part survival guide and a manual on the art of extortion for parents, ultimately it’s about control – and letting go. It’s a slap across the face of a suburban dystopia and a hymn to the extraordinary beauty in ordinary lives,” Liebenberg says.
Read the interview:
I live in the shadow of the sewerage pipe. Dainfern Valley. While I was born in Zimbabwe, where I spent my childhood, mostly just pedal-by bog-rolling the neighbours and so forth, this angry, hopeful, crazy city has been home for a long time. I’ve even grown to love the ‘Hijacking Hot spot’ sign on the highway next to my off-ramp. I live with my husband, Mark, and a pack comprising three dogs, two cats, and two boys, eight-year-old William and seven-year-old Russell, in whom the feral instinct runs strong.
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Tinus Horn se roman Bomskok speel in 1989 af en vertel die verhaal van wat alles in die kantore van die Vryheid op Vrydag-koerant gebeur. Hierdie rillerkomedie beloof om jou tone te laat krul met spanningsplesier.
Horn het onlangs twee uittreksels uit sy roman, wat volgende maand vrygestel word, op sy persoonlike blog gedeel. In die eerste uittreksel maak die leser kennis met Agent 8 en die ander karakters wat by Sektor C werk. Ook Agent 8 se vroutjie Deline – “Mens mag haar maar Delien noem want Delien is nie ’n agent nie. Amptelik verkoop sy parfuum en grimering” – word in hierdie uittreksel beskryf.
Die tweede uittreksel gaan oor Miet Zeekoe, die jong intern in die Vryheid op Vrydag-kantoor: “Miet is 22 en lyk enigiets tussen 14 en 18. Sy word soms vir ’n seuntjie aangesien, veral deur tannies wie se kinders al uit die huis is en wat nog nie kleinkinders het nie, en veral wanneer sy die verkeerde soort bra dra.” Lees ook die rede vir die koerant se naam en vind uit wie die teikenleser van hierdie kontroversiële, fiktiewe, publikasie is.
Agent 8 is groter as ’n dubbeldekkerbus maar nie heeltemal so slim nie. Hy’t gelukkig ’n oulike vroutjie wat slim genoeg is vir al twee en die dinkwerk in die gesin kan doen.
Dit sal dalk bietjie gemeen wees om Mevrou Agent 8 geslepe te noem… of, nee dit sal nie. Geslepe is geslepe. Mevrou Agent 8 is geslepe.
Dis sy wat Agent 8 doerietyd vir Die Saak gewerf het. Haar pa, Die Brigadier, ’n lang, skraal albino sonder wenkbroue, is ’n grootkop by Sektor C. Dié grootkop. Die Brigadier het Agent 8 by ’n cocktail paartie ná ’n game op Ellispark in die verbygang hoor sê hy verstaan nie waarvoor die regering so fokken sag is nie. Agent 8 speel flank vir Transvaal B. Hy was ’n sersant by die Jeppe-polisiestasie, om die draai van Ellispark.
Miet begin vandag haar eerste grootmenswerk, as intern by Vryheid op Vrydag, ’n koerant met ’n oplaag van 15 000 (wanneer Tom Kemp, die redakteur, in Frankryk, Holland of Swede gaan geld bedel) of 7 000 (wanneer die getalle van die verspreiders terugkom).
Vryheid op Vrydag se kantore is in ’n ou bankgebou in Newtown, naby die middelpunt van ’n nuwe soort Suid-Afrika, met ’n omtrek van hoogstens ’n kilometer of twee, wat selfs vyf jaar gelede ondenkbaar was. Hier is liefde oor die kleurgrens heen byvoorbeeld soos enige ander soort liefde: alledaags, morsig en vervlietend.
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Tinus Horn se langverwagte roman, Bomskok, verskyn eersdaags by Penguin:
1989. In Johannesburg blaker ’n growwe en rowwe klein koerantjie, Vryheid op Vrydag, week ná week op sy voorblad die verhaal uit van die bloedige einde van apartheid. Stories wat die regering van FW de Klerk tot elke prys stil wil hou. En die manne van Sektor C, ’n geheime polisietaakmag, is op hulle spoor.
Die redakteur wag in spanning op die groot storie – die Groot Storie – wat die regering tot ’n val gaan bring. Maar oorvloedige seks en geweld kom alewig in die pad, soos hulle gewoonte mos is.
Bomskok is ’n tragiese rillerkomedie, ’n moordstorie en ’n kroegstorie. En alles behalwe ’n ware storie.
“Skreeusnaaks en hartseer en onmoontlik om te vergeet.” – Koos Kombuis
Oor die outeur
Tinus Horn skilder en skryf en maak kort animasieflieks. Bomskok verskyn 18 jaar na sy eerste boek, Droster.
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Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go, spoke to Kim Skotte at Louisiana Literature 2013 about the way in which African novels are received.
“When the press gets its hands on any novel by an African novelist the tendency is to zoom in immediately on the politics, the socio-economics, the sociology of that place, of that state and I regret this,” Selasi says. “Because I think certainly in my case, and also in the cases of a number of other young, super-talented African novelists, there’s so much more to be said about the work than simply these remarks on the country or the countries in which it’s set.”
Speaking about the many problems that families experience, Selasi commented that, “Ghana Must Go is only a novel about a family and that’s enough.”
Watch the interview:
Ainehi Edoro from Brittle Paper wrote about the interview, discussing how Selasi revealed that, while the first 100 pages of Ghana Must Go flowed out easily, the next 200 led to six months of writers block:
In this video clip of an interview in Denmark, Taiye Selasi shares one small bit of personal detail about the labor that went into producing her debut novel.
Selasi began writing Ghana Must Go in Copenhagen. The first 100 pages came uninterrupted in what she calls, “one contiguous flow.”
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In Lauren Liebenberg’s third novel, Cry Baby, we meet stay-at-home mom Grace as she struggles with the disturbing changes in her son, Sam.
In the following excerpt, Grace and her husband, Michael, go to a party where she meets an old friend from high school. Michael watches as Grace’s friend expresses her shock that she’s not working. The conversation turns to the way in which they were brainwashed into thinking feminism was a dirty word in the 80s, with Michael interjecting that motherhood was the easy way out of a disappointing career.
Later that night Grace continues the discussion, saying that he may be right but that there is still discrimination towards women, while Michael halfheartedly tries to talk her into trying something new in the bedroom:
Maybe it was because he’d come straight from the Baron, but he’d been blind to the chafing between them earlier, at the party.
‘You turn up drunk for a date with me,’ Grace had said caustically when he’d walked into the bathroom where she was daubing plummy lipstick on puckered lips in the mirror above the vanity. ‘And you don’t even have the decency to apologise.’
God she looked yummy, in arse-hugging black pants and strappy high heels.
‘I am not even going to dignify that with a response,’ he’d said thickly.
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Out this February from Penguin Books, Cry Baby by Lauren Liebenberg:
When Super Mom meets troubled child – which one is really lost?
As he nears his fifth birthday, Sam’s curious dreams of a lost child begin to steal quietly into his waking state. Sam’s mother, Grace, watches with growing fear the disturbing changes taking place in her charming, spirited son – the fighting at school, the bed-wetting, the meteor showers of defiance. Grace is determined to find out what lies behind Sam’s nightmares, and the search will take her deeper and deeper into layers of love and bonding buried beneath the surface of the family, and into its molten heart.
Cry Baby is not just a story about boyhood and motherhood. It’s about what binds families, the past to the present, about suffocation and deliverance. It is at once a stinging satirical slap across the face of barren suburbia and a poignant hymn to the extraordinary beauty in ordinary lives.
About the author
Lauren Liebenberg is a writer, mostly on the subject of breeding in captivity, after an aborted career in investment banking. Her debut novel, The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam, published in 2008, was – to her lasting surprise – short-listed for the Orange Prize for New Writers, as well as long-listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The West Rand Jive Cats’ Boxing Club, was published in 2011, also to international acclaim. She is married with two sons, in whom the feral instinct seems to run strong, and is a survivor of the madness of the Super-Mommy-ism epidemic in the Johannesburg suburban outback she inhabits. They still sometimes invite her to the cocktail parties at Rand Merchant Bank. That’s what she tells people.
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In a recent interview with Thomas Okes from O,The Oprah Magazine, Marli Roode spoke about writing most of the first draft of Call It Dog in a month, holed up in her flat in London: “It was a way of feeling more at home, even as I sat on the Tube, with fat, gold pounds in my purse and traffic light instead of robot in my mouth.”
Roode discusses her protagonist Jo and Jo’s father Nico, their feelings of remorse and forgiveness and how they have constructed their identities in post-apartheid South Africa.
Q: What was it like to write a book this raw, this honest, about the violence and turbulence of the country you come from?
MR: “I wrote most of the first draft of Call It Dog in a month, hardly leaving my London basement flat. In that time, I spent 16 to 18 hours at a stretch in the South Africa of my imagination, followed by vivid dreams set in Alexandra or in a car I couldn’t get out of. It was difficult to distance myself from the story – from Jo and Nico and the violence – and in retrospect, I think I needed to be so immersed, the way Jo is, to evoke her claustrophobia, the urgency of her investigation. In writing the book, I learnt so much about South Africa that I hadn’t been aware of, and I think that made me even more attached to the narrative: it was a way of feeling more at home, even as I sat on the Tube, with fat, gold pounds in my purse and traffic light instead of robot in my mouth.”
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