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Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Watch the Trailer for Weeping Waters by Karin Brynard (Video)

Weeping WatersIn the book trailer for Weeping Waters Karin Brynard describes her novel as a “classic tale of murder and mystery”.

In the video, Brynard describes how the murder in her novel dredges up old hurts and turns normal society upside down. She says that the story includes the racial and social issues that typify ordinary life in South Africa.

Watch the trailer:

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Gareth Crocker’s Latest Novel, The Last Road Trip, Out in March

Gareth Crocker

The Last Road TripPenguin Books South Africa is proud to present the latest novel from Gareth Crocker, The Last Road Trip:

Following the death of a man they barely knew, four elderly friends decide to make the most of their remaining time on earth. Abandoning the humdrum routine of life at their retirement estate, they embark on a thousand-mile road trip that will take them from the furthest corners of the Kruger National Park to the blazing stars of Sutherland.

The journey becomes the biggest adventure of their lives and one last hurrah together! Along the way, they rediscover things about themselves that they thought had long since been lost. And, above all, they discover that it’s never too late to start living.

The latest novel from acclaimed author Gareth Crocker is for the young at heart – for those willing to take one last adventure and conquer the regret of missed opportunities.

About the author

Gareth Crocker is a former journalist, editor, PR director and spokesperson for a large multinational corporation. He is the author of four novels: Finding Jack, Journey from Darkness, Never Let Go and King. He lives in Johannesburg with his wife and two young daughters. He writes only at night, unless Manchester United is playing.

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Fiona Leonard Shares 10 Things She Has Learned About Editing: “Procrastination is Not Your Friend”

The Chicken ThiefFiona Leonard, author of The Chicken Thief , has shared 10 things she has learned about editing, listing them instead of editing – as she is supposed to be doing – and thus giving in to what she describes as one of the biggest enemies of editing (and writing for that matter): procrastination.

The first thing the author learned was that you cannot edit if you haven’t written anything. She says: “You cannot edit a blank page. Hence, it is easier not to write anything than have to do the work to make it better. Procrastination will save you from heartache.” However, she has also learned that procrastination is not the friendliest activity. “Procrastination is not your friend. Procrastination will buy you drinks, get you drunk and then post the photographs on Facebook,” Leonard writes.

Read and learn from Leonard’s revelations about editing:

1. You cannot edit a blank page. Hence, it is easier not to write anything than have to do the work to make it better. Procrastination will save you from heartache.

2. Procrastination is not your friend. Procrastination will buy you drinks, get you drunk and then post the photographs on Facebook.

3. Editing is sad. It involves looking at something you loved and realising that it doesn’t make sense/is clumsy/needs to be thrown out/rewritten. Chances are that around this time you will tell someone that you have to “kill your babies” (because that’s what gritty writers say) except the person you tell won’t know the first thing about gritty writers and they’ll just think you’re creepy and your kid should be taken away from you, and then they’ll realise you don’t currently have any babies and they’ll start to worry even more.

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Save R1 000 on a Creative Writing Short Course with Mike Nicol

 Random House Struik Creative Writing short course

Mike Nicol, prominent author, journalist and editor, will be presenting the Random House Struik Creative Writing short course. The course, which is starting 2 March, is part-time, online and is coordinated in conjunction with GetSmarter.

Penguin Random House is offering a special discount for the course. For a discount of R1 000, all you have to do is quote the promocode “PENGUINRH15CW”, and register before Saturday, 28 February.

The course will guide prospective writers through the principles of crafting good stories, both fiction and non-fiction. It also incorporates advice on how to handle the writing process and how to present work to publishers and agents. At the end of the course, participants will recieve a certificate and may submit a manuscript to for consideration to be published under Random House Struik’s eKhaya imprint.

In this video promoting the course, Nicol explains how the course works, and previous students discuss their experience of it. Maria Phalime, whose memoir Postmortem: The Doctor Who Walked Away won the City Press Nonfiction Award, says that owes her writing career to the course.

Watch the video:

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Presenting Hunger Eats a Man by Nkosinathi Sithole: A Poetic, Funny and Highly Relevant Debut

Hunger Eats a ManPenguin Books presents Hunger Eats a Man by Nkosinathi Sithole – out now:

When Father Gumede, known as Priest, loses his job as a farmhand, he realises he can’t afford to love his neighbour as he does himself. Despondent and enraged, Priest cuts off all ties to the church and politics, determined to make a living – at whatever cost.

It will take a strange story written by his son Sandile – a comical, terrifying and prophetic tale in which the downtrodden rise up to march on the wealth of a neighbouring suburb – to show Priest the hope and humanity inherent in the human spirit.

Beautifully poetic, funny and highly relevant, Sithole’s debut novel highlights the ongoing plight of many rural South Africans and the power of a community working together to bring about change.

About the author

Nkosinathi Sithole grew up in Hlathikhulu near Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. He studied at Wits University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he obtained a PhD in English Studies. In 2012 he held a post-doctoral fellowship from the UKZN, and received an African Humanities Programme post-doctoral fellowship in 2013. He teaches English at the University of Zululand.

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Karin Brynard: Crime, and the Fear of Crime, Makes it Easy to Write Stories (Podcast)

Weeping WatersKarin Brynard joined Nancy Richards in the SAfm studio to discuss Weeping Waters, Maya Fowler and Isobel Dixon‘s English translation of her best-selling Afrikaans novel Plaasmoorde.

Brynard, a political journalist turned novelist, shares how she came to writing this novel, her debut, about a brutal murder on a farm and the investigation that follows. Brynard says that she set out wanting to write a crime story or murder mystery as it was the genre she was most familiar with. Originally published in 2009, the story was driven by the spirit of the time as the topic of farm murders was hot on everyone’s lips then.

Crime, and the fear of crime, makes it easy for writers to come up with stories, says the author. Weeping Waters takes a look at what happens when violent crime seeps into a small, rural community in such an intrusive way and how it affects the different people living there. Brynard did extensive research on the topic in order to write this novel.

Listen to the podcast to find out more about the translation process, the setting of the novel and its characters and Brynard’s path as an author:



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Penguin-skrywers by US Woordfees 2015

Vanjaar se Woordfees is propvol opwindende boekgesprekke rondom die tema, “Sestien Onse”.

Penguin-skrywers wat by die Woordfees gaan optree sluit in Zelda la Grange, De Wet Potgieter, Marguerite Poland en Dennis Cruywagen.

Kom luister na die gesprek tussen La Grange en Piet Croucamp in die Boektent op Maandag, 9 Maart. Die joernalis De Wet Potgieter gaan op dieselfde dag ook met Croucamp gesels oor sy boek, Black Widow White Widow.

PJ Powers gaan op Dinsdag, 10 Maart, gesels oor al die struikelblokke wat sy in haar lewe moes oorkom en Calvin en Thomas Mollett gaan op Saterdag, 14 Maart, vertel waarom hulle net nie die Inge Lotz-dossier daar kon laat nie. Op Vrydag, 13 Maart, gesels Ilse Salzwedel oor haar boek, Van sprokie tot tragedie in die kollig.

Moenie die heerlike gesprek oor vertaling tussen Daniel Hugo en Poland op Woensdag, 11 Maart, misloop nie.

Meer besonderhede oor Penguin se skrywers wat vanjaar by die Woordfees ’n draai sal maak:

Goeiemore, Mnr. MandelaGood Morning, Mr MandelaBlack Widow White WidowHere I Am
Die bewakerThe KeeperBloody LiesVan sprokie tot tragedie in die kollig

Zelda la Grange: Goeiemôre, mnr. Mandela / Good morning, Mr Mandela
Datum: Maandag, 9 Maart
Tyd: 11:00
Plek: Boektent
Koste: R50
As persoonlike assistent vir Nelson Mandela het Zelda la Grange ‘n simbool van versoening in Suid-Afrika geword. Haar Goeiemôre, mnr. Mandela was oornag ʼn blitsverkoper en vertel die merkwaardige verhaal van hoe ‘n jong Afrikaanse vrou se lewe dramaties verander het aan die sy van ‘n wêreldikoon. Piet Croucamp gesels met haar.

De Wet Potgieter: Al-Qaeda in South Africa
Datum: Maandag, 9 Maart
Tyd: 15:00
Plek: Erfurthuis
Koste: R40
Uit die pen van die omstrede, vreeslose joernalis De Wet Potgieter kom Black Widow White Widow. Hy lig die sluier oor Al-Kaïda se bedrywighede in Suid-Afrika – en gesels hier met Piet Croucamp oor ‘n realiteit waarvan ons min weet, en wat mense se nekhare regop sal laat staan.

PJ Powers: Here I am
Datum: Dinsdag, 10 Maart
Tyd: 16:00
Plek: Die Khaya
Koste: R50
Die legendariese PJ Powers se lewensverhaal is deur Marianne Thamm opgeteken in Here I Am. Sonder om doekies om te draai, vertel Thandeka, soos Powers deur haar aanhangers in Soweto gedoop is, van die struikelblokke wat sy moes oorkom. Twee formidabele vroue aan die woord.

Hugo and Poland: Vertaler en vertaalde
Datum: Woensdag, 11 Maart
Tyd: 11:00
Plek: Boektent
Koste: R50
Marguerite Poland word tereg beskou as ‘n grande dame van Suid-Afrika se Engelse letterkunde. Nou klink haar stem vir die eerste keer ook op in Afrikaans. Die skrywer gesels met haar vertaler, Daniel Hugo, oor haar jongste roman, The Keeper, wat in Afrikaans as Die bewaker verskyn het.

Die Oscar-sage
Datum: Vrydag, 13 Maart
Tyd: 11:00
Plek: Boektent
Koste: R50
Ilse Salzwedel (Van sprokie tot tragedie in die kollig) en Marida Fitzpatrick (Die Staat vs. Oscar), albei gerespekteerde joernaliste, ondersoek die Oscar Pistorius-moordverhoor uit verskeie invalshoeke. Elmari Rautenbach gesels met hulle oor die hofsaak, die komplekse informasieweb rondom die tragedie, en familie en vriende na aan Oscar en Reeva se indrukke.

Danie Smuts, Boererate
Datum: Vrydag, 13 Maart
Tyd: 10:00
Plek: Boektent
Koste: R50
Penguin het Danie Smuts se gewilde Boererate pas heruitgegee. Daniel Hugo en Martie Retief-Meiring gesels oor die ontstaansgeskiedenis van tradisionele kure vir allerlei kwinte en kwale, asook die dikwels skreeusnaakse rituele wat daarmee gepaard gaan. ‘n Boeiende gesprek oor ‘n pragtige stukkie Afrikanererfenis.

Bloody Lies: Die Inge Lotz-dossier heropen
Datum: Saterdag, 14 Maart
Tyd: 13:00
Plek: Boektent
Koste: R50
Twee amateur-ondersoekers, Calvin en Thomas Mollett, heropen die Inge Lotz-moorddossier in Bloody Lies. Deon Knobel stel vrae aan Thomas oor hul evaluering van bewysstukke in dié opspraakwekkende moordsaak wat fassinerende en onthutsende inligting na vore ge-bring het. Het die staat en die regstelsel Inge gefaal?


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Excerpt from Garden of Dreams by Melissa Siebert: Eli Scatters Ojal’s Ashes in the Ganges

Garden of DreamsAerodrome has shared an excerpt from Melissa Siebert’s debut novel, Garden of Dreams.

This cross-cultural and cinematic novel takes the reader to the dark underworld of child trafficking in India and Nepal, following Eli, a young boy, as he leads a group of children to safety.

The excerpt below reflects the difficulty of journey they have to face as they stand on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, facing the massive crowds of people, animals and different modes of transportation. Eli has brought with him the ashes of a friend to scatter in the most sacred river in India, a task which makes him feel “part of some great mystery, some great secret about the meaning of life, and death”.

Read the excerpt:

Follow the corpses to the river. A shopkeeper had told them that as they’d entered the city. Looking, sounding, smelling like any other Indian city with its hot, polluted haze and traffic of people, cows, rickshaws, motorbikes, buses, cars, all weaving in and out of each other’s way with startling grace.

Or they could follow Sanjit Baba, the holy man they had been following east to Varanasi for the last week, on the road, part of his pilgrimage. Countless other sadhus were converging on the banks of the Ganges, colouring the stream of human, animal and vehicular traffic with their ochre turbans and robes, like mobile flames. Jeeps, vans and pick-ups laden with corpses garlanded in marigolds hooted past, the bereaved families jostling along with the departed. Eli and the girls could get lost in these hordes; no one would ever find them.

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Taiye Selasi Explains Why it is Tiresome to be Categorised as an African Author

Ghana Must GoR Teresa O’Connell interviewed Ghana Must Go author Taiye Selasi, asking her about the expectation that African writers need to write African novels and her belief that African literature does not exist.

The interview was originally published in Italian in Rivista Studio in 2013, but O’Connell has shared the full interview on her blog. It is especially interesting in light of Ben Okri’s recent controversial essay, published in The Guardian, “A mental tyranny is keeping black writers from greatness”.

Selasi says: “I don’t perceive myself as writing about Nigeria and Ghana, I perceive myself as writing a novel about a family, in Ghana Must Go, about a young girl in The Sex Lives of African Girls, and about a young boy in Driver, those are my three published works. But because I am of West African origin, the works are perceived as they are commentaries on the countries that my parents come from. Which you know, is tiresome, quite frankly.”

O’Connell also asks Selasi about the theme of migration and identity which seems important in her work, and the visual nature of her writing. Read the article:

We seem to have this expectation that African literature should deal with the same social and political issues that we are shown by our mediatic representations of the continent. Would you say that bypassing these issues could be a solution to paint a different picture?

Not bypass it, but understand the way you would if they were British. I mean, when you read a novel like A Line of Beauty for example, which is a wonderful novel set in 1980s England, it’s not immaterial that it’s the 1980s or that it’s England, it’s just that it’s not the only thing that we talk about. We look at the sexuality of the characters, we look at the neurosis, the nuances, the hopes the dreams the flaws, and in addition to the nationality, in addition to the class, but the geography doesn’t become the novel itself.

It seems that by focusing on this element perhaps a bit less than the literary community would expect you to do, in a novel of this kind, you’re saying just look at these people, and the fact that they are African, which as a role is something that not only we put on people from the african continent but that on the other hand they have only been too ready to put on themselves, I feel like your writing goes beyond that in a way, which doesn’t amount to saying that is solves the issue.

Well yes this whole discourse, I find it…some writers get really pissed off about it, but I don’t. I’m giving a speech in Berlin in September and it’s called ‘African Literature Doesn’t Exist’, and people get pissed off when I say this but it doesn’t, and literature is probably the one space where we can ask a bit more of ourselves, I mean the whole project is looking at human beings and story telling and I think, maybe because I love it so much, that there’s almost something sacred about it. We should know better, we should know better than to talk about an African book. What makes it an African book? Because it’s set in an African country, what does that mean? A book, a detective novel set in Botswana, I just don’t expect it to have anything in common with a family epic set in Ethiopia, which I don’t expect it to have that much in common with a slim, sort of existentialist meditation set in Cairo. But all of these things are on the African continent. But it’s just so empty, there’s not enought there for me, to tack that word onto something as thereful as literature. But people do.

The speech Selasi mentions was delivered in opening of the 2013 International Literature Festival in Berlin and can be read by following this link:

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Gordon Torr Describes the Apartheid-era “Experimental Gulag” that Inspired Kill Yourself & Count to 10

Kill Yourself & Count to 10Sue Grant-Marshall recently spoke to Gordon Torr about the events that inspired his novel, Kill Yourself & Count to 10.

The novel is based on Torr’s experiences in the real apartheid-era camp Greefswald, situated on the Limpopo River on the Botswana border. During apartheid, conscripts deemed unfit to join the South African Defense Force were sent to Greefswald to be “cured”.

Torr spoke to Grant-Marshall about this “experimental gulag” meant to turn “psychos, subnormals and deviants into fighting men”. It was only in 1976, when three soldiers stood trial for the rape of a Botswana woman, that the existence of Greefswald came to light.

Read the article:

The existence of Greefswald, nicknamed Vreeswald, a shadowy, whispered name in the SADF, was no longer a secret as journalists converged on it for the trial. “After the trial it was destroyed, almost overnight, by the army,” says Torr. “But files remain and we are trying to gain access to them. However, some are still classified.”

He is mystified about the reasons for a democratic South African government classifying files from an apartheid era of torture and brutality, but won’t speculate. “That’s why I have written a novel. It is fiction set in Greefswald.”

And fine fiction it is too. Torr, who was until recently global creative director of multinational advertising agency JWT, has a rich, colourfully textured way with words. He evokes the wide Limpopo, the lala palms, a wonderful variety of birds and animals, but dangerous snakes too that often bite the soldiers. He captures the dialogue between troops so vividly you feel you’re watching a movie.

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