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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Not always a comfortable read, but a fascinating exploration of two people – Margaret von Klemperer reviews Ceridwen Dovey’s In the Garden of the Fugitives

Published in the Witness: 23 May 2018

In the Garden of the Fugitives
Ceridwen Dovey

CERIDWEN Dovey was born in South Africa, raised in South Africa and Australia, studied in America and now lives in Australia. The relevance of all this is that one of the main characters in this fascinating and complex novel follows the same path. So the author, as she traces Vita’s emotional difficulties with this inheritance, knows of what she writes.

Dovey has chosen to hark back to one of the earliest novel forms in the Western canon – an epistolary story, one written in the form of letters, which are now updated to emails.

The two correspondents are Vita, who lives in the Australian town of Mudgee, and Royce, who during Vita’s years studying in America was a Svengali-like figure who gave her a scholarship from his wealthy foundation but expected favours in return. He is now dying and, in opening the correspondence, proclaims a “craven need for absolution” both from Vita and from his dead love, Kitty Lushington, in whose name he set up the foundation.
 

One of the questions in any first-person novel – and this one has two first persons – is how far can you trust the narrator? As Royce and Vita set out their lives both before and after their estrangement, they often seem to be writing past each other rather than to each other. It is a clever way of building up their history, allowing the observer (the reader) to guess at hidden things, referred to obliquely.

Royce’s first love, long before he met Vita, was Kitty, an archaeologist working in the ruins of Pompeii. She was in love with her older Italian mentor, and tolerated and used the dog-like devotion of Royce. But we know from an early stage in the book that Kitty died young, though only at the end do we almost discover how.
Vita studied anthropology and film making in America. After graduating, she returned to the South Africa of her childhood, where she faced the rootlessness of the perpetual exile along with the white liberal guilt and angst that stifled her creativity to a crippling extent. Dovey cleverly juxtaposes these anxieties with those of the archaeologists who are trying to recreate not just a long vanished civilisation but the agony of its death throes.

In the Garden of the Fugitives is not always a comfortable read, but it is a fascinating exploration of two people, neither wholly likeable but both deserving of some of our sympathy, as they reveal themselves not just to each other but to themselves. Dovey deserves the plaudits she has received as an up and coming force in fiction.

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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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South African crime writer to team up with thriller superstar James Patterson

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BreathlessSwitchPale HorsesCross JusticeTruth or DieHope to Die

 

South African crime writer Jassy Mackenzie will contribute a book to James Patterson’s imprint BookShots.

Patterson, who is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time, with sales in excess of 325 million copies worldwide, will be writing, collaborating on, or personally curating every title published by the new imprint.

BookShots, which will produce page-turning, novella-length stories, aims to change the way readers consume books.

“BookShots are designed to help people fit reading into their busy lives,” Patterson says. “They’re stories that you can devour in an hour or two, and that will keep you engaged throughout. People will want to pick one of these up because they won’t be intimidated by the length, or ever bored by the plot.”

Each title will be under 150 pages, competitively priced at R59.95, and available in a new compact paperback format, as ebooks and in audio.

Mackenzie is the author of five thrillers, all published in South Africa by Umuzi, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Her other books include Folly, Switch and Breathless. She is published in the United States and in Germany, and has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and an International Thriller Award.

Mackenzie’s BookShot will be titled 26 Degrees South and is set in Johannesburg, where she lives. A publication date has yet to be fixed.

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Fred Khumalo’s new novel on the sinking of the SS Mendi to be published in South Africa and the UK

Fred Khumalo
#ZuptasMustFallBitches' BrewSeven Steps To heavenTouch My Blood

 

Fred Khumalo’s new novel will be published in South Africa and in the United Kingdom in February 2017.

The book, titled Dancing the Death Drill, recounts the sinking of the SS Mendi, a passenger steamship that sank in the English Channel in 1917, killing 646 people, most of whom were black South African troops heading for France to serve in World War I. February 2017 will mark the centenary of the sinking of the Mendi.

Khumalo’s book will be published in South Africa by Umuzi and in the UK and Ireland by Jacaranda Books. Jacaranda Books founder Valerie Brandes said: “We are delighted to work with Umuzi and Penguin Random House South Africa on such a brilliant novel that will help shine a light on this dark moment in our history.”

Khumalo’s writing has appeared in various publications, including the Sunday Times, the Toronto Star, New African magazine, the Sowetan and Isolezwe. His most recent book, #Zuptasmustfall and Other Rants is published this month. Other books by him include Bitches Brew, Seven Steps to Heaven and Touch My Blood. He completed his MA in creative writing at the University of the Witwatersrand and is the recipient of a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University, among other international writing fellowships.

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Don’t miss the launch of The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso at Love Books, with Elinor Sisulu

Coming soon: The Woman Next Door, the new novel from Yewande Omotoso

 
The Woman Next DoorLove Books and Penguin Random House invite you to the launch of The Woman Next Door, the new novel from Yewande Omotoso.

The event will take place at Love Books in Melville on Tuesday, 10 May. The author will be in conversation with Elinor Sisulu.

Omotoso won the South African Literary Award for First-Time Published Author and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. In 2013, she was a finalist in the inaugural, pan-African Etisalat Fiction Prize.

Don’t miss it!

Love thy neighbour? Easier said than done …

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 10 May 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Melville
    Johannesburg | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Elinor Sisulu
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Love Book, kate@lovebooks.co.za, 011 726 7408

 
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Author image: Yewande Omotoso on Facebook


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Coming soon: The Woman Next Door, the new novel from Yewande Omotoso

Coming soon: The Woman Next Door, the new novel from Yewande Omotoso

 
The Woman Next DoorPenguin Random House is delighted to present The Woman Next Door, the new novel from award-winning novelist Yewande Omotoso:

Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility which they prune with a zeal that belies the fact that they are both over 80.

But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping softens into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?

About the author

Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados and grew up in Nigeria, moving to South Africa with her family in 1992. She is the author of Bom Boy, published in South Africa in 2011. In 2012 she won the South African Literary Award for First-Time Published Author and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize. In 2013, she was a finalist in the inaugural, pan-African Etisalat Fiction Prize. She lives in Johannesburg, where she writes and has her own architectural practice.

 
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Author image: Yewande Omotoso on Facebook


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Masande Ntshanga reflects on the access to rare South African books he benefited from at UCT

Author pic of Masande Ntshanga

 

The ReactiveThe ReactiveMasande Ntshanga chatted to LIVE Magazine recently about writing, reading and Fees Must Fall.

Ntshanga won the 2013 Pen International New Voices Award and was shortlisted for the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing. His debut novel, The Reactive, was published in October 2014, and has just been released in the United States.

When asked what his advice would be for aspiring writers, Ntshanga advises perseverance and a lot of reading, and quotes a character from the new David Gates novella: “Write through the self-loathing.”

Ntshanga completed his undergraduate degree and a Creative Writing MA at the University of Cape Town, and was asked how he feels about the Fees Must Fall protests that began last year. He cited the literary resources he was given access to as an important justification for inclusivity on South African campuses.

LIVE SA: What made UCT your university of choice? Any thoughts on #FeesMustFall?

Masande: Recently, while looking for a novel by Mbulelo Mzamane, I looked at my UCT Library e-shelf and realised I’d loaned out about 513 books from the library over the course of five years, which was an embarrassing number. In any case, looking back through that list I came to the realisation that over those years, I’d had access to a substantial number of Southern African novels that you can’t find anywhere else in this country, at the moment, or even abroad. For example, Philip Zhuwao and Alan Finlay’s The Red Laughter of Guns in Green Summer Rain doesn’t exist on Amazon.

This is all to say that the institution holds many resources when it comes to literature, among other things, and I see every reason to be in solidarity with a movement that proposes more inclusivity and a wider sharing of those resources.

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Biografie oor André P Brink deur Leon de Kock op pad

 
’n Biografie oor die ontslape skrywer André P Brink deur Leon de Kock gaan in 2018 deur Umuzi uitgegee word.

De Kock doseer tans in die VSA aan die Johns Hopkins Universiteit in Baltimore en is ’n Suid-Afrikaanse skrywer, vertaler en akademikus wat onlangs Brink se briewe aan die digter Ingrid Jonker vir die boek Vlam in die Sneeu vertaal het.

Brink is op 6 Februarie 2015 oorlede op ’n vlug terug na Suid-Afrika nadat hy deur ’n Belgiese universiteit met ’n eredoktorsgraad vereer is.

De Kock se mees onlangse boek, Losing the Plot: Crime, Reality, and Fiction in Postapartheid Writing, word later vanjaar vrygestel. Hy is ook die outeur of mede-outeur van South Africa in the Global Imaginary en Civilising Barbarians: Missionary Narrative and African Textual Response in Nineteenth-Century South Africa.

Pryse wat aan De Kock toegeken is, sluit in: die Pringle-prys vir digkuns, die SALA-toekenning vir literêre vertaling, die Pringle-prys vir ’n akademiese artikel en ’n prys vir uitmuntende vertaling, toegeken deur die Suid-Afrikaanse Vertalersinstituut, vir sy vertaling van Marlene van Niekerk se Triomf.

Oor die biografie, sê De Kock: “Die stories rondom Brink se romans is in die breë sosiopolitieke verhale – sages oor sensuur, weerstand teen apartheid, die Sestigers, teistering en, veel later, teleurstelling met wat ná apartheid gevolg het. Dit het te make met hoe onenigheid onder Afrikaners tydens ’n beduidende tydperk in die geskiedenis in Brink se romans vorm aanneem en hoe sy romans oor ses dekades met Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede in gesprek tree.”

Brink se weduwee, Karina Brink, het die publikasie gemagtig en sal aan die biograaf toegang tot Brink se persoonlike dokumente verleen.


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The White Review features an excerpt from The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga

The ReactiveThe Reactive

 
The Reactive by Masande Ntshanga has received a lot of well-deserved attention since it was published by Umuzi in October 2014.

United States publisher Two Dollar Radio acquired the rights to publish The Reactive in North America – including film rights – while Verlag das Wunderhorn will publish the novel in Germany.

The latest spotlight on this gripping and truly South African debut novel comes from quarterly European arts journal The White Review.

The exclusive excerpt forms part of their February edition and gives readers another taste of this unforgettable story of hope and redemption.

Read the excerpt:

My back cramps on the toilet bowl. I stretch it. Then I take two more painkillers and look down at the space between my legs. In the dim light, my phone blinks blue before going off again, indicating the arrival of a new message.

I hear my colleague Dean stumble into the next stall. His knees drop on the floor and he starts to heave, the room filling up with the smell of vomit. Without fail, Dean brings a hangover to work with him every Sunday. Saturday nights, he plays drums for the house band at The Purple Turtle, a popular punk bar on Long Street. The owner, a Rastafarian named Levi, keeps half the earnings the bands bring him at the door. He compensates for this by keeping a bar tab open for the performers when they finish a set. I stand on the toilet seat and give Dean the rest of my painkillers. Then I sit back down and press a button to take my phone off standby.

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In a city that has lost its shimmer, Lindanathi and his two friends Ruan and Cecelia sell illegal pharmaceuticals while chasing their next high.

Lindanathi, deeply troubled by his hand in his brother’s death, has turned his back on his family, until a message from home reminds him of a promise he made years before.

When a puzzling masked man enters their lives, Lindanathi is faced with a decision: continue his life in Cape Town, or return to his family and to all he has left behind.

Rendered in lyrical, bright prose and set in a not-so-new South Africa, The Reactive is a poignant, life-affirming story about secrets, memory, chemical abuse and family, and the redemption that comes from facing what haunts us most.

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Marita van der Vyver’s new novel – ‘full of pitch-black humour’ – to be published by Penguin Random House

 
A Fountain in FrancePenguin Random House will be publishing Marita van der Vyver’s next novel in Afrikaans and English. Titled Misverstand in Afrikaans, the story is set over a few days in Paris, where a failed South African writer finds himself in the company of a young au pair during the terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015.

Van der Vyver caused a literary sensation in 1992 with her bestselling debut novel Griet skryf ’n sprokie (published in English as Entertaining Angels). The book won the M-Net, ATKV and Eugène Marais prizes, and has since been translated into more than 10 languages, including Icelandic and Chinese – firsts for an Afrikaans novel.

To date Van der Vyver has published 22 books in Afrikaans, including youth and children’s books, collections of short stories, columns and sketches, as well as two cookbooks. Much of her work has been translated into other languages and she has produced numerous bestsellers, among them her most recent novel, Die blou van onthou (translated as Forget-Me-Not Blues), which was awarded Huisgenoot’s Tempo Award for Book of the Year in 2013. Van der Vyver also wrote the prize-winning youth novel Die ongelooflike avonture van Hanna Hoekom, which was turned into a film in 2010.

Van der Vyver on her new novel: “It’s a story full of pitch-black humour and irony about a man who writes erotica under pseudonyms and who can’t deal with his own mediocrity anymore. He’s trying to find an original way to end his life in Paris, but then he almost becomes a victim of a terrorist attack – which sends his weekend in Paris in a completely unexpected direction.”

Fourie Botha, publisher of local fiction at Penguin Random House, says: “Marita van der Vyver has over many years made thousands of readers laugh and cry, and few writers in South Africa and abroad can boast such a successful writing career. It is an honour for us to be involved in her next book.”
 

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