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Archive for the ‘Penguin Fiction’ Category

Marita van der Vyver se dertiende roman tref die rakke

Misverstand

Willem Prins bewandel die strate van Parys. Eens was hy op koers om ’n gerekende skrywer in Suid–Afrika te word, maar na jare se probeer wink die koue water van die Seine – miskien sal sy verdrinking sy boekverkope bietjie opstoot, dink ’n swartgallige Willem.

Tot sy skaamte is dit die erotika wat hy onder ’n skuilnaam skryf wat hom na Frankryk gebring het. Terug na die stad waar een van sy drie eksvroue saam met sy oudste seun woon, ’n jong man wat sy pa skaars ken.

Vir Willem is Parys nie juis die stad van liefde nie, maar dit is hier waar hy vir Jackie ontmoet, ’n jong Suid-Afrikaner wat as au pair werk. Dit is ook sy wat saam met hom is dié Vrydagaand die dertiende toe terreur in Parys losbars.

Misverstand is die dertiende roman van een van Suid-Afrika se gewildste skrywers. ’n Roman oor die ontnugtering van die middeljare, die lewe se onweerswolke wat dikwels dreig, en oor bande tussen mense wat beskut.

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Book launch: Delilah Now Trending by Pamela Power!

Penguin Random House and Love Books invite you to join us for the launch of Delilah Now Trending. Pamela will be in conversation with Amy Heydenrych.

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Delilah Now Trending

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Lees ’n uittreksel uit Piet van Rooyen se nuwe roman, Voëlvry (Plus: Potgooi)

VoëlvryVoëlvry deur Piet van Rooyen is nou beskikbaar by Penguin:

Wanneer dinge te warm raak vir die skatryk Duitse swendelaar Hans-Joachim Kramer, vestig hy hom en sy jong gesin op ‘n plaas in Namibië. Hy stel vir Daantjie Weerlig as voorman aan om hom met sy boerdery te help. Kramer pas gou aan by die nuwe land en sy mense, maar vir sy blondekopvrou en hul tweeling raak die ongenaakbaarheid van die nuwe tuiste gou te veel en hulle keer terug Duitsland toe.

Wanneer Kramer vir Vaalperd Ses in diens neem, neem sake ‘n dramatiese wending. Dié nuweling kruis swaarde met Daantjie Weerlig en hy sweer wraak wanneer hy uiteindelik gevra word om die plaas te verlaat.

Intussen is ‘n lasbrief vir die inhegtenisname van Kramer in Duitsland uitgereik. Die agent wie se taak dit is om Hans-Joachim uitgelewer te kry, betrek die meedoënlose Vaalperd Ses om die Duitser die skrik op die lyf te jaag – met bloedige gevolge.

Gou word alles wat vir Kramer kosbaar was hom ontneem, maar dan ontmoet hy n jong vrou, Rachel da Silva, wie se wortels stewig geanker is in Afrika-grond.

Oor die outeur

Piet van Rooyen is die skrywer van sewe romans en vier poësiebundels. Sy eerste roman, Die spoorsnyer, wen die Tafelberg/Sanlam/De Kat-romankompetisiein 1993. Hy ontvang hiervoor ook die CNA-prys vir ’n debuutroman. Die olifantjagters verskyn in 1997 en dié roman ontvang in 1998 die M-Net-prys. Ander romans sluit in Gif (2001), Die brandende man (2002), Akwarius (2005), Etosha (2010) en Rodriguez (2012). Hy is tans professor in politieke wetenskap aan die Universiteit van Namibië.
 

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Lees ‘n uittreksel uit hierdie nuwe roman:

“’n Lasbrief is uitgereik vir die inhegtenisneming van erekonsul Hans-Joachim Kramer, tot onlangs van die Ganghoferweg nommer 2, Bad Heilbrunn in die Beiere, wat vermoedelik na Afrika uitgewyk het.
“Ons onderneem om hom sonder verslapping te agtervolg, waar hy hom ook al in die wêreld mag bevind. Al sou dit ook in die onderwêreld wees, ons sal hom uiteindelik vind en tot rekenskap dwing.

“Die Bundesregering versoek die onmiddellike uitlewering van een van die mees berugte swendelaars in die geskiedenis van die Duitse Republiek, die pierewaaier en kamma-grootwildjagter Hans Kramer. Hy het hier, reg onder ons oë, reeds honderde gemeenskappe in vals ondernemings betrek, waardeur hulle gesamentlik meer as dertig miljoen euro se swaarverworwe spaargeld verloor het.”

Van Rooyen het vroeër vanjaar met Suzette Kotze-Myburgh gesels op RSG se Skrywers en Boeke-program. Luister na die potgooi om uit te vind wat sê hy oor Voëlvry:

 

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Myths of motherhood and maternal misadventures – Pamela Power’s Ms Conception launched at The Book Lounge

Pamela Power

 
Pamela Power and Karina M SzczurekMs ConceptionNothing in life comes easy. Not publishing your first book, not attending your book launch and lastly, but most definitely, not motherhood. However, at the launch of Pamela Power’s debut novel Ms Conception these facts were trumped by one simple truth – the author’s resolve to face problems laughing.

The event was a joyous celebration from start to finish, and could not be hindered by a forgotten manicure, a car crash or SONA 2016 rehearsals. Power’s friend and fellow author Karina M Szczurek made it to the launch in the nick of time to host a lively discussion of a book that “reminded me why I am not a mother”.

Unbeknown to the audience, she was not almost late due to traffic caused by road closures around Parliament for the 2016 State of the Nation Address, but due to having just survived an accident on the N2. Fortunately she was unscathed and in good spirits, ready to roll on with a fascinating interview.

Gathered in The Book Lounge were old and new friends, blood and bookish family and, of course, fans of Power’s work. With the sounds of a marching band practicing in the background, Power shared the story of her long journey to being an author published in paperback. Having started her novel as a reaction to motherhood and her husband doing his MBA, she faced challenges getting it published. In 2012, Louis Greenberg took a chance on her, publishing Ms Conception in digital format. Three years later the manuscript caught Penguin’s attention, with Fourie Botha signing Power on to their roll.

Ms Conception is a hilariously twisted and very realistic take on being a mother – from the pain of childbirth to the yearning for a time before the constant smell of vomit. Power insists that the story is all fiction, but admitted to being heavily influenced by her own experiences of being a mom.

We were sold that myth that you can have it all and do it all, and in actual fact you can’t. You can, but not all at the same time. I think that’s what people are realising more and more, that you are not going to have a fabulous career at the same time as spending time with your children. It’s just not going to happen …

It’s only once you’ve had the baby that you realise that you are going to be in a milk and vomit stained dressing gown, 10 kg overweight, possibly weeping, having had no sleep – you are not going to be going to a meeting!

Dark humour and dialogue was highlighted as two strengths of the novel and the author alike. Power said that her sense of humour often gets her into trouble and that the challenge was to tone it down at certain points. The jokes and dialogue come naturally to her, as she earns a living by writing and editing television scripts. “If I could write an entire novel in dialogue I would!” Power said, admitting to struggling with the narrative parts.

Not that the narrative of Ms Conception is lacking. The story sweeps readers along, rushing them to turn page after page as they read about Jo de Villiers’s maternal misadventures. Despite what it might sound like, this book is not just for woman. On the contrary, Penguin Random House MD Steve Connolly pointed out in the Q&A session, “It’s the funniest book I read last year!”

What’s next for Power? A psychological thriller, very different to Ms Conception, will see the light later this year, and then readers can expect another domestic suspense novel, in a similar vein to her first book, next year.
 

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Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the launch, using the hashtag #MsC:


 

 

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16 Days of Activism and South African Contemporary Fiction

Glowfly DanceWhat About MeeraMy Children Have FacesBirdseyeSister Moon

 
By Jennifer Crocker

Every year from 25 November, for 16 days, South Africa highlights activism against gender violence, and every year comments are made in the media about how this campaign does not make any real difference to those who have the very fabric of their lives torn apart by domestic violence, because we are told that we have more to fear from those we know than from strangers – a sober thought indeed.

In addition to using just 16 days to highlight this scourge, there are other ways in which people are creating awareness of the fragility of many people’s lives as a result of domestic violence. One is through literature, music, theatre and the arts. From time immemorial authors, philosophers and commentators have written about the issues around them, often weaving entertainment with harsh realities into what become cautionary tales. For many of us, the messages that resonate most are those conveyed through stories.

The South African publishing industry appears to be on the cusp of taking the publishing world by storm, with publishers pushing the boundaries and bravely bringing books to the reading market that stir the conscience.

A number of novels have been published that tackle the issue of domestic violence and abuse – bearing in mind that abuse is not always only physical, it also does not only affect women (although women are most often its victims), and almost universally it causes a sense of shame.

When novelists bring these stories out into the scrutiny of the light, and allow themselves the freedom of created characters to portray the horrors that are perpetuated on a daily basis, not just for 16 days of a year, we are drawn into stories that are as captivating as they are instructive. Discussions that follow from the reading of these books often allow those who have suffered – or continue to suffer – from abuse to share their experiences in a safe place for the first time.

Glowfly DanceGlowfly Dance by Jade Gibson (Umuzi, 2015) is one such book. Gibson begins the novel by setting up a perfect storm, and introducing the destruction of the life of a young girl, Mai, the voice through which the story is told. Mai lives with her mother and sister Amy. She is a happy little girl. She doesn’t know who her father is, but she has her mother and her quirky grandfather. The family is not rich in monetary terms, but they have flowers and games and love. When her mother meets Rashid, this all changes; Rashid, with his red car, is an abuser of children and women. Through the beauty of the writing Gibson shows us how a happy – if unusual – family is decimated by one man’s cruelty. How cunning and coercion can make you flee your happy place and put you on the bottom rung of society. It’s a brilliant and brave book, and carries across the message that violence in a family does only one thing: it destroys hope. And hope, once broken, is lost. Rashid is one of those men we will remember long after we have put down Gibson’s book; he’ll remain in our memories as the man who stole innocence in a whirlwind of cruelty and pain.

What About MeeraWhat About Meera (Umuzi, 2015) tells the story of a young woman who is happy in her life in rural KwaZulu-Natal, until she is forced to marry a man of status, a doctor. Her loveless marriage becomes a thing of entrapment and horror. Meera flees her life with him, but is judged and becomes a shame to her family. Events spiral out of control when she travels to Dublin and does a stupid and dangerous thing from a place of desperation. The book is essentially about the loss of innocence through neglect and cruelty. In a case of life imitating art, author ZP Dala was attacked after a literary festival in Durban, apparently by a group of men who took offence to her support of Salman Rushdie, and hit her in the face with a brick. One is tempted to think that the real world may intersect with the imagined world, for violence was done to a novelist by those wielding power. And abuse is about violence and exerting power over others. What About Meera also addresses the fact that the survivors of domestic abuse are often also victims of abuse within the wider family unit, either wittingly, to keep up appearances, or unwittingly, because they refuse to see what is happening.

My Children Have FacesIn Carol Campbell’s book My Children Have Faces (Umuzi , 2013), we are taken to the edges of suffering in the Karoo, where a family has fled to escape the brutality of Miskiet, a murderer and a rapist who lives in the small town they have left. When Muis’s husband takes his ragged family back to the town, Miskiet is waiting for them. He sees Muis as a “dried out whore” but he has not forgotten her. While he still has the power to strike fear into her, he does not have enough power to stop her from doing the one thing she wants to do: get identity documents for her children so that they have a chance in life. It’s a wonderfully crafted tale spun from a composite group of people the author came to know in a little Karoo town. Muis has power, but it comes at great cost. It is price she is prepared to pay, but one that no person should be asked to pay.

BirdseyeSister MoonMáire Fisher broke our hearts in her novel Birdseye (Umuzi, 2014), where violence perpetuated against little boys shows the ugly face of almost random violence, while in Kirsten Miller’s Sister Moon (Umuzi, 2104) the reader is confronted by familial complicity where the sexual abuse of a young girl is ignored because of financial dependency on the perpetrator. The shockwaves of the abuse reverberate through the family for decades.
 
 
 
Albert Camus said, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” It has a ring of truth to it, because heaven knows we need as many ways as possible to address the horrible truth that lies behind violence and abuse. And not just for 16 days, but every day. There is a reason that text in books is always referred to in the present tense: it exists as a reality when a book is both closed and open. By opening up the reality of abuse and exposing it through literature, another arrow is added to the quiver exposing it in all its horror. Thank goodness we have authors who do that for us.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign runs from 25 November to 10 December 2106.

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Don’t Miss the Launch of Ms Conception by Pamela Power with Karina M Szczurek at The Book Lounge

Launch of Ms Conception

 
Ms ConceptionPenguin Random House and The Book Lounge would like to invite you to join them for the launch of Ms Conception by Pamela Power.

Racy, honest and wickedly funny, suburban life with small children has never been so entertaining. Jo de Villiers has a three-year-old son, a six-month-old baby and a husband who’s feeling left out. She has to navigate motherhood, being a good wife, a boss from hell and many other mundane things – all while keeping a sense of sanity.

Karina M Szczurek will be chatting to Power about this “entertaining and insightful” novel on Wednesday, 10 February 2016. The event starts at 5:30 for 6 PM; wine and snack will be served.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 10 February 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge
    71 Roeland Street
    Corner of Buitenkant and Roeland Street
    Cape Town | Map
  • Interviewer: Karina Magdalena Szczurek
  • Refreshments will be served
  • RSVP: booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425

 

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How to Beat Writer's Block and the Ogre of Insecurity – Rahla Xenopoulos and Irna van Zyl Share Their Best Tips

TribeRahla Xenopoulos, author of Tribe, and Irna van Zyl, who is publishing her debut thriller next year, recently shared their advice for conquering writer’s block with Media Update.

The feeling of fear inhibits one’s ability to perform and it affects all sorts of people, not only writers. No matter when or where it hits, though, there is a reliable way to beat it.

Xenopoulos says that she imagines writer’s block as “this ogre we feed that thrives on insecurity” – the best way to beat it is to starve it.

Van Zyl advises avoiding writing when you are tired, because: “You need a lot of energy to stay with it.”

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“It has been said that writers have tidier houses than other people,” explains author, Rahla Xenopoulos. “When I start colour co-ordinating my underwear and sitting on Facebook, I know the god of literature is sending [me] signs.”

Writer’s block has many names and forms and each writer experiences it differently. But one thing is for sure, whether you’re a poet, novelist, copywriter or journalist, you will – at some point – come up against it.

 
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I Love to Feel Words Run Through My Hands, Like Water – Recipes for Love and Murder Author Sally Andrew

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria MysterySally Andrew has shared a video in which she chats about her deep connection to the Karoo and her love of writing.

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery is Andrew’s debut novel, and has already been published in 17 countries, with more to come. It is also available as an audiobook, read by Sandra Prinsloo.

“Writing is a huge joy to me,” Andrew says. “I love to play with words, to feel them run through my hands, like water. Writing this book has been one of the biggest pleasures of my life.”

Andrew also speaks about the themes of the book: recipes, murder, mystery and love.

“This book is predominantly a murder mystery, but I guess the theme closest to my heart is love: love of the Klein Karoo, love of food, love of justice, love between friends.”

Watch the video:

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The Hardest Thing Lauren Beukes Has Ever Written, and Why She Wants to Eat Jennifer Egan's Brain

MaverickBroken MonstersThe Shining Girls

 
Lauren Beukes was recently interviewed by Alex Segura for Pen America about her “enthralling and immersive fiction”.

Segura asks Beukes about how she came to write for a living, and where she writes. The author admits that she would like to “absorb” Jennifer Egan’s powers, by means of eating her brain if necessary.

Beukes says that she would like to have been a anti-apartheid activist because the enemy was simple – she wishes that “current social issues were as easily defined and that there was a clear path of resistance.” This leads into a discussion of the hardest thing she has ever had to write:

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever put into words? Why does it stand out for you?

The most daring thing I’ve wanted to put into words was vetoed by my editor. I wanted to describe my terrified heroine’s heart thumping “like an avalanche of ponies.” I still like the metaphor. Can’t you just see it? The ponies tumbling down the scree, all clattering hooves and dust? But the hardest thing to write, which still upsets me and makes me sick and angry, was the essay I wrote, “All The Pretty Corpses,” about the murder of my cleaning lady’s daughter in 2010 and how I believed in the fairytale of justice until the moment in the prosecutor’s office when he told us he was going to have to throw the case out. It was devastating, and it has fed into how I write about violence—what it is, what it does to us, how we talk about it, what it means when we lose someone, how violence is shocking and contemptible, how we shouldn’t let this shit go.

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Johann Rossouw vra: Wat staan voorstanders van Afrikaans as akademiese taal te doen?

VerwoerdburgJohann Rossouw het op Vrydag, 27 November die stigtingstoespraak gelewer tydens die amptelike bekendstelling van die Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging.

Luidens ‘n verklaring op hul webtuiste is die doel van die Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging “om as spreekbuis te dien vir diegene wat die voortsetting van uitnemende Afrikaanse hoër onderwys nastreef”. Die vereniging bestaan uit “lojale en besorgde alumni” wat bekommerd is oor onder meer “staatsinmenging, transformasie en die viktimisering en afskaling van Afrikaans by ons universiteite”.

In sy toespraak deel die Verwoerdburg-outeur sy waarnemings oor die toekoms van Afrikaans aan universiteite en vra wat voorstanders van Afrikaans as akademiese taal vandag te doen staan.

Rossouw kyk terug oor twee dekades se gesprekke oor Afrikaans en besin oor onder meer staatsinmenging en onvoldoende bevondsing, die FeesMustFall-beweging en die politieke wêreldkonteks waarbinne al die gebeure afgespeel het.

Lees die artikel:

Daar is een laaste punt om te maak oor die politieke wêreldkonteks waarbinne hierdie gebeure aan Suid-Afrikaanse universiteite vanjaar afgespeel het, veral met betrekking tot die FeesMustFall- en RhodesMustFall-bewegings wat Afrikaans en sogenaamde whiteness in die visier gekry het. Ek verwys na die feit dat op die dag nadat Maties se bestuurspan hulle omstrede dokument oor taal aan die US bekendgemaak het, ISIS se aanvalle op Parys plaasgevind het. Waarmee ons hier te doen het, is ’n nuwe geslag voorheen benadeeldes wat vir hul ouers se verraad teenoor hulle wraak wil neem op die nakomelinge van diegene wie se ouers hul ouers verdruk het. Die wyer politieke effek van die verdrywing van Afrikaans as akademiese taal uit die openbare universiteite is dat dit ’n verdoemende boodskap stuur oor hoe die huidige orde nie plek het vir minderheidstale nie, dat dit nie sy erns met diversiteit is nie, dat demokrasie bloot ’n vyeblaar vir sentralisme is en dat die 1994-akkoord van wedersydse erkenning tussen Afrikaner en Afrikaan toenemend misken word.

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