Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The short-form writing competition: Entry & submission guidelines

Entries must be:

- 2,000-10,000 words

- In English

- No overly violent or sexually graphic material (no erotica)

- No material that violates copyright laws

- Material contains properly cited material, if need be

- Previously unpublished (except on

- Only one entry permitted per person

Submission Guidelines:

* Email your previously unpublished fiction/nonfiction short (2,000 – 10,000 words) to Articles previously published on Gather are eligible for the contest, but please remove your article from prior to submission. In your email, please include your name (first, last), email address, and entry word count.

* You'll receive a confirmation email and link to your entry when it's published by Gather into Gather's Amazon Shorts group (submissions received between June 27 and July 5 will be posted for voting on within two business days of July 5). To complete the submission process, click the link in the email to join the contest group on Gather.

* Each contest submission will be "live" on the Gather site within the Amazon Shorts Group for a period of 14 days, regardless of the date it is published. During this two-week period, Gather members will read and rate the story. At the end of this 14-day voting period, each entry will be removed from the site.

* At the end of each month, all entries that were "live" on the site for 14 days will be eligible for the 3 members' choice winners and 1 editors' pick. The winning selections will then be submitted to the Amazon Shorts Team for final approval.

* Entries submitted after the cutoff period for each month will be automatically carried over into the next month's contest. For example, July submissions will be accepted today – July 31, August submissions accepted August 1 – August 31, and September submissions accepted September 1 – September 30.

* Approved winners will be announced on and their winning shorts published and sold on Amazon Shorts.

* All Amazon Shorts winners through must wait a period of three months (based on entry periods) to submit another entry into the program.

* Writers cannot submit the same entry in multiple contest periods.

* Writers cannot submit entries in two consecutive contest periods. For example, if a writer enters the July competition (entry period today – July 31), and is not selected during the July contest period, he/she cannot re-enter with a new submission until the September contest period begins (on September 1).

Monday, November 27, 2006

A letter to small publishers about the Cape Town Book Fair 2007

Dear South African small publishers

As you know, the Cape Town International Book Fair 2006 was a resounding success.

South African small publishers were well represented, and the Book Fair provided a great showcase for the diversity and talent in this field. Thanks to the generosity of Vanessa Badroodien who kindly allocated space that had become available and through the good offices of Allan Kolski Horwitz who liased with her, small publishers were very fortunate to be donated the space for a stand.

With plans afoot for the next Book Fair, and with the aim of furthering the excellent reception that small publishers received at last year’s fair, we would like to start the ball rolling now and look at how small publishers can once again make their mark at the Book Fair in 2007.

In 2007, it is likely that if small publishers wish to be represented they will have to contribute towards a stall. There are advantages attached to this, the most important being that such a stall could be more centrally placed, and therefore attract more attention. It makes sense to capitalise on the success of the last Book Fair, and start a process whereby small scale and self- publishing becomes an ongoing dimension of the Book Fair.

One stall at the book fair will cost approximately R10 000 for the three days. Ideally, we should have two stalls, and, even more ideally, these should be as close to the Centre for the Book’s stall as possible. (We will ask again for space to be donated, but should have a plan of action in place in case this is not possible.)

The Centre for the Book has agreed to help to manage the process and would like to suggest the following for 2007:

Fee - Any small publisher who wishes to book space on the stall would pay R500. This fee would cover:
entrance to the fair;
signage * we will ask for quotes for signage, as it would be good to have a ‘look’ that people then associate with small publishers. There would be a main sign for the stall, and smaller ones for each publisher’s name;
invitation to a small publishers’ function: a forum discussion, possibly preceded by some sort of cocktail event if there are enough funds to cover this.

Distribution - Small publishers who are unable to attend the fair could send their books and promotional material to The Centre for the Book and we will ensure that these are displayed on the stall. (We will have to come to an arrangement about the return of books after the fair is over as we would not be able to pay the postage for them to be returned.)

Obviously the finer details will be also have to be discussed, but for now, we would appreciate your feedback on these suggestions.

Maire Fisher

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Marlene van Niekerk and Michiel Heyns on translation

A discussion with Marlene van Niekerk and Michiel Heyns on the translation from Afrikaans into English of the novel AGAAT.

by Marlene van Niekerk
Translation by Michiel Heyns

"A good translation does not just convey the same meaning, but it gets the music of the words right." Orhan Pamuk

Cnr. Lothbury and Fawley streets, Auckland Park
When: Saturday 25 November 2006, at 12:30
RSVP: by Thurs 23/11 on
011 482 3609 or

In his review of the English translation of Agaat, Chris Dunton says in the Sunday Independent, that given the novel's length, stylistic range, and its linguistic virtuosity, Heyns' translation itself "constitutes a remarkable labour of love."

'In Mouse Or Rat? - Translation As Negotiation' a book of essays on the problems a translator encounters when translating literature, Umberto Eco suggests that translation is a negotiation not just between words but between cultures.

Writer and translator Michael Hofmann talks of "the strange bi-authorship of translation".

Miguel de Cervantes says in Don Quixote, "translating from one language into another... is like gazing at a Flemish tapestry with the wrong side out: even though the figures are visible, they are full of threads that obscure the view and are not bright and smooth as when seen from the other side."

What is lost in translation? And what are the gains?

Is Agaat, a linguistically intricately embroidered novel, translatable?

The author and the translator of the novel Agaat talk together at BOEKEHUIS about the problems and negotiations of translation.

About the novel:

In Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk skillfully reinvents the genre of the farm novel. On the farm Grootmoedersdrift, tragic and unexpected events are triggered by a number of fateful shifts of power and dependence in the intimate relationships between family members, in particular the relationship between Milla, a 67 year-old white woman in the terminal stages of ALS (motor neuron disease), and her coloured caretaker Agaat. The acute helplessness of the mute and completely paralysed patient makes extraordinary demands of her caretaker, who goes about her duties with a mixture of infinite tenderness, sadistic precision and a desperate and passionate undertow of anger about the past, as well as sadness of the anticipated loss of her "mistress". Love and hate battle it out until they are indistinguishable.... Through flashbacks and lyrical intermezzos, the history that leads up to this situation is revealed.

Van Niekerk uses a broad range of literary devices to illustrate the cultural framework of the Afrikaners. The deep bond with the land, the flowers, plants and animals, receives extensive attention. There are numerous references to children's songs, the Bible, poets and classical music. The language tilts and soars, almost dizzying the reader, and never stalls.

About the author:

Marlene van Niekerk is a poet and author of satirical short stories and a novel, the widely acclaimed and internationally translated Triomf. She is Professor at the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, University of Stellenbosch.

Her most recent book, Memorandum, published in both English and Afrikaans is a collaboration between herself and the artist Adriaan van Zyl who recently died after a long illness. In this beautiful and unusual book about a hospital experience the text and visual images offer parallel narratives that resonate poignantly with each other.

About the translator:

Michiel Heyns is the author of the well-received first novel, The Children's Day, which has just been translated into Afrikaans as Verkeerdespruit. His second novel, The Reluctant Passenger, was published in October 2003 and his third, a biographical novel on Henry James, The Typewriter's Tale, in 2005. Before he started writing full-time he was professor at the Dept of English at Stellenbosch University.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Readings by top South African authors at Sandton Library

Gautengers are being offered the unique chance to get up-close with some of South Africa's top authors over the next few weeks, as part of the VC Netwox and Book Club's extension programme which takes authors to library patrons.

VC Netwox and Book Club is a not-for-profit initiative started by Vulindlela Communications in March 2005 which aims to promote original works by black South African authors, as well as engendering a culture of reading and engagement among primarily black South Africans.

Sandton Library will play host to the first of these library book-reading sessions, which will take place on November 29th at 12.00pm. This first session will be followed by visits to other libraries in Gauteng.

An exciting line-up of authors has signed up for the Sandton Library book-reading session including Fred Khumalo, author of Touch My Blood and Bitches Brew, Morabo Morojele, the author of How We Buried Puso and Kgebetli Moele, with his recently published Room 207.

Because of its small size and limited funds, VC NetWox has had limited reach - both in terms of the readers and authors. This new development (of the non-profit initiative) is seen as a way of bringing more authors and readers into the programme's vision to help create a society where writers can write with the assurance that their books will be read.

As is customary at VC NetWox sessions, the authors will read excerpts from their books, discuss aspects of it with the audience, and generally engage on issues of common literary concern. Autographed copies of the books will also be available for sale at the reading session.

For more information, please call Dorah Hlatshwayo on (011) 476 9203 or email or log onto to lodge your contact details for an invitation to the book reading session.

Date: 29 November 2006
Location: Sandton Library, Johannesburg
Cost: Free

Friday, November 17, 2006

About eBooks

Curious about eBooks? Here's a short report:

What are eBooks?

An eBook, or electronic book, is a book in digital format that can be bought and downloaded from the Internet and read on a computer screen. Some eBooks can also be read on an electronic handheld device such as a Palm Pilot or other handheld computer. Digital audio versions of eBooks can be listened to on PCs or portable media players such as iPods.

Churning steadily just below the high profile of the music industry's digital drama, electronic publishing has quietly become a major force in the worlds of media and technology. According to figures released in June 2004 by the Open eBook Forum, eBook units sold for the first quarter 2004 were up 46% and eBook revenues were up 28% over the same quarter in 2003. This compares to an annual growth rate of about 5% in traditional print publishing. "This quarter eBooks have hit a new high mark for sales," said Open eBook Forum President Steve Potash. "eBooks represent the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry."

Until now, buying books electronically meant going to an Internet bookseller’s Web site, finding the title you want, paying with a credit card, and having the book shipped from a warehouse to your home or office. While there’s no question that this e-commerce model increases buyer convenience and streamlines distribution, it does not represent a significant advance over the real-world experience of buying a book in a brick-and-mortar store. The buying process incorporates rapidly evolving technologies, but the content remains decidedly low-tech: paper, ink, and glue.

A more visionary scenario comes from futurists and science fiction writers who have long imagined the advent of electronic books – eBooks. eBooks can be read or listened to on PCs, laptops, or handheld devices and display the content found in traditional books, eliminating the need for books as we know them. We’re a long way from abandoning traditional books, but the first eBooks have arrived.

For now, eBooks are an afterthought in the publishing world. Less than 500 000 eBooks were sold in the US in 2002, compared with more than 1.5 billion printed books, say estimates from researchers at Ipsos-Insight in Chicago. According to most predictions, eBooks will remain a niche, for at least five years, but as eBook hardware prices fall, consumer awareness and demand build and today's university students enter the mainstream, eBooks should enjoy a nice ride, perhaps towards the end of this decade.

Why choose eBooks?

* You can buy and read an eBook immediately without having to wait for the title to be shipped, and you don’t have to pay for postage.
* eBooks are generally cheaper than paper books.
* You can take an eBook with you anywhere you take your laptop or handheld computer.
* You can get books and documents that may be difficult to find in print or out of print and often contain timely information.
* You can easily assemble personal libraries of fiction, non-fiction and reference books, as well as download book samplers.
* You can enter a key word or two and easily search for the specific passage of information you want. (Particularly useful for historical, self help and reference books. )
* You can read an eBook on almost 100% of handheld computers in low to no light situations.
* eBooks are environmentally sustainable, not requiring paper and glue.
* Students can receive customized textbooks from teachers and professors that include course syllabi, lecture outlines, book excerpts, journal articles, and graphically rich quantitative data.
* Travellers can create electronic compilations of guidebooks, phrase books, maps, and currency converters.
* Business people can compile eBooks containing research reports, stock reports, competitive information, industry analyses, and credit reports.
* Attorneys can gather case-specific electronic volumes of court records, deposition transcripts, e-mail messages and other evidentiary materials.
* Technical personnel can easily carry suites of complex technical manuals.

What format do eBooks take?

There are five main formats in which you can buy eBooks:

* Adobe PDF
* Palm Reader
* Microsoft Reader
* MP3 (audio)
* Sony eBook

The software required to read or listen to eBooks for all formats is free and easy to download off the Internet.

How long does it take to download an eBook?

The download time varies, depending on file size and Internet connection speed. As a rule of thumb, a novel of about 300 pages is about 1MB in size, a short story about 250KB and a short story in MP3 format is about 1MB in size.

What is the eBook market like?

Publishers report continued increases in eBook revenue for 2005

New York, NY – Tuesday, April 18, 2006 – eBook publishers reported increases in eBook revenue over the previous year with a 23% increase in eBook revenues over 2004. eBook units sold remained even with 2004. And, eBook titles published increased 20% over 2004.

Publishers reported 1,692,964 eBook units sold and $11,875,783 in revenues for 2005. They also reported 5,242 eBooks published during this time.

A total of 18 publishers contributed to the four quarterly 2005 reports including DigitalPulp Publishing; Elib AB; Ellora's Cave Publishers; E-Reads; Fictionwise, Inc.; Hard Shell Word Factory; Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.; HarperCollins; Houghton Mifflin Company; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; McGraw-Hill; Pearson Education; Random House; RosettaBooks LLC; Simon & Schuster; Stonehouse Press; Time Warner Book Group and Zondervan.

While 18 publishers contributed to the reports in 2005 and 19 reported in 2004, publishers reporting varied. There are additions and subtractions of companies reporting to this program and the reported figures will, therefore, reflect this variability.

Who has published eBooks?

World famous authors such as Stephen King, Amy Tan, Bill Bryson, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Elmore Leonard, Walter Mosley, Douglas Adams and John Updike.

Is there a demand for African writing?

There is growing interest in African writing, as evidenced by the new Picador Africa imprint and the literary spotlight shone on J.M Coetzee, South African winner of the Nobel Prize Literature, as well as Damon Galgut, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2003. Scribner in the US printed no fewer than a million copies of Alan Paton's classic Cry, the Beloved Country when Oprah Winfrey selected it for her book club.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

*New* non-fiction: A Refugee’s Life by Patrick Burnett

Niombela Abez is tired. He’s just worked a 12-hour night shift as a security guard and all he can do is slouch listlessly on a couch in his apartment waiting for sleep. Nine years ago he fled the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the safety of South Africa, hoping for a better life, but all he can say now is that “life is not easy”.

A Refugee’s Life by Patrick Burnett

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Centre for the Book scriptwriters workshop

The Centre for the Book, in collaboration with the UCT Centre for Extra Mural Studies and the South African Association of Canadian Studies, invites new playwrights and scriptwriters to a workshop with Colleen Wagner.

10h00 - 14h00
Thursday 16 November 2006
Centre for the Book
62 Queen Victoria Street
Cape Town

Colleen Wagner is a Canadian playwright, performer and scriptwriter who lives in Toronto. Her work has been staged and screened over many years and she is the recipient of several awards. She is currently Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts at York University, Toronto.

Participation is limited to 20 new writers seeking to enhance their skills and expertise. The Centre for the Book acknowledges the valuable assistance of the Western Cape Committee of the South African Scriptwriters' Association (SASWA).

RSVP Mark Espin at the Centre for the Book by Tuesday 14 November 2006.

Mark Espin
Centre for the Book
Cape Town
021 423 2669 tel
021 424 1484 fax

Monday, November 13, 2006

*New* fiction: Deeper Water by Karen Runge

I’m in deeper water now.

It’s crazy, chaotic, turbulent and moving. Deep blue shadows move all around me, they float over me, flood me, touching me with quick, wavering fingers that I can’t feel. Through the torrent of bubbles I can see flashes of silver far below – flashes from the metallic sheen on the sides of the fish, caught in glimpses of surreal light by the rays of sun filtering down toward us. They are angels, maybe; angel’s thoughts or angel’s moods. They know I’m up here, they let my vision blur and settle back on them, then flash off away again in bright, glorious streaks that fade in front of my eyes.

Deeper Water by Karen Runge.

Karen Runge was born in 1983 in Paris, France and raised in Kwa-Zulu Natal. She is pressing ahead with novel writing, working as an office assistant and studying Palmistry.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Short-form writing competition launched by Amazon Shorts

The new writing contest where unpublished writers compete to sell their short-form work on Monthly winners will be the 3 entries with the highest number of votes and average rating, along with 1 editors' pick.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Africa Books annual warehouse book sale

Friday 24th November ‘06: 13h00 to 16h00 & Saturday 25th November: 09h00 to 13h00

Books from R5

Venue : New Africa Books

99 Garfield Road, Claremont
Opposite Kenilworth Centre,
in the same road as Venus Clothing

Off the Wall poetry readings in Obz

A reminder about the Off the Wall poetry readings in Obz in Cape Town - every Monday night at 8pm and there is an Open Mic after the featured poet.

Next Monday - DONALD PARENZEE is Off-the-Wall @ A Touch of Madness on Monday 13th November at 8pm

You can join the mailing list by signing up on the Off the wall website run by Hugh Hodge

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A new magazine for book worms

Zulu Planet Publishers will launch consumer title Books & Leisure, aimed at book fanatics in southern African, at all major book retailers on 15 November 2006. B&L will be a quarterly magazine with over 200 book reviews, interviews with authors and other articles dealing with books and related subject matter.

B&L aims to make books and reading fun and desirable and is targeted at all readers of magazines and books from all age groups.

The content will be split between 70% book issues and 30% leisure-related topics that go hand-in-hand with books and reading - wine, food, travel and good living. The feature articles will be written by some of South Africa's top journalists.

B&L has launched a book club, wine club and cigar club and a coffee club is on the way.

The publishers will be giving away over 60 books in the launch issue.

For competition junkies, B&L will have a host of crosswords relating to the magazine's content and the most popular titles.

B&L will be distributed by RNA.

Rian Malan: South Africa's future will be 'sad decay'

Writing in the UK's Spectator newspaper, Rian Malan, acclaimed author of My Traitor's Heart, says that the rise of Jacob Zuma as a serious presidential contender is a terrible symbol of [our] country's inexorable decline into disorder, political corruption and maladministration.

Malan writes: 'I have a pretty good idea why things went wrong and it all began with "transformation", a euphemism for ridding the Civil Service of whites, especially white males'. A contentious claim.

Download the article here, a faxed copy, I couldn't find a published copy on the Web yet.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Last chance to see 'Like Honey'

When: Wednesday Nov 08, 2006 at 8:00 PM

Where: OBZ CAFE, Cape Town

20 girls. 4 shows. Voices Like Honey. Every night a different feast of spectacular female music talent. Sold out every show so far, Like Honey has one more 4 day run. 4 shows, every show different. The top female singer songerwriters in Cape Town making music to melt by.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Review extract: 'The Marquis Of Mooikloof And Other Stories' by Sean O'Toole

Arja Salafranca, Cape Times

"Sean O'Toole's debut collection, The Marquis of Mooikloof, is utterly different in tone and style to the writing in the Caine Prize collection. He too is a recipient of professional recognition - the 2006 HSBC/ SA PEN Literary Award - for his story published here, The Road to Rephile ... Some of the stories are obviously more successful than others, and leave you grasping at their meaning, but it's clear that O'Toole is a new voice on the SA scene, a distinctive, unique voice that deserves to be heard."

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Review extract: 'New Swell' by Byron Loker

Tracy Bartlett, Cape Times

"I always enjoy reading début offerings, particularly by local writers, so it was with much anticipation that I sat down to read New Swell, Byron Loker's début book ... It's a short story compilation of autobiographical snippets from Loker's life as a young surfer struggling to establish himself as a writer and it's very good ... New Swell chronicles the most memorable of the author's youthful escapades, from carefree testosterone-driven trips to the renowned surf breaks of Jeffrey's Bay to more poignant tales of interludes with African refugees searching for a better life in South Africa ... if the response to his début offering is anything to go by, I should keep a close eye on this talented young man - he's likely to go very far."

New Swell
by Byron Loker

*New* fiction: Tropical Paradise by Evans Kinyua

"If dodging school were an art, then Craig Wilson could have been said to be a genius. His antics made Huckleberry Finn come across as an amateur; his tutors did their damnedest to spoil the rod, to utter futility."

Evans Kinyua studied commerce at the University of Nairobi and also holds a postgraduate diploma in marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK). He is the author of the novel Flight From Fate and runs a media and communications company in Nairobi.

Tropical Paradise by Evans Kinyua

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