Thursday, April 26, 2007

*New* poetry: Black History by Tanisha Alexander

The poet Phenomenally was born Tanisha Alexander in Wichita, KS 1981 and now resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tanisha’s journey through poetry started on her MySpace page entitled Phenomenally where readers inspired her to release her poetic writing to a bigger audience.

Black History - Tanisha Alexander

HSBC/SA PEN Literary Awards announced

The South African Centre of International PEN (SA PEN), in partnership with HSBC Bank plc and New Africa Books, is delighted to announce the winners of the 2007 HSBC / SA PEN Literary Award.

Nobel Laureate J M Coetzee selected the short story Poison by Henrietta Rose-Innes as the winner of the first prize. Coetzee described it as “a story about an imagined ecological disaster to Cape Town refracted through the eyes of a young woman caught up in the exodus from the city.” He added in his Judge’s report: “The behaviour of South Africans under conditions of stress is seen with sympathy and reported in a commendably indirect, understated way; the final effect of the story is surprisingly buoyant.”

Rose-Innes, a Cape Town writer, is currently a Fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude artists’ residency in Stuttgart, Germany. A student of archaeology and biological anthropology, she has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town (UCT) and has had two novels published: Shark’s Egg in 2000 and The Rock Alphabet in 2004. In 1996, Rose-Innes won the Cosmopolitan/Vita Short Story competition and in 2001 Shark’s Egg was shortlisted for the M-Net Book Prize.

Petina Gappah, a Zimbabwean writer living in Geneva, Switzerland, received the second prize for her short story At the Sound of the Last Post. Coetzee described the story as “a darkly amusing satirical story about Mugabe’s Zimbabwe tackled with great authority.” Gappah also received a highest mention from JM Coetzee for Rotten Row, another short story she submitted. These were the second and third stories she had ever written.

Gappah works as a lawyer for an organisation that helps developing countries apply and administer WTO trade agreements. Since she entered the HSBC/SA PEN Award, she has published two other stories and is finalising what she hopes will be her first published novel.

Stanley Kenani was awarded the third prize for For Honour, “a deceptively simple story that finds a new and creative way of approaching the tragic subject matter of AIDS.”

Kenani is a Malawian writer and performance poet, who won his first literary award, a national UNESCO essay competition, at 18. The prize was a scholarship to complete high school. While studying for an accountancy degree at the University of Malawi, Kenani won additional prizes for short stories and essays and published one of his short stories in the BBC Focus on Africa magazine. He is president of the Malawi Writers’ Union and acting treasurer of the Pan African Writers’ Association.

J M Coetzee also gave highest mentions to The Day of the Surgical Colloquium by Gill Schierhout and Safe Home by Nadia Davids and singled out five additional short stories that he said would merit inclusion in any anthology drawn from the entries submitted. These are: Tears by Sean Mitchell, Buffalo Panting at the Moon by Alexandra Smith, Archives of the Hangman by Claire Gaul, The Picture of James Plaatje by Fiona Moolla and Animal Farm by Mehluli Nxumalo.

In his Judge’s report, Coetzee commended the standard of the 2007 entries, saying it was “notably higher than in 2006 and 2005.”Entrants confront the unhappier aspects of present-day society with a commendable degree of moral and creative courage. The best of these young writers are on a par with their coevals in the West, and have in addition the priceless advantage that the material they work with is of burning social, political, and human importance.”

Coetzee also praised the organisers of the award and their enlightened patron, HSBC Bank plc, for fostering a literary culture in the region. “The fact that southern Africa can mount a literary competition of its own to be mentioned in the same breath as an Africa-wide competition like the Caine Prize, and can call forth year after year bodies of high-quality entries, should encourage educators and the wider community of culturally aware citizens that the literary culture of the region is, if not flourishing, at least putting forth buds. For the part it has played in fostering this culture, PEN is to be commended - not only PEN South Africa but PEN in its wider embodiment across the continent.”

The HSBC / SA PEN Literary Award was established in 2005 to encourage new creative writers in the SADC region and offer them an opportunity to launch a literary career. The award targets writers under the age of 40 in the short story genre.

The 2007 award received 303 entries from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The three winning stories and 28 others that were shortlisted have been published by New Africa Books in the final of a series of three volumes of new creative writing, entitled African Pens - New Writing from southern Africa 2007.

In a sponsorship arrangement which makes this one of the most financially rewarding literary competitions in southern Africa, HSBC Bank plc has provided cash prizes totaling US$10 000 annually for the three years. The winner of the award receives $5000 and those placed second and third receive $3000 and $2000 respectively.

The process to select the winners is undertaken by an editorial board comprising prominent writers and publishers and it is entirely anonymous - scripts are identified only by number and no reader or judge is aware of the authors’ identities at any stage. After each script is read by three different readers, the editorial board presents its short list to JM Coetzee who chooses the three winning contributions.

International PEN, the literary organisation with which SA PEN is affiliated, was founded in 1921 to advance the cause of literature and defend free expression. International PEN has 141 centres throughout the world and has undertaken to publicise the New Writing from southern Africa series in its global journal, PEN INTERNATIONAL.

The full text of JM Coetzee’s comments is published in African Road.

SADC countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

2007 HSBC PEN shortlist

The South African Centre of International PEN (SA PEN), in partnership with HSBC Bank plc and New Africa Books, is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2007 HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award.

Kyne Nislev Bernstorff – Going Nowhere
Elizabeth Bishop - Supermarket
Renée Bonorchis – The Summer House
Clare Butcher – Aerial Shots
Malcolm Cumming – The Bam’Žbo By the Dam
Carol-Anne Davids – Nostalgia
Nadia Davids – Safe Home
Petina Gappah – Rotten Row and At the Sound of the Last Post
Claire Gaul – Archives of the Hangman
Karen Jennings – Sarah Begins
Stanley Kenani – For Honour
Deborah Klein – Men and Mermaids
Morne Malan – Jason’Žs Kiss
Steven Marston – The Rebound
Matthew Mbanga – We were meant to live for so much more
Linda McCullogh – How to become a god in three easy steps:
Sean Mitchell – Tears
Christopher Mlalazi – Broken Wings
Fiona Fatima Moolla – The Picture of James Plaatje
Mehluli Nxumalo – Animal Farm
Lee Olivier – Do you have a heart?
Vreniker Pather – Ninema and The Old Man and the Oyster
Henrietta Rose-Innes – Poison
Michelle Sacks – Chronicles of a naked heart
Gill Schierhout – The Day of the Surgical Colloquium Hosted by the Far East Rand Hospital
Alexandra Smith – Buffalo Panting at the Moon
Karlien van der Schyff – Trojan Horse
Richard Walne – The Paint Collector
Carolyn Weir - Collage

These short stories will all be published by New Africa Books in the third volume of new creative writing, entitled African Pens - New Writing from southern Africa 2007. The winners, selected by Nobel Laureate J M Coetzee, will be announced in Cape Town on 24 April 2007 when African Pens – New Writing from southern Africa 2007 is released.

The HSBC/SA PEN award was established in 2005 to encourage young creative writers in the SADC region and offer them an opportunity to launch a literary career. The award targets writers under the age of 40 in the short story genre.

The 2007 award attracted 303 entries from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In a sponsorship arrangement which makes this one of the most financially rewarding literary competitions in southern Africa, HSBC Bank plc, will provide cash prizes totalling US$10 000. The winner of the award will receive $5 000 and those placed second and third will receive $3 000 and $2 000 respectively.

The process to select the winners is undertaken by an editorial board comprising prominent writers and publishers and it is entirely anonymous –Ž no reader or judge is aware of the authors’ names at any stage. After each script is read by three different readers, the editorial board presents its selection to the final judge, J M Coetzee, who chooses the three winning contributions.

SA PEN president, Anthony Fleischer, says: “We aim to promote the series widely in southern Africa in an attempt to encourage young writers to express the vitality and diversity of our new society. We are looking for creative material of universal literary appeal which will make compelling reading.”

International PEN, the literary organisation to which SA PEN is affiliated, has 141 centres throughout the world and has undertaken to publicise the new series in its global journal PEN INTERNATIONAL.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

World Book Day 2007 - what's happening around the country



For the second year in a row, the University of Pretoria, and the Tshwane Community Library and Information Services are celebrating World Book Day on the UP Campus.

This year, the celebrations will centre around an innovative community project: HOOKED ON BOOKS. This is a project to be launched in aid of the distribution and donation of books to specifically address access to books in South Africa. It will be a cooperative initiative of the Publishing Studies Programme (Department of Information Science), the Department of Visual Arts, and the Tshwane Library and Information Services.

Although books form a crucial part of our daily lives as educators and publishers, it is easy to forget that the majority of South Africans have neither books nor access to facilities that allow them to experience the wonderful world of books.

BOEKEHUIS invitation

Bookshop for South African and World Literature BOEKEHUIS & Ster Kinekor invite you to a discussion with the filmmaker Helena Nogueira.

She will speak with Paul Boekkooi, film and theatre critic about the making of the movie, Ingrid Jonker - Her Lives and Time..

This movie is to be released on 26th April at both Rosebank and V & A Cinema Nouveau
Discussion at: BOEKEHUIS,
Cnr. Lothbury and Fawley streets, Auckland Park
When: Saturday 21 April 2007, at 12:30
RSVP: by Thurs 19/04 on
011 482 3609 or

Special offer: Boekehuis & Ster Kinekor offer 5 double movie tickets to 5 lucky winners who attend this session of Saturday Voices on 21 April..

About the movie:

INGRID JONKER: HER LIVES & TIME is written, edited and directed by Helena Nogueira and

Produced by Shan Moodley

It features amongst others interviews with André Brink, Jan Rabie, Marjorie Wallace, Sir Laurence van der Post, James Mathews, Peter Clarke, Michael Cope and Simone Venter (daughter of Ingrid Jonker).

About Ingrid Jonker:

Ingrid Jonker (born 19 September 1933 ) was a South African poet. Although she wrote in Afrikaans, her poems have been widely translated into other languages. Ingrid Jonker has reached iconic status in South Africa and is often called the South African Sylvia Plath, owing to the intensity of her work and the tragic course of her turbulent life. Her work has also been compared to that of Anne Sexton.

South Africa lost a gifted and sensitive poet when, at the age of 31, Ingrid Jonker ended her own life on 19 July 1965.

The advanced ideas inherent in Ingrid Jonker's poems have made her a recognized literary figure internationally, with her poems being studied, translated and published in many languages including English, German, French, Dutch, Polish, Hindi and Zulu. The collected works of Jonker, including several short stories and a play, were published in 1975 and re-issued in 1983 and 1994.

Former President Nelson Mandela, in commenting on Jonker's poem Die Kind (The Child), which he read out in full in his inaugural State of the Nation address to Parliament in May 1994, said, "... in this glorious vision, she
instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child". Of Jonker herself, Mandela said that: "She was both a poet and a South African. She was both an Afrikaner and an African. She was both an artist and a human being. In the midst of despair, she celebrated hope. Confronted by death, she asserted the beauty of life."

Ingrid Jonker's sensitive, humane and forward-looking perspectives have made her a literary icon of a whole new generation of Afrikaners and South Africans, who have re-discovered her relevance in a free and democratic South Africa.

Monday, April 16, 2007

KZN Literary Tourism invitation to launch of Grey Street literary trail

KZN Literary Tourism is pleased to invite you to the launch of the Grey Street literary trail. Join us on the 9th May from 6-8pm at the Supernova theatre at Suncoast Casino for a cocktail evening as we celebrate the Grey Street writers and their work. Writers in attendance will be Imraan Coovadia, Phyllis Naidoo, Ravi Govender and Aziz Hassim. The Surialanga Dance Company will close the evening off with their unique fusion between traditional African and classical Indian dance.

Please RSVP by the 31st April to in order to book your tickets.

Centre for the Book invitation to lunch-time book event

In celebration of World Book Day 2007, the Centre for the Book invites you to a lunch-time book event!


Maxine Case was born in Cape Town into a family of readers and writers. She studied advertising and completed an IMM diploma. She now works at NB Publishers as the marketing and promotions co-ordinator. “All We Have Left Unsaid,” her debut novel, was published by Kwela Books in 2006 and has recently been awarded the 2007 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book in Africa.

Monday 23 April 2007
13h00 Centre for the Book
62 Queen Victoria Street Cape Town

RSVP: Mark Espin @ 021 423 2669 or Mark Espin

Projects Co-ordinator Centre for the Book
62 Queen Victoria Street Cape Town 8001 PO Box 15254 Vlaeberg 8018
021 423 2669 tel
021 424 1484 fax The Centre for the Book is a specialist unit of the National Library

Invitation to HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award

Thursday, April 12, 2007

*New* short fiction: The Café by Byron Loker

Byron Loker doesn't "do" lunch. His debut collection of short stories, New Swell, is published by Double Storey Books.

The Café by Byron Loker

Also published in the latest issue of New Contrast.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Join Kalk Bay Books and Umuzi for a glass of wine with author Nicholas Ashby

Join Kalk Bay Books and Umuzi for a glass of wine while author Nicholas Ashby reads to us from his novel, Time Pips.

Time Pips tells the story of Matthews, a boy born to a South African laundry maid and a German actor and radio broadcaster in the first half of the 20th century. Matthews’ life is full of adventures that lead him to places such as North Africa and Diego Suarez, an Indian Ocean island town, where he finds his true love, Heiata. Time Pips is a whimsical tale of romance, religion and destiny.

Date: Friday, April 20 Time: 6:00 for 6:30pm RSVP: by Thursday 19 April Tel: 021-788-2266 or e-mail:

Canopic Jar #18 is now on-line and ready for viewing.

1. The Big News for the coming summer is the Canopic Publishing release of Leatherneck Sea Stories: Recollections of Marines, Korea, and the Corps of the 1950s by Dave Easton. There will be more about this title forthcoming in the next Canopic Spam offering, as well as at

2. Canopic Jar #18 is now on-line and ready for viewing. The Jar's ever-widening audience is once again treated to poetry & prose from a fine array of talented authors from around the globe. Web designer and co-editor Rethabile Masilo continues to sharpen the site with each issue, and his linguistic skills and multi-cultural sense of poetics expands the boundaries of the Jar with each posting. Check it out at

The Jar is and has always been dedicated to being an open forum for artists at any stage of their career. If you poke through the archives you'll find material from award-winning authors (at least a couple can even claim to have penned a 'bestseller' or two) in addition to first-timers wanting to try out their wares. Most contributors are somewhere in the vast between with the rest of us, and it all points to the old artistic ideal of doing it for the sake of doing it. So pass the word and send in those poems, stories, essays, fragments, bits, and pieces of any genre or subject. We'll gladly give it a read.

3. And don't forget to visit the Canopic Bookstore and buy a book! Free shipping within the US , and anybody who receives this email is entitled to a 2-for-1 sale if you use the CCNow button to make a secure, on-line purchase—or just send an old-fashioned check if you prefer. (Just like in the real world, the lower priced item of the two will be the free one.) Just let me know the 2nd title and it's yours.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Call for children's stories and poems in African languages

Stories Across Africa (StAAf) a core project of the African Academy of Languages, the official language agency of the AU, is pan African project intending to:

* develop and support the use of African languages in print;
* support mother tongue based bilingual education in Africa;
* stimulate and support the African publishing industry and African literary and visual artists to create and foster the use of children’s literature;
* begin to create a common store of written children’s literature for African children;
* support possibilities for reading for enjoyment as part of literacy learning and development.

In collaboration with a local publisher from each of Southern, West, Central, East and North Africa, StAAf is publishing three anthologies of writing for children:
* Early Childhood (0-8),
* Middle Childhood (9-12) and
* Teenagers (13+)

We invite you to submit stories and poems in any African language (with a summary or translation in English, French or Portuguese) or any of the AU official languages. Please follow the following guide (suggested maximum words per submission) with respect to length:

ECD: 800 words
Middle: 1200 words
Teen: 2000 words

The selection process will be made by the StAAf steering committee and their decision will be final. Authors of submissions which are selected for inclusion in one of the anthologies will be paid a permission fee for the use of their writing. Authors of manuscripts selected for publication will be informed before the end of October 2007.

Selected stories and poems will:

* arise from and give an African point of view;
* have definite literary merit;
* reflect diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity etc;
* challenge discrimination;
* include humour and avoid being didactic and preachy;
* include not only ‘problem literature’ but fantasy and experimental, non-linear texts too.

Selection issues to be considered include:

* Style: How is the story or poem written? Are the ideas easily understandable? Is it readable for the target age group?
* Translation: Will it be possible to adapt this poem or story into a variety of languages used on the African continent?
* Theme: Is the theme relevant for the age group? Will it have continent-wide appeal? Is the theme interesting? Does it portray positive roles for the readers? Is it gender sensitive?
* Attractiveness: Is the story or poem appealing to the target audience? If there is humour? Is its appeal continent-wide? Does the language attract the reader?
* Clarity: Is the rhythm, diction and syntax clear and appealing? Does the language contribute to transmitting the message and attracting/ entertaining the audience? Is the use of language original and lively?

Submission Details

Submission deadline: 30 July 2007
Please submit stories and poems by post or email.

If the story has already been published, please submit a copy of the title and imprint pages.

Please make and keep a copy of any story you submit for yourself. StAAf will not return stories to the sender.

No story will be accepted unless it is accompanied by a completed submission form.

Please submit entries to:

Carole Bloch
StAAf Central Co-ordinator
Room 14, Arts Block,
Private Bag Rondebosch 7700
Cape Town
South Africa
Tel: 0027 21 6503589
Fax: 0027 21 6503027

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A message from Christopher Hope, director of the Franschhoek Literary Festival

The Franschhoek Literary Festival is something very special for me. I have spent, over the years, many days at literary and writers’ festivals in Britain, Europe, the US and Canada. And it began to seem to me that there was room for something similar in South Africa, a get-together quite different from other arts festivals that take place in this country. The aim of the FLF is to put writers in the front rank, to give them the space, and the means, to come to Franschhoek, to stay in the town, to be paid a small fee and, above all, to be appreciated. I wanted to make a place where writers, who often have to struggle hard to be published, to be read, to be heard, can meet and mix with colleagues from across South Africa and from around the world.

In short, the Festival I wanted to see would be the intimate, interesting, friendly meeting place for those who enjoy the shapes of words and the magic they make – readers, publishers, journalists; for all who wrote, read and loved books. I had in mind a lively and literate street party, in a convivial town, where everyone can fi nd a seat, a meal, a glass of wine and a good book or three. That is what Franschhoek does best and that is what this Literary Festival is about.

Our ultimate aim is to use whatever we may raise in the Festival towards establishing a new community library in Franschhoek. But what I wish most is for the Franschhoek Literary Festival to back up our writers, most particularly young writers, by making them the heart of the matter. Writers give us pictures of ourselves, which we may love or hate – but without our poets, novelists and dramatists how will we know who we are?

Welcome to the very fi rst Franschhoek Literary Festival.

Christopher Hope


Download the programme here

Monday, April 02, 2007

Call for volunteers for Centre for the Book stand at the Cape Town Book Fair

The Centre for the Book needs book-lovers, reading activists and passionate writers to volunteer to work at the Centre for the Book stand at the CT International Book Fair from 16th June to 19th June.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Colleen Higgs at

You would need to come to a training session, you would get a meal ticket and free entrance to the Book Fair for the day that you work there as well as a chance to participate in one of the most exciting bookish events of the year.