Thursday, May 31, 2007

Centre for the Book invites applications from black artists and illustrators for Illustrators' programme

This fulltime, four-month programme takes place at the Centre for the Book, Cape Town from 1 August 2007 until 30 November 2007.

It brings practicing black artists and illustrators who are interested in picture book illustration together with publishers, established illustrators and experts on children's literature to work on the production of commercially publishable children's books for the 0-6 age group.

Participants will be offered a monthly grant for the duration of the course.

By the end of the Programme you will have a book showcasing your work ready for a publishing deal.

CONTACT: Nokwethu Khojane * 021 423 2669 * E-mail:

INTERESTED? you need to

* fill in the application form

* write a letter of motivation

* submit a select portfolio


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Interview: Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka tells Maya Jaggi how 'repetitions of history' - most recently the atrocities in Darfur - continue to haunt his life and work.

Write Co graduate wins debut novel award

Writers Write graduate and Write Co facilitator and editor, Morne Malan, has won Tafelberg's Great Novel Competition, in the Debut Novel Category. The judges were Prof. Andre P. Brink, Jakes Gerwel and Louise Viljoen.

Morne Malan was shortlisted for the SA Pen Award for his entry - Jason's Kiss. Morne, a novelist, playwright, copywriter and editor, facilitates Skrywers Skryf for The Write Co. This course is the Afrikaans version of Writers Write, which now boasts 25 published graduate authors in only three years.

He has written a laugh-out-loud, contemporary novel, Bush Baby, which Laura Boon, of The Laura Boon Literary Agency, has taken on.

He adds, "I've also written a youth novel about a girl coming to terms with the fact that her brother's gay. The novel is funny. I didn't want another heavy coming-of-age story. I wanted to write something that teenagers and their parents will want to read."

"Morne's strong point is his humour," says Amanda Patterson, founder of The Write Co. "Added to his great plots, wonderful characterisation and his flawless, easy-to-read style, Morne Malan, is a talent to be watched."

Equally talented in English and Afrikaans, one wonders what he will do next. "I might do something in Northern Sotho," he says. "I would like Afrikaans publishers to free their minds of the idea that all Afrikaans novels should be literary," says Morne. "I want to be a writer. And writers do write! I'd also like to help other Afrikaans writers to embrace their passion and to unleash their talent."

Students free at 2007 Cape Town Book Fair

All students currently registered at tertiary institutions in South Africa will be able to attend the 2007 Cape Town Book Fair without paying.

Running from June 16-19 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, this is the largest book fair in Africa and features exhibitors from around the world. Students with a valid student card will have access to a full programme of events which includes book signings, debates, lectures, demonstrations and discussions by leading authors, academics, illustrators and publishers. Launched last year, the inaugural CTBF attracted over 26 000 visitors. This year the floor space has doubled in size and the accompaning programme has been expanded to over 470 activities. The theme of the 2007 CTBF is "More than black on white".

* The Cape Town Book Fair is a joint venture between the Publisher's Association of South Africa (PASA) and the Frankfurt Book Fair, in association with the Sunday Times.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Watch for changes in your author contract: Simon and Schuster affects new rights provision

The Authors Guild is warning members about a new rights provision in Simon & Schuster contracts and urging them to consider not signing with the publisher.

Reversion of book rights is an important right for an author to have. This is an important point to negotiate in your next book contract. Ask your agent or attorney about it and be sure to read the fine print. Otherwise, you may discover that you've lost your reversion rights:

"In an an alert sent to its membership, Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken writes that S&S's new contract language gives the publisher the ability to retain rights to a book for the entire length of copyright, even if the book is not in print but remains in S&S's electronic database. Under its old contracts, rights to a book would revert back to the author if sales reached an agreed upon low level or the book was declared out of print. "This is an electronic warehousing of rights," Aiken said.

"According to the Guild, under the new contract S&S considers a book to be in print, and under its control, so long as it's available in any form, even if no copies are available to be ordered by traditional bookstores. With the new contract language, the Guild asserts, the publisher would be able to stop printing a book and prevent the author from publishing it with any other house. Aiken said the change was first brought to the Guild's attention about a week ago and discussions with authors and agents have confirmed that the new provision is now part of the standard S&S contract.

"Simon and Schuster responded by accusing the agents and authors of overreacting, saying that it is only updating its contracts to comport with the digital age. It then told the Guild that it will negotiate regarding the reversion of rights clause on a book-by-book basis. So far, Simon and Schuster is the only major publisher to try to claim a permanent copyright in an author's works."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cape Town Book Fair programme available here

Cape Town Book Fair programme
(Adobe PDF)

Jacana invitation to book launch: Coconut by Kopano Matlwa

Cape Town Book Fair 2007 updates


Two prestigious literary award ceremonies will take place at the Cape Town Book Fair this year, which will run from June 16-19 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The Sunday Times Literary Awards, comprising the Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award and the Sunday Times Award for fiction, are awarded annually for exceptional writing in English by South African authors. Each award carries a prize of R50 000, and will be presented at a gala event attended by local and international writers and publishers.

Last year's fiction prize was won by young Capetonian author Andrew Brown, who scooped the award for his gritty crime novel, Coldsleep Lullaby. The non-fiction award was shared by two writers covering the same topic - Edwin Cameron's Witness to Aids and Adam Levin's Aid Safari. Both books detailed the experience of HIV/Aids from a contemporary and personal perspective.

While the short-list of nominees for the 2007 awards has yet to be announced, speculation on possible contenders has included Marlene van Niekerk for Agaat, Imraan Coovadia for Green-Eyed Thieves, and Shaun Johnson for The Native Commissioner. However, the field is still wide open ...

The other major award presentation will take place during the Opening Ceremony of the book fair on June 15. The Freedom to Publish Prize of the International Publishers' Association (IPA) is an annual award which "recognises a person or an institution that has made a notable contribution to the defence and promotion in the freedom to publish anywhere in the world". The IPA, established in Paris in 1896, represents the publishing industry via 76 national, regional and specialised publishers' associations in 63 countries.


Due to the success of last year's book fair, which attracted over 26 000 visitors and featured 313 events on the activities programme, an even larger schedule of debates, discussions, readings and lectures has been planned for 2007. Top authors, academics and publishers will take part in the four-day programme, which is being designed to cater for everyone from trade professionals to children.

Academically-compelling discussions on subjects such as the "dumbing down" of intellectual discourse, African scholarship, and the impact of geographic boundaries on academic output have been scheduled. The release of pivotal research on the pricing of books in the country as well as the reading habits of young people in South Africa will be showcased. The fair will also provide a forum for the discussion of publishing and book development on the continent of Africa.

Local and international authors will be launching their books, reading from them, and signing them, covering genres as diverse as graphic novels, biographies and cookery. Already confirmed on the list are best-selling authors Marion Keyes and Anthony Horowitz, as well as 2006 Man Booker winner Kiran Desai.

The theme of this year's fair, "More than Black on White" will provide the context for a variety of workshops and presentations, while several Book Collections, focusing on topics such as Nelson Mandela, Science Fiction and Wine will form a central focus of the programme.

Organisers are aiming to feature at least 333 events on the 2007 programme.


The second Cape Town Book Fair will occupy double the space of the inaugural event, taking up 10 000 squares metres of space in the Cape Town International Convention Centre during June 2007.

Based on the popularity of the first fair, which hosted 418 exhibitors from 36 countries and attracted 2000 international trade visitors, the business of books will be even bigger and better this year, promise the organisers. Most of the original exhibitors have already signed up for space, with new participants registering daily.

Organisers will be taking precautions to ensure that visitors are not disappointed, such as making sure that top authors present in larger rooms. The popular Children's Zone, which attracted several thousand young people in 2006, will be expanded to accommodate the expected increase in crowds.While visitors to the fair will pay a nominal entrance fee, all the events on the book fair programme are free. Organisers are advising visitors to arrive at least half-an-hour before each scheduled event is due to start in order to secure a seat.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Poetry and storytelling at Cape Town central library

The City Arts & Culture Dept. celebrates Youth Month at the City Hall, Saturday 9 June 9:00 - 4:30. The full day programme includes a creative writing and performance poetry workshop for Youth (16-24), presented by Mark Espin (Centre for the Book) and Bulelwa Basse (Lyrical Base Project);

A storytelling workshop for all ages presented by Marcia Raymond(Central Library); Slam Poetry session for High School Learners.

Kiddies corner and the pain YOUNGWORD poetry event with guest poets Antie Krog, Nicole Moody, Diane Ferrus and others. as well as open Mic sessions. Facilitated by Hugh Hodge.

Email to or phone 021 7979031 or SMS 083 539 8442 or contact Central Library if you wish to attend the workshop or participate in the Open Mic session.

Housing Works Bookstore Café hosts a reading with Gabeba Baderoon, Yvette Christiansë and Nadia Davids

Housing Works Bookstore Café hosts a reading with Gabeba Baderoon, Yvette Christiansë and Nadia Davids on Thursday, June 7 at 7pm. Three South African women whose writings offer diverse views, understandings and representations of place, nation, belonging and womanhood. Together they present an unforgettable contribution to the South African literary landscape, and bring the diverse experiences of south African women to an American audience.

Gabeba Baderoon’s poetry is often a narration of leaving home, assuming the life of an exiled adult, and negotiating her sense of self against the backdrop of a world demanding explanations for identity. An extract of Nadia Davids’ play explores notions of home, loss, mourning, nostalgia and exile, all evoked in an attempt to recover the ephemeral landscape of District Six in Cape Town. Yvette Christiansë examines the history of South African slavery in her epic poetry.

Gabeba Baderoon is the author of The Dream in the Next Body (Kwela/Snailpress, 2005) and A Hundred Silences (Kwela/Snailpress, 2006). She received the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry 2005. The Museum of Ordinary Life, her short collection of poems and creative non-fiction, was also published in 2005. Her poetry has been published in several languages, and in many anthologies.

Nadia Davids is an acclaimed playwright and director; the recipient of two A.W. Mellon Fellowships and the winner of the Fleur du Cap Award for Best New Director in 2003. She has written and directed four plays, Khumbula (1995), Doc’s Wife (1999) The Butterfly and the Wog (2000), and At Her Feet (2002) – which received international acclaim while touring Southern Africa, Holland and during two stagings in NYC.

Yvette Christiansë is a novelist, poet and scholar. She was born and raised in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Mbabane. Her book of poems Castaway was short-listed for the PEN International Poetry Prize 2001. Her novel, Unconfessed is based on the life of a Cape Colony slave woman (Other Press, November 2006). Her poetry, prose and scholarly writing have been published in South Africa, Australia, Canada, France and the USA.

PRESS QUERIES ONLY CONTACT: Chaya Thanhauser, Special Events and Marketing, Housing Works Bookstore Café: 212-966-0466, X1104 or

Housing Works Bookstore Café

126 Crosby Street (one block east of Broadway between Houston and Prince)

Subway: W, R to Prince; B, D, F, V to Broadway/Lafayette; 6 to Bleecker
General Information: (212) 334-3324
Housing Works Bookstore Café Fighting AIDS One Book At A Time

Housing Works Bookstore Café is an independent cultural center that offers patrons a unique opportunity to join the fight against AIDS and homelessness. Arts-based philanthropy in practice, we allow visitors to make a difference simply by buying or donating books; eating at our cafe; coming to concerts, readings, and special events; or volunteering for our staff.

We are a non-profit organization that relies entirely on donations to stock our store and volunteers to run it. All proceeds directly benefit our parent organization, Housing Works, Inc., the nation’s largest minority-controlled AIDS service provider. Housing Works provides housing, healthcare, job training, and advocacy for New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. As an activist organization, we are committed to implementing the systemic changes necessary to ensure that AIDS and public health policies are sound in concept and equitable in administration.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

*New* short fiction: Generations by Evans Kinyua

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 Flight From Fate.

Generations by Evans Kinyua

Independent book shops on the rise in South Africa

A recent article in the UK's Guardian newspaper chronicled "the return of the independent bookshop" - a trend in that country that would seem to defy the likes of Tesco, the supermarket giant that has begun stocking books in its aisles. In South Africa, it's more a case of "the rise of the independent bookshop", because, while secondhand stores have always formed part of the local bookselling landscape, independent shops that sell new books have traditionally been far and few between. But two new businesses in Cape Town are challenging this state of affairs.

The "A is for Apple" children's bookstore and "Kalk Bay Books" opened within weeks of each other and have this much in common: their determined-to-succeed owners have taken among the most visible retail spaces in town. But both Kelly Silberman and Ann Donald, the stores' respective proprietors, recognize that good position alone doesn't guarantee success. Faced with the kind of overheads that comprise the new-book retail game, they've concentrated on emphasizing the "lifestyle" experience that small bookshops, done properly, can offer to entice consumers through their doors.

Plenty of local literature and books on Cape Town

Having been duly lured inside, they find: comfy couches and a stack of "New York Review of Books" within reach; plenty of local literature and books on Cape Town; a notice of an upcoming reading; and, in the slightly-out-of-focus background, rows upon rows of books that seem to generate a quiet warmth. "Kalk Bay Books" is all about the discrete, personal pleasure of reading.

"A is for Apple", on the other hand, is all about chat and sharing - beginning with the exclamations of pleasure customers make upon discovering that they can draw in crayon on the tables. This is a "destination bookshop" whose aim, says Silberman, is to create a space that appeals to both parent - especially mother - and child. Silberman surrounds her "core proposition" of selling the widest variety of children's books around with fun and relaxation: adults can sip coffee while their kids find a new favourite read; the bookshop throws birthday parties; and did we mention that you can draw on the tables?

Having put the finishing touches on their "lifestyle"-oriented environments, Silberman and Donald now face the task of realizing enough business from their target clientele to ensure their bookshops' sustainability. For Donald, one pleasant surprise during this phase has been the support her enterprise has received from local distributors. "Major warehousers like Booksite have helped a great deal," says Donald, who notes that the barriers to running an independent shop for new books would be almost insurmountably high, were it not for some flexibility in wholesale pricing structures.

If distributors are willing to work with independents to help them flourish, then readers may be the most pleasantly surprised of all, as this is likely to encourage more book havens like "A is for Apple" and "Kalk Bay Books" to rise up in South Africa in the years ahead.

Written by Ben Williams

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cape Town Book Fair main programme announced


Controversial biographer Ronald Suresh Roberts, quirky poet Lebo Mashile, best-selling writers John van de Ruit, Wilbur Smith, Anthony Horowitz and Marian Keyes, award-winning authors Kiran Desai and Shaun Johnson, presenter and playwright Fiona Coyne plus politicians, academics and publishers are all showcased on the Main Programme at the 2007 Cape Town Book Fair (CTBF).

A comprehensive and diverse roster of events will take place between 10am and 5pm from June 16-19 in lecture halls and at exhibitor stands in the Cape Town International Convention Centre, with the 2007 CTBF theme "More than Black on White" forming the springboard for many of the scheduled discussions and debates. Four major book collections, on Nelson Mandela, Wine, 25 Best South African Reads and Science Fiction and Fantasy, will also feature associated activities ranging from wine-tasting to dialogue sessions with, amongst others, Professor Njabulo Ndebele and Ahmed Kathrada.

The CTBF also hosts the prestigious Sunday Times literary awards, which are the richest literary prizes in South Africa with R75 000 going to each winner. The finalists in the Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award - John Allen (Rabble-Rouser for Peace), Glynis Clacherty (The Suitcase Stories), Denis Hirson (White Scars), Fred Khumalo (Touch My Blood) and Ivan Vladislavic (Portrait with Keys) - will be interviewed by Sunday Times Books Editor Michele Magwood pre-award ceremony, as will the contenders for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize - Imraan Coovadia (Green-Eyed Thieves), Shaun Johnson (The Native Commissioner), Christopher Hope (My Mother's Lovers), Lewis Nkosi (Mandela's Ego), and Marlene van Niekerk (Agaat).

"We have tried to strike a balance between literary and academic events, and more mainstream activities that will appeal to a wide range of readers," says Vanessa Badroodien, Director of the CTBF. "We received excellent feedback from visitors, trade delegations, booksellers and publishers after last year's event. Using this information, we have created a programme that should offer value to everybody who attends, whether they are wanting to engage in serious discussion about the quality of local literature or be entertained by an author such as Tom Eaton."

The scope of the programme is reflected in the some of the titles of the events: "Where Wilbur Reads Tonight" features popular fiction writer Wilbur Smith; "Islam, Feminism and art of novel writing" has authors Rayda Jacobs and Imraan Coovadia in discussion; "The importance of Memory and Dialogue using the life and values of Nelson Mandela as an example" features Verne Harris and Dr Mothomang Diaho; and "Poetic Licence: Is poetry the new black?" has various poets in discussion including Lebo Mashile and Gabeba Baderoon.

The CTBF has doubled its floor space this year to accommodate the increase in exhibitors and expected visitors. In addition, larger lecture halls and presentation rooms have been booked. Visitors are advised to arrive an hour before each scheduled event. Students with valid student cards and children accompanied by an adult will be admitted for free.

The CTBF is a joint venture between the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Publishing Association of South Africa (PASA), with headline sponsorship from the Sunday Times. Last year more than 26 000 people visited the fair, which hosted 418 exhibitors from 36 countries and attracted 2000 international trade visitors.

* The Cape Town Book Fair will take place in the Cape Town International Convention Centre From June 16 to June 19, 2007. The fair will host exhibitions by publishers from Africa, Europe the United Kingdom and elsewhere. More than 300 events including readings, book launches, panel discussions and seminars will take place during the Fair. Tickets are on sale at

Telephone 021 418 5493 or visit

Franschhoek Literary Festival misses the mark

If, as director Christopher Hope says, "basically the aim behind the [Franschhoek Literary Festival is] to encourage young writers and young writing", why is it held in an exclusive and distant place like Franschhoek? Why not Muizenberg or Mowbray, which young writers and book lovers may more easily get to?

Why the exorbitant fees to attend events and dinners? How many "youngsters" were in attendance? Looking closely at Ben William's photographs of the audience members on, one sees mostly middle-aged white people. Not surprising, given the questions of exclusivity, or is this merely a reflection of the book-buying public given the general unaffordibility of books in this country?

Curling up with a good eBook

It has long been predicted that traditional books are about to be replaced by little machines on which you can download any novel you fancy. But the technology has never really been up to the job - until now. Here Andrew Marr, who treasures his smelly, beautiful library of real books, spends a month with one of the new gadgets

The Guardian, Friday May 11, 2007

Read the article here:,,2077277,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=10

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Oshun Books Mother's Day event

Oshun Books is holding a special Mother's Day event at the stunning Deer Park Café in Vredehoek next Friday morning. If you've been wondering what to get that special mom for Mother's day, this brunch with two of our smartest, funniest authors will be a real treat.

Tertia Albertyn is the author of 'So Close: Infertile and addicted to hope' and mom to Adam and Kate. Sarah Bullen is the author of 'Hey Baby! The hip new mom's guide that's all about you' and mom to Ruby and Rodrik.

Tickets are R100 for the talk and brunch. RSVP to Sukeena at

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Short lists announced for Sunday Times Literary Awards

The short lists for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize and the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction were announced in Johannesburg last night. With prizes of R75 000 each for the winners, these prestigious awards are the richest on the continent. Convener Michele Magwood pointed out that because the Sunday Times has upped the number of entries that publishers can submit, judges received a record number of books to consider.

The short-listed works are:

Fiction Prize:
1. Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk, translated by Michiel Heyns, Tafelberg /Jonathan Ball
2. My Mother's Lovers by Christopher Hope, Atlantic Books
3. Mandela's Ego by Lewis Nkosi, Umuzi
4. The Native Commissioner by Shaun Johnson, Penguin Books
5. Green-Eyed Thieves by Imraan Coovadia, Umuzi

Honorary Award: Memorandum: a story with paintings by Marlene van Niekerk and Adriaan van Zyl, translated by Michiel Heyns and published by Human & Rousseau.

Alan Paton Award:
1. Rabble-Rouser For Peace - The Authorised Biography of Desmond Tutu by John Allen, Rider Books
2. Portrait With Keys - Jo'burg & What-What by Ivan Vladislavi*, Umuzi
3. The Suitcase Stories - Refugee Children Reclaim Their Identities by Glynis Clacherty, Double Storey
4. White Scars - On reading and rites of passage by Denis Hirson, Jacana Media
5. Touch My Blood - The Early Years by Fred Khumalo, Umuzi

Honorary Award: Scorched - South Africa's Changing Climate by Leonie S Joubert, Wits University Press

Said Michele Magwood: "It was not only the longest but the strongest list of entries ever for the Fiction Prize, but the judges distilled them into a short list relatively quickly. There was little or no dissent at all. Unlike last year, there are no surprises in terms of unknowns - all are established, experienced writers, and this shows in the deeply assured quality of the works."

The debate for the Alan Paton award, she says, "was longer and particularly fierce this year. Most of the discussion centred on the criterion 'the illumination of truthfulness', and how this is defined." The judges were impressed, she says, with the new forms that non-fiction is taking, as demonstrated in such books as White Scars and Portrait with Keys.

The Paton jury opted for an Honorary Award for Scorched for entering the new territory of science journalism and its skill in popularising an often-inaccessible field.

The Honorary Award in the fiction competition was given to Memorandum for its challenging of the conventions of the traditional novel, thematically and in form. The Chair of the panel, Professor Andries Oliphant, noted, "Constant experimentation is vital for the renewal of the novel."

The judging panels will meet again in May to decide on the winners. They will be announced on June 16 at a gala dinner at the Cape Town Book Fair.

Digital archive for SA books launched

Digital books are not new to the global market, but South Africa has yet to catch up. This is soon to change as, a division of Naspers, has launched a project that will see the creation of a digital book library. Through this initiative, the bulk of SA published books will be available in digital format in a few years’ time.

Channel manager Johann van Tonder believes that books as we know them today will not disappear in our life time.

“To the contrary,” he says, “technology has created wonderful opportunities for making books more accessible, even reviving certain titles. Our books need to be conserved for future generations, who will demand them in multiple formats. The digital format is clearly the answer.”

Full-text searchability will enable the public to search for any words which appear anywhere in the text of any book. According to Van Tonder, a longer term objective is to facilitate delivery of books in a number of new ways. “But for now, our focus is getting hold of all books ever published in South Africa and ensuring that our library is as extensive as possible,” he says.

Public can assist

With only 41% of all ISBN registered books published by conventional publishers, the rest of the books need to be sourced in different ways. Van Tonder is of the opinion that the public can greatly assist with tracking these books, especially books that are out of print and very old.

“We want to appeal to all South Africans to notify us if they are in possession of books that are not readily available anymore. Contributions will boost the creation of a lasting archive for generations to come and ensure maximum exposure of the South African literary legacy to a growing internet audience.” Books should preferably be duplicate copies as they would in most cases not be returned.

“Rights holders of books should also contact us to explore opportunities,” says Van Tonder. He emphasises that publishers and authors retain full rights to all books that are digitised.

Publishers, authors and book owners who believe that they can make a contribution to a digital library for South Africa can contact Shaakirah on +27 (0)21 481 8300 or email

101 books to read before you die

In a celebration of reading and the upcoming Cape Town Book Fair, national book retailer Exclusive Books is calling on all listologists and book lovers to consider their favourite reads and to assist them in compiling a definitive list of 101 books to read before you die. To find out more go to

Come to the Franschhoek Literary Festival

Some wonderful writers coming:

Helen Brain (children's book author)
Andrew Brown (novelist from Cape Town)
Justin Cartwright (South African novelist based in the UK)
Finuala Dowling (poet from Cape Town)
Gus Ferguson (you all know)
Mike van Graan (playwright)
Jenny Hobbs (novelist based here in Franschhoek)
Christopher Hope (South African novelists based in France)
Siri Hustvedt (bestselling novelist from the US)
Fred Khumalo (journalist and author from Jozi)
Rustum Kozain (poet based in Cape Town)
Rian Malan (journalist and novelist from Jozi)
Lebo Mashile (poet and TV personality from Jozi, winner of the 2006 Noma Award)
Niq Mhlongo (novelist from Jozi)
Mike Nicol (novelist based in cape Town)
Marlene van Niekerk (novelist based in Stellenbosch)
Nick Norman (geologist based in Franschhoek, author of Geological Journeys)
Margie Orford (crime fiction novelist based in cape Town)
Max du Preez (journalist and author)
Jancis Robinson (wine writer from the UK)
John van de Ruit (bestselling author of Spud)
Ivan Vladislavic (novelist from Jozi)
Mary Watson (winner of the 2006 Caine Prize)
Chris van Wyk (novelist from Jozi)
Zapiro (you all know)

You can see the full line up at It would be great to see any of you over the festival (11-12-13 May) and if you know of anyone else who would be interested in coming along then please let them know about it.

Caine Prize shortlist 2007 announced

Nigeria features prominently in the eighth Caine Prize for African Writing, producing three of the five shortlisted writers for this year’s competition. But with entries received from North, South, East and West Africa, the Caine Prize has once again proven its pan-African outreach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday, 9 July.

The 2007 shortlist comprises:

Uwem Akpan (Nigeria), ‘My Parents Bedroom’ The New Yorker June 12, 2006

Monica Arac de Nyeko (Uganda), ‘Jambula Tree’ from ‘African Love Stories’ Ayebia Clarke Publishing 2006

E.C Osondu (Nigeria) ‘Jimmy Carter’s Eyes’, AGNI Fiction Online 2006

Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa) ‘Bad Places’, New Contrast vol 31 no4 Spring 2003

Ada Udechukwu (Nigeria) ‘Night Bus’, The Atlantic Monthly, August 2006

In addition the judges highly commended Kenyan Billy Kahora’s ‘Treadmill Love’ from ‘The Obituary Tango’ Jacana/New Internationalist 2006.

“The range of this year's shortlist confirms that writers are testing the limits of what subjects they can address. From modern folk tales to social alienation, violent crime and sexual orientation. It is a welcome development”, commented Jamal Majhoub, the Chair for the 2007 judging panel. Jamal, who was born in London and bought up in Khartoum, has published seven novels, which have been translated into many languages. His numerous awards include the Mario Vargos Llosa Premio NH de Relatos in 2006 and he has previously been shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2004 with The Obituary Tango, from Wasafiri.

The judging panel this year also includes Kenyan academic, critic and writer Dr Wangui wa Goro, award winning novelist Delia Jarett-Macauley, South African poet and novelist Jonty Driver and former Zed Books Managing Editor, Robert Molteno.

As announced earlier this year, the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize, known as the ‘African Booker’, will take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as a ‘Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence’. The award will cover all travel and living expenses.

Last year’s winner was South African Mary Watson, for Jungfrau, from ‘Moss’, Kwela Books, 2004. Dr Nana Wilson-Tagoe commented that Jungfrau was “a powerfully written narrative that works skilfully through a child’s imagination to suggest a world of insights about familial and social relationships in the new South Africa”. Mary is now working on her first novel in Cape Town.

Other previous winners include 2005’s winner S.A.Afolabi from Nigeria for Monday Morning from Wasafiri (2004), later published in his first collection of short stories, A Life Elsewhere, his first novel Goodbye Lucille is due to be published this summer. Helon Habila, Caine Prize 2001 winner, described as a ‘major novelist in the making’, has just published his second novel, Measuring Time. Binyavanga Wainaina, who won the Caine Prize in 2002 is the founding editor of the literary magazine, Kwani? and is currently working on a memoir which is to be published by Granta Books.

This year the short listed writers will be reading from their work at the Royal Over-Seas League on Friday, 6 July at 7pm and at the South Bank Centre literary festival on Sunday, 8 July at 8:15 pm. There will also be a seminar at the Institute for English Studies, Senate House, University of London, on Wednesday, 11 July at 1.30pm.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Man Booker winner Kiran Desai coming to South Africa

The Inheritance of Loss was the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2006. It is a brilliant, bittersweet family saga and a powerful reflection of modern times that will broaden your mind and break your heart. Kiran Desai will be in South Africa from the 15 - 23 June. To request an interview with Kiran, contact Kate Robinson at or on 011 327 3550.

The Inheritance of Loss (PB)
Kiran Desai R110
ISBN: 9780141027289

Thursday, May 03, 2007

SAFM interviewing Henrietta Rose-Innes, winner of 2007 HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award

SAFM will be interviewing Henrietta Rose-Innes, the winner of the 2007 HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award at about 3.15 p.m this coming Sunday, 6th May. The SA PEN website is now up and running. It is currently a work in progress so we would welcome any comments. Go to to see photos of the launch of African Pens.

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