Friday, June 29, 2007

BOTSOTSO will be launching six new titles at Xarra Bookshop

BOTSOTSO will be launching six new titles at Xarra Bookshop, Mary
Fitzgerald Square, Newtown: 6pm, Thursday 19 July, 2007

Collections of poetry

FALLING FROM SLEEPby Mark Espin, a non-dogmatic, activist poet whose
exercises in the philosophical evocation of life in Cape Town are
emotional and intellectual

BELLA, the collected poems of Isabella Motadinyane who died in 2003,
and was one of the founder members of the Botsotso Jesters poetry
performance group; her surreal and multi-lingual work offers a sharp
female perspective on South Africa

POETIC LICENSEby Mike Alfred, the septuagenarian poet of Troyville,
Johannesburgwhose wry exposures of the human and the natural are
sophisticated and humorous yet down to earth and cutting

A PRIVATE PART,poems and drawings by Lionel Murcott, is the interplay
between word and image, Lionel being equally proficient with both; a
teacher at the National School for the Arts in Johannesburg, he is well
placed to push multimedia collaboration to the limit


TOTEM AND CANDIDATE/SING BABYLON,two novellas by Marcelle du Toit,
offering contrasting southern African scenarios: one set in Hillbrow,
being a tale of Rastas, Jewish neurosis, jazz fiends, hallucination and
the contradictions African patriarchy creates for independent black
women; the second set in a 'mythical' African state in the
post-liberation period when the corruptiveness of power shows its dirty
hand and forces different elements to reconsider their allegiances


BLIND VOICESa collection of four radio plays by Kobus Moolman, who is
also a poet and creative writing teacher from Pietermaritzburg; the main
play, SOLDIER BOY, about the effect of the Total Onslaught wars fought
by White South Africa, was broadcast by the BBC in 2003. A CD recording
of that production is attached to the book. The other three plays are
more abstract, almost Becketian, and have yet to be recorded.

The launch will feature readings from the books and a discussion on the
role and status of independent, non-commercial publishers.

Chimurenga Magazine launches new issue with appearances at two of world's biggest contemporary art events

Cape Town based publication of arts, culture and politics, from and about Africa and its Diasporas, Chimurenga Magazine launches its new issue, Chimurenga 11 - Conversations With Poets Who Refuse To Speak with live appearances at two of the world's biggest contemporary art events.

On Sunday 24 June 2007 the magazine will provide the incendiary musical mix at the Africa Remix opening at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Joubert Park, Johannesburg. Expect a renegade audio "Felasophy" session featuring Abrahamse's Jafrobeat Ensemble along with spoken word ranthologist Lesego Rampolokeng; powerhouse polyrhythmic drummer Kesivan Naidoo, Nigerian Afro-soul fusion trumpeter Olufemi Ogunkoya and urban conscious treknology, tricknology and tracknology courtesy of DJ Khenzero. From 20h30 till late.

Chimurenga will also be spreading its word at documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany this July. Taking place every 5 years, documenta is one of the world's most important exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Chimurenga is one of 90 international magazines selected to contribute to this year's "documenta 12 magazines". Moreover Chimurenga will be in-house at documenta from 2 until 8 July with "House of Truth", an open-house autonomous zone that takes its name from the drinking pit where the makers of the infamous Drum magazine gathered nightly for informal seminars with Can Themba as resident deconstructor. At "House of Truth" fluids, bodies and burning minds coalesce to burning grooves courtesy of DJ Ntone.

Visitors to both events will be able to grab copies of the new Chimurenga. Titled Conversations With Poets Who Refuse To Speak, the latest instalment features a heady mix of words and images that give voice to silence. "So much has been said about speech: speaking up, speaking for oneself, not being allowed to speak, speaking for the other who'd rather speak for self, but very little is said about the virtue of silence," says editor Ntone Edjabe. "So much said about making oneself visible, but little said about mining the rich depths of absence. This issue is about silence, disappearing oneself as act. Though it's often one of abdication, could it be defiance, resistance even? - a challenging idea, in a culture where struggle about seeking exposure, giving voice, making visible and all that stuff..."

Inside you'll find everything from Iranian scholar Asef Bayat writing on the quiet encroachment of the ordinary, to an unsolicited rant from Cape Town-based writer Gael Reagon, serious Melodifius thunkish funk from acclaimed British writer Geoff Dyer, sharp travel discourse from South African poet, journalist, radio producer and activist Sandile Dikeni and American criminal and author, Jack Henri Abbott's words about life in the hole.

Also: Christopher Wise's search for African literary provocateur Yambo Oulogeum; Liesl Jobson on bad breasts; Anthony Joseph on the African origins of UFO; Che via Jay Cantor on el comandante's punitive silence; Achille Mbembe on the death of Um Nyobe; Suren Pillay on making pictures; Nwando Mbanugo to the little red hat of power; Eric Darton on what to say when its time to speak; Stacy Hardy on Julius Eastman's caged negratas; Conceição Evaristo on strange fruits; Neelika Jayawardane on Gitmo and Ed Pavlic on unannounced winners.

Images include Ralph Lemon's spaceship drawings, Mario Benjamin's unnamed ghosts, Goniwe minutes before he was gunned down, the Black Ark, drawings from the Ramallah Underground, and "Declensions in Blue", an essay on what silence looks like featuring images by David Hammons, Gordon Parks, Herve Youmbi and Moustapha Dime. The cover is "Sarkozy, Fanon and the jazz baroness", a remix of the cover art of Monk's Underground.

Chimurenga is available from book stores (such as Exclusive Books, South Africa), used-book dealers, cultural events, organisations, collectives and university campuses in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Kenya, Swaziland, Botswana and Ghana, as well as Germany, the US, Britain and France. The magazine can also be ordered directly online from

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Highlights of 2007 Cape Town Book Fair

Catch some highlights of the Fair (courtesy of with streaming video of:

- Wilbur Smith
- Tertia Albertyn
- John van der Ruit
- The Giggling Gourmet
- Richard Calland and Max du Preez; and many others

Attendance figures at the 2007 Cape Town Book Fair (CTBF) were close to double those of the inaugural event last year. Over 49 000 visitors attended the four-day fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which ended on Tuesday. This figure doesn't include the many thousands of children who also attended the event, which was one of the largest to be held at the CTICC ever. [June 19] In 2006, 26 000 visitors attended the fair.

"We are extremely pleased with the figures," said Vanessa Badroodien, Director of the CTBF. "The fair was a huge success, attracting a huge and diverse range of people."
Evidence of the large numbers attending the event was reflected in the convention centre parking garages, which were full for the four days. Even all the overflow parking was taken. CTICC Catering services battled to keep up with the demand for meals and beverages, with queues forming at most refreshment points. Autobank terminals ran out of money on several occasions.

Over 260 journalists, including an international contingent, covered the event. More than 200 authors and 354 exhibitors participated in the fair, with representatives from countries including the United States, Ghana, Germany, India, China and France. Directors from the Beijing and Frankfurt Book Fairs were in attendance, as well as the heads of the British and Caribbean Publishers' Associations.

Iris Klose, Project Manager/International Department for the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is a partner of the CTBF, said that she had been "extremely impressed" with the fair.

"It has been very lively. We combined our visit here to include both a presentation and a stand presence, and they have worked well. Overall, I would say the fair has been a striking success for everybody involved," she said.

Several new features at the book fair proved very popular, noted Badroodien.
"The magazine stands by Caxton and Media 24 were really well supported and pulled large crowds. And our book collections (on Mandela, wine and science fiction/fantasy) were also well supported," she said.

Virtually all of the 470 activities on the CTBF programme were full, whether they covered political issues, literary topics or more entertaining subjects.

"One thing we have realised is that author interactions are a highlight of the fair. Whether we had George Bizos talking about his autobiography, Anthony Horowitz explaining how he writes, or Marion Keyes being hilarious, the public just couldn't get enough," said Badroodien.

Another obvious highlight is the children's programme. "We expanded our zone for kids this year, but it still wasn't big enough," said Badroodien. "And on Monday and Tuesday we had an unexpected influx of children and their parents or teachers, possibly due to the public servants strike action and schools being closed. It called for fast re-organisation on our part."

Aside from the popularity of the events programme, reports from trade delegations and exhibitors were that the business side of the book fair was busy. Most commented on the efficient running of the event, and said they had made many useful connections. Printers, distributors, publishers, book-sellers, illustrators and more were represented on the exhibition floor.

While exhibitors enjoyed the exciting atmosphere created by the thousands of visitors, there was a common request for a business day that was closed to the public. Badroodien has said this will definitely happen next year.

"However, we must keep in mind that this is a part public, part trade event. And we want to encourage as many book-lovers as possible to attend, including young readers. After all, children are the next generation of book-buyers - and authors and publishers," said Badroodien.

In all, she had been "incredibly pleased" with the response to this year's book fair.

"We attracted a diverse and enthusiastic crowd, and they filled up all our events and activities. We had a wide range of exhibitors, with 4% from the continent and an international contingent of 26%. It's fair to say the 2007 CTBF has been a cultural and an economic success - especially considering the dramatic increase in visitor numbers," she said.

Badroodien said that plans were already being made for next year's event, including increasing the space booked for public lectures, establishing a booking system for certain events, creating an entirely separate zone for children and holding a business-only day.

"This year has been wonderful. And based on what we have seen, we feel entirely positive about the 2008 Cape Town Book Fair," she said.

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.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Centre for the Book’s 'must read' South African Books for the 2007 Cape Town International Book Fair

In response to an informal poll run by the Centre for the Book, in collaboration with the Cape Town International Book Fair, the Centre for the Book has compiled a list of great books written by South Africans.

‘This is a great way to show that South Africans are reading books written by South Africans,’ said Vanessa Badroodien, Managing Director of the Cape Town Book Fair. ‘And not only that, but that South African books are equal to any book out there.’

There will be a display of the books selected at Stand Q3, the Centre for the Book’s stand at the book fair, and the publishers whose books were chosen for inclusion on this list have supplied copies to be used as prizes for the winners of Lucky draw competitions. There will be two draws per day for small packs of ‘must reads’ and on the last day of the fair there will be a draw for the bumper pack.

The final list of ‘Must Read’ books - 25 (& 5):

A change of tongue -- Antjie Krog, RANDOM HOUSE SA (also as 'n Ander Tongval -TAFELBERG )
African Salad - a portrait of South Africans at home -- Tamsen de Beer and Stan Engelbrecht, DAYONE PUBLISHERS
Agaat -- Marlene van Niekerk, JONATHAN BALL
Coldsleep Lullaby -- Andrew Brown, ZEBRA PRESS (STRUIK)
Confessions of a Gambler -- Rayda Jacobs, KWELA
Die Aandag Van Jou Oe: Gedigte Vir Die Liefde -- Petra Muller, TAFELBERG
Dog Eat Dog -- Niq Mhlongo, KWELA
Green-eyed Thieves -- Imraan Coovadia, UMUZI
I remember King Kong (The Boxer) -- Denis Hirson, JACANA
Jamela’s Dress -- Nicky Daly, TAFELBERG
Karoo Boy -- Troy Blacklaws, DOUBLE STOREY
Orion -- Deon Meyer, TAFELBERG
People who have stolen from me - David Cohen, PICADOR AFRICA (PAN MACMILLAN)
Portrait with Keys -- Ivan Vladislavic, UMUZI
Seasonal Fires -- Ingrid de Kok, UMUZI
Shirley, Goodness and Mercy -- Chris van Wyk, PICADOR AFRICA (PAN MACMILLAN)
Skyline -- Patricia Schonstein Pinnock, DAVID PHILLIP
Some Afrikaners Revisited -- David Goldblatt, UMUZI
Song Trials -- Mxolisi Nyezwa, UKNZ PRESS (THE UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL PRESS * originally a Gecko Press publication)
Spud -- John van der Ruit, PENGUIN
The Abundant Herd -- Marguerite Poland and Leigh Voight, FERNWOOD PRESS
The Children's Day Michiel Heyns JONATHAN BALL, (also as Verkeerdespruit HUMAN & ROUSSEAU)
The Good Cemetery Guide * Consuelo Roland, DOUBLE STOREY
The Native Commissioner -- Shaun Johnson, PENGUIN
The Quiet Violence of Dreams -- K Sello Duiker, KWELA
The Whale Caller -- Zakes Mda, PENGUIN
Touch my Blood --- Fred Khumalo, UMUZI
Welcome to my Hillbrow -- Phaswane Mpe, UKNZ PRESS (THE UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL PRESS)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

McSweeney's needs your help

Dave Eggers' brilliant indie publishing venture McSweeney's is in dire straits:

As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000 -- actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.

We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.

Over the next week or so, we'll be holding an inventory sell-off and rare-item auction, which we hope will make a dent in the losses we sustained. A few years ago, the indispensible comics publisher Fantagraphics, in similarly dire straits, held a similar sale, and it helped them greatly. We're hoping to do the same.

So if you've had your eye on anything we've produced, now would be a great time to take the plunge. For the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and all backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole.

Many of our contributors have stepped up and given us original artwork and limited editions to auction off. We've got original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. We're even auctioning off Dave Eggers's painting of George Bush as a double-amputee, from the cover of Issue 14.

This is the bulk of our groundbreaking business-saving plan: to continue to sell the things we've made, albeit at a greatly accelerated pace for a brief period of time. We are not business masterminds, but we are optimistic that this will work. If you've liked what we've done up to now, this is the time to ensure we'll be able to keep on doing more.

Plenty of excellent presses are in similar straits these days; two top-notch peers of ours, Soft Skull and Counterpoint, were just acquired by Winton, Shoemaker & Co. in the last few weeks. It's an unsteady time for everybody, and we know we don't have any special claim to your book-buying budget. We owe all of you a lot for everything you've allowed us to do over the last nine years, for all the time and freedom we've been given.

Once this calamity is averted, we'll get back to our bread and butter -- the now-legendary Believer music issue is already creeping into mailboxes everywhere; Issue 24 of our quarterly is in the midst of a really pretty silkscreening process; and in July the fourth issue of Wholphin, our DVD magazine, will slip over the border from Canada, bringing with it some very good footage of Maggie Gyllenhaal and a Moroccan drummer who messes up a wedding in an entertaining way. And then a couple of months after that, we'll publish a debut novel from a writer named Millard Kaufman. This book is exactly the kind of thing McSweeney's was created to do: The novel came through the mail, without an agent's imprimatur, and it was written by a first-time novelist. This first-time novelist is ninety years old. It was pulled from the submissions pile and it knocked the socks off of everyone who read it. Millard may well be the best extant epic-comedic writer of his generation, and he stands at equal height with the best of several generations since.

Whatever you can do to help in the coming days, we thank you a thousand times. We'll keep updating everybody on how this is going over the next few weeks; for now, pick up a few things for yourself, your friends, for Barack Obama. More news soon -- thanks for reading.

Yours warmly,
The folks at McSweeney's

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Christopher Hope reviews Dave Eggers' What is the What

In What Is the What by Dave Eggers Christopher Hope discovers how mass murder is made palatable

Saturday June 9, 2007
The Guardian

What Is the What
by Dave Eggers
475pp, Hamish Hamilton, £18.99What Is the What by Dave Eggers

Poetry workshop with Finuala Dowling in Kalk Bay

Saturday 21st July
from 16h00 to 17h30

Venue "The Forge", Windsor Rd, Kalk Bay
Fee: R80

If you would like to book, please reply to

Friday, June 08, 2007

*New* short fiction: Shaba Park by Lloyd Igane

Lloyd Igane has spent more than half his life writing ads for radio, television and print. He has been a copywriter, creative director, producer and fire fighter at various advertising agencies in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and once in Lagos, Nigeria. He has been involved in various film development projects, written numerous articles for The East African, The Daily Nation, The Standard and other publications in East Africa. His tongue-in-cheek column Out of My Mind runs in Sokoni, the official newsletter of the Marketing Society of Kenya. He is registered for a degree in Literature and Communications at the University of Nairbi where Shaba Park originated from a class project in the unit “Sources of Children’s Literature”.

Shaba Park by Lloyd Igane

Angloplat short story competition 2007 launches

Awarding a total of R65 000 in prize money and the chance to win platinum jewellery.

"We encourage you to start writing an exciting, gripping and original story of between 4500 and 5000 words in English to be sent typed or handwritten. This competition does not disqualify writers for imperfect grammar or spelling, as long as the story is interesting."

Anglo Platinum and Beulah Thumbadoo & Associates (BTA) announced that the 2007 BTA/Anglo Platinum short story competition is officially open for entries. For the past 13 years, this competition has helped to give a voice to thousands of ordinary South Africans and has created a wealth of local writing, receiving over 12000 stories from throughout southern Africa. The competition, one of the most entered writing competitions in the world, has been overwhelmingly successful in raising awareness about writing and reading. In addition, the prize money for the competition, totalling R65 000 (with R25 000 for first prize), is among the highest for any short story writing competition

Last year Renee Muller won first prize for her tale “Mrs Tilbury’s Cast-offs”, about an old lady who invites local children into her home to sing along as she revisits her piano. Mrs Tilbury and the youngsters are richer for the experience. Renee is a former drama, language and education practitioner, currently a writer and translator in Cape Town.

Entrants are asked to write a gripping and original story of between 4500 to 5000 words. The competition is unique in that it focuses on content over form, understanding that many entrants will be writing in their second or third language. Story quality and creativity are the key criteria and entrants are not penalized for imperfect grammar and spelling. As such, stories are submitted from all walks of life, throughout Southern Africa. Ferial Haffajee, Editor-in-Chief of the Mail & Guardian and regular judge, calls the competition, “a date of promise on the literary calendar.”

This is the eighth year that Anglo Platinum is sponsoring this competition. Once again, a piece of platinum jewellery from the Djadji range is up for grabs in a special prize category.

Million Books Campaign

Beulah Thumbadoo, well known reading activist and advocacy worker has managed the short story competition for 13 years. In 2004, she launched the Million Books Campaign. This campaign is a follow-up project which makes books freely available to communities, addressing the South African reality that more than 50% of adults have access to fewer than 10 books.

The BTA Million Books Campaign (with the help of sponsoring organizations and companies) publishes the winning stories from the BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Competition each year. These books are then distributed to needy communities free of charge, thus putting interesting and relevant contemporary literature into the hands, homes and libraries of South Africans.

To date, 40 000 books in various formats have been printed and distributed to schools in the Northwest Province and Limpopo.

For more information on the competition, or the Million Books Campaign, please contact:
• Savo Tufegdzic (Creative Media) 011 888 3104

Monday, June 04, 2007

Adaptation: CTBF offers lecture


Eighty percent of all movies, feature films, television dramas, mini-series even documentaries, are adapted from other media written media. For a fiction writer this means a second, and often greater, source income.

At next month's Book Fair, SASWA Cape with the SA Publishers Association and the Cape Town Book Fair, is hosting Julian Friedmann, a leading London literary agent specialising in negotiating film rights for writers. His long experience has given him great insight into how adaptations work, what makes a good adaptation.

His lecture at 10.00am on Tuesday, 19 June will cover the subject thoroughly.

Why some novels and short stories adapt well to the screen and others do not.
He will highlight the problems in adaptation that face the script writer.
Choosing the right subject to appeal to a film producer.
Should the author adapt the work to the screen or choose the best specialist to make the adaptation?
Should the script writer work with the author or alone?

The lecture is for novelists, short story writers, playwrights, script writers and producers to gain insight into the process and its potential.

The lecture will be followed by a Q and A session with experienced adaptation writers who have worked on their own and others' originals. The number of participants is limited to 24 so please respond soon to Anne Taylor

Friday, June 01, 2007

Extract from Rosemund J. Handler's new novel, Katy's Kid

Katy's Kid is a vividly textured tale of risk and betrayal and juxtaposes an unlikely trio of two women and the child who both connects and divides them. An intimate portrayal of the bare-bones struggle for survival in the world's oldest profession, it is also a luminous page-turner about love in its limitless guises; about motherhood, sisterhood and friendship.

Read an extract here

Rosemund's short story An Act of Vengeance is available exclusively on