Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Join us for a reading introducing poets and poetry

Johannesburg Poets @ BOEKEHUIS Saterdag 23 Februarie @ 12:30 Andries Bezuidenhout lees uit sy debuutbundel, Retoer

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers reads from her book, Taller than Buildings When: Saturday 23 February 2008 At 12:30

Where: BOEKEHUIS, cnr Lothbury & Fawley Streets, Auckland Park RSVP: by 21 Feb 08 or 011 482 3609

Oor die digter:
Andries Bezuidenhout het veral bekendheid verwerf as lid van die rockgroep Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes en vir sy rubrieke op LitNet en in Rapport. Hy is dosent in Sosiologie aan die Universiteit van die Witwatersrand.

About the poet:
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

After winning the runner-up best writer award and the audience appreciation award in the Pansa Festival of Contemporary Theatre Readings in 2005, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers started exploring her poetic voice. Last year she performed at the Jozi Spoken Word Festival, Word Power Festival of Black Literature and Book Fair in the UK, as well as Poetry Africa, and represented South Africa at the 12th International Poetry Festival in Havana, Cuba. In 2007 she wrote her one-woman show Original Skin and performed in Bloemfontein and Cape Town. It will appear in May and June at the Market Theatre. After winning a grant from the Centre for the Book in November 2006, she published her first volume of poetry, Taller than Buildings, which is now in its second edition.

She writes for television, magazines and newspapers. Find an interview with Phillippa by Victor Dlamini at

Find the audio recordings of poets reading their work at The Poetry Archive

The Poetry Archive is the world's premier online collection of recordings of poets reading their work.

You can enjoy listening here, free of charge, to the voices of contemporary English-language poets and of poets from the past.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Appeal for worldwide reading on anniversary of the political lie on March 20, 2008

For the third time the Peter Weiss Foundation for Art and Politics calls upon cultural institutions, radio stations, theatres and interested individuals to join in a worldwide reading on March 20th, the anniversary of the political lie. The essay “In Memory of the Forgotten” by the Chinese writer Lu Xun (1881-1936) will be read.

It is especially meaningful now, right before the Olympic Games (August 8-24, 2008 in Beijing), to draw attention to the censorship, the silence decreed on matters related to China’s most recent history, Tibet, the enormously high number of death sentences, the collaboration with the regime in Sudan and, not least, the imprisonment of civil rights activists. As recently as three weeks ago the 34 year-old activist Hu Jia, known for his commitment to human rights and rights for those infected by HIV, was put in prison after a six-month house arrest.

China is a country without any memory when it comes to certain issues. The majority of those who grew up in China in the nineties have no clear notion of what happened during the massacre in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. Research into the Cultural Revolution is forbidden. Public commemoration of the 500,000 intellectuals who were imprisoned or sent to labour camps during the Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956-57 is also not allowed. The regime preaches harmony. Because he continually called upon the Chinese to remember their past, the regime slowly grew suspicious of Lu Xun, who had always been presented as a strong supporter of the Revolution.

In the summer of 2007, after Lu Xun’s work vanished from the reading lists of a few American universities, China’s minister of education ordered certain of his texts, those that had been read out on June 4, 1989, to be struck from schoolbooks and substituted by the feudal sagas of Jin Yong. Lu Xun was already threatened by censorship during his lifetime. Even after 1949 his work and photos were edited and reinterpreted due to political circumstances.

The aim of our events and activities is to raise awareness of the form and content of political communication. Since lies belong to the equipment of political groups at the start of the twenty-first century, it is crucial that the strength of those who protest against them is not weakened.

On occasion of the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, the Peter Weiss Foundation initiated for the first time a worldwide reading on March 20, 2006. On this “anniversary of the political lie” Eliot Weinberger’s text “What I Heard about Iraq” was read at events and over the radio. On March 20, 2007 over 1.2 million people listened to two reportages by Anna Politkovskaya.

The text by Lu Xun in all universal languages is available through the Peter Weiss Foundation for Art and Politics.

The first authors, who signed this appeal, are Yuri Andrukhovych, Paul Auster, Nuruddin Farah, Siri Hustvedt, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Bahman Nirumand.

To sign up for this reading on the third anniversary of the political lie please contact: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or visit the website

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

KZN Literary Tourism

KZN Literary Tourism has hit the ground running in 2008. We aim to have the Cato Manor Writers Trail published by the end of this month and have plans to develop three more trails. These are the Albert Luthuli/Benedict Vilakazi Trail, the Midlands Writers Trail (including John van de Ruit) and the Indanda Writers Trail (focusing on Ghandi and his descendants). Contact us for more information on these trails. Here are the latest additions to our website.


Fanie Fourie’s Lobola by Nape ‘a Motana

Fanie Fourie’s Lobola is, without doubt, unlike any book I’ve ever read. And not only because it’s written from an Afrikaner’s perspective (by a Sepedi man). Not only because it tackles the subject of inter-racial relationships with humour and candour. But because it is filled with the richness of an African traditional storyteller, only told in English.

This is most likely because it was originally written in Sepedi, and then translated into English by the author, Nape ‘a Motana, who retained much of the original colour and flavour in the language usage. What does this mean? Flowery descriptions, emotions bordering on melodrama and plenty of emphasis on ‘this beauty whom the gods of Afrika had undoubtedly blessed with splendid dimples.’ But somehow, it isn’t distracting, and simply adds to the book’s appeal.

Ja, No, Man by Richard Poplak

Take the nostalgia bred from having spent sixteen years growing up in South Africa, and then sixteen years out of it, and combine it with a lot of thought around the responsibility of white South Africans during Apartheid, and you have Ja, No, Man in a nutshell.

Described as ‘a memoir of pop culture, girls, suburbia*. and Apartheid’, Ja, No, Man is Richard Poplak’s story of the first sixteen years of his life, which is special because (as he says), ‘What makes my experience remarkable and my perspective unique is that I lived in South Africa only under the Apartheid regime* My South Africa, the universe I inhabited as a boy, died three months after I left it.’


A conversation with Lindy Stiebel

Lindy Stiebel discusses literary tourism, the KZN Literary Tourism project and literary trails in KwaZulu-Natal.

Lindy Stiebel is project leader of KZN Literary Tourism. She is also Professor in English Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Stieble is the author of Imagining Africa: landscape in H.Rider Haggard's African romances (Greenwood Press 2001), Thomas Baines and the 'Great Map' (Campbell Collections 2001), and co-editor of Still Beating the Drum: Critical Perspectives on Lewis Nkosi (Rodapi and Wits University Press 2006). She has published articles on South African literature, spatial discourse and literary tourism.

A conversation with Bridget McNulty

Bridget McNulty discusses her novel Strange Nervous Laughter, the connection between place and writing, and her hometown of Durban.

Bridget was born and grew up in Durban, a city she is still strongly attached to - in real life and literary. After finishing high school, she went to America to study Creative Writing and Theatre at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She returned to Durban after graduating in 2005, and spent a year writing at home, soaking up the sounds and smells and vibrancy of the city of Durban, and transforming them into text for her novel, Strange Nervous Laughter.

A conversation with Peter Machen

Peter Machen talks to Niall McNulty about his book Durban - A Paradise and its People, the city of Durban and how it influences his writing.

Durban - A Paradise and its People is a unique guide to the city from the perspective of those who live here. Writer and designer Peter Machen uses minimal text and rich, vibrant photographs to display the diversity of everything from architecture, music, fashion, art, dance and theatre, to film, museums and sport. For the serious minded, there are views on city government and sustainability. Published by eThekwini Municipality, the book has had rave reviews in the local and national media.


Mynhardt verlang na Patrick -Byebye, Bethulie Boy, Byebye

At the beginning of 2004, whilst registering students at UKZN, I happened to find myself next to the head of the Drama Department. I tell him about my PhD on Literary Tourism. He tells me that he has heard that Patrick Mynhardt, the Bard of the Bosveld, has stacks of paraphernalia that he doesn't know what to do with. Ever the optimist. I decide to try 1023. " Do you have the number of a Patrick Mynhardt", I ask Yes, they tell me. I dial the number waiting to hear that I have the wrong Patrick Mynhardt.

Photographs Required

We are looking for two photographs for our Cato Manor Writers Trail - one is of the playwright Kessie Govender and the other is of the Indian community (market gardens, shops, homes) in Cato Manor. If you could assist us, please contact me at

Book Launch

Penguin Books and Exclusive Books takes pleasure in inviting you to the official launch of Durban in a Word, Contrast and Colours in eThekwini, edited by Dianne Stewart. This collection of contemporary writings by contributors who have a strong connection to Durban/KwaZulu-Natal captures the essence of Durban. Di Stewart, Greg Ash (NOAH), John van de Ruit and Devi Rajab will be saying a few words.

Date: Wednesday 27 February 2008
Time: 5:30 for 6:00pm
At: Exclusive Books Pavilion, Westville


Grey Street Writers Trails

Just a reminder, we run regular tours based on our popular Grey Street Writers trail. These tours are open to tourists and Durban residents alike and we encourage as many people as possible to join us. For more on the tour, see Grey Street Literary Trail.

Lindy Stiebel and Niall McNulty

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wordsworth's author choice evening

Guest author is Susan Mann, author of Quarter Tones.

Date: Wednesday, 20 February 2008 Time: 17h30 for 18h00 Venue: WORDSWORTH BOOKS, Shop 7103, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront.

Susan will be discussing what inspires and motivates her to write, as well as sharing some of her favourite books and authors.

RSVP before Monday, 19 February 2008 Tel: (021) 425-6880 Email: Quarter Tones will be available at a 20% discount.
Snacks & drinks will be served.

Quarter Tones The most important things are hardest to find words for, her father once said. That's why people make music.

When Ana returns to the ramshackle cottage of her youth in the seaside village of Noordhoek, near Cape Town, she does so with the intention of sorting out her father's affairs. It soon becomes clear that more is at stake. After a decade in London, where she has failed to find work as a musician, her return to South Africa puts further distance into an already strained marriage, not only because she is out of reach, but because Michael, her husband, has lost faith in the country.

Quick to welcome her is her neighbour, Franz van der Veer, an architect searching for redemption. This is further complicated by the arrival of his eccentric brother, Daniel. Against a tangle of childhood memories, scarred histories and renewed hope, Ana finally starts to confront the death of Sam, her Irish luthier father, and with it, questions of guilt and belonging.

Lyrical and beautifully told, Quarter Tones is a story about music and love and loss.

About the author Susan Mann was born in Durban in 1967. She has worked in the media and taught at the University of Cape Town. She is currently doing research in France.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Inaugural Book Lounge poetry evening

Inaugural Book Lounge poetry evening with Ingrid de Kok and Jeremy Cronin reading from their latest collections:

Seasonal Fires and More Than A Casual Contact

Monday 18th February, 5.30pm Corner Buitenkant & Roeland Street

Please RSVP on 021 462 2425 or

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lunch hour with author @ 12:30 on Friday 8 Feb '08

Lunch hour with author @ 12:30 on Friday 8 Feb '08
@ BOEKEHUIS Bookshop for South African and World Literature

BOEKEHUIS cordially invites you to a short talk by former World Bank official, Robert Calderisi author of, The Trouble with Africa Why foreign aid isn't working

Where: BOEKEHUIS, Cnr. Lothbury and Fawley streets, Auckland Park
When: Friday 8 February 2008, at 12:30 RSVP:: by Thurs 7/02/2008 on
011 482 3609 or Drinks & sandwiches available

About the author:

Robert Calderisi.has had a thirty-year career in international development, principally at the World Bank, where between 1997 and 2000 he was the Bank's international spokesperson on Africa. He studied at the Universities of Montreal, Oxford, Sussex and London.

About the book:

In the introduction to Calderisi's The Trouble with Africa, he reminds us that Africa is the only continent that has grown steadily poorer over the last thirty years and the only part of the globe where population growth has been out of control. It's the only region of the world where savage wars break out on a regular basis and it's no accident that two thirds of the world's AIDS cases are in Africa but where African government have largely ignored the problem.

Drawing on many years of first-hand experience, The Trouble with Africa highlights issues which have been ignored by Africa's leaders but have long worried ordinary Africans, diplomats, academics, business leaders, aid workers, volunteers and missionaries. It ripples with stories which only someone who has talked directly to African farmers - and heads of state - could recount.

Calderisi argues that Africa is now responsible for most of its own problems and that outsiders can help only if they are more direct and demanding in their dealings with the continent. It's time to move beyond the hand-wringing and politeness that dominate most discussions of Africa and to suggest concrete steps that Africa and the world can take to liberate talent and enterprise on the continent.


".. a blast of fresh air over a continent that has for decades been suffocating under a blanket of well-meant concern, ineffectual at best, and harmful at worst." -
Michael Holman, former Africa Editor, Financial Times