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Elana Bregin’s Shiva’s Dance Launched in Durban

Clive Barker and Elana Bregin

Shivas DanceLast Thursday evening, a sizeable crowd braved an early-summer Durban downpour to be at the launch of well-known KZN writer Elana Bregin’s novel, Shiva’s Dance, at Adams Bookshop in Musgrave.

The book was introduced by two notable speakers – former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker, and Professor of English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Michael Chapman.

Barker, a friend of the Bregin family, reminisced about his days of coaching the national team, saying he expected “38 billion” people to be watching the FIFA 2010 tournament in South Africa next year. He wished the author all the best with her new book.

Chapman admitted to a little known fact – that he too had played soccer when he was younger – and then went on to speak to the book directly, quoting poet William Wordsworth’s famous line “the child is the father of the man”, to explain why Shiva’s Dance, a book about a girl negotiating a troubled adolescence, is a valuable addition to SA literature for youths, among others. He added that he thinks the book is a moving adult read too.

The author herself took over from here, saying that being a writer in SA is difficult, as we live in the political shadow of the “grim insolubles” of race, HIV and poverty, to name but a few of the problems facing South Africans. She quoted author Jonny Steinberg, who said in an interview with the Sunday Times, that readers are looking for a South African style of fiction that offers inspirational values, “a spiritual star” to steer by.

Bregin explained that Shiva’s Dance tussles with the lost, over-sexualised, difficult world of Gerry, a teenager growing up with the shame of family secrets. She meets a Buddhist monk, Adagar, who is the catalyst for her to translate her pain into self-acceptance. Bregin said the writing of the book – accomplished mostly over the course of many Sundays, as she could not leave her fulltime job at UKZN Press – was painful, and she had to dig deep. She wrote the book for her own unresolved teenage issues, saying that she hopes it will resonate with today’s teenagers.

Louis van Loon, the man who started the Buddhist Retreat Centre in Ixopo, KZN, and his wife Chrisi, were in the audience, as were many of the author’s friends, colleagues and well-wishers, and of course, people interested in purchasing and reading the book.


Pierre Gertenbach, Sebastian Quevauvilliers, Anthony Cuerden Nithia Naidoo and Mikhail Peppas David Vincent, Errol Higgs Nina Vassilev, Jane Fraser Inger Nilsen, Guy Tomlinson Margaret Daymond and Peter Scholtz Michael Chapman and Elana Bregin Louis and Chrisi van Loon Lois Moshal, Tanya Moshal, David Altshuler, Ezra Altshuler Ted and Vino Pillay Maureen and Michael Caminsky, Irma and Harold Raikin Nelisa Luhabe, Bheki Mthembu Clive Barker speaks Michael Chapman speaks Elana Bregin Elana Bregin signs books Elana Bregin Shiva's Dance Elana Bregin Michael Chapman

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Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    October 5th, 2009 @18:48 #

    I haven't seen the book, but I doff my hat to anyone who works in publishing, and is able to write fiction on their off days. I thought it was impossible until I came across Elana. Mazel tov!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Elana</a>
    October 12th, 2009 @10:30 #

    Thanks Helen. Can't say t'was easy but we got there! For my follow-up I'm thinking of clay sculpture.


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