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The EU Literary Award Winner: James Clelland’s Deeper Than Colour

James Clelland, winner of the 2010 European Union Literary Award

Deeper Than ColourJacana media is delighted to announce the publication, this November, of James Clelland’s first novel, Deeper than Colour, which won the EU Literary Award.

Thematically, Deeper than Colour explores the wide gulf between our view of ourselves, how we are seen by others, and the dispassionate images seen through the cold lens of a camera.

Angus has been traumatised by his time on the Border and now begins to film himself doing ordinary things, to try to understand his life. It is impossible, he says, for an abnormal person to have a normal life in an abnormal city like Johannesburg. The effect of the Border War on young white males has received little attention from novelists. Many troubled people are roaming our deeply divided country.

Comments from the EU Literary Award Jury:

Deeper than Colour tells a tale that is seldom told in the new South Africa: the effects of supporting apartheid on the white population. The script also deals with difficult issues in the new dispensation.

This is a morbid but gripping work that deals with the inexorable passage of its protagonist from terminally disaffected husband to perversely inspired engineer of his own fate. From the very outset, the reader is seduced into the paranoically obsessive world of Angus Smith, who, we later discover, is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It is only some way into the narrative that we realise that Angus’s perspective is psychotic and unreliable, but by then it’s too late. Like him, we have to see it through to the end. And Angus has ensured that his fate is shared by millions. A bitter and disturbing but compulsively readable book, Deeper than Colour raises unsettling questions about our socially fractured society.

About the author

James Clelland was born in Scotland, but has lived most of his adult life in Johannesburg, having emigrated here in 1982 as a research biochemist. He is a Doctor of Biochemistry and has published a wide variety of scientific articles in international journals. James became a citizen of South Africa in 1992. He has been writing most of his adult life and has published about a dozen short stories in various UK literary magazines. One short story won a prize in a Scots language competition, while two were published in UK Arts Council anthologies. Writing continued in South Africa, as a writer for Woman’s Forum, fiction reviewer for the Rand Daily Mail, and short story writer for Springbok Radio.

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