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Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Launch: The Broken River Tent by Mphuthumi Ntabeni (20 June)

The Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history.

It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century. The story is told through the eyes of a young South African, Phila, who suffers from what he calls triple ‘N’ condition – neurasthenia, narcolepsy and cultural ne plus ultra. T

his makes him feel far removed from events happening around him but gives him access to the analeptic memory of his people. After being under immense mental pressure, he crosses the mental divide between the living and the dead and is visited by Maqoma. They engage in different conversations about cultural history, literature, religion, the past and contemporary South African life.

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Jacana Media to republish Nthikeng Mohlele’s Rusty Bell and Small Things

Nthikeng Mohlele is one of the most accomplished authors South African literature has to offer.

His work has received much praise from literacy critics, culminating in his last novel Pleasure winning the 2016 University of Johannesburg Main Prize for South African Writing in English as well as the 2017 K. Sello Duiker Memorial Prize at the South African Literary Awards.

Rusty Bell and Small Things introduce readers to his earlier work and give those already familiar with his work a chance to complete their Mohlele collection.

Rusty Bell

‘An intimate and effortless philosophical work that establishes Nthikeng Mohlele as, undoubtedly, one of our generation’s finest novelists.’ – Eusebius McKaiser

‘I wrestled with life and lost.’ So begins the story of Michael, a corporate lawyer known to his colleagues and associates as Sir Marvin, who picks his way – sometimes delicately but more often in his own blundering fashion – through the unfathomable intricacies that make up a life: love and anger, humility and ambition, trust and distrust, selfishness and selflessness.

Small Things

‘Behind this story of love, music and the eternal quest lies an artistic sensibility as generous as it is complex. The prose is rich in texture, the final effect melancholy and comic in equal proportions.’ – JM Coetzee

In this haunting tale of love and learning, the existential chaos of a life ravaged by circumstance takes on a rhythm of its own, one bound by loss and loneliness but also an intelligent awareness of self. Sometimes melancholy, sometimes brutal, occasionally funny and infuriating, a journalist-comrade-lover caught up in the shade and shadow of politics and social injustice faces treachery and betrayal on every level.

Nthikeng Mohlele was partly raised in Limpopo and Tembisa Township and attended the University of the Witwatersrand, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in dramatic art, publishing studies and African literature. He is the author of four critically acclaimed novels: The Scent of Bliss (2008), Small Things (2013), Rusty Bell (2014), Pleasure (2016) and Michael K (2018).

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Submissions for Gerald Kraak Award and Anthology open

An award and anthology on the topics of gender, human rights and sexuality, for writers and photographers across Africa.


 

Gerald Kraak (1956–2014) was a passionate champion of social justice, an anti-apartheid activist and the head of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ Reconciliation and Human Rights Programme in South Africa. He authored the European Union Literary Award-winning Ice in the Lungs (Jacana, 2005), which explores South African politics, and directed a documentary on gay conscripts in the apartheid army. He is remembered for being kind and generous, delightfully irreverent and deeply committed to realising an equal and just society for all.

Created in honour of his extraordinary legacy, this new annual award is made possible in partnership with The Other Foundation, and will advance Gerald’s contribution to building a society that is safe and welcoming to all. The unique and vital anthology will feature English language writing and photography from and about Africa. Exceptional works which explore, interrogate and celebrate the topics of gender, sexuality and human rights will be longlisted and published in a Granta-like anthology. The overall winner is awarded a cash prize.

Rather than general discussions of these subjects, the judging panel will select pieces which engage with gender and sexuality in ways that promote new insights into human rights matters on our continent.

Only the very best work submitted will be shortlisted and published in an anthology, with the winners to be announced at a 2018 award ceremony, hosted by The Other Foundation and attended by the authors of the top three submissions. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of R25 000.

Our aim is to ensure that the anthology and information about the award will be disseminated as widely as possible throughout the African continent. To this end, Africa World Press (Ethiopia), Amalion (Senegal), FEMRITE (Uganda), Kwani (Kenya), Weaver Press (Zimbabwe) and Wordweaver (Namibia) will be associated with the project.

About The Other Foundation: The Other Foundation is an African Trust that gathers support for those who are working to protect and advance the rights, wellbeing and social inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities –and gives support in a smart way that helps groups to work better for lasting change. To learn more, please visit www.theotherfoundation.org

About The Jacana Literary Foundation: The Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF) is a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to promote and foster writing excellence from Africa through a number of initiatives. By securing funding for key projects, the JLF aims to publish literature that might not otherwise see publication for purely commercial reasons. This allows the JLF’s publishing partner, Jacana Media, to produce literature which supports the concept of bibliodiversity. We believe that it is through the reading and writing of local creative works that the truths of our lives are best told.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT THE AWARD

Open to:

· fiction,
· non-fiction,
· poetry
· photography
· journalism / magazine reporting
· scholarly articles in academic journals and book chapters / extracts
· social media / blog writings and contributions (Which deal with the topics of gender, sexuality and/or human rights.)

Submissions must be in English and from Africa.

The winner is awarded R 25,000 and publication by Jacana Media and its publishing partners.

The project is funded by The Other Foundation, and administered by the Jacana Literary Foundation (JLF).

Rules

Submissions will be open from 24 May 2018 to 25 June 2018.

The subject matter of the work must relate to gender, human rights and/or sexuality in Africa.

Works which fall within one of the following categories are accepted:

• fiction
• non-fiction
• poetry
• photography / photographic essays
• journalism / magazine reporting
• scholarly articles in academic journals and book chapters / extracts
• social media / blog writings and contributions

Entries must have been created by a citizen of an African country. Written submissions must be in English.

Up to three entries are permitted per author, across categories. Each entry must be submitted on a separate electronic entry form.

Please number your pages, use a font size of 12, Times New Roman and 1.5 spacing (avoid unnecessary formatting, such as borders).

Materials must not exceed 15 000 words or 8 images.

Images must be 300 dpi high resolution.

Images will be published in an image section on matte art paper and not in the body of the text.

We are looking for work which tells a story or illustrates an idea. If one photograph achieves this, then we welcome the submission of that single image. It is, however, more likely to be accomplished through a collection of photographs or a photographic essay.

We accept unpublished as well as previously published works.

No handwritten or hard copy entries can be considered. Submissions must be made via the online portal.

Entrants’ name should not be included on the manuscript being submitted, as the award is judged blind and the author remains anonymous until the shortlist has been selected.

There is an opportunity to use a pseudonym should one be required.

Intertextuality and references must be appropriately attributed and permissions from copyright holders obtained. This includes poems; song lyrics; quotes and excerpts from books, newspapers, magazines, journals; and reproductions of artwork, photographs or other forms.

Submissions are considered to implicitly indicate the entrant’s permission for their work to be published in the anthology, if shortlisted, for no payment or royalty.


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Launch: An Image in a Mirror by Ijangolet S Ogwang (22 May)

‘Strange, how humans desire to see themselves in a mirror image: staring back from the glass, their parts reversed, but their colours reflected.’

Achen and Nyakale: twin sisters, separated from childhood to inherit different destinies.

In the hope of inheriting a better life, a mother makes the heartwrenching decision to send one child, Nyakale, to South Africa to be raised by her well-off sister, the child’s aunt, who has no children of her own. The other child, Achen, stays in Uganda to be raised by their mother in a village.

An Image in a Mirror is a richly told and deeply intimate African story about the becoming of two young women, who are, the same as much as they are different.

When the sisters, at the age of twenty-two, finally cross their respective worlds to meet, how mirrored will each feel about the other?

Heralding a new female voice in fiction, An Image in a Mirror is a profound debut novel.

Ijangolet S Ogwang was born in Kenya to Ugandan parents and raised South African, more specifically in a small town in the Eastern Cape called Butterworth. She is most passionate about women empowerment and the development of Africa. She co-founded Good-Hair and works as an analyst for Edge Growth, a company focused on growing small businesses in South Africa. Between this and “adulting” she makes up stories.

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“These riots, when it came down to it, were all about one thing. Land.” Read an excerpt from Mphuthumi Ntabeni’s debut novel, The Broken River Tent

The Broken River Tent is a novel that marries imagination with history.

It is about the life and times of Maqoma, the Xhosa chief who was at the forefront of fighting British colonialism in the Eastern Cape during the nineteenth century. The story is told through the eyes of a young South African, Phila, who suffers from what he calls triple ‘N’ condition – neurasthenia, narcolepsy and cultural ne plus ultra. T

his makes him feel far removed from events happening around him but gives him access to the analeptic memory of his people. After being under immense mental pressure, he crosses the mental divide between the living and the dead and is visited by Maqoma. They engage in different conversations about cultural history, literature, religion, the past and contemporary South African life.

Read an excerpt:

The Gravediggers

The entrance to the Hangberg Multipurpose Sport Centre was unusually busy for a non-social grant payment day. Media cameras were everywhere. Their little village town had caught the attention of the nation, Phila thought, if not exactly the world.

“Ngawethu!”

The main speaker for the evening had entered the hall. While other speakers assembled on the podium Phila took a seat near the back. Although he regarded himself as part of this community, he felt somewhat out of place, as if he was faking his solidarity to leech onto the people’s pain.

It was soon evident that the community meeting had been hijacked by politicians and Phila had difficulty holding his concentration. A guy from something to do with Social Justice was saying something about the government marginalising and criminalising the poor. “The lies of the city and provincial officials who call us drug lords when we demand our constitutional rights shall be exposed!” he cried, becoming very animated.

He spoke for quite a long time, mixing English in Afrikaans. People clapped violently. Next a Rastafarian took the microphone, first hailing Haile Selassie and Jah and then dissing the “Babylonian governments and their system of oppression. Dem tell us to reconcile, meantime dem serve us snake for fish, and rocks for bread. Mandela se kak!” The crowd went wild. “Ons KhoiKhoi mense! We demand our land back …” There was something impressively radically anarchist about the Rasta.

As the meeting finally looked as if it was drawing to an end, after almost two hours, and the cameramen were packing up their equipment, Phila went outside to get some air and have a cigarette. He found himself reflecting on the reason for this meeting, the events of the past week which had culminated in what the media, with their flair for dramatic nostalgia, had called Black Tuesday. The police had come, around 2am, in what one of the speakers had termed ‘apartheid style’, to evict people who had illegally invaded land on the slopes of Hangberg. Phila wasn’t totally clear about the details but the violence had started when residents resisted the police. On his walk back home earlier, after having fish and chips at Fish-On-The-Rocks as the sun went down, his route took him close to where the events of Black Tuesday had unfolded. The place had looked like an abandoned movie set for the apartheid era. On his way he had stooped to pick up a used teargas canister shell, obviously from a police shotgun, and he’d slipped it into his pocket without thinking.

That speaker was right. The events of the previous week had introduced a reminiscent order of apartheid days in the streets of their village town. Phila himself had been there, doing what he could to help. When a TV newsman at the riot scene had asked him to give his opinion, on camera, he had wanted to sound revolutionary, to send a clear message that the impoverished should not be pushed around and criminalised for being poor. Instead, dogged by his middle-class timidity, he’d come up with a cautious statement about “the irony of the fact that when developers for the rich want to push mountain firebreaks it is done at the stroke of a pen, but now that the poor have run out of living space they are treated like brigands who are illegally occupying land.”

It irritated him that he was always so cautious, reasonable and unspontaneous. His mind was neither quick nor nimble; he lacked the gift of spontaneity, which was why he found it hard to improvise on the spot. At best he had keen powers of observation and some originality when given a moment to apply his mind, but his kind always got swallowed by the revolution.

He thought about how, a decade and a half ago, during the so-called rainbow era of Mandela, the country was full of hope and assertive belief in the renewal of its humanity. Now he saw the return of cynicism, suspicion, despair, and police terror, the suppression of freedom, with all the accompanying horrors. Community meetings with fired-up rhetoric. Loud-hailers on the streets, calling citizens to action – like the one on the red bakkie that had gone past his window and alerted him to this meeting tonight, urging residents to “do a postmodern on the BRUTALITY of the police last Tuesday, when they invaded our community APARTHEID style. Injury one! Injury all! The BOEREBOND is on the rise again!”

Outside he was joined by a podgy fellow who had been at the podium table and whom Phila was sure he’d seen somewhere else. Initially he couldn’t place him but then he realised: he was the security guard at the local supermarket, who usually greeted him when he went there for supplies, who sometimes helped him with the groceries, very politely, to the car. Phila always made sure to tip.

“Nice of you to join us, sir,” the fellow said with his usual politeness. Phila was glad to recognise a face in that sea of strangers. The fellow swapped his cigarette to his left hand before extending his right, and they ended up shaking hands for a little too long and more vigorously than was necessary.

“I never figured you as the revolutionary type,” Phila said, regretting the statement the moment it went out of his mouth. It turned out the fellow was a community leader of some kind. Inside, when people had kept referring to community leaders and shouting socialist slogans, they had been referring to him. An ironic twist surely – socialists guarding the doors of capitalism? Talk about capitalism producing its own gravediggers, thought Phila.

He was still turning fiery phrases over in his mind, of the type he could have used in front of the TV camera when he’d had the chance. The government is wiping our turned-up noses with the sword; our liberators have turned into our oppressors. A luta continua! Deep down he knew there was no way he could have said all of that. Even in his head it all sounded fake. He was no revolutionary; neither did he want to be one. He believed more in the evolution of the mind, the gradual progress etcetera.

The usual crap of weak characters who never want to be involved in the real struggles under the guise of being civilised. The irony was that he spent almost all his life trying to civilise his mind; now he was doing everything possible to escape the fate of Prufrock, the ineffectual, wellbred man during times of rising tensions and turbulences.

Irony struck him again as he said goodnight to the community leader and set off home. These riots, when it came down to it, were all about one thing. Land. The irony, in the twenty-first century, was that the players were still the same as before. You had the KhoiKhoi people on the slopes of Hangberg, and the Xhosas – mostly from the Eastern Cape, where their forefathers had fought the British colonial powers – on the slopes of Karbonkelberg where Imizamo Yethu informal settlement was situated. And then in the affluent valley down below were mostly the white people, progeny of the settlers from the 1800s.

Phila walked home under a maturing sheet of darkness. Moonlight cracked the sky with pale fissures of light.

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An Image in a Mirror is a richly told and deeply intimate African story about the becoming of two young women

‘Strange, how humans desire to see themselves in a mirror image: staring back from the glass, their parts reversed, but their colours reflected.’

Achen and Nyakale: twin sisters, separated from childhood to inherit different destinies.

In the hope of inheriting a better life, a mother makes the heartwrenching decision to send one child, Nyakale, to South Africa to be raised by her well-off sister, the child’s aunt, who has no children of her own. The other child, Achen, stays in Uganda to be raised by their mother in a village.

An Image in a Mirror is a richly told and deeply intimate African story about the becoming of two young women, who are, the same as much as they are different.

When the sisters, at the age of twenty-two, finally cross their respective worlds to meet, how mirrored will each feel about the other?

Heralding a new female voice in fiction, An Image in a Mirror is a profound debut novel.
 
 
 
Ijangolet S Ogwang was born in Kenya to Ugandan parents and raised South African, more specifically in a small town in the Eastern Cape called Butterworth. She is most passionate about women empowerment and the development of Africa. She co-founded Good-Hair and works as an analyst for Edge Growth, a company focused on growing small businesses in South Africa. Between this and “adulting” she makes up stories.

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The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award: Call for Submissions

If you are an aspiring author and want the chance to get published, then this is the opportunity you have been waiting for.

For the past 14 years, first as the European Union Literary Award and now as The Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, the submission process has unearthed great new South African literary talent. The books that have been published under this award have reflected the many strands of conversation that are woven together in the common language of fiction. The latest winner, Selling LipService by Tammy Baikie, is longlisted for this year’s Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

This year, the prize is not only open to South Africans but also citizens of all SADC countries.

The overall winner, selected by a panel of judges, stands a chance to win R35 000, be published by Jacana Media, get great coverage as a debut author and be part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign.

The JLF will also present the Kraak Writing Award, dedicated to the memory of Gerald Kraak. Valued at R20 000, it offers mentoring and intensive coaching from a published author, editor or a publishing expert, enabling the author to refine and develop their work further.

Submissions will be open from the 1 April 2018 to 30 June 2018. Enquiries can be directed to: awards@jacana.co.za.


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When Morning Comes explores the issues of race and culture through the eyes of teenagers on the eve of the Soweto uprising

It’s 1976 in South Africa.

Written from the points of view of four young people living in Johannesburg and its black township, Soweto – Zanele, a black female student organiser, Mina, of South Asian background working at her father’s shop, Jack, an Oxford-bound white student, and Thabo, a tsotsi – this book explores the roots of the Soweto Uprising and the edifice of apartheid in a South Africa about to explode.

In the black township of Soweto, Zanele, who also works as a nightclub singer, is plotting against the apartheid government. The police can’t know. Her mother and sister can’t know. No one can know.

On the affluent white side of town, Jack Craven plans to spend the last days of his break before university burning miles on his beat-up Mustang, and crashing other people’s parties.

Their chance meeting changes everything.

Already a chain of events are in motion: a failed plot, a murdered teacher, a powerful police agent with a vendetta, and a secret network of students across the township. The students will rise. And there will be violence when morning comes.

Introducing readers to a remarkable young literary talent, When Morning Comes offers an impeccably researched and vivid snapshot of South African society on the eve of the uprising that changed it forever.

Arushi Raina grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. So far, she has also lived in Egypt, Nigeria, India, the US, UK and, most recently, Canada. She likes intricate plots, flawed characters, chases, escapes, and sentences that just make you stop and wonder. Besides writing, Arushi enjoys travelling, arguments and long car rides. As a day job, Arushi works as a consultant. One day she’ll explain what that means.

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And our sunshine noir author for March is … C.M. Elliott!

A new month calls for a new sunshine noir author sending shivers down the spines of local thriller fans…

This month, the co-author of the popular Detective Kubu series, Michael Sears, had the opportunity to interview C.M. Elliott for The Big Thrill – the magazine for international thriller writers.

Sibanda and the Death’s Head Moth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

C.M. Elliott, author of the popular Sibanda-series.

 

Here’s what the two thriller aficionados chatted about:

C. M. Elliott (everyone calls her Scotty, but she says the reason why makes too long of a story) writes a series of mystery/thrillers set in Zimbabwe near the Hwange National Park. She certainly has the perfect background for it, having spent 40 years in Zimbabwe with her game-ranger husband pioneering a tourism business based in and around the national park. She says she lived in the park continuously for 20 years “in an assortment of tents, tree-houses and bush dwellings, dodging a hodgepodge of charging elephants, rhino, buffalo and a rather angry spitting cobra” before moving to Bulawayo. Along the way, she has won literary prizes and awards, and the books have just been optioned for a TV series.

The first novel, Sibanda and the Rainbird, featuring the redoubtable Detective Inspector Jabulani Sibanda, was published in 2013 to an enthusiastic reception. It was followed two years later by Sibanda and the Death’s Head Moth, and last year Sibanda and the Black Sparrowhawk was released. The books have a wonderful sense of place as a backdrop for the gritty crimes and action.

It’s clear from your writing that you have a deep knowledge of, and affection for, the people of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. How did you come to know the area and the people there so well?

I’ve lived in Matabeleland for 40 years and most of that time has been in rural locations. I’m fascinated by people and culture and the Ndebele are a particularly warm and welcoming nation, always smiling despite recent adversities. It’s hard not to admire and store away instances of such stoicism, good humor, ingenuity, and tradition.

What motivated you to write a series of detective novels set in Gubu, a fictitious small town close to the national park?

When I started this creative journey, I hadn’t a clue what to write about, but I knew the setting was going to be the African bush. It’s no secret that Gubu is the nom de plume for Dete, a village near the park that I know really well.

Sitting in front of a blank computer screen, I set myself the exercise of writing short stories in as many different genres as I could think of. My first attempt was crime, a serendipitous pick. I never progressed to sci fi, romance, or historical et al, because I became completely engaged by my characters. They wouldn’t let go and led me on a merry dance through an entire novel!

While I was reading the book, President Mugabe was deposed after 37 years ruling Zimbabwe. Where do you think the country is going in the future under the new president?

Onwards and upwards. Anyone who watched the peaceful transition in Zimbabwe, where up to a million people took to the streets with no incidence of looting or violence and no arrests, could not fail to be moved by the determination and unfettered joy of the people. With a ground swell like that behind him our new president must succeed.

Continue reading their conversation here.
 

Sibanda and the Rainbird

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Sibanda and the Death’s Head Moth

 
 
 

Sibanda and the Black Sparrow Hawk


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Margaret von Klemperer reviews Rehana Rossouw’s New Times

By Margaret von Klemperer for The Witness, 31/01/2018)

Rehana Rossouw’s glorious debut novel, What Will People Say? set a very high standard for her fiction career.

In New Times, her second novel, she has shifted the action forward nine years to 1995, Mandela’s second year as President and the time of the rugby World Cup. It was also when the first patches of tarnish began to stain the bloom of the rainbow nation – the silence over Aids, an economic vision that was not what many of the poor had longed for and hints of bribery and corruption in the top echelons of government.

Rossouw places her central character and narrator into this scenario. Ali (short for Aaliyah) Adams is a political journalist, starting a new job at a weekly paper, The New Times. Rossouw, writing here about something she knows well, is excellent on the atmosphere and internal politics of a busy newsroom – and this is important as the investigative stuff Ali is involved in is often complex and potentially indigestible in a fictional setting, and the human reality around Ali is necessary to keep the story moving.

The other very human strand is Ali’s home life in Bo-Kaap, where she lives with her mother, suffering from depression since the death of her husband, and her strong-minded grandmother, whose expectations of Ali are not something she can fulfil. As in her earlier novel, Rossouw draws a compelling and affectionate picture of a community with its own dynamics and characters.

There is a lot to like in this novel with Rossouw tackling a period when the idealism of the transition to democracy was taking its first hard knock. And in Ali, she has created a character who is going to have to face up to her own personal circumstances – living in a community where conformity is the watchword, particularly for women, is one problem. Hopes unfulfilled in both her own life and the wider society are taking their toll.

But Rossouw doesn’t always manage to mesh her themes successfully. As the political part of the novel veers perilously close to didacticism, in an effort to keep the storytelling lively Rossouw offers too many descriptive flourishes that tend to stop the reader in their tracks. Particularly towards the end of the book, the two strands of her story sit a trifle uneasily together.

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