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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Nakhane Toure Chats about Piggy Boy’s Blues: An Exploration of the Spiritual Lives of Black South Africans

Piggy Boy's BluesMail & Guardian‘s Kwanele Sosibo recently spoke to award-winning musician Nakhane Touré about his debut novel, Piggy Boy’s Blues. BlackBird Books publisher Thabiso Mahlape also joined in the conversation, sharing why she was so captivated by his work.

Touré says that the book, which he has been working on for almost seven years, is an exploration of the spiritual lives of black people in South Africa and that he was “inspired by the episodic structure of the Bible, especially Genesis”.

Piggy Boy’s Blues tells the story of one man’s journey from the city to the pastoral town of Alice in the Eastern Cape where he disturbs and troubles the silence and day-to-day practices that his uncle, Ndimphiwe, and the man he lives with, have kept, resulting in a series of tragic events.

“One of the most captivating things about Nakhane is that he is one of those rare all-round artists,” Mahlape says of Touré.

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Piggy Boy’s Blues, musician Nakhane Touré’s debut novel, reads like fragments of a recurring dream. Characters flash in and out of the story like apparitions; they daydream to block out deeply scarring violations and the story unfolds in short, sharp, sometimes nonlinear episodes.

Essentially a tragedy centred on the disastrous consequences of a man’s return to his Eastern Cape hometown of Alice, the work is carried by Touré’s poetic, sensuous prose rather than by attention to storytelling mainstays such as a narrative arc.

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The Meltdown of the Nuclear Family – Joanne Hichens Interviews Roger Smith About Sacrifices

SacrificesIncredible JourneyJoanne Hichens, author and curator of the Short Sharp Stories Awards, interviewed Roger Smith recently about his latest book, Sacrifices.

Smith’s work has been translated into eight languages, and, according to Hichens, two are in development as movies in the US. Hichens says Sacrifices is “knotted like a noose that starts to tighten from the very first page”.

The novel tells the story of a wealthy Cape Town couple, whose life is turned inside out when their teenage son commits an act of unspeakable savagery. Smith says he sees the novel as something of a morality tale, in which the South African criminal justice system is “so compromised that it can provide no remedy, so the remedy has to come from elsewhere”.

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And again, intimate crimes in intimate settings–particularly the insular nuclear family imploding –is a theme that you’ve explored in SACRIFICES. Can you comment on this?

When I set out to write SACRIFICES, I made a conscious decision to limit the point of view characters to two: Michael Lane and Louise Solomons. In my previous books, I wrote four or five POV characters per novel, to create quite a broad, sweeping canvas, where the city (and the country) was as much a character as the people were. I wanted SACRIFICES to be a more contained, claustrophobic book. I wanted the reader to be enveloped in the worlds of Michael and Louise. Also, SACRIFICES is, more than any of my earlier books (although Capture gives a hint of where I would go next) a psychological thriller, and the inner lives of Michael and Louise are as important as their actions.

I suppose the meltdown of the nuclear family is a metaphor for South Africa’s troubled society with its corruption, brutality, and loss of moral center. In SACRIFICES I wanted to show how an attractive, privileged, white, liberal, English speaking family like the Laneswho, ironically, have erected walls around their Cape Town mansion to keep the perceived danger, darkness, and evil out) are in fact deeply compromised and corrupt, and how they justify their corruption by saying that, well, everybody else in the bloody country is doing it, there is no law, no justice, so what the hell, why shouldn’t we do it, too? Which, I think, is a typically South African attitude.

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Video: Tim Noakes Chats to Bonang Matheba About Banting While Jonno Proudfoot Cooks No-carb Pasta

Raising SuperheroesProfessor Tim Noakes and Jonno Proudfoot recently joined Bonang Matheba and Danilo Acquisto on the Afternoon Express show to talk about their Banting diet and to share a low-carb, high-fat recipe with the viewers.

The health duo’s new cookbook for children, Raising Superheroes, will soon be distributed by Jacana and is co-authored with paediatric dietitian Bridget Surtees.

Noakes told Matheba that the Banting “eureka moment” came from his own experience of losing weight on a low-carbohydrate diet, while being extremely resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance is a condition where you can’t metabolise carbohydrates adequately, he explained.

In Noakes’ new book, Raising Superheroes, he advocates the use of “real food” or unprocessed food for children. “Real foods are foods that have been alive until very recently,” he said.

Back in the kitchen, Proudfoot showed the viewers how to prepare a No-carb Pasta using shaved Courgette (baby marrow) as an alternative to pasta. “If you can trick the mind, you can trick the body,” he said.

In honour of the health theme of the day, Chef Claire also prepared Gluten-free Lemon Coconut Macaroons.

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David Attwell: JM Coetzee and the Life of Writing vertel die verhaal van ’n ­skrywer se kreatiwiteit

JM Coetzee and the Life of WritingJM Coetzee and the Life of Writing deur David Attwell is meer as ‘n biografie van een van Suid-Afrika se belangrikste skrywers; dit is ‘n studie van die verband tussen sy lewe en sy werk.

Só het die skrywer onlangs aan Willem de Vries vertel in ‘n onderhoud vir Netwerk24. Attwell gesels oor die argiewe wat hy nagegaan het in sy ondersoek na Coetzee se skrywerslewe en verduidelik hoe JC Kannemeyer se boek, JM Coetzee: ‘n Geskryfde lewe, bygedra het tot insigte oor Coetzee.

Attwell deel ook wat dit is oor Coetzee wat hom boei en hoekom dit 40 jaar gevat het om die boek te skryf. Lees die artikel:

Vertel van die boek as biografie en ’n studie van die ontwikkeling van sy skryfwerk.

Ek het baie gou agtergekom dat as jy as literêre kritikus opgelei is, kom die skryf van ’n biografie nie natuurlik nie.

Gelukkig hoef ek nie een te geskryf het in die konven­­sio­nele sin nie, omdat John ­Kanne­meyer my voorafgegaan het.

Ek het my onderwerp gevind toe ek die Coetzee-argiewe ­gelees het, naamlik die band tussen sy lewe en werk – die afstand wat Coetzee van outobiografiese bronne na die voltooide produk reis. Die verhaal van die boek is dié van ’n ­skrywer se kreatiwiteit.

Om die onsekerhede, vreemde beginpunte, selfdissipline, persoonlike risiko’s, asook die groot omvang van verwysings wat in die skep van die werk gaan te kon sien, was ’n voorreg.

 
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Andrew Miller and His Publisher Share the Story of His Development as a Writer

Dub StepsAndrew Miller, who won the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award for his novel Dub Steps, was recently interviewed along with his publisher Neilwe Mashigo by Wits Vuvuzela. Katleho Sekhotho wrote an article about the interview.

In the interview Miller speaks about his disbelief at winning the award for his debut, and how his writing has matured since he began to write poetry at age 15.

Mashigo addresses some of the challenges young writers face and gives advice about what to do when you want to publish a manuscript.

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He told Wits Vuvuzela the reason he writes, “For many years I wrote in self-defence – as a way of processing and understanding my place in the world. I’ve got older and realised what an honour it is for someone to read anything I’ve written. I’ve started to care much more about the structure of stories and the idea of entertaining a reader.”

 
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What Does a Publisher Actually Do? Bridget Impey Explains

Bridget Impey

 
Jani ConfidentialThe Search for the Rarest Bird in the WorldAerodrome recently caught up with Jacana Media publisher Bridget Impey to ask her more about the role of a publisher, what she is working on at the moment and other interesting things including the hardest and best parts of the job. They also tried to get her to name the one book that changed her life, but she wouldn’t budge.

“I love being a publisher. It is a delicious mix of often very contrary things. One needs the nerves of a gambler, the nose of a vintner, the financial smarts of a banker, the planning skills of a city engineer and, over and above all, a love of great stories,” Impey says. She is currently working on Jani Confidential by Jani Allan and The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World by Vernon RL Head and seeing to their needs.

Read the article to find out what a publisher actually does, and more about an average day in Impey’s working life:

What things are you working on at the moment?

I’ve been very occupied just lately with Jani Allan and her knock-out memoir, Jani Confidential, which touches with such clarity on the issue of public shaming and just what happens after. Such a book needs infinite care, lawyers’ approval, lots of chutzpah and a big marketing budget. She arrived in South Africa, fresh from the chill of New Jersey, in mid-April. We had a gorgeous success over the festive season with Vernon Head’s very pretty bestseller, The Search for the Rarest Bird in the World. We took it as our lead title to the Frankfurt Book Fair and have since signed up a very prestigious Dutch publisher, as well as Pegasus in the States. Now the search for further rights deals continues. I’ve also been quite caught up in the start-up of a new division at Jacana called Staging Post. It is a home for authors who wish to self-publish, but lack the know-how. We’ve been meeting the most interesting bunch of authors who want to go it alone, and learning a lot in the process.

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Video: Rehana Rossouw Speaks About Writing Her First Novel What Will People Say in “Our Language”

What Will People Say: A NovelRehana Rossouw was recently interviewed by Shannon de Ryhove for Polity about her debut, What Will People Say: A Novel.

In the interview De Ryhove asks why she chose to write a work of fiction as there is a trend for journalists, like Rossouw, to write non-fiction books. Rossouw says that this story came into her mind “almost fully formed”. She set off to write the book that demanded to be written and it happened to be fiction.

About writing the book Rossouw says: “It took a very long time.” She wrote the first draft in 2002 and then set it aside before going back to university to refine her writing and find the right language, which she calls “our language”, for her full cast of Cape Town characters.

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Thando Mgqolozana: The Fall of Rhodes is the Beginning of the Acknowledgement of Black Pain (Video)

UnimportanceThe morning after the removal of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes on the UCT campus – an event that had a month-long build up with various protests and controversial events – Thando Mgqolozana joined Nick Pawson in the News24 studio to discuss this particular moment in history.

Mgqolozana – whose latest book Unimportance deals with student activism and many issues relevant to the ongoing debate spurred on by the Rhodes Must Fall movement – was present when the statue was removed. He tells Pawson about the atmosphere on campus when thousands of people gathered to witness the affair and says that the most significant thing for him was the group of pupils from Philippi High School (who were in the news last month for a protest of their own) who came out in support of the movement. They inspired the author, who notes he has been feeling despondent about the youth for quite some time.

Mgqolozana also explains what this movement is about, if not the statue, and discusses topics such as transformation, black pain and black experience within this context.

“It’s been said many times that it is not about the statue, or any statue for that matter, ” he says. “But the statue, the falling, the removal of the statue represents a beginning of something. The beginning of the fall of white supremacy, a beginning the recognition and acknowledgement of the black experience, of black pain. Something that many black people, certainly the students at UCT, feel has not been acknowledged before,” he says.

The Unimportance author also shares how his novel is relevant to current events and says that one of his biggest motivations in writing is to bring the black experience and black pain from the periphery to the centre:

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Michael Cope and Ken Barris Chat About the Fun of Sunderland, a Semi-allegorical Novel-within-a-novel

SunderlandKen Barris and Michael Cope, authors Sunderland, were recently interviewed by Diane Awerbuck for Aerodrome.

In the interview, Barris and Cope speak about the inspiration for the book, which is a novel of literary ideas as much as of character.

The novel is about an academic who pieces together the last story of a recently deceased novelist. The two authors were responsible for a character each. Barris says that bouncing around ideas, and working collaboratively on the nested story, made it a fun project.

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How is this novel particular to South Africa? And what are its universal themes?

MC: I suppose that the Charles novel-within-a-novel is directly concerned to examine South African social realities and inequalities in a semi-allegorical way. Of course, these, and in particular the problem of vast inequality of wealth, turn out to be pretty universal in the early 21st Century. Charles is interested in how creativity fits into it all.

On a more personal level, Ken explores the universal themes of admiration, jealousy, infidelity and self-delusion in an ironic and amusing way, which leavens Charles’s weighty concerns.

KB: I can’t add much to Mike’s reply, except that I found his exploration of creativity and his reflections on writing deeply interesting.

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Zapiro Explains One of His Best Satirical Devices: the Shower Head (Video)

It's Code Red!Zapiro, South Africa’s foremost political cartoonist, was interviewed by Jennifer Sanasie for News24 about his latest annual, It’s Code Red!

In the interview, Zapiro speaks about his “shower head” cartoons. He says that the shower head, which he uses as a visual symbol for President Jacob Zuma, is one of the best devices he has.

Zapiro has a lot of fun creating cartoons, and he says he finds the legal and editorial wrangling around publishing them very interesting.

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