Happy New Year!
Been organising my work space and have unearthed two spare copies of This Day. I’m giving them away – free! – to two lucky readers. Leave a comment and on Friday, 20th of January, I’ll have a kid (or a dog, chicken – whomever is handy) pick two random numbers and send them off.
Please note, these will be sent via the South African postal service. They’re known to be quirky. I’ve yet to lose a book, but the further away you live, the longer it may take to reach you. Think of it as an experiment where we’ll have to hope for the best.
About the book: Loss has left Ella Spinner alone to care for her husband, Bart, who suffers from clinical depression. Their days now echo the tides: any progress made, rolls back. Yet Ella keeps pushing against the monotony. Set in Mossel Bay, Ella’s day begins like any other. But on this day the minutes begin to crack allowing change to filter through. As we cheer on her tenacity, we’re left asking ourselves what motivates anyone to try again. Published by Modjaji.
Amy Heydenrych from Bookish recently talked to Rachel Zadok and I about Short Story Day Africa and our novels.
5. What excites you most about the current literary landscape?
Rachel: Everybody who is part of trying to make a workable publishing industry. I love indie publishers who are unafraid to publish work that would give western publishers palpitations. Cassava Republic and Modjaji Books are my top two, and Bibi, Emma and Colleen are just the most inspiring people in the industry currently. Online journals top of my list are Saraba Magazine and The Jalada Collective, who are doing things that make my mouth hang open with admiration. Then Writivism is running mentorship programmes that make me cry with joy. I love the spec fic community that is finding its feet and planting them firmly in African soil, look up Omenana AfroSF anthologies, Bloody Parchment – if you join the African Fantasy Reading Group on Facebook you’ll discover a brave new world.
Tiah: I read an article where a writer quipped something along the lines that African writing right now is like France in the 1920s. There is so much happening, from JALADA, to Writivism, to KWANI and all the indie publishers springing up and making their mark. Look at the Etisalat prize, their coveted shortlist of three titles has included books from indie publishers such as Modjaji and Jacana – African fiction written, edited and published in Africa and succeeding. Thus, it is a huge privilege to be part of this dynamic African writing scene.
Click to read the entire interview
Tomorrow, Saturday the 9th of April, I’ll be at Far Hills Country Hotel to meet other artists and talk about This Day. Entry is free, so please come if you can.
On the 3rd of September, 2015 I, along with three other writers, was invited to speak at an SPCA fund raiser. Yes, four introverts were slated to be the entertainment. Yes, I was to speak about a time that I’ve now left to history. During the run up to the event, my mind was blank. I couldn’t think of anything I hadn’t already said, to say. Then one morning, in the shower (where all good ideas emerge), I began to think of all the things I wanted my children to someday know about This Day.* So that’s what I did, letter by letter.
3 September 2015
Today I was asked to give a little talk on why I wrote a book. Instead I’m reading letters I’ve written for you, to read someday, but not today. I’m not ready for you to hear these words, even if I’m speaking them to others. Because I’m not sure you’re ready to understand. Or maybe you are and it’s me that isn’t ready. Either way, you can wait.
On paper my life has been through a bit, in the last three months. 2014 ended with an accident. 2015 began with a death. Another member of the family is gravely ill. Tucked around the loss and worry have been the more everyday life-hitches: Eskom load shedding, Telkom incompetence, a burst water pipe (again, and again, and again), an employee breaking a leg, a minor operation (me), a stomach bug (child)… The physio keeps strapping me up and sending me back out there, like a coach during a game. So it goes, Kurt Vonnegut would say.
The morning after the death, husband and I sat side-by-side, bleary eyed and stunned while a waitress brought our drinks. We were at a rest stop outside Swellendam, facing their picturesque mountains. In an adjoining field, our dog, Orwell, joyfully ran, delighted to be travelling with his family. His bliss was so great you could practically hear Born Free playing as he romped. Smiles crept across our weary faces. I said to Husband, ‘Really glad we brought the dog.’
Then we returned from the wake and Orwell fell into his post-holiday-with-other-dogs-slump. So it goes… Continue reading