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Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Creative writing workshop with Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (25-30 January 2019)

The Talking Table is hosting a creative writing workshop presented by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen!The workshop will take place from 25-30 January in the eastern Free State village of Rosendal.

Facilitator:Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (novelist and head of creative writing at Wits)

Dates:25-30 January 2019

Venue:DeTuinen country lodge in Rosendal, Eastern Free State

Progamme:A practical, playful, hands-on approach.Full programme

Fees:R13 600 per single person and R12 200 pp sharing.Included accommodation, breakfast and a long-table meal daily and programme fee.

To book:Write toinfo@thetalkingtable.combefore 31 December 2018.

Bronwyn Law-Viljoenis Associate Professor and Head of Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand, editor and co-founder of Fourthwall Books, and former editor ofArt South Africamagazine.

She has a PhD in Literature from New York University and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Her first novel,The Printmaker, was published in 2016 (Umuzi) and shortlisted for theSunday TimesBarry Ronge Fiction Award.

The Talking Tableis a creative hub operated by two South Africans on the Greek island of Lesbos.

It hosts workshop in writing, painting, photography, philosophy, business ethics and more.Frederik de Jager, former Publishing Director at Penguin Books and Douw Steyn, former CEO of media companies in Naspers, accommodate, cook and create a sympathetic space for participating guests.

Rosendal will be their second workshop in South Africa.

Rosendalis a beautiful eastern Free State hamlet in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, three and a half hours’ drive from Johannesburg.

The Printmaker

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The Printmakerby Bronwyn Law-Viljoen
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EAN: 9781415209127
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Markus Zusak discusses his new book’s origins and gives insight into its themes with Michele Magwood

Published in the Sunday Times

Bridge of Clay*****
Markus Zusak, Doubleday, R365

Markus Zusak wanted ‘glories and tragedies and courage, all in a suburban setting’.Picture: Supplied

What was the genesis of the story?

I was 20 years old, and always felt really committed to being a writer.I used to take long walks around the neighbourhood I lived in and, once, on one of those walks, I saw in my mind a boy building a bridge.I named him Clayton.I thought I would call the bookClayton’s Bridge, and then a few months later, I thought: No, notClayton’s Bridge– make itBridge of Clay。And that was the instant when a whole new depth of meaning and emotion entered the idea.

I saw a boy making a bridge of stone or wood, but also of himself.He would mould his whole life into that bridge and within that idea there was the idea that Clay is both a name and a material – and clay (the material) can be moulded into anything, but it needs fire to set it … I was seeing new beginnings forming, and a definite ending.I just wasn’t ready yet to write it.

Which elements of the book were there from the start, and which came later?

I actually did write a version of this book in my early 20s, but I knew already then that what I’d produced wasn’t what I was looking for.You’re always looking for what you feel in your mind is what you then feel in the pages.

It was in 2006, afterThe Book Thief, that I started collating new ideas for the book, including a family of five brothers, a mother who had travelled to Australia from Eastern Europe, and a father who had once been obsessed with Michelangelo and, in particular, the Statue of David and his unfinished works, the Slaves (or Prisoners).

The elements ofThe IliadThe Odysseygreatly enrich the story.Are these works that have influenced your own life?

It started because of nicknames.I seemed to immediately gravitate towards giving all the Dunbar brothers nicknames (for example, Clay is the Smiler, Rory is the Human Ball and Chain, Matthew – who narrates the story – is the Responsible One, and so on), and it reminded me of how inThe IliadThe Odyssey, Achilles is never just Achilles;he’s the fast-running Achilles, and Hector is the tamer of horses, or Hector of the glittering helmet.

I started to feel a sense of suburban bigness to things.我们通常认为我们的生活又小又平凡,或 that we live in places or houses where very little happens.But then you start to realise the amount of travels that have been made to arrive in these places, and that we all fall in love, we all have people die on us.We laugh and live and love, and all of these things loom hugely, at times, inside us.And I wanted to write about those things.

I wanted to write a big and big-hearted story in what Matthew sometimes calls the suburbs-world.I wanted glories and tragedies and courage, all in that suburban setting.

Can you expand on the use of the bridge as a metaphor?

I think I’ve always thought of bridges being part of books and stories.As the narrator ofBridge of Clay, there are times when Matthew talks to the reader a lot, about the distance between him as the writer of the story and the reader as the recipient.I’ve always imagined that as well – that I’m writing in one place, and the words are stretching to wherever the reader is reading the book.In that way, the reader is part of the book, even in the act of writing it.

In a more direct and story-oriented way, the bridges inBridge of Clayare everywhere.Clay, especially, is building a bridge for his family, to bring it back together, but he’s simultaneously finding his own way of leaving.It’s both a bridge towards home and beyond it.And Matthew is building his own bridge, not only to an understanding of his brother, but to a new understanding of just how much he loves him.It’s why he’s writing the story: the words are a proof of love.

I readBridge of Claydirectly after finishing Tim Winton’sThe Shepherd’s Hut我觉得男性也提出了类似的主题, the question of how to channel young men’s energies and sensibilities.In short, how do we raise good men?Could you comment on that?

Probably the first way is to tell the truth, which isn’t to say that boys will be boys, and be done with it.My first priority is always to write from the inside out, which is to serve the characters of the book, and the story.What I’ve arrived at later is an understanding that if I was subconsciously trying to do anything, it was to write about boys in a way that shows them both how they are, and how we’d like them to be.

The Dunbar boys are rough and boisterous and raw, but I hope they’re beautiful too, and full of love and loyalty, and even tenderness.Maybe the first way to address this idea of positive masculinity is that it’s actually pretty complex.

One of the bigger lines inBridge of Clayis when Matthew says, “It’s a mystery, even to me, how boys and brothers love.” Like everything else worth fighting for in our lives, the idea of raising good men feels to me like something that never ends.It will to and fro between triumphs and failures, but the centre feels a lot like Clay and his brothers themselves;they fight and scrap and argue their way through the world and each other, but they never give up on each other either, or on themselves.@michelemagwood

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Ons Klyntjilaunch (5 December)

Established as a title in 1896,Ons Klyntjihas risen, died, been reborn, died off again and finally been reinvented somewhere in the murky 1990s to become what it is today: a 144 page, pocket-sized annual of the doen en late of South Africans at home and abroad.

Afrikaans and English sit side by side (plus bits and bobs of other languages) to create a kind of restless vernacular in poem-form, short story-shape, photographs, cartoons, funny things, rude things, sad things and just plain truths too.

The 2018/19 edition ofOns Klyntji Internasionaalwill be launched atThe Book Loungeon Wednesday 5 December at 5:30 PM for 6 PM.

Zines will be on sale.RSVP

Oh yes, there will be free wine!

Ons Klyntji is sponsored by Oppikoppi music festival and Woordfees.

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Book Lounge 11th Birthday Bash (30 November)

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A pleasing vignette of our favourite cop: William Saunderson-Meyer reviews Deon Meyer’s novella,The Woman in the Blue Cloak

Published in the Sunday Times

The Woman in the Blue Cloak***
Deon Meyer, Hodder & Stoughton, R195

One of the great things about Deon Meyer’s work, aside from his infallible ear for the nuances of South African life and his masterful plots, is that they are satisfyingly fat books.

Buy a Meyer and you’ve got the whole weekend sorted.

The Woman in the Blue Cloak, however, is a novella, weighing in at a mere 26,000 words and was written on invitation for the 2017 Week of the Thriller in the Netherlands.

It’s a challenging format, since there just isn’t the same space to build plot and character.Meyer writing a novella is a bit like a world-class marathon runner entering the 100m.

It is interestingly eccentric but one would be naive to expect a gold medal performance.

And so it is with this offering: a pleasing vignette of our favourite cop, dry alcoholic Benny Griessel, but just not enough meat to be anything more than an appetiser.@TheJaundicedEye

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A whodunnit with a thousand suspects – Sue de Groot reviews Camilla Lackberg’s latest contribution to the Nordic noir sphere

Published in the Sunday Times

The Girl in the Woods*****
Camilla Lackberg, HarperCollins, R285

Camilla Lackberg has amassed millions of devoted followers with her series of crime novels set in the Swedish fishing village of Fjällbacka – which actually exists in the real world.

It has fewer than 1,000 permanent residents and is deathly quiet in winter, but in summer turns into a playground for Scandinavian tourists.

The Girl in the Woods,Lackberg的第10个新的特色作者埃里卡法尔克和她的警探的丈夫帕特里克Hedstrom,坐落在夏天,当度假者的涌入造成犯罪嫌疑人在更大范围内。






然后 - 因为Lackberg爱编织古代历史到现代的神秘面纱 - 有一个女人谁住在这些地区在17世纪,当字面政治迫害曾风靡一时。




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Published in the Sunday Times

露辛达·莱利,作者 The Moon Sister。作者plc提供的。

One book our world leaders should read?

The Prophet通过纪伯伦。这是一个体积纤巧这是完美的人谁不有时间读什么盖盖。它的信仰,玲珑书面和充满智慧。这可能有助于提醒他们人类的我们的世界领导者。

Do you keep a diary?


Who is your favourite fictional hero?

盖茨比。我已经爱上他了,因为我是17,并首先阅读The Great Gatsby。这是最浪漫的书我读过 - 在那个年代,每一个年轻女人都想如此彻底爱盖茨比爱菊花的方式。正如我年龄增长,我已经看到了它的迷恋之爱的阴暗面。

You’re hosting a literary dinner with three writers.Who’s invited?

弗朗西斯·斯科特·菲茨杰拉德 - 他既迷恋和启发。作为一个作家,我被作者的生活送入他们的写作方式迷住了,和菲茨杰拉德与他的妻子,塞尔达,关系形成的基础The Great GatsbyTender is the Night。查尔斯·狄更斯,因为他是一个奇妙的故事讲述者和一个大家庭饲料,像我这样的零工作家。他写了A Christmas Carol在六个星期,因为他需要钱。而JK罗琳因为,尽管她的成功和财富,她继续写。

What novel would you give to children to introduce them to literature?

The Lion, The Witch and the WardrobeCS刘易斯。

What is the last thing you read that made you cry?

而是可悲的是,这是最后一本书我写的 -The Butterfly Room。鉴于之前我写他们,我从来没有计划书,我的震惊和惊骇的读者当事情发生的悲剧。

Is there a type of book you never read?


What is your most treasured book?

当我收到我的第一个大的进步,我给自己买的第一版拷贝Brideshead Revisited通过伊夫林沃。

How do you select characters’ names?

我最喜欢的名字的离合器,以至于当我到年底The Butterfly Room,我不得不改变一个主要角色的名字,因为我以前用过很多次了。

A character you could be best friends with?


The Moon Sisterby Lucinda Riley is published by Macmillan, R290.

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“我的工作是不是永远会是使读者感到舒服” - 迈尔费舍尔讨论她与Tiah Beautement最新小说

Published in the Sunday Times

The Enumerations****
Máire Fisher, Umuzi, R280

勒梅尔费舍尔跟着她成功的处女作,Birdseye,用打磨The Enumerations







费舍尔解释说:“她知道她的工作是:是 - 并保持 - 一个快乐,阳光的孩子。这既是对年轻的肩膀上沉重的负担“。



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Barbara Kingsolver, Faber & Faber, R295

Barbara Kingsolver rages against tyranny while writing about ordinary life.
Picture: David Wood












“两勤奋的人怎么能在生活中的一切权利,并在其五十年代基本上是一贫如洗到吗?” Willa thinks.




她一直是竞选活动的作家,但她在这里航行令人担忧 - 而且有时wearyingly - 接近论战讲课,用她的文字作为在世界的状态船只愤怒。







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鲁尼捕捉到底是什么样子的是年轻,聪明,只是自己陶醉一点点,写的罗莎LysterNormal People

Published in the Sunday Times

莎莉鲁尼 Normal People是谁曾经看着他们的家庭或他们的生活或他们的关系,走了一本书的人“就是这个人怎么正常的行为?” Author pic supplied.

Normal People****
Sally Rooney, Faber & Faber, R300

莎莉鲁尼是在参数不可战胜的。不是大,戏剧,尖叫的,虽然她 would probably be very good at those as well.

She is good at describing those arguments where no-one raises their voice or says anything dramatically spiteful, but serious hurt is inflicted all the same and it’s worse, in a way, because you only realise what’s happened when it’s way too late to do anything about it.

Normal people arguments, the kind that everyone has and hates.

She is so good at it that at first it’s hard to see what she’s doing – it seems more an act of transcription than of creative invention.

It’s only when you realise that almost no-one is as good at arguments as she is that you see what she has actually pulled off.

Here is the aftermath of an argument between Connell and Marianne, the couple around whom the book’s action turns: “His eyes were hurting and he closed them.He couldn’t understand how this had happened, how he had let the discussion slip away like this … It seemed to have happened almost immediately.He contemplated putting his face down on the table and just crying like a child.Instead, he opened his eyes again.”

This sounds normal, like something a normal person would think, but when I read it, I also had to close my eyes for a little bit.It’s just exactly how fights like that go.

Rooney is so good at anatomising the ways normal people misunderstand each other, even people who think they know each other incredibly well.

Her characters do more than just fight, obviously.

At bottom,Normal Peopleis a love story, one which starts when the protagonists are at school together.

Marianne is rich and clever and weird in a way that most people do not find cool or interesting.She is not “quirky”, she is strange.

Connell is working class and clever and if he is weird, he knows enough to keep it to himself.

Most of the novel is set in Dublin, where both characters are attending university, and Rooney captures exactly what it’s like to be young and clever and just a little bit intoxicated with yourself.

She is fascinated by conversation (her first book was calledConversations with Friends), and has her characters talk and talk and talk to each other, not about anything in particular, necessarily.

Rather, the kinds of conversations that make up a relationship and a life.

I can’t think of another writer who can do this with such apparent effortlessness.Her sentences are so clear and light it almost seems as if she’s not doing anything at all.

She can be very funny (Marianne, on wanting to win a university scholarship: “She would like her superior intellect to be affirmed in public by the transfer of large amounts of money.That way she could affect modesty without having anyone actually believe her”), but it’s quiet funny, absent of showiness.

She has an evident aversion to drama and over-adornment and beauty for beauty’s sake.

She is not what one would describe as a “lyrical” writer, so maybe if you like that sort of thing you will come away fromNormal Peoplefeeling a bit put out, but her sentences sing, in their own way.

The other thing about Rooney that will perhaps make you want to close your eyes for a short while, is that she is so young.She was 26 whenConversations with Friendscame out, and she is 28 now.She is not quite the youngest person to be nominated for the Booker, but just about.

She writes about what it’s like to be young, specifically what it’s like to be young in Ireland after the financial crisis, but this isn’t necessarily a young person’s book, or not exclusively.

It’s a book for anyone who has ever looked at their family or their life or their relationship and gone “Is this how normal people behave?”

Most of the time, as Rooney is so good at showing, the answer is yes.@rosalyster

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