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Archive for the ‘Afrikaans’ Category

Come see Modjaji’s Stellar Authors at the Franschhoek Literary Festival

Franshhoek Literary Festival

This year’s edition of the annual Franschhoek Literary Festival is being held from the 19th to the 21st of May. Modjaji is proud to have some its authors among the ranks who will soon file into town to fill it with vibrant ambience and all the bookish conversation one could dream of.

Tickets are priced at R70 per event, and are on sale via Webtickets. A limited number of student tickets are available for R20 per event – verification will be required.

Don’t miss our authors discussing their work at these not-to-be-missed panel discussions:

Philippa Mamutebi Kabali-KagwaFlame and SongPhilippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa
FRIDAY 14h30-15h30
[25] Writing their continent (Old School Hall): Darrel Bristow-Bovey invites Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa (Flame and Song) and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Season of Crimson Blossoms) to share how they reveal their love and knowledge of Africa through fact and fiction.
SATURDAY 10h00-11h00
[45] The transformative power of reading (Council Chamber): Jacques Rousseau discusses the intellectual, social and personal impact of reading, with Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (The Printmaker) and Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa (Flame and Song).
SUNDAY 11h30 – 12h30
[95] Writing my family: (Council Chamber): Negotiating the path between family sensitivities and the author’s right to write the story as they choose is a skill that Daniel Browde, Neil Sonnekus and Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa have all developed. They tell Hagen Engler how they did it.

Jolyn PhillipsTjieng Tjang Tjerries and other storiesJolyn Phillips

FRIDAY 13h00-14h00
[23] I write short stories because… (Elephant & Barrel): Are they easier than long fiction, more lucrative than nonfiction, more popular than Harry Potter? Jolyn Philips (Tjieng Tjang Tjerrie) asks fellow writers Harry Kalmer (A Thousand Tales of Johannesburg), Ken Barris (The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions) and Marita van der Vyver (You Lost Me) what it is about this form that appeals to them as they discuss the challenges of writing in the short form.
SUNDAY 10h00 – 12h00
[90] Workshop: Hide & Seek Poetry (The Hub) Sometimes the writing comes easily, but what do you do when the spring dries up or you have more sand than compost in your head? Come and learn to hunt and gather words at a two-hour poetry workshop with poets Jolyn Phillips and Karin Schimke. Tickets R120 through Webtickets.
SUNDAY 13h00 – 14h00
[104] The polylinguists (The Hub) Tom Dreyer asks Jennifer Friedman (English/Afrikaans) and Jolyn Phillips (English/Afrikaans/French) whether the ability to speak and write in different languages is a help or a hinderance?
Dawn GarischAccidentDawn Garisch
SATURDAY 13h00-14h00
[63] Dark things brought to light (Elephant & Barrel): Fred Strydom (Inside Out Man), Dawn Garisch (Accident) and Dale Halvorsen (Survivors’ Club with Lauren Beukes) discuss the darker side of human nature as reflected in their writing, and why readers feel the need to be disturbed.
Ishara MaharajNamaste LifeIshara Maharaj
FRIDAY 13h00-14h00
[22] The power to move us (Hospice Hall): Ishara Maharaj (Namaste Life) and Dennis Cruywagen (The Spiritual Mandela) discuss the joys and challenges of writing of spiritual matters in a contemporary world.
Colleen HiggsLooking for TroubleLava Lamp PoemsHalfborn WomenColleen Higgs
SUNDAY 13h00 – 14h00
[102] What publishers want (Council Chamber): In preparation for next year’s projected Porcupine’s Den event (think ‘Dragon’s Den’ for writers), would-be authors get to pick the brains of publishers Ester Levinrad (Jonathan Ball), Phehello Mofokeng (Geko Books) and Thabiso Mahlape (BlackBird Books), led by Colleen Higgs (Modjaji Books). Other publishers are welcome to attend and weigh in on the discussion.
Karin SchimkeBare and BreakingKarin Schimke
SUNDAY 10h00 – 12h00
[90] Workshop: Hide & Seek Poetry (The Hub) Sometimes the writing comes easily, but what do you do when the spring dries up or you have more sand than compost in your head? Come and learn to hunt and gather words at a two-hour poetry workshop with poets Jolyn Phillips and Karin Schimke. Tickets R120 through Webtickets.
Helen MoffettStrange FruitStrayHelen Moffett
SATURDAY 14h30-15h30
[70] What is feminism, and who ‘owns’ it? (Ebony Gallery): Helen Moffett (Prunings) asks the questions of poet and singer Blaq Pearl and Thabiso Mahlape (BlackBird Books).
SUNDAY 10h00-11h00
[87] A few good editors (Council Chamber): Alison Lowry and fellow editors Helen Moffett, Phehello Mofokeng and Thabiso Mahlape discuss the consistent criticism around the literary world of ‘poor editing’ and the state of the industry in South Africa.
Michelle HattinghI'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle Hattingh
SATURDAY 16h00-17h00
[73] From victim to survivor (Old School Hall): Michelle Hattingh (I’m the Girl Who Was Raped) uncovers stories of courage, faith and perseverance in the face of opposition and adversity as told by Grizelda Grootboom (Exit), Lindiwe Hani (Being Chris Hani’s Daughter) and Shamim Meer (Memories of Love and Struggle).
Shirmoney RhodeNomme 20 Delphi StraatShirmoney Rhode
SUNDAY 11h30 – 12h30
[93] Playing with words (Hospice Hall): On knowing the rules of writing, and how to break them: Sue de Groot tests the boundaries of poets Blaq Pearl and Shirmoney Rhode (Nommer 20 Delphi Straat), and novelist Claire Robertson (The Magistrate of Gower).

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Wanted in August and Open Book Festival in September

We got a lot of airtime this month in the Business Day supplement, WANTED. Click here to see more or see Scribd document below. Yewande Omotoso (author of Bom Boy) was interviewed, Reclaiming the L-Word was reviewed, as was by Danila Botha. And Alex Matthews interviewed yours truly about Modjaji Books behind-the-scenes.

Eloquent BodyBom BoyHester se BroodReclaiming the L-Word

Also just a quick update, Hester se Brood has been translated into English by the author and a new edition of the English and Afrikaans will be out in September. The English version is titled, Hester’s Bread Book.

Yewande Omotoso has just been participating in the famous Farafina workshop in Nigeria, hosted by Chimamanda Adichie and Binyavanga Wainaina. Reading her very few Facebook updates – sounds like she had an absolutely wonderful time there. The Nigerian edition of the Bom Boy published by Bookcraft is due out soon. We sold the rights to them earlier this year and had the pleasure of meeting the good people from Bookcraft at the Cape Town Book Fair in June.

Danila Botha is due out from Canada, to appear at the Open Book Festival happening in September, so if you are in Cape Town, catch her there. Yewande Omotoso will also be on the programme, as are these other Modjaji authors: Dawn Garisch, author of among many other books, Eloquent Body; Rosemary Smith, author Swimming with Cobras; Phumzile Simelane Kalumba author and compiler of Jabulani means Rejoice: A Dictionary of South African Names; and Jen Thorpe, editor and compiler of My First Time: Stories of Sex and Sexuality from Women like you as well as Sarah Britten, possibly Karabo Kgoleng, and some of the other contributors as well. Kelwyn Sole (Absent Tongues) will also be featured.

WANTED Books Pages – August 2012

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Modjaji Books at Cape Town Book Fair 2010

Come and visit Modjaji Books at Stand J6 at this year’s CTBF. We have published 9 new titles since last year’s Book Fair, all of which will be on sale at a special Cape Town Book Fair discount of between 10 and 25% off the recommended retail price.

New authors include Meg Vandermerwe, Arja Salafranca, Jane Katjavivi, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, Beverly Rycroft, Hester van der Walt, Melissa Butler. New titles include The Bed Book of Short Stories, Undisciplined Heart, The Thin Line, This Place I Call Home, Hester se Brood, The Small Publishers’ Catalogue, The Everyday Wife, Missing and removing.

Modjaji Books has organised 4 events at the Book Fair this year. A first for us and for the Cape Town Book Fair is the Pick n Pay demo kitchen space; Hester van der Walt will be demonstrating the making of French Baguettes. Hester’s slot is on Monday 2nd August at 12h00. Her book Hester se Brood will be on sale at this event and at Stand J6.

Three more events

Saturday 31 July, 12 to 12.45 at the Poetry Cafe: A panel on women’s fiction: Tracey Farren will be in conversation with Fiona Snyckers, Cynthia Jele, Rosie Kendal looking at chick lit and women’s fiction, are they the same or different? Who are these authors writing for?

Sunday 1 August, 1.00 to 1.45 at the Poetry Cafe: Panel on autobiography and memoir: Jane Katjavivi, author of Undisciplined Heart (from Namibia) and Sindiwe Magona will be in discussion with me (Colleen Higgs) about what it is like to write about your life and to see your own story go out into the world and be read by strangers, friends and family.

Monday 2 August, 12.00 to 12.45 at the Poetry Cafe: Panel on short stories chaired by Ben Williams of BookSA, who will be in conversation with Arja Salafranca, Sarah Lotz, Meg Vandermerwe, Louis Greenberg and Henrietta Rose-Innes. They will look at short stories in South Africa today…

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Hester of Hester se Brood will teach you how to make a perfect ciabatta

This coming Worker’s Day weekend (30th April to 2nd May, 2010) is McGregor ArtRoute weekend too. And Hester van der Walt, author of Hester se Brood is offering a demonstration of “How to Make the Perfect Ciabatta”. Her partner, Lies Hoogendoorn whose beautiful drawings are featured in the book has an open studio exhibition of her work too. If you haven’t visited the lovely village of McGregor, you may want to do so this weekend to enjoy these and other delights. Don’t forget to book, or you may be disappointed.

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Broodbak ook n metafoor vir die lewe in Hester se brood

Hester van der Walt

Hester se BroodPeter VeldsmanHester van der WaltDie wonder van brood is dat dit met eenvoudige bestandele soos meel, water en sout gemaak word en tog kan die wonderlikste, geurigste gebak uit hierdie eenvoud na vore kom.

Dít is beslis deel van Hester van der Walt se fassinasie met brood. Hierdie fassinasie het gelei tot die publikasie van ‘n boek, getiteld Hester se brood, wat broodresepte en vertellinge van Van der Walt se bakkery op McGregor bevat.

Van der Walt het gisteraand by die bekendstelling van die boek by die Book Lounge in Kaapstad gesê sy gebruik baie min suurdeeg vir haar brode. Dit is ook nie die tradisionele soetsuurdeeg nie, maar haar eie skepping. “’n Mens gebruik die minimum,” het sy gesê. “Dit is byna ‘n leuse vir my.” Sy was verbaas oor die resultate wat sy uit hierdie minimum kon kry.

Broodbak is ook ‘n metafoor vir die lewe, het Pieter Veldsman, bekroonde sjef en skrywer, by die bekendstelling gesê. “Dit gaan nie om den brode nie, maar om die brood van die lewe.” As ‘n mens tussen die lyne van Van der Walt se boek lees, gaan dit volgens hom oor “vriendskap, vennootskap en omgee”. Hy het die boek met potlood en liniaal gelees en het in ‘n “beswyming van bewondering” gegaan oor bekoorlike beskrywings soos: “druk kuiltjies in die deeg met jou vingerpunte”.

Van der Walt is nie ‘n opgeleide kok nie, maar het op besonderse brood verlief geraak nadat sy oorsee getoer het. Daarna het haar soeke na die perfekte ciabatta begin. “Ek het baie Italiaanse kookboeke gehad, maar daar was min broodresepte in, want in Italië is daar in elk geval ‘n bakkery om elke hoek en draai. Toe het ek self begin eksperimenteer.”

Aan die einde van haar beroep by die Mediese Navorsingsraad het sy en Lies Hoogendoorn, die illustreerder van Hester se brood, na McGregor verhuis. Aanvanklik het hulle ‘n koffiewinkel bedryf en dit is hier waar hulle vir Niel Jonker ontmoet het. Hy was besig om elders ‘n broodoond te bou en het aangebied om vir Van der Walt ook een te bou. Só is Van der Walt se broodoond, Hestia, gebore.

En Van der Walt het uiteindelik die volmaakte brood gebak. Daarvan kan die gaste, wat by die bekendstelling aan haar brood gesmul het, heelhartig getuig.

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Bekendstelling: Hester se Brood deur Hester van der Walt

Hester se BroodDit is vir Die Book Lounge en Modjadji Books ‘n groot plesier om jou uit te nooi na die Kaapstadse bekendstelling van Hester se Brood deur Hester van der Walt.

Hester van der Walt sal ‘n gesprek voer met Peter Veldsman, restauranteur van die befaamde Emily’s by die Kloktoring in die Kaapse Waterfront, bekende skrywer, en internasionaal bekroonde chef.

Kom geniet saam met ons ʼn stukkie van Hester se heerlike brood en ʼn glasie Leopard’s Leap wyn, geborg deur Leopard’s Leap.

Hester van der Walt sal gesels oor die boek en daaruit voorlees.

  • Datum: Dinsdag, 09 Februarie 2010
  • Tyd: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Plek: The Book Lounge, H.v. Roeland en Buitenkant strate
    Kaapstad | Kaart
  • Gasspreker: Peter Veldsman
  • RSVP:, 021 462 2425


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Hester se Brood a big hit in MacGregor

Hester se BroodWow! What a launch we had in MacGregor on Wednesday night for Hester se Brood by Hester van der Walt. The owners of the Karoux restaurant, a fairly new MacGregor hot spot, know how to organise a fabulous party. Andre and Kurt are charming, efficient and warmly hospitable hosts. The evening was summery, the Karoo courtyard and fairy lights the perfect setting. Karoux had organised delicious local wines from the MacGregor Wine Farm. Their Colombard is the house white at Karoux and their Shiraz and Pinotage are prizewinners.

Hester specially made bread for the occasion, what a treat. She made foccaccia with delicious toppings and a huge celebratory challah with a chocolatey raisin filling that was so delicious I thought I’d died and gone to heaven after one bite. Positively orgasmic. I think I will have to learn how to make challah. Hester uses only Eureka stone ground flour for her breads.

As people came in they greeted Hester and Lies Hoogendoorn, her partner (whose art work is an integral part of the book, including the cover painting) enthusiastically. The guests bought copies of the books like ‘hot cakes’. Hester sat down to sign and before the more formal part of the proceedings were begun, we had almost sold out of books. I was also thrilled that Natascha Mostert, who did the book design and layout, came to the launch. Hester and Lies were thrilled to meet her and to thank her for her input and sensitive book design work.

The more formal proceedings started with me saying a few words about Modjaji Books and what I am trying to do with this small press. When I first met Hester and Lies to talk about the book, I got my Modjaji feeling, it is an electric lighting up inside of me feeling. While I read the manuscript, the feeling intensified. And during the launch I was afraid I might burst into ecstatic flames. Hester is a gifted writer and a wonderful person, calm, centred, loving, focused and many other things besides. Hester and Lies saw the printed book for the first time at about 3 in the afternoon. The launch was only a few hours later, the most thrilling for me was to see the way the took the book and looked and it and held and paged through it. I could see they loved it. Every now and then they would look a little choked up, a little misty-eyed.

Hester spoke, her is what she said:

It was not difficult to choose bread for tonight. It had to be foccacia. I have a clear memory of my first bite into the crust of its close relative, the ciabatta. I knew immediately that this was real bread – the crust rough and honest like our landscape and the inside crumb tasty and filled with large uneven holes. The ideal bread for breaking with your fingers and for soaking up sauce and for cleaning your plate.

I guess that was the beginning of my search: I wanted to make a perfect ciabatta! I paged through recipe books and I experimented, I waited with bated breath to take the bread from the oven. But then the first cut through the crust was a disappointment – this was not the real thing. Until one day, during a difficult time in my life, a time of burnout in my work, when I had no energy, I stumbled on a special book on artisan bread by Maggie Glezer. That was the start of my life with bread.

Hester se Brood tells the story of that search. I share the what and the why and the how of making real handmade bread in your own kitchen. I tell the story of the oven, the wood and the firemaker, the market, and of this village and its people who provided the womb for the story to grow.

Hester read from the first page of her book

‘n Mens kry brood — en Brood. Dis wat ek besef het toe ek vir die eerste keer in ‘n ciabatta gebyt het; daardie lugtige Italiaanse brood genaamd pantoffel: plat en eerlik met ‘n kors soos ‘n gehaarde landskap. Binne vol groot rysgate, ideaal om met jou vingers te skeur vir die opdoop van daardie laaste souserigheid uit jou boord.

Net daar het my soektog begin, ‘n Geblaai deur resepteboeke het my van die een boekwinkel na die ander geneem. Halfskelm maak ek myself staan by ‘n tafel vol boeke, ‘n resepteboek oopgeslaan en notaboekie op my handsak gebalanseer. So skryf ek af. By die huis gaan probeer ek die resep uit. Wag in spanning vir die brood om uit die oond te kom. H’m, lyk nie sleg nie. Maar die eerste sny deur die kors weet ek al: dis nie wat ek soek nie. dit lyk soos die tuisgebakte brood van my kinderdae, die soort wat net lekker is omdat dit nog halfwarm uit die oond is.

Colleen Crawford Cousins my friend and collaborater also spoke about the book. Hester and Lies are old friends of hers, and right from the start she too saw Hester’s book. She advised me on cover design and book design. She saw that the book is about making bread, but it is also and perhaps more importantly about making a handmade life and Hester chose to write it in Afrikaans as an act of reclamation of her mother tongue. I wished Hester had read for much longer when she read us two tantalising paragraphs.

Niel Jonker, who helped Hester and Lies to build their wood fired oven came specially to the launch with his family. He also spoke about his involvement with the oven, becoming a baker of bread and of his friendship with Hester and Lies.

Oh and a charming little detail: Colleen and I stayed at the MacGregor Wine Farm Cottages – the entrance to which says “Ina Naude en man”. There has to be a story there.

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Come to McGregor for the launch of Hester se Brood

Hester se BroodHester se Brood, by Hester van der Walt will be launched at the Karoux restaurant in the charming village of McGregor on Wednesday evening, December 9th. Guests will meet Hester van der Walt, the author, and Lies Hoogendoorn, her partner and the cover artist and illustrator. You will be treated to delicious local wines, breads and other delicioushnesses.

Please RSVP to Colleen at cdhiggs AT or 0727743546 by the 4th December.

Here is the blurb of the book:

Hester se Brood is gesetel in ’n dorpie in die Klein Karoo, waar Hester van der Walt brood in ’n houtbakoond vir die plaaslike mark bak. Soos twee groot geeste van weleer, C. Louis Leipoldt en Martin Versveld, het sy ’n diepgewortelde, intuïtiewe aanvoeling vir die konneksie tussen siel en kos; veral kos wat met sorg, volgens tradisionele beginsels en metodes, voorberei word. Saam met gulhartige porsies sielskos, verskaf hierdie eerlike (en heerlike) plat-op-die-aarde boek ook resepte wat jou gaan wys hoe om klasieke Europese brode, soos ciabatta, focaccia, kitke en baguettes te bak, asook plaaslike gustelinge, soos outydse soetsuurdeegbrood.

’n Fyn sin vir humor, en ’n groot waardering vir die magiese spel tussen vuur en hout, graan en sout, water en gis en tyd – die basiese elemente wat nodig is om goeie brood te bak – maak hierdie boek net so onweerstaanbaar soos die reuk van brood, kraakvars uit die oond.

The publication of Hester se Brood was made possible by a grant from the Hiemstra Trust.

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Forthcoming attractions from Modjaji Books for 2009

Eleven books wait in the wings to be published this year by Modjaji Books. First up is Invisible Earthquake by Malika Ndlovu, due out towards the end of March 2009. A powerful, moving journal about a mother’s journey through and with the experience of stillbirth. Malika allows us into her secret, dark place of grief and coming to terms with the terrible loss of her third child. The book speaks into the silence around this issue. Like miscarriage, stillbirth is something women are supposed to get over and move on with. The book is placed in the wider South African context by Prof Sue Fawcus, from Mowbray Maternity in which she writes tenderly and expertly about stillbirth from the point of view of a medical practitioner, and expert obstetrician.

Four books of poems are due out in time for the Cape Town Book Fair, by Joan Metelerkamp, Sindiwe Magona, Helen Moffett and Fiona Zerbst. Watch this space for more information. Modjaji has received a small grant from the Cape 300 Foundation which will go towards the printing costs of the first two books.

Also due out before the Book Fair if the right sponsors come to the table is a wonderful book called Hester se Brood by Hester van der Walt.

Hester se Brood is a charming book: part memoir, part how-to book, part journey of discovery as the writer learns about bread and bread-making and shares her journey with us. The book is illustrated with beautiful drawings done by Lies Hoogendoorn. The illustrations capture something of life in McGregor as well as offer step-by-step instructions on how to knead or fold dough in each recipe. Hester’s bread making activities have already been the subject of a Sunday Times article in 2008.

The Bed short stories by Southern African women writers, will be out towards the end of the year, if all goes well.

Collections of stories by Meg vandermerwe, Arja Salafranca, Lauri Kubuitsile and Wame Molefe are also due out this year towards the end of the year.

And Makhsazana (Khosi) Xaba’s novel – Befallen – is also in the pipeline!

Modjaji Books is exploring new ways of doing marketing, distributing, using sponsorship and doing fund-raising. All ideas are welcome either onto the blog or to my email address which is cdhiggs at

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Resources for writers in South Africa

As I have been tying up loose ends at the Centre for the Book this week in preparation for starting my new life as the sole employee of and publisher at Modjaji Books, I thought it would be a good idea to circulate the folk knowledge I have accumulated while responding to thousands (not exaggerating) of queries from writers over the years I have worked at the CB.

The resource list is a good starting point – and something you can work your way through instead of writing. Currently it is biased in favour of Cape Town as this is where I live, but I know there are lots of resources/ activities/ etc that others from other regions should add. You’re welcome to add updates/new information by posting comments.



* Competitions for writers to enter, calls for submissions (Books e-group – email

* Writing workshops, writing teachers (Books e-group, Centre for the Book website)

* Literary magazines (A rough guide to small-scale and self-publishing, Centre for the Book website)

* Online zines ( and

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