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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Michelle Hattingh’s I’m the Girl Who Was Raped will be available on 4 continents

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedI’m the Girl Who Was Raped SpinifexI’m the Girl Who Was Raped Canada

We’ve sold rights to Michelle Hattingh’s brave, powerful, lucid memoir, I’m the Girl Who Was Raped to Inanna in Canada and to Spinifex in Australia – who have bought World English rights (apart from North America and Africa). Here are the new covers. Michelle’s book has been something of a publishing sensation for us, she’s been invited all over the country to various literary festivals, as the key speaker at Wordfest in Grahamstown last year, and we sold rights within the first year of publishing.

Well done Michelle! We know that this past year was very intense, you are incredibly brave.

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped

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Brazilian edition of Futhi Ntshingila’s Do Not Go Gentle published

Sem GentilezaThis week sees the publication of Futhi Ntshingila’s second novel, Do Not Go Gentle, into Portuguese. Brazilian publishers, Dublinense have translated the novel into Portuguese and now it is out.

Both Gustavo Faraon and I were participants in the 2012 Frankfurt Invitation Programme, which is where we met and when we met to look at each other’s catalogues the following year, the seeds of this translation project were sown. Here is the English translation from google translate of the press release put out by Dublinense on June 22nd, 2016.

“This is not just any book.
Without kindness (Direct Translation of Sem Gentileza – the Portuguese title) was written by Futhi Ntshingila. She’s a South African. She’s Zulu.

Although so rich in features – and here counted with the paints only a culture that is not our own, from an imaginary one so different and in a way so own -, stories very similar to this sprout for all corners of the world. Are stories of women who have not been given a choice not to be resist and try, like her, preserve her own integrity.
Women that need to be strong – only because they are women.

The journey that led to the publication of this book began, in fact, to meet the publisher modjaji books, from Cape Town, and his incredible publisher militant Colleen Higgs. The Publisher, baptized in tribute to the goddess of the rain, there is to give space to the South African women, whose voices vibrant remained relegated to the sidelines and in the shade since forever.

This editorial project was really inspiring to us. And it seemed clear that it was necessary to bring the books that Colleen edited for an even bigger audience, to Brazil, for you. We were reading and analyzing various titles, and it was clear that the stories could be unique, but together they reflected an issue that is not limited to a specific region or culture. And so we come to this novel which we believe to be very representative.

Our Brazilian edition in Portuguese of without kindness is the first in a foreign language. The own author now is dedicated to translate it to isizulu.
That is why, for us, this is not just any book. It points to something that we want to pursue.

That this book find many readers and readers in Brazil, and that this will allow us to continue bringing many other stories that help to give a voice to those who do not have.”

Gustavo Faraon of Dublinense at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2015

Gustavo Faraon of Dublinense at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2015

We hope that Futhi will be invited to a literary festival and will be able to go to Brazil later this year to meet her new audience.

As the press release says, Modjaji is looking to bring out an isiZulu edition of Do Not Go Gentle in 2017. Futhi is doing the translation herself. Watch this space!

Do Not Go Gentle

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Modjaji authors at the 2016 FLF

The 2016 Franschhoek Literary Festival is around the corner. And we’re delighted that a number of new and more established Modjaji authors are taking part. We have three writers who live abroad participating, they are Charlotte Otter (Karkloof Blue) coming from Heidelberg in Germany, Isobel Dixon (Bearings) from London and Eliza Kentridge (Signs for an Exhibition) from Wivenhoe in the UK.

BearingsKarkloof BlueCheck out the programme and book your tickets soon, you don’t want to be disappointed.

Karin Schimke, award-winning poet and books editor (Bare & Breaking) is chairing a number of sessions.
Sindiwe Magona is one of the celebrities of the festival, and will be specially honoured this year. We published her poetry collection, Please Take Photographs. Wendy Woodward, poet and English Literature academic (The Saving Bannister), will be there.

Poet and performer, Khadija Heeger (Beyond the Delivery Room) is also on the programme.

Beverly Rycroft, poet and novelist, is also on the programme (missing).

Jolyn PhillipsTjieng Tjang TjerriesAnd the last Modjaji writer on the programme is Jolyn Phillips, whose wonderful new book, a collection of short stories, which we have heard has made it onto the Exclusive Books’ Homebru promotion, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories is on a panel on Sunday at 1.00 with Deon Meyer, Rahla Xenopolous, chaired by Darrel Bristow Bovey.

There are two award announcements on the weekend of the Franschhoek Lit Fest. They are both on Saturday evening. The first is the Ingrid Jonker, two of our Ingrid Jonker past winners are on the festival programme, Karin Schimke and Beverly Rycroft. We have a couple of poets who are contenders for this year’s award: Elisa Galgut (The Attribute of Poetry) and Christine Coates (Homegrown).

And for this year’s Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize long list, we have Fiona SnyckersNow Following You. The shortlist of five will be announced on Saturday night during the FLF.

Bare and BreakingBeyond the Delivery RoomMissingBearingsPlease, Take PhotographsSigns for an Exhibition
Karkloof BlueTjieng Tjang Tjerries and other storiesA Saving BannisterThe Attribute of PoetryHomegrownNow Following You

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Frankfurt Buchmesse 2015

The panelists

Every year the Frankfurt Book Fair gets better and better for Modjaji Books. This was the year we had a number of agents come and look us up, and to look at our titles and see if they would work in their markets. More of this anon, when these meetings bear fruit.

Feminist Publishers' Panel 2015I was so busy with meetings I didn’t get to do the fun things that have become part of my Frankfurt rituals – going to the Guest of Honour pavilion, this year it was Indonesia and visiting the best designed books exhibition.

I got to speak on a panel about feminist publishing across borders with Renate Klein and Susan Hawthorne (both from (Spinifex, Australia) and Müge Gürsoy Sökmen (Metis,Turkey). We had a good crowd at the Weltempsfang Centre which this year was in Hall 3, quite far from where I mostly hang out. The English language publishers were all in Hall 6 this year, with the Agents Centre at the very top of Hall 6. Quite a few publishers came over to the stand to talk with me after this talk.Rugby Fans

A highlight of the Fair had nothing to do with publishing apart from the fact that most of the South African publishers at the Fair were there, watching the Springboks play Wales. Quite a big deal for me, who isn’t known for being a sports fan.

It was also a little sad, as Corry von Mayenburg who has managed the Invitation Programme is retiring, and this was her last Frankfurt Book Fair in this role. Corry assured me though that she will be able to visit the Fair properly and see all the things she has been too busy to see.

2015-10-17 10.10.13I also met with Gustavo Faraon, from Dublinense in Brazil, who is publishing Futhi Nsthingila’s Do Not Go Gentle early in 2016 as Sem Gentileza.

Huge thanks to Rhulani Bila and PASA and the DTI for organising the stand at the Fair and making it possible for smaller publishers like Modjaji Books to be there. It’s always very enriching too, to have a chance to discuss issues with fellow publishers and solve all our problems over breakfast.
Do Not Go Gentle

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Book Launch: Signs for an Exhibition by Eliza Kentridge

Signs for an ExhibitionModjaji Books, Love Books and the South African Psychoanalysis Initiative (SAPI) are delighted to invite you to the launch of Eliza Kentridge‘s debut collection of poems, Signs for an Exhibition. A poetry reading will be followed by a conversation between Eliza and psychoanalyst Mark Solms about the light her poems shed on the workings of her mind (or any mind).

Eliza Kentridge’s poems are autobiographical, the daughter of two lawyers who fought apartheid. In her twenties she left South Africa for England, where she became an artist. Against the dramatic background of her home country’s history, her focus is quieted, small and interior. With her mother afflicted by a serious neurological illness, she writes about family, love and place, as a woman who vividly recalls her girlhood self, gently and almost incidentally approaching one of the biggest questions: how does one live a life?

“Eliza Kentridge’s luminous Signs for an Exhibition is not so much a collection of discrete poems as a single continuous work that acquires increasing rhythmic and semantic power with each passing page. The poet’s agile movement from demotic utterance to perceptual fragment to tantalizing narrative moment do nothing less than create the startling illusion of having entered the fluctuations of another person’s intimate memories. This is a remarkable first book.” Siri Hustvedt

“Kentridge’s poems offer a direct line to her childhood and teenage years when she was ‘stapling the pages of myself together’. They are studded by sparks of metaphors and by a lightness of tone, a lack of melodrama.” Megan Hall

“These poems are beautiful… like reading a piece of blue sky” Dominique Botha

Eliza Kentridge

Eliza Kentridge was born in Johannesburg in 1962. She studied English Literature at Wits University before moving to England in the late eighties. She has worked for three decades as an artist, exhibiting in South Africa, England and the USA. She uses paper, fabric and clay to make work that revolves around glimpsed narratives and words – a sort of poetry. Now she outs herself as a writer, reverting to her original childhood plan. She lives with her family in a small waterside town in Essex.

For a Mail & Guardian review of the collection read here

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 21 September 2015
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Mark Solms
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and canapés
  • RSVP: Love Books, 011 726 7408, 011 726 7408

Signs for an ExhibitionBook Details

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Book Launch: Balthasar’s Gift by Charlotte Otter

Balthasar's Gift

Charlotte Otter at Frankfurt

Charlotte Otter at Frankfurt

Charlotte Otter, author of Balthasar’s Gift will be in South Africa in June to promote her debut crime fiction novel. It’s the first in a series featuring detective, Maggie Cloete, an investigative journalist who lives in Pietermaritzburg.

Charlotte Otter lives in Germany now, and her novel was first published in German. She is a journalist by training, and began her career as a trainee reporter on The Witness and The Star, before working at The Citizen as a crime and court reporter. She then moved to Anglo American and De Beers to do corporate communications. Charlotte relocated to Germany in 1996 to work for the German technology company SAP. She then freelanced for many years, writing for De Beers, SAP World, SAP Spectrum, EMBO encounters, Buzzine and the South African Marie Claire. She now works at SAP as a corporate communicator.Read more about Charlotte and her life and work here.

Charlotte will be launching her book in Pietermaritzburg on the 5th June at the Tatham Cafe and in Durban on the 11th June at Adams in Musgrave, in Cape Town at The Book Lounge on the 17th June, in Joburg at Love Books on the 19th June.

This title has already been published to critical acclaim in Germany:
Balthasar’s Gift is the hard-hitting overture to what we hope will be a long series. Die Welt
Abrasive, fast and instructive. Das Stern
Balthasar’s Gift is a scorching debut – from the Blog: Krimi-Couch

Maybe it was an error for crime reporter Maggie Cloete to ignore the call from the softly-spoken man. Now he is dead. Someone put four bullets in Balthasar’s chest. It is post-apartheid South Africa, at the turn of the century. In Pietermaritzburg, capital of KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC rules. However, in the townships and villages, fear and superstition rule too. Is it a political murder? Maggie’s instincts are on red alarm, and during the search for the truth, she comes up against both gangsters and politicians – and has their henchmen on her tail. However threats and attacks against her make her even more stubborn and determined. She learns too much about Balthasar’s life and his work at the AIDS Mission to be distant and professional. She is deeply, and dangerously, involved. Balthasar’s Gift continues the tradition of pacy, hard-boiled South African crime fiction.

Modjaji Books and The Book Lounge are delighted to invite you to join us for the launch of Balthasar’s Gift by Charlotte Otter. Charlotte will be in conversation with Sam Wilson.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 17 June 2014
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cnr Buitenkant & Roeland Street, Cape Town 8001
  • Guest Speaker: Sam Wilson
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and a snack
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

Book Details
Balthasar's Gift

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Finnish book blogger loves Fiona Snyckers’ Trinity series

Team TrinityIrma Rissanen, a book blogger from Finland got in touch with me on Friday to ask for the cover of Team Trinity. She is a big fan of Fiona Snyckers’ Trinity character and has read all three of the books in the series so far. She sent a link to her blog where she writes about the Trinity series. This is one of the thrills of being a publisher, seeing written evidence of one of your books travelling to another part of the world.

In our back and forth correspondence, Irma offered to send an English translation of her blog for Fiona and I. I’ve posted some of the Finnish blog. And you can read the whole blog in English too. Irma compares Fiona’s writing to Sophie Kinsella! Read the translated blog to get the same goosebumps I got. She gets Trinity and she loves her.

Suomessa ollaan chick litin saralla vielä aika untuvikkoja. Muualla maailmassa chick litiä on kuitenkin kirjoitettu jo…noh, maailman sivu.

Etelä-Afrikan vastine Himoshoppaajalle on Fiona Snyckersin Trinity. Kirjasarjan päähenkilö on Trinity Luhabe, shoppailuhullu sinkkutyttö Johannesburgista.

Mutta kun isä on ollut Nelson Mandelan vankilatoveri Robben Islandilla ja äiti valkoihoinen aktivisti rasisminvastaisessa taistelussa, ei Trinitynkään elämä ole ollut sieltä normaaleimmasta päästä. Isä on nimittäin sen tason kansallissankari, että hänet tunnistetaan missä vain. Isän lisäksi tunnistetaan myös tytär, ainakin heti kun hänen sukunimensä paljastuu.

South African chick lit: single in Johannesburg

When it comes to chick lit, Finnish authors are still fledglings. But when it comes to the rest of the world, chick lit has been written… well, the world over.

Fiona Snyckers’s Trinity is South Africa’s answer to the [Sophie Kinsella's] Shopaholic. The protagonist of the book series is Trinity, a shopaholic single girl from Johannesburg.

But Trinity isn’t just any old girl. Her father is one of the last activists who was imprisoned in Robben Island, the same prison as Nelson Mandela, and her mother is the daughter of Afrikaans farming family who spent her university days protesting against apartheid. Trinity’s father is now a national hero recognized wherever he goes. And so is Trinity, at least the minute people find out what her last name is.

In Trinity Rising, the first of the series, Trinity starts a degree at university. Trinity would like to be just like any other student but because of her famous background it’s not always that easy. Trinity’s favorite subjects, shopping and good-looking boys, and the teacher’s demands (of making it to lectures on time) don’t always go hand in hand.

Trinity Rising is a witty, funny, engrossing chick lit book with the additional value of an exotic, South African setting.

In Trinity on Air, Trinity has graduated from university and is looking for a job in Johannesburg. When her dream job at a radio station, her gorgeous boyfriend and her handsome neighbourg all turn out to be something else entirely, Trinity finds herself in the ride of her life.

Team Trinity, published last year, is the third of the series and my absolute favorite. In addition to fun and excitement, it also deals with more serious issues, like racism and violence.

The book is a prequel to the series. Sixteen year old Trinity and her brothers have to spend a term in the school boarding house while their parents are dealing with urgent matters overseas. The first person Trinity meets in the common room is a boy who treats Trinity with an outrageously racist manner. When he sees Trinity, he presumes that she is the cleaning-lady! Trinity is obviously furious. Who is this mysterious boy who dresses in retro clothes and behaves like someone from the old South Africa? And why does he disappear whenever Trinity’s friends are around?

Then Trinity bumps into his dream guy, Zach, who is a couple years older. At first everything is hunky-dory between the two but soon Trinity turns into a shadow of her old self. Will Trinity realize why before it’s too late?

Fiona Snyckers writes about the teenage world engagingly and skillfully. She balances extremely well with teenage issues such as crushes, crash diets, self-image and bad relationships.

The book ends on such a cliffhanger it leaves you yearning for a sequel!

So, treat yourself with a cup of rooibos and melktert and let South Africa’s Shopaholic carry you away!

Team Trinity

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#fbm13 — can’t wait!

The Frankfurt Book Fair or Frankfurt Buch Messe #fbm13 -starts next week, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s like being a kid again. So many last minute things to do. Catalogues – designed and printed and collected; warm coat dry cleaned, postcards of book covers for giveaways, some forex, packing, planning each day almost down to the half hour. Quick reprint of my business cards. Can’t run out of them.

The FBM app is a cool way of making sense of the fair, keeping track of your timetable, contacts, meetings, and finding who is where. You can download it on your Iphone or Ipad or on your android phone.

And this year Frankfurt has opened up to authors too, it has traditionally been a trade fair, for the trade, but with the changes in the book world, the rise of Amazon, self-publishing, and other changes in the world of books, authors are expected to be in equal charge of promoting their own books. Read more about what Frankfurt is like for authors here

It’ll be quite different being a trade visitor, and not part of the Invitation Programme or an exhibitor. There will more time to attend talks and explore the whole fair. I’ll miss those lovely connections with people who visit the Modjaji stand. As always there are cool geeky things at the Fair, one of them is this virtual way of being there called Here I am or Ich Bin Hier.

Publishing Perspectives is running a whole FREE programme and I’m not missing this one about small presses. I look forward to meeting publishers from some of the top small presses in the US.

Via Twitter, and an introduction from @BeadedQuill I’m meeting Meike Ziervogel at the Frankfurter Hof. I already followed Pereine Press but didn’t quite have the chutzpah to arrange a meeting. I love what Pereine Press does and how they work. Check them out.

“Two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: literary cinema for those fatigued by film.” Times Literary Supplement.
Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house with an extra twist, based in London. We are committed to first class European literature in high quality translation. Our books are beautifully designed paperback editions, using only the best paper from sustainable British sources. Affordable, timeless collector items. And because literature – both reading and writing – can be a lonely affair, Peirene hosts a wide range of regular literary events, from informal coffee mornings to exciting literary salons and tailor-made, exclusive events.

Another fabulous highlight for me is that I will be sharing accommodation with two publishers from last year’s Invitation Programme. Looking forward to catching up with them, and sharing tips and insights. And catching the train back and forth. Makes it all much more fun.

The African Small Publishers’ Catalogue 2013 will be available from the Cassava Republic Press stand, this year Bibi Bakare Yusuf is on the Invitation Programme.

Once again, a huge thanks to the writer who has made it possible for me to attend the Fair this year, and to all of you who support Modjaji Books by coming to fundraisers, buying books, writing them, sharing ideas and good ideas.

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Small Publishers’ Catalogue: Africa, 2013 out soon, order now

The Small Publishers’ Catalogue: Africa, 2013 will be available from next week. We will be posting out copies to all the listees, and our Indiegogo sponsors and advertisers. If you would like a copy – we can let you have one for R110 (including postage within SA). It will be selling in stores for R150. Email me at cdhiggs at if you would like to order a copy. It will be available in better bookstores towards the end of May.

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Forthcoming attraction: Fractured Lives by Toni Strasburg

Award-winning film-maker, Toni Strasburg‘s memoir, Fractured Lives is coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Toni Strasburg was born in South Africa and was exiled to Britain in 1965. She studied at London University and worked in various jobs before becoming a filmmaker. She has documented apartheid-era wars in southern Africa concentrating largely on the effects on women and children. Her award-winning films include Chain of Tears and its sequel, Chain of Hope, The Other Bomb, An Act of Faith and A South African Love Story. She has served an International Peace Monitor and Election Observer for the United Nations and has consulted to and run training workshops for UNESCO and other NGO’s in southern Africa.

Fractured Lives is a memoir of one woman’s experiences as a documentary filmmaker covering the wars in southern Africa during the 1980s and 1990s.

Part autobiography, part history, part social commentary and part war story, it offers a female perspective on a traditionally male subject.

Growing up in South Africa in a politically active family, Toni went to Britain as an exile in 1965 in the wake of the famous Rivonia Trial, and in the years to follow, became a filmmaker.

Despite constant difficulties fighting for funding and commissions from television broadcasters, and the prejudices of working in a male-dominated industry, Toni made several remarkable films in Mozambique and Angola. These bear witness to the silent victims of war, particularly the women and children.

Fractured Lives paints the changing landscape of southern Africa: Namibian independence and the end of the war in Mozambique bring hope – but also despondency. Yet there is also the possibility of redemption, of building new lives for the victims of war. In its final chapters, Fractured Lives traces the power of survival and the opportunities for new beginnings.

Fractured Lives concludes with Toni’s return to South Africa after nearly three decades in exile. However, the joy following the demise of apartheid is tempered by the poignancy of returning to a place that for so long had existed in her dreams alone and the realization that home will forever lie somewhere else.

Praise for Fractured Lives:
“An eye opener! Not much is known about what transpired on the ground in our neighbouring countries during apartheid. This memoir tears into your comfort zone by means of the crackling story behind fluent documentaries on these places and times. Some of the details make your hair stand on end!” Antjie Krog

“It gave me a powerful sense of life in the Frontline States: the difficulties as well as the pleasures at a moment when the future of South Africa was still in the balance. At the same time it highlighted the emotional experiences of a woman facing her own challenges in the male world of documentary filmmaking. Toni Bernstein has integrated complex and difficult themes into a well written and fascinating account of her unique experiences in a time of personal and social conflict.” Lesley Doyal Emeritus Professor of Health Studies – University of Bristol

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