Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Modjaji Books

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘LBF 2010’ Category

Jen Crocker chats London Book Fair in Cape Town with Damon Galgut and Colleen Higgs

If you’re feeling a bit wistful that you won’t be at the London Book Fair in two weeks time, come along on Thursday 8th May to the Gardens Wordsworths. You will get a taste of the excitement that is building up around the LBF for those of us in the SA Book World. Jen Crocker will be chatting to Damon Galgut and me about our expectations, great or other, re the upcoming 2010 London Book Fair. It’s the year of the South African Market Focus, so there will be more South Africans swarming around Earls Court than you can shake a stick at. I’ve never been to the LBF, so I’ve had to do all sorts of intricate figuring out. I’m sure Damon has been to the LBF before, and to other international Book Fairs and Literary Festivals.

I’ll have most of the new books that I’m taking to the Fair at Wordsworths on Thursday evening, such as Arja Salafranca’s The Thin Line, Meg Vandermerwe’s This Place I Call Home.

This is the Modjaji Books link on the London Book site website.

» read article

This Place I Call Home – cover preview

A slightly tweaked version of the cover with the shouts on the front!Meg Vandermerwe’s debut short story collection, This Place I Call Home, will be out in early April. Here’s a preview of the cover. Two collections of short stories are due at the same time, Arja Salafranca’s The Thin Line too. Both are going to the printer this week, just doing those final little tweaks and twiddles that one always has to do. Megadigital is printing both collections. I have a feeling these collections are both going to make waves, and demonstrate that short stories are a medium that local readers will snap up.

Both collections are part of the Modjaji Special Offer that runs till the end of this week.

» read article

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers’ new book, The Everyday Wife is a treat

The Everyday Wife A book I am thrilled to be bringing out in April is The Everyday Wife by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers. I met her while working at the Centre for the Book. We both participated in the British Council sponsored Crossing Borders programme in 2005/6. At the final workshop we got to read our writing, and Phillippa read a sonnet about her son that brought me to tears. Since that first meeting, we worked together on her first collection, Taller than Buildings, for which she received a Community Publishing grant, have seen each other at various Cape Town book fairs and here on Book SA, and now we have this new relationship. It’s an honour to publish her new collection. Phillippa has an extraordinary energy and facility with words and images.

Actually bringing the book out is a midwifing process, and we are (as I speak) still attempting to make the book a bit shorter (budget constraints) except that the poems Phillippa is willing to “kill” (her words) are the ones I love. But we have the cover, we have the wonderful Megadigital waiting in the wings to print, we have the London Book Fair, we have Book SA, we have all Phillippa’s fans. We have the first draft of the layout done by Jacqui Stecher who also did the cover design. We are in poetry book labour ward. Now we want to hold the baby in our arms.

Phillippa was lucky enough to have Margaret Busby write a foreword, for The Everyday Wife, so to tantalise you, here it is…

What treats are served up in this new book of poems by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers!

To read just the first line of the first poem is to be skeined into a tantalizing world where nothing is predictable. Like the best of poets, she makes language do her bidding, wresting new sense from familiar images and situations, surprising us and ambushing our expectation. In the title poem can be seen the range and subtlety that characterises her work – the clear-eyed honesty, the perceptiveness, the playfulness, the attention to nuance. The Everyday Wife sums up the boundaries and expanses of a relationship,
the possibility of menace, even, in the midst of love.

In one way or another, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers illuminates relationships of many kinds and many intensities – between lovers, children and parents, the politics of emotion shared and remembered and confronted, sustained across the distance of place or memory. Sometimes, as in ‘The Organ of Love’ – which manages that crucial combination of passion and humour – she makes meaning hold on
to the last word of the poem like the last drop of a delicious drink.

In poem after poem are revealed different facets of her shapeshifting talent. The raw and numbing truths told in ‘Hell in a Handbag’ contrast starkly with the theatricality of a supermarket encounter in ‘The Middle Promise’, which transforms into a reminder that ‘the cost of things is not the same as the value of things’.

The historical and everyday realities of South Africa permeate even her observations about the weather as in ‘Home drenched’ and in ‘Sixty-nine bullets’ (for the Sharpeville 69) the tragedy is given poignant new impact.

Her blending of the literal and the metaphysical makes it possible to take so much from a single image:
one girl
sits tidily beside a giant cactus, the giant sun
just another father: distant and a little too warm.

The alarming familiar that she summons up so matter-of-factly, and so well, in ‘The guest’ epitomizes that edginess of imagination, and the sanity of the conclusion that one can never improve on freedom.

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers has claimed a freedom to speak the unspoken, however it emerges. ‘A safe house is a place of fear’ – a title thought-provoking in itself – captures the potency of silence, the dangerous power of wordlessless, where ‘silence is the skin of fear’.‘Words become me,’ she begins by saying, in ‘Lasso’… ‘withoutthem I am shorn’. Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is a poet for
whom there is no danger of separation from expression. She definitely has a way with words, and words have their way with her.

Book details

» read article

Pre-London Book Fair Special Offer on Modjaji Books new titles

The Bed Book of Short Stories edited by Joanne Hichens, compiled by Lauri KubuitsileCover of new collection of poems by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, due out in April 2010Front cover of Jane Katjavivi's memoir, illustration by Diane Swartzberg and lettering by Hannah MorrisSmall Publishers' Catalogue - due out in March 2010 - putting African Small and Indie Publishers on the map!

Modjaji Books has several new titles coming out in April and May. If you would like to pre-order any of these titles at a special discount price, here’s your chance. It’s also a way of supporting an indie publisher.

The titles are:

Arja Salafranca’s collection of short stories The Thin Line.
Recommended Retail Price in stores – R145.
Modjaji Pre-Order price including postage where relevant: R125

Meg Vandemerwe’s collection of short stories This Place Called Home
Recommended Retail Price in stores – R145.
Modjaji Pre-Order price including postage where relevant: R125

Jane Katjavivi’s memoir, Undisciplined Heart
Recommended Retail Price in stores – R170
Modjaji Pre-Order price including postage where relevant: R150

Small Publisher’s Catalogue 2010 (Africa)
Recommended Retail Price in stores – R150
Modjaji Pre-Order price including postage where relevant: R100

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers new collection of poems, The Everyday Wife
Recommended Retail Price in stores – R130
Modjaji Pre-Order price including postage where relevant: R110

Modjaji’s Book of Bed Short Stories
Recommended Retail Price in stores – R150
Modjaji Pre-Order price including postage where relevant: R130

Special Offer if you order all 6 of the titles you pay R690 (an extra R50 off, the already reduced price)

Check out all Modjaji Books titles here ….

Go on, you know you want them and you will be supporting independent publishing in a big way!

For more information about any of the titles click on the links above.

» read article

This Place I Call Home, debut collection by Meg van der Merwe

Meg Vandermerwe, a promising new voice on the South African literary scene is about to make her debut with a collection of short stories called “THIS PLACE I CALL HOME”. Vandermerwe teaches Creative Writing at UWC with Antjie Krog. She did her MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. The collection has already been praised by Ali Smith, which for a young writer is a big deal:

This slim collection of stories packs a punch well above its weight. Humane, compassionate and uncompromising, glinting with spirit and beauty, and written with a rare combination of discipline and vivacity, it marks the debut of a gifted writer.

Here is a short description of the stories:

Ten stories. Ten voices. Ten diverse perspectives of what home has meant to South Africans during our country’s challenging history. In this thought-provoking collection we are drawn into the lives of others. From an old widower who seems content on the outside but feels that his world is unravelling in the new South Africa, to an immigrant who has fled racial persecution in 1930s Europe and now finds himself on a barren sheep farm in the Karoo, to a Polokwane teacher confronted with the moral dilemma of xenophobic sentiments in her township, This Place I Call Home, leaves the reader deeply aware of local realities. Even though these powerful stories are often characterised by hardship and personal loss, one cannot help but emerge inspired by the tenacity of the human spirit and the resilience of South Africa’s people.

As soon as the cover is ready, I will post it here…

» read article

The Thin Line, a collection of short stories by Arja Salafranca due out in April

Arja Salafranca‘s collection of stories, The Thin Line is due out in April, 2010, just in time for the London Book Fair. Arja’s has received many accolades and prizes for her poetry and short fiction since the mid 90′s. She is currently the editor of the Sunday Independent’s Lifestyle section.

This is what Hamilton Wende has to say about the collection:

These are wonderful stories. They chart a new direction in South African fiction, where each line, each page – each story unfolds subtly, reaching deeper and more intimately into the tender spaces that exist in all our lives between love and doubt. Reading them kept me up late at night, wanting to know more about the characters’ lives. I was enthralled by the clarity and compassion of her insights; and moved by her obvious love for our fragile country and the fierce power of our unrelinquished hopes.

Here is the blurb:

‘Words grow up and reverberate … they come back’

The short stories in The Thin Line show what happens when a writer casts a thin line into a pool of character and situation. Characters assume position, while readers see the lines they have drawn around the selves in the stories. As readers we are lucky – we can then step over these lines and watch from inside the story. We see characters draw battle lines and retreat behind them, mark out their territory with boundary lines and dare others to cross them. We notice as story lines escape from one story to resurface in others, sometimes the merest thread, sometimes a bolder and more definite intrusion. And sometimes we watch story lines loop back on themselves to form circles, or sharply curved ellipses. Some stories are cross-hatched with many lines – webbed and netted – and we watch the people inside these struggle to escape from situations, often of their own making – and often because they didn’t draw the line when they should have. Lines create boxes and keep people lonely and separate from each other. And sometimes, lines fade, are erased, or can be crossed, with happy and satisfying effect.

Whatever may happen inside these stories the reader is hooked from the first one, reeled in on that thin line. And they don’t leave you alone. You get up to make some toast, or check the mail and as you’re walking back to your desk, you’re thinking about the woman artist, or Corinna trapped in her huge teenage body, or Cleo in love with a married man after all these years, or poor skinny Mark, seeing his love teeter away from him.

“Only my love of the straight line keeps me going,” Carmen Herrera (Artist)

Book details

» read article

Small Publishers’ Catalogue (Africa) – cover preview

Small Publishers' Catalogue - due out in March 2010 - putting African Small and Indie Publishers on the map!March 2010 will see the Small Publishers’ Catalogue available to buy. Here’s a preview of the cover, done by Jesse Breytenbach (crocheted image) and lettering by Hannah Morris. I love the cover and have loved working on this project with the help of Bontle Senne, Natascha Mostert and Fouad Asfour of Khanya College. We decided to put together a catalogue at the Small Publishers’ meeting we had in Jozi last August.

The Catalogue has listings from about 40 African small publishers, there are articles by Gary Cummiskey, Arthur Attwell and Aernout Zevenbergen as well as some useful resources. The Catalogue will be useful to a number of different audiences including Africana librarians, booksellers, writers, book development agencies, the media and readers who are interested in the behind the scenes aspects of the world of books and publishing.

The Catalogue should be in bookstores by the end of March 2010 and copies will be available at this year’s London Book Fair. Publishers who may not be able to get to the LBF will still be on the international publishing map.

» read article

Modjaji Poets are reviewed in Litnet

Fourth ChildPlease, Take PhotographsStrange FruitThree Modjaji poets, Helen Moffett, Sindiwe Magona and Megan Hall have all had carrotty reviews in the past couple of weeks on Litnet. The Strange Fruit review was posted by Sophy last week over here on BOOK SA. But if you want to see what Karlien van der Schyff has to say about Magona’s Please, Take Photographsclick here or what Grace Kim’s thoughts on Hall’s Fourth Child are, click here.

I’m really pleased to see reviews of the poetry collections, as there aren’t many publications that carry reviews of Poetry. So thanks for that Litnet. I look forward to seeing reviews of Oleander and Burnt Offering in due course.

Talking of which Joan Metelerkamp read from Burnt Offering at Wordsworths in Knysna last evening. Joan let me know today that the event was well attended, and Gillian Carter introduced Joan. I will see if I can get a copy of her talk and post it. I’m longing to hear Joan read from Burnt Offering. She did read at the Cape Town Book Fair last year, but only one poem.

Book details

» read article

London Book Fair here we come

Invisible EarthquakeYesterday, I got an email from Jane Henshall at the British Council, letting me know that Malika Ndlovu, author ofInvisble Earthquake has been chosen by the SA Focus Steering Committee to participate in the London Book Fair next year. This follows closely on the heels of hearing that Modjaji Books received one of the 10 places for smaller, independent publishers. All of this is enormously thrilling, and underlies my sense that it was right to start Modjaji Books; there is a place for a small press focusing on the writing of Southern African women.

Book details

» read article

Small & indie Pan African publishers catalogue – call for advertising

NIPPA or the Network of Independent Publishers Pan-Africa is looking for likely prospects to sponsor and/or advertise in our Small and Indie Publishers’ 2010 Catalogue. This Pan-African publication network aims at sharing knowledge about publishing and distribution in African countries.

Modjaji Books on behalf of NIPPA has undertaken to compile and produce a catalogue of small literary and trade publishers in Africa. It is our aim to have the catalogue ready in time to represent small publishers at the London Book Fair in 2010. As most people in the book world in South Africa know, the London Book Fair has selected South Africa as its 2010 market focus country. South Africa’s publishing industry will be front and centre; showcasing publishers, books and authors over the Fair’s three days.

We propose to publish the catalogue in a directory format, in black and white on glossy paper. The size of the catalogue will be A6: 105 x 148 mm

The costs of advertising in the catalogue are:

For Inside Back Cover and Inside Front Cover: R2000
For Back Cover: R5000

For a Full page advertisement inside: R2000
For a Half page: R1200
For a Quarter page: R600
To Sponsor a Page
(narrow banner ad across the bottom of a page): R300

All advertisements will be in black and white, except inside and back covers.

All of the above prices include VAT

If you would like to advertise in the catalogue, please contact me at cdhiggs AT or if you have suggestions of likely candidates for sponsorship or advertising, please let me know.

» read article