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Archive for the ‘Namibia’ Category

List or advertise in the new African Small Publishers’ catalogue

Small Publishers' Catalogue 2010 - AfricaSPC Africa 2013It’s time to put together a new “Small Publishers’ Catalogue: Africa”. We feature publishers and services, programmes and institutions that are useful to publishers in Africa and to those who are interested in Book Publishing in Africa. The distribution is via bookstores in South Africa, online from our website, and we take it to book fairs – the South African Book Fair and to Frankfurt and London. It gets to readers, librarians, booksellers, other publishers all over Africa and internationally to those who are interested in book development in Africa. The last edition in 2013 listed 50 publishers mostly from Anglophone Africa, but not exclusively, and included publishers from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and of course South Africa.

For more info about the previous catalogues click here

We plan to bring the catalogue out in March 2016, so no time to waste.

If you are interested in listing or advertising, contact Colleen Higgs for more details.

A listing costs R500. You get a free copy of the catalogue with your listing. The rate card for advertising or sponsoring will be sent to you on request.


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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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Small Publishers’ Catalogue, Africa, 2013

I love it when a plan comes together! The Small Publishers’ Catalogue is happening, we’ve got listings from publishers all over the continent: Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, a UK-based publisher of African writing, and of course lots from South African publishers. May still get listings from Togo, Mauritius, Tunisia and Morocco. Possibly Botswana, a few more Nigerian publishers, trying to get as many as possible by the end of February.

Many of the publishers we are listing for the first time have participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair/Litprom Invitation Programme.

African Books Collective, Black Letter Media, Paperight, Bookslive, the Goethe Institute, AllAboutWriting, Judy Croome, Porcupine Press, Deep South, Fundza, Helen Moffett, The Rhodes University Creative Writing MA, Farafina, and the ever generous and supportive friend of small publishers – Mega Digital have all taken out advertising so far. We are thrilled to announce that Mega Digital has agreed to sponsor an initial print run of 500 copies!

We had limited success with the Indiegogo campaign, in that we reached just over a tenth of our target budget. But we would like to offer a huge thanks to those who generously donated, mostly writers, and at least half of whom are poets. I’m sure there is a lesson in there somewhere. The Indiegogo sponsors include: Helen Moffett, Sarah Lotz, Richard Higgs, Arthur Attwell, Leonie Joubert, Yewande Omotoso, AllAboutWriting, Rachel Zadok, Haidee Kruger, Kobus Moolman, Lauri Kubuitsile and Carol-Ann Davids. (The anonymous donors are also poets.)

I’m hoping to put up a website for small and Indie African publishers once we’ve got the updated printed catalogue off the ground. It’ll be a work in progress that we can keep updated.

In the meantime if you or anyone you know works in publishing directly or indirectly. Please spread the word. We’d love to list them or feature them in an advert.

Our online version of the 2010 catalogue has had over 4600 hits.


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The Small Publishers’ Catalogue, Africa, 2013 project featured in Publishing Perspectives

2013 has gotten off to a good start with the feature about The Small Publishers’ Catalogue, Africa, 2013 project in Publishing Perspectives. Only 8 days to go on the Indiegogo Campaign to raise some of the money necessary to pull the project together I’m hoping that the feature in Publishing Perspectives will energise the campaign into meeting our modest target of USD3000.

African Books Collective, Bookslive, Porcupine Press, NELM, Deep South, the Rhodes University MA, Judy Croome, Helen Moffett, Black Letter Media and quite a few others have taken out advertising space in the Catalogue. We are looking to double if not treble the listings. If you want to list or advertise, don’t hesitate to contact me .

And while earlier editions were very much South Africa oriented, the 2013 version is designed to be much more comprehensive. In addition, Higgs adds that, “my dream is to be able to compile a list of African literary magazines and to publish some new articles that will be of interest and value to publishers and to writers and others in the book world in Africa and to those interested in books in Africa.

Read the full article in Publishing Perspectives by clicking here


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Spread the love and the word – Small Publishers Catalogue Africa 2013

We’ve set up a campaign to raise funds to publish an updated and much more comprehensive edition of the Small Publishers’ Catalogue Africa 2013 Funds have started coming in from those who support the campaign. Please check it out, especially if you have ever been published by a small publisher, a literary magazine, an online zine, or been given advice, suggestions, input, feedback or anything else similar.

The Catalogue is a showcase for small and indie publishers, and having them all in a catalogue is an incredibly useful way for librarians, bookstores, bibiophiles, researchers, students of Africana, you name it to have the information in one place.

While working at the Centre for the Book, I was involved in the first Small Publishers’ Catalogue which only featured South African publishers. University librarians from the British Library, Harvard, Yale and Stanford were at the Cape Town Book Fair, and they all eagerly snapped the Catalogue up, as did stores like Clarke’s and local university librarians. We printed 500 copies and now sadly it is out of print.

We’ve started to get people taking listings and adverts. The inside front cover has been booked already. Please spread the word about the Catalogue and the crowd-sourcing funding campaign, thanks in advance!


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Modjaji authors at Franschoek

Modjaji Books is enormously thrilled to have at least seven authors featured at Franschoek this year: Arja Salafranca, Meg Vandermerwe, Jane Katjavivi, Finuala Dowling (who is mostly there as a Kwela author is also wearing her Difficult to Explain hat at the Can you Teach Creative Writing session), Malika Ndlovu, Tracey Farren, Dawn Garisch (Modjaji is bringing out two of Dawn’s books this year, Difficult Gifts her debut poetry collection in June and a non-fiction later in the year).

If you want to find Modjaji authors at the FLF I have outlined their key sessions below, with some extra info and gossip. No, not quite gossip. I am looking forward to a fabulous weekend, although I am really sorry that Ivan Vladislavic has had to cancel. If you’re going – I hope to see you there, somewhere …

[9]: The Write Honourables (Hospice Hall)
What price literary prizes? A day ahead of the Sunday Times shortlist announcements, Justin Cartwright, winner of the 2005Fiction Prize, Henrietta Rose-Innes and Olufemi Terry, former and current winners of the Caine Prize, talk about what it means to win and quiz Books Editor Tymon Smith about the problems of choosing judges. (I hope they will mention this year’s Caine Prize short list and that Modjaji author, Lauri Kubuitsile’s story from the Bed Book of Short Stories “In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata” has been shortlisted, much to our huge delight. And just as a footnote, sort of, The Bed Book of Short Stories had its first of many launches at the Franschoek Literary Festival last year.)

[13]: Letters to South Africa (School Hall)

Stellenbosch English professor Leon de Kock and some of the poets and rappers in the Umuzi book discuss and perform their South African versions of Allan Ginsberg’s famous Letter to America. (Malika Ndlovu is taking part in this event; watch this blog for big news re Malika and her book Invisible Earthquake, will be posting next week.)

[21]: Sukkels With Subsequent Novels (Hospice Hall)
Success with a novel is a great achievement – and then the publisher demands another. Tan Twan Eng (The Gift of Rain), Tracey Farren (Whiplash) and Andrew Brown (Sunday Times prizewinner Coldsleep Lullabye, followed by Refuge) unload the problems of following a good act to publisher Jeremy Boraine.

[26]: Blood, Guts, Sweat & Tears (Church Hall)
Three doctors who write, Rosamund Kendal (The Angina Monologues), Dawn Garisch (Trespass) and James Clelland (Deeper Than Colour), put aside their stethoscopes to talk about their books with crime writer Jassy Mackenzie.
(Dawn’s poetry collection will be launched at Kalk Bay Books on the 8th June if you want to diarise that.)

[34]: Lekker English on the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible (Council Chamber)
Linguistics professor Rajend Mesthrie of UCT (Dictionary of South African Indian English) and poet and writer Arja Salafranca (The Thin Line) celebrate the glories of the English language and our evolving South African versions.

[40]: Writing Me (Congregational Church)
Autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last instalment missing, said Quentin Crisp. Zakes Mda (Sometimes There is a Void ), Janice Galloway (This is Not About Me) and Namibia’s Jane Katjavivi (Undisciplined Heart) argue the issue with Jenny Crwys-Williams. (Jane Katjavivi is here from Namibia on this very prestigious panel. A huge thrill for Modjaji Books.)

Can You Teach Writing? (Council Chamber)
Flannery O’Connor said: ‘Everywhere I go, I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.’ True or just glib? Leon de Kock, Head of English at Stellenbosch, stirs the issue with creative writing teachers and writers Kei Miller, Finuala Dowling and Kobus Moolman. (Difficult to Explain, edited by Finuala Dowling is a key text in this discussion, edited by Finuala, and a treasure for teachers of creative writing, poets still honing their craft, school teachers, lovers of poetry, hmmm, who have I left out?)

[49]: Short Stories Africa (Council Chamber)
Short fiction is no longer in the publishing wilderness. UCT’s Harry Garuba talks to short story writers Doreen Baingana (Tropical Fish), Henrietta Rose-Innes (Homing) and Meg Vandermerwe (This Place I Call Home) about their work (Don’t forget Short Story Day South if you are a fan of the form. Rachel Zadok is spearheading a campaign to get us in the Southern Hemisphere to celebrate short stories on the shortest day of the year in the south, the 21st June.)

[59]: Secret Women’s Business (Council Chamber)

Edyth Bulbring uses the Australian Aboriginal concept of a place where women go to discuss their affairs to delve into the writing lives of Doreen Baingana (Tropical Fish), Marguerite Abouet, the graphic author of the Aya series, and poet and writer Arja Salafranca (The Thin Line). (Arja is appearing on two panels – this is her second and last one.)

[43]: Love Stories (Hospice Hall)

Colleen Higgs of Modjaji Books talks romance with Fiona Snyckers (Trinity on Air), Nani Mhlanga (Her Forever After), Sapphire Press editor Lindsay van Rensburg and Nollybooks publisher Moky Makura. (I am chairing this session, so if romance is your thing or if you are interested in current strategies to popularise reading in South Africa, don’t miss this one. And as you may or may not know, I have just had a second collection of poems published called Lava Lamp Poems, which doesn’t count as romance, but this a good spot to do a tiny plug. If I don’t who will?)

Whiplash

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Praise for Jane Katjavivi’s Undisciplined Heart in Rapport

Undisciplined Heart This past weekend, Rapport Boeke featured a lovely, carrotty review written by Danila Liebenberg about Jane Katjavivi’s memoir, Undisciplined Heart. The review captures the essence of the book and gives the reader a really good idea of what pleasures and interest they will be derive from reading Undisciplined Heart.

“Die memoires is uit ‘n sensitiewe perspektief op die mensdom geinspireer. Gebeure word in fyn detail verhaal en vergemaklik en dredimensionele belewing daarvan.”

“Sy skroom ook nie om kommentaar te lewer oor velkleur-kwessies nie en onderskryf die Herero-gesegde dat haar man nie met ‘n wit vrou getrou het nie, maar met ‘n mens (bl 196).

Undisciplined Heart

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“Where the heart is Undisciplined Heart by Jane Katjavivi”

Front cover of Jane Katjavivi's memoir, illustration by Diane Swartzberg and lettering by Hannah MorrisInsight Namibia published a review of Jane Katjavivi’s Undisciplined Heart in July this year, written by Erika von Wietersheim, a regular reviewer for the publication. Here is the full review. Verdict – carrot!

Yes, Jane Katjavivi is the British-born wife of prominent Swapo politician Peter Katjavivi, former ambassador to the European Union and Germany and former Director General of the National Planning Commission in Namibia. But this book is not about Peter, it is about Jane.

And no, the title Undisciplined Heart does not refer to untamed emotions and impetuous relationships. It alludes to Jane Katjavivi’s physical heart condition, to a heart that needed to be ‘disciplined’ by a pacemaker, medication and changes of lifestyle. Its often unbalanced and precarious state confronted the author head-on with questions about life and death and drove her to examine her position in this world, shaped by the continents of Europe and Africa.

As Jane Katjavivi remarked at the launch of her book in June of this year, it was in Brussels, early 2004, where she started to write. I needed to explore my relationship with Namibia and our unexpected move into diplomatic life. I needed most of all to make sense of the deaths of three very close friends in the year before, and my own serious heart problems… After different attempts to fictionalize her tale or to anonymise its main characters, the book finally took the form of an honest and inspiring true to life memoir, interweaving Katjavivi’s personal life story with concurrent political events and developments in Namibia, Africa and the world.

Becoming a true Namibian
Katjavivi writes about her passionate engagement for southern Africa as a young political activist in Great Britain (where she met her future Namibian husband, who was Swapo representative in the UK) and about her very different life in Windhoek, after Namibia’s independence, when the Katjavivi family became part of the new political and social elite. She vividly describes how she created her own publishing company, ‘New Namibia Books’ and ran a book shop in a country, which she found to be a ‘book desert’ without a reading, let alone a writing, culture. She tells about her joys and worries as a mother of two children, and about her role as a ‘diplomatic spouse’ in Brussels and Germany. She also gives the reader glimpses of how she found her place in a huge African extended family, different in language and culture. Pinpointing the moment she realizes that she has become a true Namibian, she writes, “I no longer look at relatives the English way. Cousins are brothers and sisters; aunts are mothers and uncles are fathers, as in Namibia. I don’t count the stages of removal that are so clearly defined in England. For me there are no steps or halves; all our children are whole.”

An ode to friendship
A dominant thread in the author’s web of stories is the friendship between Katjavivi and six women in Windhoek. They regularly meet for breakfast at the Brazilian Cafe, where they laugh and cry about their life in a country, to which they all came from different corners of the world: from Germany, the USA, Zimbabwe, Norway, England, Scotland and South Africa.

They all made Namibia their home and they all contributed to building the young African nation – as development consultant, lawyer, teacher, theatre producer or publisher. “None of us was indigenous to Namibia,” Katjavivi writes. “We came from outside and perhaps we therefore needed each other more.” The women support and sustain each other in everyday life as well as in times of hardship and despair. Katjavivi dedicates her memoir to these women, “witty and funny and silly and wise and helpful to each other”, with the bright blue coffee cups on the title page symbolizing their friendship.

Illness and death
Another recurring theme of the book is illness, death and the search for spiritual answers, triggered by the death of a number of friends. Katjavivi’s sister-in-law dies in Germany after a long battle with cancer. A Nigerian publishing colleague and friend is shot and killed in Nigeria. One of her Windhoek circle of friends dies after a heart attack. And then the doctor diagnoses Jane as having an ‘undisciplined heart’ that would need a pacemaker. This sequence of deeply unsettling experiences as well as her load of work and responsibilities drive Jane to her emotional and physical limits and finally cause her ‘to fall from the mountain’ that she has been climbing too fast and with too little pause. On her long road to recovery, Katjavivi movingly and honestly describes how she finally arrives at a renewed understanding of God, the scriptures and a universal spirituality. Her search culminates in a very personalized statement of faith, taken from revelations from different religions and African prophets: I believe in God, Father and Mother of the universe…

While political and social events in Namibia and the wider world shape and colour the fabric of Katjavivi’s stories, the book remains largely apolitical. Katjavivi avoids deeper and critical political contemplations on Namibian politics, even though she expressly regrets the apolitical culture in Namibia and misses the lively political debates of her time as a political activist. As wife of a prominent Swapo politician, this might have been the only way to write a memoir at this time and place – an autobiography which otherwise is amazingly and courageously honest and open, sharing fear, despair and joy in equal measure with its readers. “I love this book,” Dr. Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, former Deputy Minister of Education and close friend, said at the launch. “Its content is crafted in an articulate, frank and laid bare language that is as powerful as it is true. I genuinely enjoyed reading this book.”

Undisciplined Heart was first published in 2010 by Modjaji Books in South Africa. To make the book more easily available in Namibia, Katjavivi decided to publish a Namibian edition under the new imprint of ‘Tigereye Publishing’ as well, under which she hopes to publish more Namibian stories and autobiographies in future. The reviewer, Erika von Wietersheim, is a regular contributor to insight Namibia.

Undisciplined Heart

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Margie Orford talks to old friend and colleague, Jane Katjavivi about Undisciplined Heart

Last night at The Book Lounge, the dear dear Book Lounge, Margie Orford engaged in a lively, intimate and moving conversation with Jane Katjavivi, author of Undisciplined Heart. Peter Katjavivi, Jane’s husband was there, as was Nella Freund, the editor of Jane’s book, and many of the Katjavivis’ friends and colleagues. The Cape Town/Namibian grapevine had also done its work, as there were a number of Namibians present too.

Undisciplined Heart has many threads, one of them is the group of friends that Jane writes about who met every Friday morning at 7.30 for coffee at the Brazilian Cafe. Initially Jane thought she was writing a novel about women friends in Windhoek, but as she wrote she grappled with the form and eventually with the help of her editor, she understood she was writing an autobiography which included accounts of friendship, life in Namibia, acclimatising to a new life and culture and country, her work as a publisher and bookseller, dealing with her own ill-health, the death of friends and the journey to make meaning out of it all.

Margie quoted from the book and asked Jane to respond or tell us more. The first quote was “I had lived Namibia for years. I already referred to the country as home.” Jane worked in anti-apartheid organisations and for SWAPO too and then married Peter Katjavivi, so long before she finally moved to Namibia at Independence in 1990, she knew many Namibians and had started to identify as Namibian, in spite of being born and having grown up in England.

Because Margie knows Namibia so well herself, and worked with Jane at New Namibia Books, the Independent publishing company that Jane started and managed for 10 years, she was able to engage in a conversation with Jane that really allowed us as the audience to almost eavesdrop on old friends discussing Jane’s book and life. Margie referred to the “dry hard spirit of white Windhoek” and asked Jane how she dealt with it. Jane explained that she did encounter this and that it made her stomach knot and gave her nausea; but to some extent as a white woman with a black husband and two brown children, and the safety of Peter’s family and her new friends she was able to remove herself from that “dry hard” world and live in a world that was coming into being in the newly independent Namibia.

Margie asked Jane whether her writing was a response to her ill health and recovering. In this period she had moved to Brussels as a diplomatic wife, given up her bookshop and sold her publishing company and was at a loss about what to do with herself.

There are times when I think I shouldn’t be here at all. I was on my way through the door that Brigitte and Isobel had passed through. Medical intervention stopped me, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing now. ‘What about your writing?’ Deedee asks me. (page 213)

Margie asked Jane if the writing of her life had brought a change in her.

This is my time of reflection and revelation. In the still spaces of the night and in early waking moments, comes knowledge beyond the everyday consciousness. I come to know that I am part of the collective heartbeat. I come to terms with the death of the body. I stop being afraid. (page 254)

I hope this gives some sense of the discussion. I’ve read Undisciplined Heart several times, first in manuscript form, and I was again moved and encouraged by listening to Jane talk with Margie. Jane has a quiet warm intelligence and strength of character, an inspiring person (but especially for me and Mervyn as she was both an independent bookseller and publisher.)

For a more in-depth inter-review of Jane and her book by Janet van Eeden of Litnet read here.

Margie introducing the bookMargie and Jane Jane Peter Katjavivi

For more photos go to this Facebook link

Undisciplined Heart

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Bed Book of Short Stories rocks Love Books in Jozi

The Bed Book of Short StoriesFacebook is full of pictures and “love” comments about last night’s Bed Book launch. The Bed Book was one of Modjaji’s first projects, it took two years+ to come to fruition and the events around the country and into Namibia and Botswana too are joyous occasions so far of writers meeting each other, forming connections, reading stories, and generally having a good time. All the books that Kate Rogan of Love Books ordered in for last night’s event were sold. All the wine was drunk and new friendships were made (from what I can gather). Thanks to Nia Magoulianiti_McGregor for taking the initiative and organising the launch and to all the writers who were there, thanks for your stories and for being there. The Arts and Culture Trust generously sponsored the publication of this book.

Bed Book LaunchThe Bed Book launch in JoziThe Bed Book of Short Stories

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