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 ‘Non-fiction’ Category

Extreme summer special offer on all titles for two weeks only

Check out the Modjaji Books website first – click on titles and Hands-On titles to see what is available. Email me if you want to take up any of these offers.

All books are ON SALE for the next two weeks till November 22nd, 2013. (Postage excluded unless you select a package deal)


Novels are R130
Longer Non-Fiction – R150
Shorter Non-Fiction – R100
Short stories – R110
Poetry – R100

3 POETRY titles for R200 (including postage for South African addresses only)
3 SHORT FICTION titles – for R250 (including postage- for South African addresses only)
2 NOVELS for R250 (including postage – for South African addresses only)
2 longer NON-FICTION titles for R250 (excluding postage)
2 shorter NON-FICTION titles for R150 (excluding postage)


Jabulani Means Rejoice – Dictionary of South African Names – R150 (usually R250 in stores) Excl postage.

Small Publisher’s Catalogue: Africa, 2013 – R60 incl postage

New titles:

The Turtle Dove Told Me by Thandi Sliepen R100 incl postage (usual price R150)

Pleasure-in-Relating by Susan Groves (R100 incl postage – usual price R150

» read article

My First Time reviewed by Agenda

Unathi Nopece reviews My First Time: Stories of sex and sexuality from women like you in the July 2013 edition of Agenda. Jen Thorpe compiled and edited the collection from the blog she set up. She selected stories from the blog and commissioned a few pieces too and then edited them and worked with Nella Freund to make the collection cohere.

Overall, the book is a provocative and engaging women’s read and will undoubtedly make the reader recall his or her own first time experiences.

The book provides an insightful and qualitative perspective, adding to the existing research on women’s sexuality. Furthermore, it aims to remove the secrecy, apparent self-loathing and shame that surrounds women and their sexuality, as reflected in stories such as ‘My first time getting rid of the shame of a woman’s sexuality’ by Karabo Kgoleng (p 80).

To read the full review click here

My First Time

Book details

» read article

Toni Strasburg’s address as part of Rusty Bernstein Memorial lecture at Wits

Toni Strasburg, author of Fractured Lives and oldest daughter of Rusty and Hilda Bernstein spoke alongside Professor Ananya Roy at the Wits Architecture School last week, for the Rusty Bernstein Memorial lecture.

Toni’s talk was published in The Cape Times last week. If you want to read the whole speech click here

She ended her speech,

My father believed in humanity, he stood by his beliefs throughout his life and spoke out against injustice even when doing so threatened his life. We still need people like him in South Africa today, people who will speak out against oppression and injustice and not turn a blind eye, no matter who the perpetrators are.

Fractured Lives

Book details

» read article

Modjaji authors at the Franschoek Literary Festival

Team TrinityMy First TimeEloquent BodyLava Lamp PoemsLooking for Trouble
Difficult to ExplainDifficult GiftsMissingThese are the Lies I Told You

We’re delighted that Jenny Hobbs has invited us to join in the lit fest party again. Here’s a round up of events that Modjaji authors are taking part in. We’ve got a plethora of poets featured, including Ingrid Jonker award winners Beverly Rycroft (missing) and Megan Hall (fourth child), as well as Kerry Hammerton (These are the Lies I told you) and Dawn Garisch (Difficult Gifts). I’m looking forward to Franschoek, it’s a lovely combination of seeing friends from all over, catch up, gossip, books, reading, delicious food, wine, and more books. Although Modjaji didn’t publish any novels last year, we have three authors who have been invited to the Sunday Times Shortlisting announcement on Saturday evening. I will wait for the actual longlist to post who they are, but you might be able to figure it out.

Friday the 17th May is our busiest day at the FLF.

[Session 9]: Rising eighteen (New High School Hall) 11h30 to 12h30
Samantha Page, editor of From Me to Me, is joined by comedian and author Nik Rabinowitz (South Africa: a long walk to a free ride), writer and writing mentor Osiame Molefe, author Fiona Snyckers (Team Trinity) and high school teacher Athambile Masola (a contributor to My First Time) to talk about strategies for surviving the final years at school.

Fiona Snyckers (Team Trinity) is also featured in this event:

[Session 24]: Trial by twitter (Church Hall) 14h30 to 15h30
Tweets are an instantaneous news medium with growing influence on public opinion. Fiona Snyckers quizzes Julian Rademeyer, Sam Wilson and non-tweeting journalist Ann Crotty about the pros and cons.

I’m in this session which will be very useful for writers, newish editors and anyone who wants to know what editors and publishers do to make a manuscript fit to go out in public.

[32]: Fiction editing in South Africa (Church Hall) 16h00 to 17h00
On a more serious note, John Linnegar of the Professional Editors’ Group talks to editor Maire Fisher, author/critic Brent Meersman (Reports Before Daybreak) and publishers Fourie Botha (Umuzi) and Colleen Higgs (Modjaji) about the local state of the art.

[33]: Writing a path through grief (Congregational Church) 16h00 to 17h00
Sean Davison (Before We Said Goodbye, After We Said Goodbye) has been much in the news since his house arrest in New Zealand . Here he talks to Mignonne Breier (Letters to my Son) about the healing process of writing, chaired by Dawn Garisch (Eloquent Body).

[36]: Poetry in the Screening Room 16h00 to 17h00
Mellow out for the evening with tasters of poetry by Oswald Mtshali (Sounds of a Cowhide Drum), Kerry Hammerton (These are the lies I told you), Justin Fox (The Marginal Safari) and Gus Ferguson (Holding Pattern).

On Saturday 18th May

[42]: Flash Memoir workshop (Library) (double event till 12.00, R120)
Learn tools to access the core of your life story – giving equal weight to the facts and the poetry of the matter – with Dawn Garisch.

On Sunday the 19th May

[85]: Poetry in the Screening Room 13h00 to 14h00
Three winners of SA’s prestigious Ingrid Jonker prize in conversation. Finuala Dowling (I flying) asks Bev Rycroft (missing) and Megan Hall (Fourth Child) why grief, love and dark wit make the best poems.

Book details

eBook options – Download now!

eBook options – Download now!

» read article

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

» read article

A first for Modjaji Books: Backlist titles available on POD thanks to Megadigital

Modjaji Books has signed up three titles on Mega Digital’s new POD platform. They are set to be the first real POD publishers in South Africa. We are thinking it is the way to go in the future with poetry titles in particular. We will probably print a very small print run for the launch and PR purposes and for the author to sell and then direct readers or would be buyers to the Mega Digital online store to buy their copies.

Customers pay the same for the book, but we don’t have to lay out thousands of rands for printing books that mostly get returned, if they even get ordered in the first place by most booksellers. Needless to say it’s wonderful to find a way to make it possible to publish poetry and other marginal genres, keep them alive, and not go bankrupt at the same time.

Also it’s a way of keeping our backlist alive. For now we have our very first title, Megan Hall’s prize winning Fourth Child up on the store site. We also have Azila Talit Reisenberger’s Life in Translation and Hester van der Walt’s Hester se Brood.

» read article

Festive season special offer

In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and other storiesThe Reckless SleeperJabulani means RejoiceLove Interrupted

My First Time
We have several “fabulous, sexy” new titles that are either about to come out or are already just out. Until next Friday you can order these titles direct from us and save. You will be supporting a local business that has just turned FIVE years old. (We brought Megan Hall’s Fourth Child in late October 2007.) Modjaji Books titles make cool gifts for family and friends – and especially for you!

For young adults and in fact important for all of us to read and think about – My First Time: stories of sex and sexuality by women like you edited and compiled by Jen Thorpe (R140)

For all readers:
Love Interrupted (laugh out loud, contemporary short stories) by Reneilwe Malatji (R140)

In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata and other stories set in Botswana and by award-winning writer, Lauri Kubuitsile (R140)

Every home should have one
Jabulani means Rejoice: A Dictionary of South African Names by Phumzile Simelane Kalumba A special, beautifully designed reference book – and a great conversation starter (R180)

For those who love poetry – don’t miss
Haidee Kruger’s second collection of poems The Reckless Sleeper (R120)

If you take all 5 titles you can get them for R650 including postage (an extra saving of R70)

All other titles are discounted by up to 20% – just ask if there are other titles you would like to order

This offer is only valid till 16th November 2012. Email: Colleen Higgs at cdhiggs at with your order and your postal address and I will send you the banking details for EFT.

Book details

» read article

Dawn Garisch’s Eloquent Body reviewed in SA Medical Journal and Mantis

Eloquent Body has had reviews in two places that we don’t often see featured on Bookslive. The first one below is by Peter Folb, and appears in the SA Medical Journal. The second one comes from Mantis, the journal of the Southern African Association of Jungian Analysts. Both extremely prestigious journals to be reviewed in and we are doubly pleased as the reviews are engaged and from peers, in addition each one praises the book in different ways. So if you haven’t picked up a copy of Eloquent Body yet, don’t waste anymore time.

REVIEW: ELOQUENT BODY by DAWN GARISCH. Reviewer: Peter Folb Date of Review: 7 September 2012

There is a creative artist within every person and everyone has something unique to explore. Few realise and actualise it; many have no time or interest, or are overcome with the apprehension of self-revelation. It may be that doctors and scientists have a special opportunity or talent for creative art, be it music, poetry, writing or the fine arts, given their privileged insights into the human condition and the scientific method. One thinks here of Chekhov, Marie Curie, Borodin, Frida Kahlo, William Carlos Williams, AJ Cronin, Conan Doyle, Somerset Maugham, Alexander Doblin, Keats, and Kathe Kollwitz. Not uncommonly, patients, too, seek refuge in the creative arts.

In “Eloquent Body” Dawn Garisch examines her own creativity in a frank and carefully researched semi-autobiographical new book. She is medical practitioner, novelist, poet, walker, mother and patient herself. She sees herself as a doctor who writes, wanting to become a writer who doctors. Her conflict is not resolved. She is an accomplished writer and her life is enriched by doctoring. She draws widely on her experience with patients – their fortitude, frailties, obstinacy and quirks. She is influenced by Jung. It is as a doctor that she explores, confronts and embraces issues of truth, fear, doubt, service and trust in the creative process. She believes in the innate self-healing capacity of the body and in the part that the arts can play in achieving that. She has discovered that it is important to relinquish the illusion of control. She maintains that in completing her book the two streams of her life converge. One is not convinced that she has at last found repose, and quite possibly that is a good thing – for her, for us her readers and, not least, for her patients.

Creative art is therapeutic, if not necessarily curative, for patient and for health practitioner alike. Dawn Garisch knows. It’s there, clearly, in her book and she has written it modestly and with courage.

Peter Folb

Review of Eloquent Body by Dawn Garisch.
By Prof. Steve Reid

Dawn Garisch describes herself as a “doctor and a writer”, having transitioned “from a doctor who writes into a writer who doctors”, but admits that she has not entirely resolved the split between the two. This scenario may be more common than we think, as health professionals are systematically separated from the creative and expressive parts of themselves in order to conform to the demands of Western medicine. In modern healthcare, the arts and the humanities are not easy companions of the biomedical sciences.

Dividing her time almost equally then between writing and doctoring, she brings together in Eloquent Body a series of provocative, personal reflections on health and illness, and what it means to be fully human. If our bodies are indeed eloquent, telling us through episodes of illness things that we need to know, then we should pay more attention to them and to ourselves. But most often we do not, and bear the consequences in our health, or lack of it.
In parallel with the ideas presented, Dawn tells the story of her own journey of integration, her experience of chronic illness, and her urge to write and create as a means of pursuing her true vocation. The book includes a delightful passage in which she describes a journey into the South Atlantic Ocean as a ship’s doctor, including a number of intriguing reflections on the situation and the characters she finds herself with. As an almost whimsical interlude, I enjoyed the reality of this section as a contrast to the profound ideas in the rest of the book.

The clear notion comes through repeatedly that we are unnaturally divided into biological and spiritual parts that need to be integrated in order to become whole human beings. And this can be done through disciplined attention to our bodies and inner voices. Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul carried a similar theme, suggesting a need to give priority to the unconscious processes and movements that actually determine our lives. However, Garisch gives special emphasis to the arts as a means of transformation and integration. As a poet, a writer and a dancer herself, she sees the medical environment as the raw material for her art, as opposed to using the arts as salvage therapy to cope with the demands of medical practice, as many do. This tension of identity as author and doctor, combined with a deep capacity for analysis and insight, and a very accessible style, make the book a fascinating encounter with original ideas.

This review was published in Mantis, the journal of the Southern African Association of Jungian Analysts

Eloquent Body

Book details

eBook options – Download now!

» read article

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

Book details

eBook options – Download now!

eBook options – Download now!

» read article

News update from Modjaji Books

We managed to get our latest Catalogue ready in time for the 2012 Cape Town Book Fair, which was held from the 15th to 17th June, at the CTICC. These are some of the new titles to watch out for:

Makhosazana Xaba’s collection of short stories called Running and other stories
Film-maker Toni Strasburg’s memoir, Fractured Lives (she is also the daughter of Rusty and Hazel Bernstein)
The English version of Hester van der Walt’s wonderful Hester se Brood, will be out in July or August as Hester’s Bread.
The long-awaited dictionary of South African names, Jabulani means Rejoice by Phindiwe Simelane will be out in July.

Since the last catalogue came out, Modjaji poets have been honoured with several awards, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers (The Everyday Wife) won the 2011 SALA Award for Poetry. Dawn Garisch (Difficult Gifts) received first prize in the first Sol Plaatje/EU Poetry Prize and Beverly Rycroft (Missing) received second prize. Kelwyn Sole has just received the Pringle Prize for Poetry and the Hands-On Imprint of Modjaji Books published his most recent collection, Absent Tongues.

Yewande Omotoso’s shortlisting for Bom Boy for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize is something we are extremely proud of. We’ve published three novels and two of them have been shortlisted for this prestigious prize. The first was Tracey Farren’s Whiplash in 2009.

In other news, I have been invited to the Frankfurt Book Fair for a second time, as a guest of the German Foreign Office and the Frankfurt Book Fair to participate in their Invitation Programme. I get to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair and have a stand in the Invitation Programme collective area, to participate in the two and a half day training seminar again, and to have all of this paid for! The invitation came through on the first day of the Cape Town Book Fair and was good news indeed!

» read article