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Archive for the ‘Reference’ Category

PE Book Launch: I’m the Girl Who Was Raped by Michelle Hattingh

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle HattinghFogarty’s and Modjaji Books invite you to the Port Elizabeth launch of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped, a memoir by Michelle Hattingh. The author comes from Port Elizabeth, so she is back in her home town talking about her incredibly courageous book.

“Compelling, clear and beautiful writing on such a necessary topic. She shatters rape myths on every page.” Jen Thorpe, gender activist and author of The Peculiars.

“Many people think middle class women are magically immune to rape or that if they are raped their easy access to the resources they need will be everything they need to recover completely. A book that discusses the cross cutting nature of the pain all women must feel when a man rapes them can only be welcomed in a time when communities across South Africa struggle with high rape rates.” Kathleen Dey of Rape Crisis

More about the book:
That morning, Michelle presented her Psychology honours thesis on men’s perceptions of rape. She started her presentation like this, “A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read …” On that same evening, she goes to a party to celebrate attaining her degree. She and a friend go to the beach; the friend has something she wants to discuss. They are both robbed, assaulted and raped. Within minutes of getting help, Michelle realises she’ll never be herself again. She’s now “the girl who was raped.”

This book is Michelle’s fight to be herself again. Of the taint she feels, despite the support and resources at her disposal as the loved child of a successful middle-class family. Of the fall-out to friendships, job, identity. It’s Michelle’s brave way of standing up for the women in South Africa who are raped every day.

About the author:

Michelle Hattingh was born in South Africa in 1988. She attended school in Port Elizabeth and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Stellenbosch University. She went on to do her Honours in Psychology at Cape Town University and now lives in Cape Town. Michelle works as senior online content producer at Marie Claire SA. Her work has been published in Elle SA, Marie Claire SA and Mail & Guardian. I’m the Girl Who Was Raped is her first book.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 12 May 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: GFI Gallery, 30 Park Drive, Central, Port Elizabeth
  • Guest Speaker: Emily Buchanan
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and snacks
  • RSVP: Fogarty’s,, 041 368 1425

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
Book Details

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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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HUGE Modjaji WEBSITE SALE till the end of September only

Book MarkThe huge success of our discount boxes at the South African Book Fair in Jozi made us aware that South African readers are keen to buy books if the price is right. So we’re passing on similar discounts to you our readers who couldn’t be at the Fair. And at the same time clearing our warehouse of some of our older titles. But just till the 30th September there are HUGE discounts on older stock too. If you love a book bargain, you are going to love this sale. Check it out by clicking HERE

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Letter from Uganda

At the beginning of September, while I was preparing for Open Book and the Frankfurt Book Fair, amongst many other things, I got a call from Goretti Kyomuhendo of the African Writers Trust to ask if Modjaji Books would consider hosting Crystal Rutangye for a six week internship. Well my heart stopped, how to manage this before the end of the year? Nevertheless, in spite of all my deadlines and misgivings about how much time I would have to really mentor the intern at the burnt out end of the year, I said yes. I said yes, because I had an opportunity to go to Kampala on a Femrite writers’ residency in 2008 and I loved it. I said yes, because I know that there will never be a perfect time for a 6 week internship. I said yes, because it was a wonderful opportunity for the intern and perhaps just being in Cape Town would be enlivening. Crystal duly arrived in the first week of November and stayed till the 15th December.

Crystal Rutangye back home in Uganda

Here Crystal writes about her 6 week internship with Modjaji Books. Even though some of it is a little embarrassing to me, I think the value in Crystal’s letter about her internship is seeing through her eyes what she got out of being here. It also moved me enormously to see just how much Phumi (Phumzile Simelane Kalumba) and Na’eemah Masoet contributed to Crystal’s wellbeing and learning. So posting this letter is a chance to publicly thank them for being such generous hosts and friends to Crystal and by extension to Modjaji Books and the African Writers Trust. It does indeed take a village, and I’m delighted to hear of what Crystal has done since she was here.

When I left for Cape Town, I boarded the plane with a small suitcase of clothes, a backpack with books and gadgets, and a mind filled with horror stories about South Africa. It didn’t help that I was boarding a plane for the first time since I was eight years old!

I was the first intern selected to participate in an editorial programme initiated by African Writers Trust, whereby Ugandan editors were to undergo a six-week internship in a reputable publishing company in another African country. After a long preparation and planning process, I was finally accepted by Colleen Higgs, the proprietor of Modjaji Books. Modjaji Books is an independent press that publishes southern African women writers.

The Arrival
Even before I left Uganda, I could tell that Colleen was a great person; first, by the fact that she accepted me as an intern in the first place, and secondly, because she did not seem inconvenienced by the way I badgered her into re-writing an invitation letter about three times, to fulfil my visa requirements. Thirdly – well, she thought about everything:

I stepped on South African soil for the first time in my life on Saturday, 2nd November 2013, towards 1500hrs. Colleen had arranged to have someone pick me from the airport and take me to the accommodation premises she had helped arrange for me (even when she didn’t have to). I was welcomed by a host of the most hospitable people ever. On Sunday 3rd November, my hosts received a call from Phumzile Simelane Kalumba. ‘Phumi’ is the author of ‘JABULANI MEANS REJOICE – A dictionary of South African Names.’ Her book was published by Modjaji. Colleen asked her to link up with me, not just because she lived near my host’s home, but also because she has a Ugandan husband. Friendship unfolded easily between us. On that very first Sunday, Phumi challenged me to start on a proposal for whatever it is I want to do after the internship. I met her family, and thus got integrated into my second most formidable hosting family ever. Phumi was truly my ‘divine appointment’.

On Monday, Phumi let her family drive off for the day, and walked to my home to walk me to the train station to teach me how to use the trains. Ok wait – that doesn’t sound right. Let me rephrase: This is what happened;

My internship began on Monday, 4th November. Phumi, who has a busy, corporate 8:00am – 5:00pm job, came to pick me up. As in: she let her husband take the children to school in their car, took the 20-minute walk from her house to mine, walked to the train station with me, and took the train with me to teach me how to use trains in Cape Town. (In Uganda, I probably see a train once in every two years, and it is never carrying passengers; mostly commercial products if anything). So much for all those horror stories and prep talks about South Africa! Phumi showed me around, taught me a thing or two about research and proposal writing, and then dropped me at Colleen’s office.

The Internship
I experienced what I call an editor’s culture shock. By Ugandan standards, I am such a fast reader. I am ahead of the game. But I was shocked when I was given three manuscripts to read through in my first week of the internship. They were given to me in a casual manner, as though I was being given an easy start. As though reading three manuscripts in a week is basic stuff. Did I mention they were big? It was at this point that I recalled my amazement on the plane from Johannesburg to Cape Town at noticing that almost everyone pulled out at a book to read immediately after take-off. The difference in the reading cultures is glaringly obvious. Sit in a taxi in traffic jam in Kampala, Uganda, and everyone will be staring into space, except me and the other occasional odd person who values this ‘reading time’. Sit in a plane from Johannesburg to Cape Town and you will be the odd man out if you haven’t carried a book or two to study on the flight.

Na’eemah Masoet was working for Modjaji full time last year as a publishing intern. She and I hit it off immediately. Editing seems to be such an unconventional interest that it is always refreshing to meet someone else who shares it. She and Colleen gave me a brief induction, and then we were good to go.

Colleen’s work is amazing. Do not be fooled by her soft-spoken, down-to-earth, gentle nature. Colleen is a publishing giant in her own right. I looked through the shelves of books she has published, and could not help feeling proud to be associated with such importance. Just like all her media tools state, Colleen is ‘making rain’ for southern African female writers.

I was awed at the number of Modjaji books that have been shortlisted and long-listed for awards, let alone won the awards!

Having something to compare to made me realize how much fiction publishing in Uganda is greatly lacking. From the quality of the writing, to the quality of paper, graphics designing, printing, editing and marketing methods, publishing in South Africa is way advanced. Most Ugandan authors and publishers use the ordinary white bond paper for their novels, the same bond paper that is used for text books. I actually have never seen a non-academic Ugandan book published with the creamy bulky paper Modjaji prints their books with, giving them an exotic look. The roles of the publishing stakeholders in South Africa are quite streamlined. Graphics designers are different from editors, who are sometimes even different from proof-readers. In Uganda, many times an editor will have to type-set the book and then even proof-read it. Sometimes, they even design the book covers! An editor in Uganda will have to have all these skills to be rendered sufficient enough to work in a Ugandan publishing house on a full-time basis. This lowers the quality of books produced because a graphics designer for example should be an artist at heart. How easy is it to find a creative artist who can edit books well?! By letting one person handle a book, either the design of the book is compromised because the person is actually a better editor than designer, or vice-versa; you hire a designer and the language in the book is compromised. Most Ugandans look for the cheapest way to do things, and compromise quality.

Over the weeks, I watched and learned. There was not much to cope with in terms of fitting in; the learning environment was friendly and informal. I did not have to compromise any of my own values, beliefs and opinions. I tagged along with Na’eemah everywhere she went to deliver books or pick up books or get books packed or to post things and the like. I got an all-round albeit brief publishing experience. Na’eemah and Colleen answered every single question I had. All the tasks given to me were new.

I had a most interesting session where Na’eemah took me through their whole publishing process, step by step, from the time an author submits a manuscript requesting to be published, to the time the book is printed and distributed. She also taught me how to edit using adobe software where it is much easier to track changes and comments, and ‘chat’ back and forth with the author, within the same document. It has more advanced features than Word. Most of all, I learnt how to write Advanced Information Sheets!

I cannot say enough how insightful every single day was for me.

Work and Play
Na’eemah is easily the best thing that happened to me in South Africa. I can conscientiously say the same about the Kalumba family and my resident hosts (Carol, Nusee, Alucia and Stanley). I lacked for nothing. Na’eemah introduced me to her WHOLE family. They took me to nearly every tourist hotspot in the Western Cape, for free. Had I not been a patriotic Ugandan, I would have mistaken Cape Town to be the real Pearl of Africa! She also introduced me to her own friends who gave me memories that I do not have enough space to detail here. I had a lot of ‘firsts’ with Na’eemah – first time doing sushi, first macaroni and cheese dish, first McDonald’s, sheish! Our fun-and-friendship relationship seemed to be stronger than our work-relationship! I can’t even tell where we drew the line, because we had a lot of fun at work together; munching chocolate at work everyday (there’s lots of white chocolate in S.A.!); her laughing at my fascination at all the new types of foods and fruits she was delighted to show me (cheese is so relatively cheap in Cape Town that I packed a cheese sandwich nearly everyday); sneaking in silent, intimate conversations at work about our lives and countries; taking advantage of free time (and a bit of errands time) for her to show me fancy technology and malls and infrastructure that Uganda is highly lacking in (I hope Boss-lady Colleen isn’t reading this part); and showing me ‘her’ version of Cape Town (too sentimental for me to detail here). Phumi took me ‘shopping’ several times, and drove me along the Muizenberg coast to show me more scenery. Stanley and Alucia’s family were truly my home away from home. They ‘took me in’ as if I was their very own child! (They ‘invited’ me to dinner every night). Caroline treated me as if I had rights to her house. Her own career story inspired me;- it is never too late to study want you want to advance in! This is one of the best things about an internship in another country; that the experience goes beyond just work. I have been able to remain in touch with the friends I made. Na’eemah and I still keep tabs on each other and our progress.

Hardly had I arrived than it was time to leave already. I am still shocked at how the six weeks went by so fast!! I recall only one hour of homesickness the whole time I was in Cape Town. I instead spent the last few days feeling so sad to be leaving!!

On the night before my last work day, Nelson Mandela Madiba died. If anything must be recorded of the story of my life, let this not be missed;- I was there. If anyone is to ask me where I was at such a historical moment when the world mourned this loss, I was right there on South African soil, paying tribute to him at St George’s Cathedral, walking with Na’eemah and Yassin, retracing the walkways and pavements which only a few years before were filled with football fans celebrating the arrival of World Cup to Africa, but which were now filled with mourners failing to contain their emotions. I was there, listening to Na’eemah and Yaseen reminisce over political stories, watching them try to still act like great hosts in the midst of their overwhelming sadness; I was there trying to put on a sad face and mourn with them even when deep inside I was excitedly conjuring up all the stories I would tell back home to brag about how I WAS THERE ! How could I have ever known that someday in my life I would be there?! This is the closest I ever got to such a celebrated history-maker.

On that Friday, 7th December, my last workday, Colleen took Na’eemah and I out for a farewell/end of year staff lunch. I then spent my last weekend dining with Phumi’s family and friends; and doing last minute shopping with Alucia, and packing. Then I bade farewell to her family. Early on Monday morning, Phumi drove me around town with my luggage, tying up more loose ends, and then dropped me at Na’eemah’s home. And I said farewell to Phumi too. Na’eemah’s family took me to more dumbfounding tourist hotspots, and finally to the world-famous Table Mountain. I felt like I was in a great movie. I spent the last night before my departure having my first ever Burger King meal, with Na’eemah and family. On Tuesday, 10th December, I woke at about 0400hrs. Two hours later, Na’eemah, her mum and her dad were driving me to the airport, to have our last breakfast together, and to see me off.

When I left for Uganda, I boarded the plane with a small suitcase of clothes, an even bigger case filled with books and gifts from everyone for my family and friends back at home, a backpack filled with more books and gadgets, and a mind filled with wonderful memories I wanted to re-live.

The Fruits
Now I had to go through the culture shock again of re-settling into Uganda, snobbish as that may sound. But despite the potholes, the rowdy bodabodas, the scarce availability of wi-fi internet, the lack of McDonalds and Burger King franchises,* and the un-affordable cheese prices, home is still sweet home, where I belong. I have been pleasantly surprised to see my internship experience was more fruitful than I thought. Five months down the road, I quit my administrative job in an academic publishing company, and I am now heading the editorial team at non-academic publishing company. I am actively involved in African Writers Trust projects. Most of all, I have experimented with Advanced Information Sheets, and some bookshops are liking the idea! Maybe I can be Uganda’s next Colleen Higgs after all!

Thank you!
I am deeply indebted to the AWT and Modjaji Books and all my hosting families for making this happen. I wish us all much success this year and in future!!

Jabulani means Rejoice

Book details

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#ModjajiBooks #flf2014

Yewande OmotosoAzilaReisenbergerKarin Schimke

Catch some Modjaji authors at the 2014 Franschoek Literary Festival this May. You will get sightings, signings and maybe even meetings of/with these writers, check the programme to see what they are doing and with whom.

Phumzile Simelane KalumbaMakhosazana Xaba

All of these writers and many more will be in Franschoek, come and listen to them read, debate, discuss,and engage with each other.

Yewande Omotoso, author of Bom Boy, will be there. So will Karen Jennings (Finding Soutbek), (she’s not a Modjaji author) but both she and Yewande were short-listed for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature this year, along with No Violet Bulawayo, who won the prize.

Phumzile Simelane Kalumba, author of Jabulani Means Rejoice – Dictionary of South African Names will be there, so will poet, Khadija Heeger (Beyond the Delivery Room)

Come and meet the multi-talented Makhosazana Xaba, author of Running & Other Stories and co-editor of Queer Africa: New and Collected Stories.

Arja Salafranca, whose collection of stories, The Thin Line, we published in 2010. We’re also publishing a new collection of her poems, in collaboration with Dye Hard Press. Due out soon.

Meg Vandermerwe, first published by Modjaji Books in 2010, with her collection of stories, This Place I Call Home, has a novel out with Umuzi, Zebra Crossing.

Karin Schimke, poet – whose debut collection, Bare & Breaking was published in 2012.

Azila Talit Reisenberger‘s collection, Life in Translation was published in 2008 and was one of the first books we published. She’s since published another collection of poems and a novel.

Finuala Dowling, award-winning novelist and poet, (published mainly by Kwela and possibly Penguin) is also the editor and compiler of Difficult to Explain, is a collection of poems by various poets, and which includes an essay about teaching poetry by Finuala is published by our Hands-On Books imprint.

Christopher Nicholson, author of the collection of short stories, No Sacred Cows (also a Hands-On Books publication) will be there too.

Life in Translation Difficult to ExplainBare & BreakingNo Sacred Cows
Bom BoyJabulani means RejoiceFinding Soutbek
Queer Africa
Beyond the Delivery Room

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Who are the poetry advocates in South Africa?

Last week The Huffington Post ran an article about the Top 200 Advocates for Poetry in the US. The author of the article Seth Abrahamson is a reviewer and a Series Co-Editor,for Best American Experimental Writing. he lists his top 200 Poetry Advocates in alphabetical order and gives them a primary reason or two for inclusion.

Individuals are identified by their primary bases for inclusion on the list, and, as known, other appropriate designations; any missed identifications are solely the result of human error and are by no means purposeful. Neither the designations included in the list below, nor the list as a whole, are intended to assess the power, authority, or cultural capital invested in any person or group; instead, the emphasis here is on the quality, scope, and duration of an individual or group’s advocacy for American poetry and American poetry-related discourse.

I posted the article on Facebook to see who others thought South African poetry advocates might be. I thought it should be relatively current, in other words the past ten years say, up to the present. The list is quite long and I am sure quite incomplete. Most people on my Facebook post just listed names, without saying why they were nominating them, so I did a bit of research on the ones I didn’t know. There must be many more. My own experience is biased towards the English poetry scene and I know what happens and who does what in Cape Town, to some extent in Grahamstown and a little in PE, and then bits of what happen and who does what in Joburg and in other parts of the country.

Just for fun, here is my list – totally subjective and as I said incomplete. Please add names (with a few words to say why they should be included in this list) to the comments below. Add people & organisations. I will update the post as I get more information.

Oh, and what is interesting is that most of the advocates are also poets. Some of the people mentioned were more active a little while ago, but are still active. And some people as you can see have multiple roles as poetry advocates and promoters. And from the list of organisations – I’ve put down where they are based, it is clear that there are a few main centres for poetry activity. Perhaps this is largely because I am not aware of what is happening in other places. Finally, I think the list is encouraging, as it shows that poetry is alive and well in South Africa. Lots of passionate people, lots of things going on.

Poetry advocates
Ingrid Anderson (Poet, Incwadi online poetry magazine)
Arthur Attwell (Poet, publisher, mentor, editor)
Gabeba Baderoon (Poet, editor, mentor)
Bulelwa Basse (Poet, Lyrical Base, cultural activist, events)
Zenariah Barends (Poet, Cape Cultural Collective, events)
Brett Beiles (Ran Live Poets Society in Durban)
Vonani Bila (Poet, Timbila – publisher, events, cultural activist, NAC Board member for Literature)
Mphutlane wa Bofelo (Poet, cultural activist)
Robert Berold (Poet, Editor of New Coin, editor, mentor, convener of Rhodes MA, workshops, teacher)
Breyten Breytenbach (Poet, translator, events)
Deidre Byrne (Editor – Scrutiny 2, reviewer)
Gary Cummiskey (Poet, Green Dragon, Dye Hard Press – publisher, interviews with poets, reviews)
Raphael d’Abdon (Poet, editor)
Ingrid de Kok (Poet, events, teacher)
Angifi Dladla (Poet, publisher, workshops, poetry in prisons)
Finuala Dowling (Poet, workshops, Franschoek Lit Fest, Summer school, Slipnet)
Ntone Edjabe (Publisher of Chimurenga)
Mark Espin (Poet, cultural activist, events, teacher)
Gus Ferguson (Poet, Carapace, Snailpress – publisher, editor, mentor)
Diana Ferrus (Poet, WEAVE collective, mentor)
Alan Finlay (Poet, editor, compiler, Donga, Bliksem)
Vangi Gantsho (Poet)
Dawn Garisch (Poet, SlipNet mentor/teacher)
Keith Gottschalk (Poet, convenor of Landsdowne Local Writers’ Group – been going for 24 years!)
Joan Hambidge (Poet, reviewer, teacher)
Khadija Heeger (Poet, cultural activist)
Colleen Higgs (Poet, Modjaji Books – publisher, provider of information)
Hugh Hodge (Poet, editor – New Contrast, Off the Wall organiser)
Allan Kolski Horwitz (Poet, Botsotso, cultural activist)
Nthabiseng “Jah Rose” Jafta (Poet, publisher, Free State producer of poetry events)
Myesha Jenkins (Poet, Radio readings, Jozi House of Poetry, cultural activist)
Liesl Jobson (Poet, reviewer, Poetry International)
Sophy Kohler (Poet, editor, Imago, Aerodrome)
Rustum Kozain (Poet, poetry editor, mentor)
Antjie Krog (Poet, teacher, cultural activist, mentor)
David wa Maahlamela (Poet, cultural activist, organiser, mentor, events, RealMenTalk project)
Duduzile Mabaso (Publisher, Black Letter Media, Poetry Potion)
Robin Malan (Editor, compiler)
Danie Marais (Poet, editor, reviewer)
Napo Masheane (Poet, director, actress & performer of poetry, poetry as theatre promoter)
Gawki Mashego (Poet, cultural activist)
Lebo Mashile (Poet, cultural activist, mentor)
Michelle McGrane (Poet, Peonymoon Blog)
Joan Metelerkamp (Poet, editor of New Coin, editor, critic)
Amitahb Mitra (Poet, publisher)
Helen Moffett (Poet, compiler, anthologiser, encourager)
Afurakan T Mohare (Poet, cultural activist, events)
Kobus Moolman (Poet, Fidelties, Creative Writing teaching at UKZN, poetry editor, mentor)
Natalia Molebatsi (Poet, Urban Voices, compiler)
Malika Ndlovu (Poet, WEAVE, performer, And The Word Was Woman, Badilisha Poetry Radio Curator/Presenter)
Mxolisi Nyezwa (Poet, cultural activist, mentor, Kotaz, events)
Pieter Odendaal (Poet, SLipNet workshops, mentor, teacher)
Harry Owen (Poet, Reddits Poetry Open Mic evenings, mentor)
Mari Pete (Poet, teacher, events-organiser, mentor)
Hans Pienaar (Melville Poetry Festival)
Karen Press (Poet, publisher, organiser of events & exhibitions)
Lesego Rampolokeng (Poet, cultural crtic/activist)
Marcia Raymond (Poetry Circle organiser at CT Central Library)
Moira Richards (Publisher, reviewer, mentor)
Kate Rogan at Love Books (Poetry launches, stocks poetry)
Michael Rolfe (Poet, Off the Wall)
Arja Salafranca (Poet, reviewer, editor, compiler)
Karin Schimke (Poet, Off the Wall, reviews, poet)
Patricia Schonstein (Poet, anthologiser, publisher)
Anne Schuster (Poet, teacher, mentor)
Matome Seima (Poet, publisher – Dinkwe Productions)
Ari Sitas (Poet, worker poetry publisher – Insurrections)
Kelwyn Sole (Poet, editor, compiler, critic, mentor, lecturer & writer about SA Poetry)
Toni Stuart (Poet, teacher, Poetica, performer, events, reviews)
Halejoetse Tshelana (Poet, SLiPNet poetry workshops, mentor)
Adrian van Wyk (Poet, SLiPNet poetry workshop)
Marlene van Niekerk (Poet)
Crystal Warren (Poet, editor of New Coin, ISEA course, organiser of launches)
Paul Wessels (Donga, teacher)
Indra Wussow (Events, Silt residencies)
Phillippa Yaa De Villiers (Poet, Jozi House of Poetry, mentor, events)
David wa Maahlamela ( Poet, indigenous language poetry promoter, Polokwane Litfest)
Stephen Watson (Poet, teacher, UCT Creative Writing MA convenor, publisher, editor, mentor)
Makhosazana Xaba (Poet, editor, cultural activist)
Rachel Zadok (Events, passionate reader of poetry)
Fiona Zerbst (Poet, poetry editor, mentor)

Organisations, Events, Institutions
Book Lounge (Stock poetry, readings, launches) (Cape Town)
Cape Town Central Library (Poetry Circle)
Clarke’s Books (Stock poetry, readings, launches) (Cape Town)
Franschoek Lit Fest
Jozi House of Poetry
Ingrid Jonker Prize
In Zync sessions (Stellenbosch)
Kalk Bay Books (stock poetry, launches and readings)
Landsdowne Local Writers’ Group – run by Keith Gottschalk (Cape Town)
Love Books (Johannesburg)
McGregor Poetry Festival
Off the Wall weekly readings & Open Mic sessions (Cape Town)
Open Book Festival (Cape Town)
Poetry Africa (Durban mainly)
Praat (Port Elizabeth)
SAFM (Poetry in the Air, Literature Programme on Sundays)
SALA Poetry Prize
SLipNet (Stellenbosch)
Versindaba (Stellenbosch)
Wordfest (Grahamstown)
Woordfees (Stellenbosch)

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Frankfurt’s Invitation Programme “a great way in” for small publishers

Second day in a row that the Small Publishers’ Catalogue: Africa, 2013 has been written about in Publishing Perspectives. Today they have reprinted the article I wrote up about my experiences on the Frankfurt Book Fair Invitation Programme in 2011 and 2012. Very cool to have the exposure for the Catalogue and for the Invitation Programme.

If going to a large chain bookstore is a depressing experience for a small publisher – all those shelves and piles of shiny new books – how on earth could taking part in the Frankfurt Book Fair be such a wonderfully encouraging experience? It may seem unlikely but for me, as the publisher at Modjaji Books, visiting the biggest book fair in the world is pure bliss.

‘Frankfurt’ is all about people and meeting or reconnecting with publishing friends from other countries and from home. Being at Frankfurt means five days of total immersion in the international book world and discussing and thinking about the questions of the day with others who are equally interested. It’s wonderful to be in a space where everybody is passionate about and engaged in books, writers, writing. All around you hear people talking about publishing, book design, and all the hot questions about where the book is going. Does the printed book have a future? Will e-books and digital publishing mean the end of books as we know them?

I wish I could go on the Invitation Programme every year. Read the article to see why. Sigh. I am working out various angles to try and get me and Modjaji Books to Frankfurt this year too. Let’s see if it works out.

To see more pictures click here and here or go to the Modjaji Books Facebook page and check out the photos there.

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Small Publishers’ Catalogue: Africa, 2013 “it’s a beauty”

Publishing Perspectives ran a review of the Small Publishers’Catalogue today.

Dennis Abrams had this to say:

In January of this year, we reported on the news that South Africa’s Modjaji Books was in the process of updating its Small Publishers’ Catalogue for Africa. Well, the new edition has just come out, and it’s a beauty.

… the book is more than just a list of publishers. It’s a resource guide for with articles on everything from “Advice to writers on how to get your poetry published,” to “The literary scene in Accra: A Review,” and “Airing our dirty laundry.” One of particular interest to readers here, is Colleen Higgs’ missive on the Frankfurt Book Fair Invitation Programme, an experience the might be had by any small publisher from anywhere in the developing world at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

To read the whole review, click here

Once again thank you to all those who made it possible to do this project! You know who you are.

Small Publishers' Catalogue: Africa, 2013

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Small Publishers’ Catalogue: Africa, 2013 is out and about

A couple of weeks ago we posted out the Small Publishers’ Catalogue to those who had supported the project via Indiegogo, to those who had listed in the Catalogue or advertised. We’re thrilled with the responses and with the final result. We’ve had emails and some Facebook messages about getting the catalogue and which bits people especially liked. A number said they liked Helen Moffett’s article “Dear Lovely Author” and also the article about the Frankfurt Book Fair which I wrote.

The listings of publishers is from all over Africa, mostly Anglophone, but not only, and includes a publisher from Algeria and two from Mauritius! There are also lovely surprises, some small publishers in the UK and US who have either published something with an African focus or generally focus on African publishing.

You can download it here from Little White Bakkie or you can get in touch with me at cdhiggs at to order a copy. It costs R120 if you buy direct from me at Modjaji Books, including postage within South Africa, and a little more to cover postage internationally. In South Africa it’s available from better bookstores and online too from the regular e-tailers.

We were delighted to have organisations like Worldreader, the Goethe Institute, Blue Weaver, Bookslive, NELM, Adams Bookstores, Rhodes University Creative Writing Masters, GALA, FUNDZA, Paperight, and of course the fabulous and generous Megadigital who sponsored the printing.

Thanks to everyone who has been involved, who has helped make it happen, who has bought a copy, offered a lead or two, and to everyone who cares about small publishing and independent publishing and a flourishing literary culture in Africa.

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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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