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Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

The Book Launch of Tess, and How Tracey Farren’s Novel was Adapted into an Award-winning Movie

Panel discussion at Tess launchTess

 
The launch of Tess was an both an opportunity to enjoy the success of Tracey Farren’s novel, originally published as Whiplash in 2008, and a chance to share in where the story is going over the next few months.

The room was filled with longstanding supporters of the women responsible for bringing the story of Tess to life in print and on screen, as well as new fans who have yet to experience Whiplash/Tess. The buzz of excitement and joy at what the story has achieved made for a warm and meaningful event filled with very interesting conversation.

Colleen Higgs, publisher at Modjaji, began by speaking about the electrifying manuscript Tracey Farren delivered to her via Ron Irwin a decade ago. The history of Modjaji Books is intertwined with the novel, as it was the first work of fiction to come out of the young company and is a continuing inspiration for Colleen. Whiplash being made into a movie was always her dream, but it took a long time to come to fruition.
Tracey Farren at Tess launch
Tracey Farren described how she came to write Whiplash in the first place. She was intrigued by the prostitutes she encountered near her home daily and, like many of us, she wondered “Why do they do this? And how did this come to be the life they live?” Delving deep into the issues and heartbreaking realities of our society eventually gave birth to Tess, a young prostitute surviving on pain medication in Muizenberg. Tracey says Tess is a character she was deeply in love with, and translating her into a film script was a magical process.
Meg Rickards at Tess launch
Meg Rickards told us she was given Tracey’s novel by a friend. She did not expect to be as bowled over by itas she was, but she couldn’t put it down and read through the night until she finished it. Meg’s empathy for Tess, a character so removed and different from her, was so thorough that her pillow was sodden when she got to the end of Whiplash. She immediately got in contact with the publisher, but found that the film had already been optioned. After a year of waiting, she got the news that the previous deal had expired, and film rights were hers if she wanted them. So the whirlwind of funding campaigns, script rewrites and making a masterpiece on a shoestring budget began. In the end, she had enough budget for 24 days of filming, and was constantly thinking about how to do more with less.
Christia Visser at book launch
A little way into the discussion Christia Visser, the lead actress in Tess, arrived and joined the discussion. She initially wanted to say no to the role of Tess, because she was intimidated by what she would have to feel as she acted out the life of the young prostitute. Colleen says in her early fantasies about the movie she hoped to see Charlize Theron play Tess, but said that in fact Christia was perfect for the movie and even better she had imagined. Tracey commented whatever acting Christia does after Tess will be easy compared with her nuanced and complex portrayal of Tess.

The panel wrapped up their discussion by talking about the process of adapting the novel into a screenplay. Tracey was the screen writer and began the process by refining and focusing the story as she rewrote. Meg said that she could not hope to improve upon the novel as she translated to film; as director she could only be inspired by Whiplash and try to pay homage to it with her adaptation. Christia Visser’s interpretation of the character of Tess was another layer of adaptation, and the final step in bringing the story to life.

Meg and Tracey also both spoke of how the screenplay was changed due to constraints while filming – like service delivery protests in Masiphumelele and the weather changing to rain. Also in the process of editing, scenes that were shot had to be cut.

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Here are some photos from the event:

Ladies at the launchGroup at the launch

 
 
Here are some highlights from the event on Twitter:

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Related posts:

 
 
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Join Us for Our Muizenberg in the Movies Party to Celebrate the Launch of Tess

Tess book cover

 
Come and celebrate the launch of Tess the movie and Tess the book, both set in Muizenberg, and 10 years of Modjaji Books at The Striped Horse in York Road, Muizenberg, on Wednesday, 1 March.

Meet the author Tracey Farren, Director Meg Rickards, and the star of the movie Christia Visser.
Meg will talk about making the movie and show clips of the movie, Tracey will read a scene that was filmed, and Christia will talk about what it was like playing Tess.

Books will be on sale and available for signing, and there will be free movie tickets up for grabs!

Meg Rickards workingTrain MuizenbergTracey Farren
Tess hair in windTess on the road

 
 
Don’t miss this!

Event Details

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Tess


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The Film Tess has been Picked Up for International Distribution – Don’t Miss the Book and Film Launches!

Tracey FarrenTess Film PosterMeg Rickards

 
The movie Tess, based on Tracey Farren’s debut novel, has been picked up for international distribution by The Little Film Company.

The film was directed by Meg Rickards and produced by Paul Egan and Kim Williams. It has already won awards and hearts at film festivals, and it will be released on the local circuit on Friday, 24 February.

Read more about the international distribution deal here:

The Little Film Company, a motion picture sales and marketing company founded by Robbie and Ellen Little, is no stranger to the South African film industry, the company previously distributed the 2005 Academy Award Best Foreign Picture winner Tsotsi.  “Tess is a very moving and provocative film and we are all incredibly excited to be bringing it to the world”, said Robbie Little.

Watch the trailer for Tess here:

 

 
Director Meg Rickards wrote an article for Mail & Guardian about why she was committed to making this film. She believes it is crucial that women say “No – systemic sexism can never be tolerated,” and keep on saying that as long and as loudly as necessary.

The story of Tess, a young sex-worker, is one that offers a barometer of how dire sexual violence is in our society. It is not intended to be a general representation, but one story about about one woman, and one voice joining the shout to say “No!”

Read the article

Given that I’m a filmmaker — not a nurse, educator or social worker, who would have infinitely more practical responses — this is what I could do about the things that keep me awake at night: make a movie. I have this mad hope in the power of cinema, not to change the world (if only!) but to nudge it. Cinema’s punch, I believe, comes from its capacity to create empathy and on this basis I challenge viewers to take 88 minutes to walk in Tess’s battered boots.

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Tess

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the author, the director and the publisher of Tess discuss the story at one of these events:

Colleen Higgs, publisher, will be in conversation with author Tracey Farren and Meg Rickards, director of the movie. Entrance is free. Please RSVP to The Book Lounge: booklounge@gmail.com or 021 462 2425.

  • A screening and panel discussion with the WITS African Centre for Migration & Society in Johannesburg on Friday, 24 February at Wits University.

Details to follow.

  • The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre’s fundraising screening of Tess at the V&A Nu Metro on Sunday, 26 February at 7 pm

Author and screenwriter Tracey Farren, director Meg Rickards and lead actress Christia Visser will join Pauline Perez from the Centre for a Q&A after the screening. Tickets cost R150 and include popcorn and a soft drink – please email noncebafcc@gmail.com to book.

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Here is a list of cinemas that will screen Tess on release day, 24 February:

STER KINEKOR:

  • Bridge
  • Brooklyn Commercial
  • Cresta
  • East Rand Mall
  • Garden Route Mall
  • Gateway Commercial
  • Irene Mall
  • Colonnade
  • Rosebank Mall Nouveau
  • Somerset Mall
  • Tiger Valley
  • Vaal Mall

NU METRO:

  • Menlyn Park
  • V&A Waterfront

INDEPENDENT:

 
Don’t miss out!

Book details

 
Image of Meg Rickards courtesy of PinkVilla


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All you wanted to know about publishing but didn’t know who to ask

Small Publishers' Catalogue, Africa 2013Small Publishers' Catalogue 2010aspc-2016-v1

 
Everything you wanted to know about getting published in South Africa and didn’t know who to ask!

Some of the questions that will be addressed are:

• What are the reasons to seek publication?
• Will I become rich and famous?
• Should I find a publisher for my manuscript?
• Should I self publish?
• What are the pros and cons of each option?
• How do I find the right publisher?
• When do I know if my book is ready for publication?
• How do I find an agent?
• Do I need an agent?

Colleen Higgs is a writer and publisher. She started Modjaji Books in 2007 and before that she worked at the Centre for the Book where she did many things including mediate the world of publishing for new writers. She is the author of several books most relevantly for this seminar: A Rough Guide to Small Scale and Self Publishing and a pamphlet series about writing and publishing and several catalogues of Small Publishers in Africa. Modjaji Books is an independent feminist press that has published over 100 books and sold rights internationally for a number of it’s authors. Higgs has participated in the Frankfurt Book Fair since 2011 and has been involved in many other local book fairs and literary festivals.

CAPE TOWN SEMINAR
Venue – Centre for the Book
Date: 25th February (Saturday)
Time: 10 to 1.00 (3 hours)
Email info@modjajibooks.co.za to book
Cost: R700

JOZI SEMINAR
Venue – BRIDGE BOOKS
Date: 8th March (Thursday)
Time: 18h00 to 20h00 (2 hours)
Email info@modjajibooks.co.za to book
Cost: R600

Both seminars include a resource list and an African Small Publishers’ Catalogue .

Numbers are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Event Details

Book Details
Looking for Trouble


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Book to movie: Tess by Tracey Farren

Black & White_ Low Res-7Tess book coverModjaji Books and The Book Lounge are very excited to invite you to the launch of TESS by Tracey Farren. TESS is the movie tie-in version of Tracey’s first novel that we originally published as Whiplash back in 2008. For the Cape Town launch of the novel, we are hosting a discussion between Tracey Farren (the author) and Meg Rickards (the director of the movie) about the process of turning the novel Whiplash into the movie Tess. Colleen Higgs the publisher will host the discussion. We’d love to see you there.

The movie opens in South Africa at Ster Kinekor cinemas on the 24th February. The movie has already won several awards and received high praise from reviewers.

‘[Tess] digs its nails into you from the word go … raw, tender, and laugh-out-loud funny – a kickarse gem of a book. Told with startling poetry in the grittiest of emotional landscapes, [it] puts Farren on the map as a wordsmith of astonishing talent.’ – Joanne Fedler

‘Farren shows that she has a true gift for getting into the hearts of very ordinary people while astutely setting the South African sociopolitical context.’ Jane Rosenthal, Mail & Guardian

When the book was published as Whiplash by an unknown debut author in 2008, it was short listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2009, and the author received A White Ribbon Award from the Women Demand Dignity Advocacy Group.

A gut wrenching story of a Muizenberg sex worker, Tess who pops painkillers by the handful and sells her body to strangers. When a condom breaks, Tess’s life swings one eighty degrees. She gives up her drugs until she can get to an abortion clinic. Her cold turkey opens up a window in her mind, whipping Tess into a shattering understanding of how she got here. Tess’s quirky humour, raw honesty and deep love of beauty lead her to find redemption in astonishing places. This book has a huge heart, like Tess, revealing that there is something in everyone that cannot be touched. Not by human hands. Not ever.

Tracey Farren lives a stone’s throw from the Cape Point with some children, a luthier and a pack of dogs. She has a psychology honours degree and worked as a freelance journalist for several years before her muse called her to fiction. Tess is a new edition of her first acclaimed, award-winning novel, Whiplash. Her second novel, Snake was published in to critical acclaim and she has just finished writing her third novel, The Rig.

Event Details

Tess
Book Details


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Book Launch: Unlikely by Colleen Crawford Cousins

IMG_0036Modjaji Books and The Book Lounge are delighted to invite you to the launch of Colleen Crawford Cousins’ debut collection of poems, Unlikely.

As the publisher, I’m particularly thrilled to bring out this collection. Colleen Crawford Cousins was my first Modjaji matron, and she is my very dear friend. Her writing is strong, deeply felt, full of life, humour and shining intelligent clarity. It is my enormous honour to be Colleen’s friend and publisher and to bring her work into the light.

“Wry narratives, stored for decades, distilled and reclaimed fleeting feelings and feelings made to last in their weird word forms, meet and fitting.” Joan Metelerkamp

“In acutely observed poems, imbued with surprising geographies of imagery and tinged with irony, Crawford Cousins maps out the spaces between immensity and confinement, where people struggle with each other and themselves for a sense of fulfilment and belonging.” Kelwyn Sole

Unlikely front cover

Unlikely is a collection of poems by Colleen Crawford Cousins written over decades of reading and writing poetry. The collection is a distillation of a quiet, powerful voice that is an offering of love in a world and life that has been filled with light and anguish.

Colleen Crawford Cousins returned to South Africa in 1991 and began to live in the Afterwards. She consults nationally as a trainer, facilitator, writer and editor. She has been published in New Coin, Aerodrome, African Writing online and Stray. She is also the author of A Hundred Furrows, the Land Struggle in Zimbabwe 1890-1990 and a co-author of Lwaano Lwanyika, Tonga Book of the Earth.

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday 2nd March 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, Corner of Roeland and Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town
  • Guest Speaker: Colleen Higgs
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, 021 462 2425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Unlikely
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German rights sold for Ameera Patel’s Outside the Lines

Ameera PatelOutside the LinesThanks to Bieke van Aggelen’s agenting we have sold the German rights for Ameera Patel’s debut novel, Outside the Lines. The novel came out on March 29th of this year. Patel is a talented actor and writer, she wrote her debut novel while doing her MFA at Wits University.

Outside the Lines has been very well received, Patel has participated in several book festivals this year, Open Book, Kingsmead, and Essence Festival, and more to come next year. The novel has had great reviews. And now this! Before the book is even a year old. We at Modjaji Books are thrilled!

‘Ameera Patel’s first novel is edgy, witty, fresh, engaging, moving, memorable. This is an important new voice in the emerging movement of new South African fiction, taking us to places at once familiar and defamiliarised by the sensitivity of the writing. A vivid portrait of contemporary Johannesburg, wide-ranging, passionately engaged and acerbic.’
Craig Higginson

More about Ameera Patel – she is an actor who has worked on stage and in television (best known for her role as Dr Chetty in Generations). She is also an award winning playwright. She received a distinction for her MA in Creative Writing in 2013 (University of the Witwatersrand).

Here’s an interview with Ameera Patel on SABC TV
YouTube Preview Image

Outside the Lines

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Futhi Ntshingila on a book tour in Brazil

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Dublinense has bought the rights to publish Do Not Go Gentle by Futhi Ntshingila, which has now been translated into Portuguese, as Sem Gentileza. And this November saw Futhi on a three city book tour to Brazil. What an exciting trip for her, but as her publisher, huge vicarious pleasure for me too. Modjaji has become a publisher that has made this possible for one of our authors. I can see from the snippets on Facebook and Instagram that Futhi has been well received in Brazil, Sem Gentileza has gone into a second print run. There are pictures of long lines of people waiting to have Futhi sign their copy of Sem Gentileza So in South African terms it has become a best seller there.

I met Gustavo Faraon in 2012 at the Frankfurt Invitation Programme and it was through this meeting that the Brazilian publication became possible. We are also in the process of selling North American rights, and an Italian publisher is considering Do Not Go Gentle after meeting with Gustavo at Frankfurt this year.

I’m hoping we can sell the Dublinense edition back into Lusophone Africa. May be we will see Futhi on a book tour in Angola and Mozambique before too long.

Having a house that resembles a book warehouse, and all the shlepping and hassling becomes really worth for moments like these. I can’t wait to hear more from Futhi when she gets back.

Futhi in Brazil 1

Do Not Go Gentle

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Book Launch: How to Open the Door by Marike Beyers

How to Open the DoorThe National English Literary Museum and Modjaji Books are delighted to invite you to the Grahamstown launch of “How to Open the Door” – poems by Marike Beyers. She will be introduced by Robert Berold.

Lonely, lovely and lyrical, Marike’s poems tell a uniquely South African story in a uniquely South African voice.

“Here is a distinctive new voice in South African poetry. Marike Beyer’s writing is both simple and highly complex at the same time, delicate and tender and hard and angry. She brings her own unique perspective to the old themes of family, home and identity.” Kobus Moolman

Marike Beyers lives in Grahamstown. Her poems have appeared in New Coin, New Contrast, Loop, Ons Klyntji, Aerial and Tyhini as well as a few anthologies (The Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Anthology; The Ground’s Ear; For Rhino in a Shrinking World). She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University. She acted as judge for the Dalro prize and the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize upon occasion. In 2011, she had a chapbook of poems, On Another Page, published by Aerial Publishing in Grahamstown.

Marike Beyers

How to Open the Door
Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 15 November 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: National English Literary Museum, 25A Worcester Street, Grahamstown
  • Guest Speaker: Robert Berold
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Matshoba Zongezile, NELM, z.matshoba@nelm.org.za
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

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“One of the most affordable return tickets to Uganda” – launch of Flame and Song by Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa

Flame and SongI don’t get to go to the launch of every book that Modjaji publishes. I was very glad to get to The Book Lounge launch of Philippa Namubeti Kabali-Kagwa’s memoir, Flame and Song, that we published in time for the Women’s Day Story Cafe at the Artscape. Last Tuesday was the “official” launch, and The Book Lounge was full of people from East Africa.

Malika Ndlovu framed the launch with her beautiful voice, almost like a praise singer. It set the tone for an evening of story, song, memories – it made it feel a little as though we were sitting around a fire – while Philippa was interviewed by two young women, Diana Mutoni and Sandrine Mpazayabo, friends of Philippa’s daughter, Faye.

They asked unflinching questions about Philippa’s life, the difficulties and challenges and the many griefs she has experienced. Philippa responded to all of the questions, however challenging with grace and warmth. Philippa also read from her beautiful memoir, both poetry and prose excerpts, I was left feeling filled up with song, poetry, and a sense of family and community and love.

For more photographs of the launch click here These photographs were taken by Neo Baepi.

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