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Book Launch: Love Interrupted by Reneilwe Malatji

The Book Lounge and Modjaji Books are delighted to invite you to the Cape Town launch of Reneilwe Malatji’s acclaimed collection of short stories Love, Interrupted. Eva Hunter will introduce Reneilwe and talk with her about her book and her writing.

More about the collection:
I’m so excited about this collection, Reneilwe Malatji’s voice is a new and refreshing one. She writes in a way that I haven’t come across in South African writing before. She combines humour, wisdom, a beady eye and a take-no prisoners attitude and a very particular life experience and perspective. Everything and everyone is up for scrutiny.

The collection has received a range of very positive reviews in The Witness

THIS book is a treasure. A beautifully written book by a new author, who has powerfully captured the stories of African women, daughters, sons, and lovers in her first collection.

Malatji will be a voice to watch in the future and this is a worthy first book.

and in the Sunday Independent.

Reneilwe Malatji is on record as saying: “We need stories that are told from the point of view of black people, we need stories from rural areas, we need stories from ekasi, ja genuine sincere stories.”
This debut collection of short stories, Love Interrupted (Modjaji) – written in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an MA in creative writing at Rhodes University – just about fits this description.

…The collection offers a sustained exploration of the options open to (usually upwardly mobile) women in contemporary South Africa. One of its bleaker features is the absence of anything resembling a loving, intimate relationship.

More about Reneilwe Malatji

Reneilwe Malatji was born in Modjadji Village in 1968. She grew up in Turfloop Township, in northern part of South Africa. She grew up in a home where her father was an academic and her mother was a school teacher. She trained as a teacher and worked as a subject specialist and advisor to provincial education departments. She has recently completed a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes University. She is currently working on a doctorate at Rhodes. Love, interrupted is her first book.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 25 June 2013
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cnr Buitenkant & Roeland Street, Cape Town 8001
  • Guest Speaker: Eva Hunter
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

Book Details
Love Interrupted

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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!

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Stretching small resources as far as they will go

At last Whiplash face out in an Exclusive Books - Dec 2008

At last Whiplash face out in an Exclusive Books - Dec 2008

As a new small publisher, Modjaji Books, I have found the internet invaluable in meeting some of the difficulties and challenges that I face. Creating a name for the company, limited resources, unknown authors, new titles, being outside of the mainstream of publishing and the book world are a few of the challenges.

Ben Williams of Book SA has kindly let me host a micro-site for Modjaji Books within the Book SA site. As a fledgling publisher I aim to make small resources stretch as far as they will go. I know In the future I plan to develop a Modjaji Books website as well, where I can list my books, sell them even, but for now, which has been almost two years, is a good place to be. The blog is an excellent forum to post reviews, news, questions, and information. Because of the blog I have received wonderful letters from possible new authors and people in Book development in other African countries.

I have used the internet to maximise Modjaji’s presence online and to multiply the effect of any PR that my books have received. For example, any time there is a review or an honour for one of my books such as Tracey Farren’s Whiplash being shortlisted for the Sunday Times Award and getting a White Ribbon Award from the Women Demand Dignity advocacy group or Megan Hall winning the Ingrid Jonker prize for Fourth Child – I blog about it on Book SA, and then I put the link to the blog onto my Facebook profile and I paste it to the Modjaji Books group on Facebook. I also Twitter about things I want to publicise like events at the Cape Town Book Fair.

The other bloggers on Book SA act as a kind of support group, most of them are writers. I am a writer and publisher. I see that most publishers don’t blog on Book SA themselves, they use Book SA for PR. Louis Greenberg (who was at Exclusive Books when I wrote the article) is also an author, who blogs on Book SA – he kindly sent me the Exclusive’s Homebru call for submissions for 2009. I found out about them last year, but somehow slipped off the mailing list. I was delighted to be able to submit Whiplash for consideration, it was ‘long-listed’, which means that all the Exclusive Books managers will be looking at Whiplash as a serious contender for Homebru. Sadly it wasn’t selected, but a great many more managers will be aware of Whiplash.

Although I’ve been fairly successful in generating awareness of my authors and their books, I don’t have the resources to market directly to booksellers to the extent that I might like. I did use Bookmark to advertise Whiplash towards the end of last year and I use a distributor. But unfortunately for Modjaji Books my distributor sells over 200 other books, so their reps don’t focus on my books in the way that I would like them to. Direct communication with bookstore staff and managers is a key challenge and one that I haven’t been able to overcome yet. I hear that managers are overwhelmed with emails, so that is not necessarily a good route to go. I wish I could get bookstore managers to visit the Book SA site regularly. The internet doesn’t solve the problem of meeting managers personally and developing a relationship. If anyone has ideas about how to meet this challenge I would love to hear about them.

The internet is also useful for doing research, finding out about trends, authors, issues, making valuable connections with people, sending out information about calls for submissions. Once every couple of weeks I search for reviews of Modjaji’s books for example, I recently came across the African Writing Online review of Megan Hall’s Fourth Child.

Facebook is a useful place to publicise reviews, news, new books, prizes, events. Modjaji Books has a Facebook group of 259 at last count and it continues to grow. I post all my blog entries onto my Facebook group. In January this year I used Facebook, BookSA and direct emailing to advertise the Modjaji Subscription Offer. In this way I have been able to build up a modest cash reserve to offset some of the production costs of my books in advance. The discounts which one has to pay to one’s distributor and to bookshops, and VAT on production costs even when one isn’t VAT registered make the margins very narrow for a small publisher. So doing some direct selling is hugely helpful as here the margins are much higher.

As a new small publisher I have had to think creatively how to make my books visible and to be patient. For example, I published Megan Hall’s book in October 2007, she wanted the book out before she had her baby, due towards the end of November. I knew she wouldn’t be up for major PR, but it was good to launch the book and Modjaji Books. In August 2008 she won the Ingrid Jonker prize for Fourth Child and after that the PR was intense, and then she got invited to Poetry Africa in Durban when her baby girl was almost one. Megan has also now been invited to be on the Poetry International website.

So in summary, I use the internet to build networks, to pass on useful information, to share information and ideas and to ask for favours where necessary. Essentially I see it as a two way street – an opportunity to build up awareness amongst the book buying public and amongst the industry about Modjaji titles and authors, but also a wonderful opportunity to pool resources and to learn, connect and work with others.

In June 2009, Bookmark – local Bookseller’s magazine
A slightly older version of this article – the brief asked me to write about how I use the internet as a small independent publisher. I wrote the article in January 2009 and the publication was delayed till now. I’ve just updated the article where necessary for re-publication here.

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