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Sold out all over: Tjieng Tjang Tjerries by Jolyn Phillips causing ‘good problems’ for Modjaji Books

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Jolyn Phillips’s first book, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories is causing waves for Modjaji Books and for her and in all kinds of ways.

There are lots of firsts associated with this book. It was selected for Homebru by Exclusive Books and it wasn’t even a book that we submitted – because short stories. It’s a collection of short stories by a debut author.

As far as we know it is the first literary book to come out of Gansbaai.

The launch at The Book Lounge was packed and all copies of Tjieng Tjang Tjerries sold out.

Jolyn appeared at the Franschhoek Lit Fest this year on a panel with Deon Meyer, Rahla Xenopoulos and Darrel Bristow-Bovey. Fabulous, talented and celebrated as the three other panelists are, for me Jolyn stole the show. All her books were sold out at Franschhoek too. These are good problems for a new writer and her publisher to have.

Jolyn Phillips and Tjieng Tjang Tjerries are part of #HomeBru at Exclusive Books

A photo posted by Colleen Higgs (@colleenhiggs) on

 
There was an interview with Jolyn in the Mail & Guardian (click here to read the whole interview).

This is what Jolyn says about writing in the short story form:

“Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. I find that one should just write your truth and your stories will mould into the shape they need. I had 13 different lives and, although from the same cloth of landscape, they wanted to be given a moment that was only theirs.

Believe me, I tried making them poetry. I even tried to make it a novel but my characters taught me that everything is character. Language is character. Landscape is character. I tried to tell my characters what to do and they took the pen from my hand, pushed me aside and wrote themselves.”

She was also interviewed for Glamour, where I was interested in her list of favourite books.

The first review that the collection got was a BIG, RAVE review in the Cape Times (click for larger image):

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Jolyn Phillips’ language is highly original, a vibrant English, full of colloquialisms and Afrikaans too, making it challenging for those who are not fluent in both English and Afrikaans. See the review below by Jay Heale for BookChat.

TJIENG TJANG TJERRIES & other short stories by Jolyn Phillips (Modjaji Books 2016)

You need to be strongly bilingual (which I am not) to capture the rich flavour of the coarse, colourful Gansbaai patois. I’m not sure why the author has chosen to put most of this in English, as I’m sure that the real Gansbaai residents talk mostly Afrikaans with racy, rude, frequently funny additions of their own. Without doubt, this is a bold piece of adventure into language with an utterly Overberg flavour.

If you would like to read a couple of the stories, they were published online at:

Aerodrome and

Books LIVE!

Here’s a radio interview with Tamara LePine on Classic FM:


 

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to a Gansbaai launch in July. Phillips is a young writer to keep an eye on!

Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories

Book details

Extraordinary media coverage for I’m the Girl Who Was Raped – and book tour of Canada in the works

 

As the effects of rape culture worldwide are being seen and challenged, Michelle Hattingh’s book I’m the Girl Who Was Raped speaks to how being a victim of rape feels from the inside.

The media has been very interested in interviewing Michelle and reviewing her brave memoir. She was interviewed for The Star and The Argus by Julia Clark-Riddell, and by Louise Ferreira for Die Beeld and excerpts of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped have been featured in Marie Claire, You Magazine and Women24

 

While Michelle was in Joburg for the launch last week, she was interviewed on Radio Today and by Gareth Cliff on Cliff Central. She’s also been interviewed on Classic FM by Tamara LePine and on Cape Talk/702 by Pippa Hudson.

She’s appeared on Morning Live and has been invited to speak at schools, two universities and as the Guest Speaker at Wordfest at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July.

We’ve also received queries for her to go on a book tour to Canada, so we’re exploring Canadian publishers for I’m the Girl Who Was Raped, as this would make more sense than Modjaji Books trying to manage a Canadian book tour from Cape Town.

It is extraordinary what has happened with this powerful memoir in a short time, Michelle has clearly struck a nerve by writing so openly and honestly about her experiences. Let’s hope her book chips away at the rape culture that we live in.

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped

Book details

Michelle Hattingh’s I’m the Girl Who Was Raped – a powerful, brave book

 

Michelle Hattingh was in Joburg this week launching her memoir, I’m the Girl Who Was Raped. Her book is receiving huge media attention, because she has had the courage to come forward and tell her story about being raped and what happened to her afterwards externally – but more especially what happened internally – how she dealt with what happened to her, how she felt, how she started to heal.

Michelle’s story is a no holds barred one, and her insight and writing is disrupting conversations and taken-for-granted views about rape and what it is, she is disturbing and disrupting rape culture, and none of it is easy.

Fiona Snyckers was in conversation with Michelle about the book at Love Books.

With Fiona’s permission, I’m sharing what she wrote on Facebook afterwards and her Twitter summary of the launch.

I’ve been present at panel discussions where white members of the audience have derailed a discussion on race and black pain by talking about how hard it is as a white person to know how to do the right thing.

What they did, in other words, was make the conversation about themselves and demand that the black panelists mop up their white tears.
Last night at Love Books we saw this in action again, but this time it was male tears that hijacked the agenda.

I was in conversation with Michelle Hattingh, author of the searing memoir I’M THE GIRL WHO WAS RAPED at her Johannesburg book launch. We’d had a long and difficult discussion about rape and rape culture, with many valuable contributions from women in the audience.

We were just wrapping things up when someone asked that a young man who’d had his hand up be given the chance to speak. Michelle agreed so I allowed the question.
He started off by saying that he thought we were all simplifying rape. (This is Mansplaining 101 – accusing a female interlocutor of not grasping the nuances.) Then he said that rape was “complicated” because there were always two people with their own different backgrounds that they brought to the encounter. (If this sounds like rape apology, that’s probably because it is.) He went on to talk about how difficult it is to be a man in this day and age and how hard it is to tell if a woman really is giving consent, especially if she is drunk.

And because we had decided that this was absolutely the last comment, that’s where the session ended, with mansplaining, rape apology and male tears having the last word. I’m still annoyed about it.

But Michelle’s talk was great and he didn’t have the power to take anything away from that. In the end, that’s all that matters.

 

 

Michelle was interviewed by Sue Grant-Marshall for Radio Today. You can listen to her interview here.

 
More photos of the launch are here. Thanks to Lourens Botha for these photographs.

Thanks, too, to Helen Holyoake of Helco Promotions for her brilliant work in drawing the attention of the media to I’m the Girl Who Was Raped.
 
I'm the Girl Who Was RapedBook details

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

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle HattinghModjaji Books and Love Books are pleased to invite you to the Johannesburg launch of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped, a memoir by Michelle Hattingh. Fiona Snyckers will introduce Michelle and talk with her about her book.

Emily Buchanan edited Michelle’s book and this is what she wrote about the book, published in Grocott’s Mail on the 6th May.

I’m the Girl Who Was Raped by Michelle Hattingh

Now and then you read a book that alters your life. It inspires you; it redefines you; and sometimes it reshapes your thinking in a way that changes the world around you. One such book for me was Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth. Another is Michelle Hattingh’s I’m the Girl Who Was Raped.

I started working on Michelle’s manuscript as its editor. On my first reading I was surprised and excited, which seems inappropriate but it wasn’t: finally someone had the courage to write what it really was like to be raped, and to write it with such intensity, wit and pace that it read like a novel.

It was going to be a book that everyone needed to read, that would be the subject of conversation for months after it came out. More importantly, it would be a resource for those who had been raped, or feared being raped, or worried about their sons being accused of raping.

Michelle relates the story of her rape on a Muizenberg beach. She talks about how, earlier that same day, she’d presented her Psychology honours thesis on “Why Men Rape”, and how, despite her extensive research, she felt shamed and humiliated by her rape. When reporting to the police, she was further shamed and humiliated and blamed for “partying”, though she was sober.

She takes us through her next year and her battles with PTSD. She talks about being date-raped, a few years before, in a scene that is both awful and achingly funny, and draws a parallel between date-rape and stranger-rape that shows how like they are. I laughed and I cried and I re-evaluated how many of my own sexual encounters had been coercive.

Another point she makes is how the focus is always on women “staying safe”, as if that will prevent rape. When women don’t “stay safe” (I’m using the quotation marks ironically) society’s attitude is that those women bring rape upon themselves.

It’s completely illogical thinking. The statistics bear out how most women are raped in their own homes, wearing their most modest clothes and as sober as church mice. We hold onto the myth of “staying safe” because we feel it will protect us. What it does instead is takes the focus off the rapist — where it belongs — and puts the victim under its harsh, unjust, glaring spotlight.

As I talked to my friends and tried to tell them what I had learned from this book, almost all of them (feminists, lawyers, parliamentarians, doctors) directed the conversation to saying how girls really need to watch out when they go out, how it’s irresponsible not to be “careful”. It’s a message women have internalised so deeply that my friends truly couldn’t hear what I was saying. And it’s one more reason to buy them each a copy of I’m the Girl Who Was Raped: Michelle says it so much more convincingly than I can.

-Emily Buchanan

Women24.com published an excerpt of the book online, if you would like to read it, click here

Event Details

  • Date: Wednesday, 01 June 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest Speaker: Fiona Snyckers
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and some light refreshments
  • RSVP: Love Books, info@lovebooks.co.za, 011 726 7408
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
Book Details

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, fogartys@global.co.za, 041 368 1425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
Book Details

Modjaji authors at the 2016 FLF

The 2016 Franschhoek Literary Festival is around the corner. And we’re delighted that a number of new and more established Modjaji authors are taking part. We have three writers who live abroad participating, they are Charlotte Otter (Karkloof Blue) coming from Heidelberg in Germany, Isobel Dixon (Bearings) from London and Eliza Kentridge (Signs for an Exhibition) from Wivenhoe in the UK.

BearingsKarkloof BlueCheck out the programme and book your tickets soon, you don’t want to be disappointed.

Karin Schimke, award-winning poet and books editor (Bare & Breaking) is chairing a number of sessions.
Sindiwe Magona is one of the celebrities of the festival, and will be specially honoured this year. We published her poetry collection, Please Take Photographs. Wendy Woodward, poet and English Literature academic (The Saving Bannister), will be there.

Poet and performer, Khadija Heeger (Beyond the Delivery Room) is also on the programme.

Beverly Rycroft, poet and novelist, is also on the programme (missing).

Jolyn PhillipsTjieng Tjang TjerriesAnd the last Modjaji writer on the programme is Jolyn Phillips, whose wonderful new book, a collection of short stories, which we have heard has made it onto the Exclusive Books’ Homebru promotion, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories is on a panel on Sunday at 1.00 with Deon Meyer, Rahla Xenopolous, chaired by Darrel Bristow Bovey.

There are two award announcements on the weekend of the Franschhoek Lit Fest. They are both on Saturday evening. The first is the Ingrid Jonker, two of our Ingrid Jonker past winners are on the festival programme, Karin Schimke and Beverly Rycroft. We have a couple of poets who are contenders for this year’s award: Elisa Galgut (The Attribute of Poetry) and Christine Coates (Homegrown).

And for this year’s Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize long list, we have Fiona SnyckersNow Following You. The shortlist of five will be announced on Saturday night during the FLF.

Bare and BreakingBeyond the Delivery RoomMissingBearingsPlease, Take PhotographsSigns for an Exhibition
Karkloof BlueTjieng Tjang Tjerries and other storiesA Saving BannisterThe Attribute of PoetryHomegrownNow Following You

Book details

Interview: Ameera Patel

Outside the LinesAmeera Patel is an award-winning playwright, poet and actor, well-known for her role as Dr Chetty in the TV series Generations. Her debut novel, Outside the Lines, has just been launched by Modjaji, so we asked her to share some of her thoughts on using colour, multiple characters and different creative pursuits to craft a tangled family drama.

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Outside the Lines features characters of different ages, racial groups, social classes and cultures. These disparities impair their relationships with each other, cause them to clash, and determine the outcomes of their stories. What inspired this multifaceted drama?

For me, Johannesburg, like many other big cities, is filled with multiple narratives that are continuous and overlapping. I wanted the novel to explore some of the different voices that speak to the city. When I started to write the novel, I had many more characters in mind but, as in life, only the strongest survived. The idea of sitting inside multiple characters, as an actress, also felt like a treat too delicious to pass up.

Ameera PatelYou’re an actress, a playwright and a poet; what have those creative pursuits brought to the novel? I noticed, for example, that the epigraphs form poems about the main characters …

I like to think that all my creative pursuits lead back to a common thread of storytelling. Each of the forms that I work within undoubtedly helped to feed the novel, as all of our pasts affect our present and future. As an actor, I enjoy putting myself into other people’s shoes and trying to feel their textures and possible journeys. I think that this allowed me to be fluid in the writing process, allowing characters to shift away from my initial intended structure and into new and often more interesting situations. The epigraphs are definitely little poetic clues into each character and their chapters. And I think that with writing in general, the more you do the better you become. Writing plays and television has helped me to better understand dialogue, while poetry helps with the unpacking of distilled moments.

As the title suggests, colour is a theme, and Runyararo, who starts the story as a painter, tells us that ‘Colour speaks of character, colour is imperative.’ This is certainly true in terms of skin colour: racial identity affects all the major characters. How else is colour imperative to them?

Colour is also probably most significant to Runyararo and Flora. They both see the world in bright colours. Flora’s chapters often detail her clothing choice, which is picked up on in Runyararo’s chapters where he notices her. I used this to show their compatibility. In opposition to them, there is Cathleen. She is often shown as drained in colour, with colour being a life source that she lacks.

The title and the cover art both suggest the idea of ‘painting’ or ‘colouring outside the lines’ but for me this is more about the characters shifting away from their stereotypes and spilling over the mould than colour in a literal sense.

The story shows parents – or parental figures – and their children struggling to find their way around each other. Where do they all go so wrong?

I think the biggest issue with the parents in the novel is that they don’t know their children and don’t seem to make an effort to know them either. There are different types of parents shown in the novel, from Frank who is Cathleen’s relatively absent father, to Farhana’s Uncle, who has more of a dictatorial style, to Flora who mothers her own son Zilindile quite differently to the way she mothers Cathleen and James. None of the situations provide a space where the children are empowered to speak freely and be heard.

The plot is driven by failure: the characters fail to communicate with each other, deal with their problems, make the lives they want for themselves or be the people they want to be. Nevertheless, it’s an easy, engaging read. As an author, what’s your approach for dealing with heavy issues in such a disarming way?

I think that I’m lucky in that I have quite a dark sense of humour, which I use to cut through some of the heaviness. Multiple characters also meant that I could move swiftly from a weighted moment to one of lightness in a matter of pages.

Thank you for your time Ameera!

Interview by Lauren Smith

Outside the Lines

Book details

Book Launch: Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories by Jolyn Phillips

Tjieng Tjang Tjerries
Modjaji Books and The Book Lounge are delighted to invite you to the launch of Tjieng Tjang Tjerries & Other Stories by Jolyn Phillips.

Last year at the Franschoek Literary Festival, I heard Shado Twala talking to Jolyn Phillips, a session was over, they were sitting next to each other, and I overheard them. I think Jolyn had just been reading or was part of something that Shado had seen her do. I got the electrical current intuitive feeling I had when I read Whiplash by Tracey Farren. I asked Jolyn if she was a writer and she said yes, she had a collection of short stories. I asked for her email and wrote to her. There is quite a bit more to this story, but in the end Modjaji got to publish the collection and I’m really excited about it. As you will see by the things that the writers who have read and love her work have said, I’m not the only one who feels thrilled by the voice of this young woman.

“An impressive debut that brings across voices never heard before in South African English – not only in rhythm and timbre, but plumbing the unspoken. With such a remarkable ear, Jolyn Philips is a young writer to watch.”
Antjie Krog

“It is rare that one encounters a debut as good as this one. Humane, humorous and completely original, these sparkling stories gives a voice to a South African community too long ignored by the literary canon. Jolyn Phillips is a gifted young writer to watch.”
Meg Vandermerwe (Zebra Crossing and This Place I Call Home)

“A most original new voice in South African literature”
Shaun Johnson (The Native Commissioner)

Jolyn Phillips

Jolyn Phillips was born and grew up in Blompark, Gansbaai on the western Cape coast. She is currently working on her PhD in Language Education at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and is a 2014 Mandela Rhodes Scholar. In 2013 she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at UWC. Since 2012, she has participated in the Open Book and the Franschoek Literary Festivals. Her writing has also been published in Aerodrome, an online literary website, an anthology This Land I Call Home (UWC CREATES) and Ghost Eater and Other Stories (Umuzi). Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories is her first book.

Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 19 April 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, corner of Roeland and Buitenkant streets, CBD, Cape Town
  • Guest Speaker: Meg Vandermerwe
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine compliments of Leopard’s Leap and snacks
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, +27 21 462 2425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Book Details

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

I'm the Girl Who Was RapedMichelle HattinghThe Book Lounge and Modjaji Books are proud to invite you to the launch of a courageous book, I’m the Girl Who Was Raped written by Michelle Hattingh on April 28th. Michelle will be in conversation with writer and gender activist, Jen Thorpe.

Modjaji and The Book Lounge are donating R20 to Rape Crisis for each book bought at the launch.

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.

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 Michelle
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 the Mail & Guardian. I’m the Girl Who Was Raped is her first book.

I'm the Girl Who Was Raped
Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 28 April 2016
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, Corner of Roeland and Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town CBD
  • Guest Speaker: Jen Thorpe
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of Leopard’s Leap wine and snacks
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge, booklounge@gmail.com, +27 21 462 2425
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Book Details

Join Ameera Patel for the launch of Outside the Lines at Love Books

Ameera PatelOutside the Lines

 
Love Books and Modjaji Books take great pleasure in inviting you to the launch of Ameera Patel’s debut novel, Outside the Lines. Join us for a glass of wine and snacks to celebrate the publication of her novel.

Bontle Senne will be in conversation with Ameera Patel.

Outside the Lines is both a thriller and a family drama. It tells the story of two women: Cathleen, a troubled young woman living in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg; and Flora, who is the domestic worker at Cathleen’s house. Cathleen disappears and tensions and drama ensue.

Craig Higginson has this to say about the novel:

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.

Ameera Patel is 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). Outside the Lines is her first novel.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 29 March 2016
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, Bamboo Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville, Johannesburg
  • Guest: Bontle Senne
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine
  • RSVP: Love Books, info@lovebooks.co.za, 011 726 7408
    www.modjajibooks.co.za

Book Details
Outside the Lines