Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Read SA

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Category

How to Write: Tips from Andrew Brown

Inspired by the Guardian’s recent article bringing together “how to write” tips from prominent authors, ReadSA and BOOK SA introduce a similar series a bit closer to home. Watch out for top tips from stars in the SA Lit firmament!

Andrew BrownColdsleep LullabyStreet BluesRefugeAndrew Brown is the author of Coldsleep Lullaby, which won the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and Street Blues, which was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. His most recent novel is Refuge.

Andrew Brown’s tips:

* * * * *

1. Write where you know: characters and plot have to play out on a believable stage. In some novels that stage is a bland generic canvas that contributes little to the reader’s experience. But a well-constructed setting can anchor a story and provide the reader with a sense of place; it can also make the writing itself easier, as characters can move around the stage with greater confidence. Set your writing in a place you know – if you don’t know it, go there.

2. Write who you know: You can only write about what you know, and when it comes to characterisation, you only know yourself. You may have to draw deep to find the emotional source for some characters, but no matter how troubling that may be, ultimately you have the comfort of knowing that neither your hero nor your dark and bloody protagonist are in fact you.

3. Don’t get cute: Sometimes a twist in a plot can be too clever for its own good. A good editor will eradicate it (mine did, thank goodness) and spare you the embarrassment, but it’s better not to end up there in the first place.

* * * * *

Book details

» read article

Get ready for Home Away!

By Louis Greenberg

Being South African isn’t as black and white as it used to be. People from all over the world make South Africa their home, while South Africans have more geographic freedom than ever before. This unique and captivating collection is a snapshot of South African writing today: emigrant and immigrant South Africans, living at home and away.

In Home Away, twenty-four chapters by twenty-four writers, set in cities all around the world, make up one global day, a mosaic reflecting on the nature of home. As the provocative stories in this collaboration suggest, often it’s when we are far away from home that we see it most clearly.

In Home Away, we’ve divvied up the world and a day into 24 hours shared between some of the hottest, most happening South African, immigrant and emigrant writers working today. All the writing in Home Away is orginal and unpublished, and honorary South African Vikas Swarup has written a lyrical foreword. It’s a fabulous range, a real document of South African writing today.

Here’s the brilliant line-up:

midnight: Zukiswa Wanner (Nairobi)
1 am: S.A. Partridge (Triolet)
2 am: Richard de Nooy (Amsterdam/Rokytnice nad Yizerou)
3 am: Sarah Britten (Sydney)
4 am: Naomi Nkealah (Mainz)
5 am: Phillippa Yaa de Villiers (Havana)
6 am: Colleen Higgs (Kampala)
7 am: Moky Makura (Lagos)
8 am: Sarah Lotz (Maun)
9 am: Louis Greenberg (Ushuaia)
10 am: Fiona Snyckers (Oxford)
11 am: Lauren Beukes (Tokyo)
noon: Ted Botha (Los Angeles)
1 pm: Liesl Jobson (Victoria / the air)
2 pm: Jassy Mackenzie (Moscow)
3 pm: Makhosazana Xaba (Dakar)
4 pm: Jo-Anne Richards (Patmos)
5 pm: Henrietta Rose-Innes (Chanchan)
6 pm: Kathryn White (London)
7 pm: Karina Magdalena Szczurek (Salzburg)
8 pm: Ivan Vladislavic (Oklahoma City)
9 pm: Helen Moffett (Fairbanks)
10 pm: Rustum Kozain (Royaumont)
11pm: Victoria Burrows (Hong Kong)

Home Away is published by Zebra Press in April 2010. All author and editor royalties are being donated to the Adonis Musati Project in the Western Cape and Kids’ Haven in Gauteng.

These organisations help address the humanitarian needs of refugee children and families and our donation is a small way for us to say that we too are all unrooted travellers filled with hope and fear, and that we empathise with their plight.

» read article

Sarah Britten Went to the Market…

Sarah BrittenMore South African InsultsSo Sarah Britten bought a man at the weekend – and it was for the ReadSA cause! Read on to find out more:

This is not something I’ve done before, mind you. I bought him on Saturday afternoon, for R550, and what an interesting experience it was. I felt like, all empowered and stuff, expressing the power my corporate salary confers upon me and using it to turn stereotypes on their head, yadda yadda, and all in the name of a good cause.

My Wits gender studies lecturer would have been so proud.

The people behind ReadSA, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of reading in South Africa in general, and the reading of South African literature in particular, decided to do something a little different in order to raise funds. The result was a Hot Man Auction, hosted at the Melville abode of a German arts benefactor.

Book details

» read article