The third issue of The Johannesburg Review of Books is here, with some big reviews, in-depth interviews and quality ruminations on life, letters and the arts.
This month, Panashe Chigumadze assesses Arundhati Roy’s new novel—famously her first in twenty years—Rustum Kozain offers a meditation on poet Kelwyn Sole’s career and new collection—from which we also feature four poems—and Nadia Davids shares the evolution of her new work, What Remains, from its genesis as a novella to its full realisation as a play, now on circuit.
The JRB’s Contributing Editor Efemia Chela brings us an exclusive interview with international literary thinker Claudia Rankine, and we carry an excerpt from Hedley Twidle’s new collection of creative non-fiction, Firepool. We also have some new, original portraits of Sunday Times Barry Fiction Prize winner Zakes Mda by our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini.
You don’t want to miss the story of how Niq Mhlongo met Shaka Zulu in Germany, or of Karel Schoeman’s final pilgrimage before he took his own life—also both JRB exclusives. And we feature a clip of Siphiwo Mahala’s acclaimed play, The House of Truth.
As with our first two issues, certain motifs seem to gather across this one’s twenty-or-so articles, perhaps indicating that there’s a crafty literary zeitgeist working incognito behind the scenes. This month we see themes such as performance as a disruptive force, politics vs art, and—oddly—the notion of emotional mathematics cropping up here and there among our contributions. We hope you enjoy contemplating the ferment and cross-pollination of these ideas as much as we have, in putting the issue together.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 1, Issue 3, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- ‘What is the acceptable amount of blood for good literature?’ Panashe Chigumadzi reviews Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
- A steady vigil over the slow death of the anti-apartheid dream: Rustum Kozain reviews Kelwyn Sole’s latest poetry collection, Walking, Falling
- ‘A dazzling new voice’: Olufunke Ogundimu reviews Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
- Eking out a deeper truth on the rough seas of historical fiction: Wamuwi Mbao reviews Fred Khumalo’s Dancing the Death Drill
- [Exclusive interview and audio] ‘White fragility ends discussions … and ends lives’: Claudia Rankine speaks in Soweto
- ‘I appreciate stories that mess with me a little’: Yewande Omotoso on her latest book, The Woman Next Door
- Finding beauty under apartheid: Interview with Dan Magaziner, and excerpt from his book The Art of Life in South Africa
- ‘It began with a burial site’ – Nadia Davids on her new work, What Remains: a play about slavery and the haunted city
- ‘Three great hopes for a post-apartheid culture, gone too soon’ – Hedley Twidle reflects on Phaswane Mpe, Moses Taiwa Molelekwa and K Sello Duiker
- [City Editor] Niq Mhlongo meets Shaka Zulu at a restaurant in Cologne, Germany
- Writes of passage, an urban memoir: How a Pan-African journal and American glossies put Bongani Madondo on the Write Path
News & Other
- ‘Les chaussures’: Short fiction by Edwige-Renée Dro from new translation experiment La Shamba
- Keep on Swinging: Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83 wins the German International Literature Award
- The JRB exclusive: Karel Schoeman’s final pilgrimage, detailed in a guest house visitors’ book