Welcome to the fifth issue of Volume 2 of The Johannesburg Review of Books—our first birthday issue!
The inaugural issue of The JRB dropped twelve months ago, on 1 May 2017; revisit that issue here; and revisit our missive introducing The JRB to the world here; what a ride it’s been since that moment!
In the current issue, The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec reviews Zadie Smith’s new collection of essays, Feel Free, Wamuwi Mbao looks at the new Julian Barnes novel, The Only Story, and Adekeye Adebajo considers Carien du Plessis’s recent biography of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Woman in the Wings.
We also feature an essay by Ntombizikhona Valela on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s literary legacy, Fred Khumalo’s thoughts on the resurgence of historical fiction, and the joint reflections of Zukiswa Wanner and City Editor Niq Mhlongo on their Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study fellowship.
Niq Mhlongo also recounts his experiences from his recent trip to Harare, for two joint book launches with the very same Wanner.
Elsewhere in this issue, we sit down with bestselling self-published author of the Hlomu series, Dudu Busani-Dube, and discuss the new Wits-based African Centre for the Study of the United States with project leader Tawana Kupe.
Poetry lovers are in for a treat, with two new poems by Karen Jennings and an excerpt from Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese’s poetry collection Loud and Yellow Laughter, which won the 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize.
Our Photo Editor, Victor Dlamini, shares striking images and video from Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral.
In our fiction section this month, read ‘Gutting Instincts’, a new short story by Jarred Thompson, as well as Wame Molefhe’s ‘A Woman is her Hands’, excerpted from The Gods Who Send Us Gifts: An Anthology of African Short Stories.
In literary news, Maureen Isaacson reports from Stockholm, Sweden, on the latest developments around the scandal engulfing the Nobel Prize in Literature, and we report on the recent honouring of literary stalwarts Gcina Mhlophe and Sindiwe Magona.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 2, Issue 5, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- Happily-ever-after takes a dark turn: Wamuwi Mbao reviews Julian Barnes’s new novel, The Only Story
- Essays that edge towards poetry: Jennifer Malec reviews Zadie Smith’s new collection of non-fiction, Feel Free
- In search of a better ending for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: Adekeye Adebajo reviews Woman in the Wings by Carien du Plessis
- Decolonisation is generating your own knowledge and understandings: Tawana Kupe discusses the new Wits-based African Centre for the Study of the United States
- ‘We can’t complain about people not buying our books when we aren’t writing for them’: Jennifer Malec chats to bestselling author Dudu Busani-Dube
- Banishing the white gaze: Ntombizikhona Valela reflects on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s literary legacy
- View from the privileged heights of the JIAS Castle: Zukiswa Wanner and Niq Mhlongo reflect on their writing fellowship
- Historical fiction is back—with a fire in its belly: Fred Khumalo reflects on how writing can be a powerful tool for an activist
- Two new poems by Karen Jennings
- Read an excerpt from Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese’s poetry collection Loud and Yellow Laughter, winner of the 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize
- New short fiction: ‘Gutting Instincts’ by Jarred Thompson
- New short fiction: ‘A Woman is her Hands’ by Wame Molefhe, from The Gods Who Send Us Gifts: An Anthology of African Short Stories
- Honouring literary stalwarts in their lifetime: Gcina Mhlophe and Sindiwe Magona celebrated for their contribution to children’s literature (including exclusive John Kani video)
- ‘The Academy is no concentration camp’: Chairperson of the Nobel Committee for Literature Per Wästberg talks to The JRB about the current sexual abuse scandal
- [City Editor] Hardly working under the apricot tree in Harare: Niq Mhlongo reports back from his joint book tour with Zukiswa Wanner
The JRB Daily
- Panashe Chigumadzi reflects on Zimbabwe’s ‘coup that was not a coup’ in her new book, These Bones Will Rise Again
- Exclusive to The JRB: Photographs from the protest against the Nobel Prize in Literature sexual harassment scandal
- Henrietta Rose-Innes shortlisted for 2018 Nommo Award for her short story ‘Snake Story’, featured in The JRB
- Exclusive to The JRB: ‘I’m going to market the hell out of our stories’—Zukiswa Wanner reveals the details of her new Africa-focused publishing company, Paivapo
- Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese wins 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize for her debut collection Loud and Yellow Laughter
- ‘None But Ourselves’—Percy Zvomuya charts the sonic cartography of a revolution in the new Chimurenga Chronic: ‘The Invention of Zimbabwe’
- 2018 Man Booker International Prize shortlist announced
- Yewande Omotoso shortlisted for ‘world’s richest annual literary prize’—the International Dublin Literary Award
Header image: Jennifer Malec