Wamuwi Mbao • Panashe Chigumadzi • Makhosazana Xaba • Lesley Nneka Arimah • Niq Mhlongo • Elinor Sisulu • Victor Dlamini • Lara Buxbaum • Rethabile Masilo • Adam El Shalakany • Noel Cheruto • Lester Walbrugh • Napo Masheane • Natalia Molebatsi • Vangi Gantsho • Mthunzikazi Mbungwana • Nosipho Gumede • Afua Hirsch • Danielle Legros Georges • Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida
Welcome to the eighth issue of Volume 3 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
We have a bumper issue lined up for you this month.
In reviews, Wamuwi Mbao reads Nicole Dennis-Benn’s second novel, Patsy, finding it to be readable in the best sense of the word. Dennis-Benn will be at the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September. Panashe Chigumadzi gives her take on the collection Township Girls: The Cross-Over Generation, deeming it a significant first step in documenting the life writing of black Zimbabwean women. Finally, Lara Buxbaum reviews Patrick Chamoiseau’s wildly inventive novel The Old Slave and the Mastiff.
Jennifer Malec speaks to Lesley Nneka Arimah on her recent Caine Prize for African Writing win, and in an excerpt from the new book Our Words, Our Worlds: Writing on Black South African Women Poets, 2000–2018, Makhosazana Xaba interviews five contemporary poets from Gauteng: Napo Masheane, Natalia Molebatsi, Vangi Gantsho, Mthunzikazi Mbungwana and Nosipho Gumede.
The winners of the Short Story Day Africa Prize were announced this morning, and The JRB is delighted to exclusively present the three winning stories in this issue—‘Happy City Hotel’ by Adam El Shalakany, ‘Mr Thompson’, by Noel Cheruto and ‘The Space(s) Between Us’ by Lester Walbrugh.
This year marks the centenary of Peter Abrahams and Noni Jabavu, and in this issue Elinor Sisulu and Makhosazana Xaba celebrate and pay tribute to two of South Africa’s literary icons.
In celebration of Women’s Month, The JRB is pleased to present a series of excerpts from New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent. Settle in with a cup of tea and read Danielle Legros Georges’s poem ‘A Stateless Poem’, Afua Hirsch’s essay ‘What Does it Mean to Be African?’, and an excerpt from the much-anticipated English translation of Angolan-Portuguese writer Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s debut novel, That Hair.
In a series of tales involving, among others, Arsène Wenger, Mos Def and Ben Okri, our City Editor Niq Mhlongo reveals the problems of authorial mistaken identity.
From our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini this month, feast your eyes on original portraits of the writers Chibundu Onuzo and Michela Wrong.
And finally, in our poetry section this month, Rethabile Masilo pays tribute to Peter Horn, the hugely influential poet, writer and teacher who passed away last month. RIP.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 3, Issue 8, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- To be human is to be capable of great love and truly awful behaviour—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
- Bearing witness to unusual childhoods of privilege under oppression—Panashe Chigumadzi reviews Township Girls: The Cross-Over Generation
- An exhilarating elegy for the slaves and storytellers of old—Lara Buxbaum reviews Patrick Chamoiseau’s wildly inventive novel The Old Slave and the Mastiff
- ‘More weirdness, more work that’s unconcerned with explaining “Africa” to the West, more work that doesn’t care what people think. More of that, please.’—An interview with Caine Prize winner Lesley Nneka Arimah
- Read ‘Surely This [Mother Tongue] Should Count for Something’—A conversation with 5 women poets, from Makhosazana Xaba’s new book Our Words, Our Worlds
The JRB exclusive: The Short Story Day Africa Prize-winning stories
- ‘Happy City Hotel’ by Adam El Shalakany, winner of the 2018 Short Story Day Africa Prize
- ‘Mr Thompson’ by Noel Cheruto, first runner-up in the 2018 Short Story Day Africa Prize
- ‘The Space(s) Between Us’ by Lester Walbrugh, second runner-up in the 2018 Short Story Day Africa Prize
- Read an excerpt from the forthcoming English translation of Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s award-winning debut novel That Hair, from the new anthology New Daughters of Africa
- On Noni Jabavu and the return home—Makhosazana Xaba celebrates one of South Africa’s foundational literary centenarians
- Reflections on an afternoon in Coyaba—Elinor Sisulu on meeting Peter Abrahams, an almost forgotten South African literary centenarian
- Read ‘What Does It Mean To Be African?’ by Afua Hirsch, from the new anthology New Daughters of Africa
- New poetry by Rethabile Masilo—‘For Peter Horn (1934–2019)’
- Read ‘A Stateless Poem’ by Danielle Legros Georges, from the new anthology New Daughters of Africa
The JRB Daily
- Sign up for Read This!—a new voice note show, hosted by The JRB and Volume
- 9mobile Prize Board of Patrons announce resignation—statement by Ama Ata Aidoo, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Margaret Busby, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Zakes Mda and Dele Olojede
- 9mobile releases statement confirming that a winner for the 2018 9mobile Prize for Literature will be announced
- 2019 Booker Prize longlist announced—including two African authors, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Chigozie Obioma
- 2019 Sunday Times Literary Awards shortlists announced—celebrating ‘the best of South African non-fiction and fiction’
- Tade Thompson’s Rosewater wins Arthur C Clarke Award, the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction
- Nigerian writer Lesley Nneka Arimah wins the 2019 Caine Prize—‘We African writers must centre the African gaze’