Wamuwi Mbao • Richard Poplak • Bernardine Evaristo • Siphiwo Mahala • Zadie Smith • Efemia Chela • Lidudumalingani • Mmatshilo Motsei • Adekeye Adebajo • Brendan Joyce • Victor Dlamini • Jennifer Malec
Welcome to the eleventh issue of Volume 3 of The Johannesburg Review of Books.
In this issue, Wamuwi Mbao reviews The Water Dancer, the debut novel by acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, calling it ‘a depth charge aimed at the submerged wreckage of Southern slavery’. Richard Poplak reviews The Night Trains, the new book by historian Charles van Onselen, while The JRB Editor Jennifer Malec reviews Grand Union, the first short story collection by Zadie Smith.
In our Temporary Sojourner series, The JRB Francophone and Contributing Editor Efemia Chela travels to Ethiopia with Maaza Mengiste’s novel The Shadow King, while Lidudumalingani turns to poetry with a review of Everything is a Deathly Flower by Maneo Mohale, a ‘perfectly shaped raging fire of language and emotion’.
- Find out more about Everything is a Deathly Flower in the new episode of our audio show Read This!—out today—and listen to the poet read her work!
In our featured interview, Siphiwo Mahala chats to Jennifer Malec about self-publishing his new book, Red Apple Dreams, and why he believes short stories are the future.
We’re pleased to feature an exclusive excerpt from Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, as well as excerpts from Smith’s Grand Union, and Mahala’s Red Apple Dreams.
Mmatshilo Motsei pays tribute to literary gian Es’kia Mphahlele in his centenary year.
Adekeye Adebajo addresses the once-unthinkable question ‘Was Gandhi a racist?’, as the 150th anniversary of his birth is marked around the globe.
In our poetry corner, dip into work by Brendan Joyce, from his new chapbook, Character Limit.
For something a little different, we present an excerpt from Meanwhile … a beautiful new graphic novel celebrating everyday queer life in Southern and East Africa.
Non-fiction fans may enjoy finding out more about Yeoville and the ‘mythology of transitional Johannesburg’ in an excerpt from the new book Politics and Community-Based Research: Perspectives from Yeoville Studio, Johannesburg.
On a more musical note, read Marlon Swai‘s essay on how Hip Hop is producing a new generation of readers and writers in a world that operates in diverse literary forms, in an excerpt from Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa.
Finally, from our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini this month, we hope you enjoy his original portraits of Ekow Duker and Lerato Tshabalala.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 3, Issue 11, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- A depth charge aimed at the submerged wreckage of Southern slavery—Wamuwi Mbao reviews The Water Dancer, the debut novel by acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Board the Eastern Main Line and go to work in Hell—Richard Poplak reviews The Night Trains, Charles van Onselen’s finest book yet
- Fragments, explorations and variations—Jennifer Malec reviews Zadie Smith’s debut collection of short stories Grand Union, her most American book to date
- [Temporary Sojourner] Thrill to the layered, secret nature of it—Efemia Chela reviews Maaza Mengiste’s new novel, The Shadow King
- A perfectly shaped raging fire of language and emotion—Lidudumalingani reviews Everything is a Deathly Flower, the debut poetry collection by Maneo Mohale
- Tyranny of place, tyranny of time: Remembering Es’kia Mphahlele in his centenary year, by Mmatshilo Motsei
- ‘I have turned my car into a mobile bookshop’—Siphiwo Mahala chats to Jennifer Malec about self-publishing his new book, Red Apple Dreams, and why short stories are the future
- [The JRB exclusive] Read an excerpt from Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other—‘One of my aims as a writer is to explore the hidden narratives of the African diaspora’
- ‘I would like to be on good terms with all animals.’ Read an excerpt from Zadie Smith’s debut short story collection, Grand Union
- [The JRB exclusive] Read an excerpt from Siphiwo Mahala’s new collection of short stories, Red Apple Dreams
- [The JRB exclusive] Read an excerpt from Meanwhile … a new graphic novel anthology about everyday queer life in Southern and East Africa
- Introducing Yeoville—part of the mythology of transitional Johannesburg
- How Hip Hop is helping a new generation to ‘read the world’—Read an excerpt from Neva Again: Hip Hop Art, Activism and Education in Post-Apartheid South Africa
The JRB Daily
- Shortlists announced for the UJ Prizes for South African Writing in English
- Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo jointly win the 2019 Booker Prize
- Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke win the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Prizes in Literature
- How is the Nobel Prize in Literature decided? The Nobel Committee reveals new, less ‘Eurocentric’ and ‘male-centred’ criteria