Abubakar Adam Ibrahim • Yewande Omotoso • Lelissa Girma • Sabata-mpho Mokae • Craig Higginson • Mphuthumi Ntabeni • Sifiso Mzobe • Kirsten Miller • Yovanka Paquete Perdigao • Sebastian Murdoch • Jarred Thompson • Khanya Mtshali • Agatha Zaza • Alastair Bruce • Litha Hermanus • Olivia M Coetzee • Zanta Nkumane • Cheluchi Onyemelukwe • Franki Jenkins • Victor Dlamini • Lidudumalingani • Gratiagusti Chananya Rompas • Mikael Johani
Welcome to the twelfth issue of Volume 3 of The Johannesburg Review of Books—our third annual Fiction Issue!
This is a powerful collection of words. Its power is, however, almost entirely figurative, and so I was not able to use it to operate my computer during the electricity outages that plagued The JRB’s HQ over the past few days, which is why you are receiving this issue 24 hours later than we intended.
But we’d like to suggest it was worth the wait.
Continuing in the tradition we established in last year’s Fiction Issue, we have collected a range of excerpts from works in progress by some of our favourite authors, including Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Yewande Omotoso and Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, as well as sneak previews from a selection of novels and short story collections that will be coming your way in 2020, including work by Alastair Bruce, Litha Hermanus, Craig Higginson, Kirsten Miller, Sifiso Mzobe and Mphuthumi Ntabeni.
The original short fiction we have gathered for this issue travels from Johannesburg to Addis Ababa and on to Mississippi, drops in on Singapore, via Zambia, before winding up the tour with a few days in small town South Africa. We’re pleased to present the fiction debuts of Sebastian Murdoch and Zanta Nkumane, as well as new writing by Lelissa Girma, Franki Jenkins, Khanya Mtshali, Jarred Thompson and Agatha Zaza.
Elsewhere in the issue, we feature an excerpt from Sabata-mpho Mokae’s Sala award-winning Setswana novel, Moletlo wa Manong, Olivia M Coetzee’s newly published novel Innie Shadows, which is written in Kaaps, and a piece by Yovanka Paquete Perdigao from Bakwa 09: Taxi Drivers Who Drive Us Nowhere and other Travel Stories, a compilation of non-fiction that’s as transporting (!) as fiction.
As guest City Editor this month, Lidudumalingani meditates on the atmosphere that prevails in a migrant city like Johannesburg during the holiday month of December.
Thanks to the facilitation of our Poetry Editor Rustum Kozain, who was a guest of the Jogja Literary Festival in Indonesia in August this year, we are pleased to present a poem by Indonesian poet Gratiagusti Chananya Rompas, translated by Mikael Johani.
And finally, from our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini, we present original portraits of Unathi Magubeni and Aja Monet.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 3, Issue 12, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
Works in progress
- [The JRB Exclusive] Read an excerpt from a work in progress by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
- [The JRB Exclusive] Read an excerpt from a work in progress by Yewande Omotoso
- [The JRB Exclusive] Read an excerpt from a work in progress by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe
Debut short fiction
New short fiction
- ‘Middle, beginning or end’ by Lelissa Girma
- ‘Take Me Away’ by Franki Jenkins
- ‘The Survivors Group’ by Khanya Mtshali
- ‘Letters to a Heart’s Chambers’ by Jarred Thompson
- ‘The Grass Beneath Us’ by Agatha Zaza
Read This! The JRB’s Literary Podcast, produced with Volume
- Episode 7—featuring The Shadow King and The Water Dancer
- Episode 8—featuring Siphiwo Mahala reading from his new book, Red Apple Dreams
- Read an excerpt from Alastair Bruce’s forthcoming novel, The Weight of Skin
- Read an excerpt from The Eyes of the Naked, the forthcoming debut novel by Litha Hermanus
- Read an excerpt from Craig Higginson’s forthcoming novel, The Book of Gifts
- Read an excerpt from All That Is Left, the forthcoming novel from Kirsten Miller
- Read an excerpt from Sifiso Mzobe’s forthcoming short story collection, Searching for Simphiwe
- Read an excerpt from Mphuthumi Ntabeni’s forthcoming novel, The Wanderers
- Read an excerpt from Olivia M Coetzee’s ‘page turning, gender- and genre-bending’ Kaaps novel, Innie Shadows
- Read an excerpt from Sabata-mpho Mokae’s award-winning Setswana novel, Moletlo wa Manong
- Read ‘A Family History in a Passport’ by Yovanka Paquete Perdigao, excerpted from Bakwa 09: Taxi Drivers Who Drive Us Nowhere and other Travel Stories
The JRB Daily
- 2019 South African Literary Awards winners announced—The JRB collects three
- Gabeba Baderoon and Mphuthumi Ntabeni win the UJ Prizes for South African Writing
- 12 African writers nominated for 2020 International Dublin Literary Award—the world’s richest annual literary prize