The Johannesburg Review of Books Vol. 4, Issue 1 (January 2020, The Conversation Issue)

Jason Reynolds Itumeleng Molefi • Nicole Dennis-Benn • Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan • Lauren Michele Jackson • Ebrahim Essa • Outlwile Tsipane • Lidudumalingani • Henrietta Rose-Innes • Julie Nxadi • Simon van Schalkwyk • Khanya Mtshali • Gail Fincham • Wamuwi Mbao • Victor Dlamini • Tony Eprile • Azad Essa • Ben Williams

Welcome to the first issue of Volume 4 of The Johannesburg Review of Books—our third annual Conversation Issue!

It’s January, and while our heads are still fairly clear, take some time to listen to what some eminent authors have to say about writing, and life.

We’re going global in this issue, with interviews with Jamaican novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn, Singaporean–American writer Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, American writer and academic Lauren Michele Jackson, and American author Jason Reynolds, who has just been named the US Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Closer to home, Itumeleng Molefi reports back on Mona Eltahawy’s appearance at the Abantu Book Festival, we feature a conversation between Gail Fincham and Henrietta Rose-Innes about the latter’s forthcoming novel, Stone Plant, Azad Essa chats to his father Ebrahim Essa about his new memoir, and guest City Editor Lidudumalingani and Outlwile Tsipane consider Joburg’s literary past and present, and what they hope lies ahead.

In our poetry section this month, we feature writing from our Academic Editor Simon van Schalkwyk, while our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini offers original portraits of Sindiwe Magona, Mongane Wally Serote and the late André Brink.

We’re also delighted to present a new piece of creative non-fiction, ‘The End of a Conversation’, from one of our faves, Julie Nxadi.

Enjoy the issue, and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 4, Issue 1, which you will also find on our issue archive page:



Creative non-fiction

City Editor



The JRB Daily

Header image: Jennifer Malec

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