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.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 4, Issue 1, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- [Conversation Issue] ‘I know what lurks in the bushes. And that’s how I write the stories’—Jason Reynolds talks to Tony Eprile about resistance and the imagination
- [Conversation Issue] ‘I seek out women who make unpopular decisions in my writing because they’re more interesting to me’—Nicole Dennis-Benn chats to Wamuwi Mbao about her bestselling novel, Patsy
- [Conversation Issue] ‘I wanted to throw back the curtain on some of the things and places that ‘nice’ people avoid talking about’—Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan talks to Ben Williams about her bestselling Singlish novel Sarong Party Girls
- [Conversation Issue] ‘Appropriation is not in and of itself a bad thing, but the way it’s invoked in the culture makes it seem like it is’—Lauren Michele Jackson talks to Khanya Mtshali about her book, White Negroes
- [Conversation Issue] On writing about religion, childhood and insecurities: Azad Essa transcribes a conversation between father and son
- [Conversation Issue] ‘Dispossession is the backdrop to every South African story’—Henrietta Rose-Innes in conversation with Gail Fincham about her forthcoming novel, Stone Plant
- [Conversation Issue] ‘I won’t be polite, because there’s nothing polite about patriarchy’—Mona Eltahawy inspires (and triggers) at the Abantu Book Festival, reports Itumeleng Molefi
- [Conversation Issue] [City Editor] Is it possible, or necessary, to write a friendlier and prettier Johannesburg? A conversation between Lidudumalingani and Outlwile Tsipane
- [Photo Editor] Original portraits of Sindiwe Magona, André Brink and Mongane Wally Serote by Victor Dlamini
The JRB Daily