The Johannesburg Review of Books Vol. 6, Issue 6 (December 2022, the Fiction Issue)

Morabo Morojele • Yewande Omotoso • Imraan Coovadia • Makhosazana Xaba • Wamuwi Mbao • Eckard Smuts Jarred Thompson • Meron Hadero • Sebastian Murdoch • Po Bhattacharyya • Ben Williams • Hemley Boum • Okechukwu Nzelu • Sarah Lubala Leye Adenle • Akbar Hussain • Lodewyk G du Plessis • Saleh Addonia • Shevlyn Mottai • Masande Ntshanga • Lidudumalingani Laila Manack • Sue Nyathi • Zaheera Jina Asvat • Victor Forna • Thabile Shange • Almini van der Merwe • Maggie O’Farrell • Victor Dlamini • Tymon Smith

Welcome to the sixth issue of Volume 6 of The Johannesburg Review of Books—our sixth annual Fiction Issue!

Johannesburg has been tough to live in recently. Tougher than usual. The roads are disintegrating, the power is evaporating, the supply of water is intermittent, the rain is unsettlingly incessant, the trees are mysteriously falling down. Then, just in time, December arrived, and South Africans did what they do best—we shut it down. The seasonal joy in Joburg right now is palpable, and pleasantly contagious. The sentiment seems to be: we’re taking a break from the crisis. So, behold, our annual Fiction Issue, the perfect accessory to your newly acquired avoidance technique. After all, as Hemley Boum writes in this issue, ‘Literature gave me the means to escape my reality.’

At the end of this year, with this issue, we cross 1450 articles published to date. That’s over six volumes, fifty-four issues, almost six years. We can’t quite believe it either.

And so, in our 2022 Fiction Issue, read new short fiction from Makhosazana Xaba, Eckard Smuts, Wamuwi Mbao and Ben Williams, as well as exclusive first-looks at works in progress by Yewande Omotoso, Imraan Coovadia, Sebastian Murdoch and Po Bhattacharyya.

We also feature excerpts from a number of exciting forthcoming novels and short story collections, by Morabo Morojele, Meron Hadero, Jarred Thompson, Zaheera Jina Asvat and Almini van der Merwe.

In the category ‘books so new you probably haven’t heard of them yet’, find excerpts from works by Hemley Boum, Leye Adenle and Akbar Hussain. And in the category ‘books you should have read in 2022’ (apart from those we’ve already covered in The JRB, of course), there’s top-notch writing from Saleh Addonia, Nzelu Okechukwu, Victor Forna, Lodewyk G du Plessis, Shevlyn Mottai, Sue Nyathi, Laila Manack, Maggie O’Farrell, Masande Ntshanga and Thabile Shange.

We also feature poetry by Sara Lubala, while our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini shares a portrait of Teju Cole.

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

Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 6, Issue 6, which you will also find on our issue archive page:

New short fiction

Works in progress

Forthcoming works

Books so new you probably haven’t heard of them yet

Books you should have read in 2022 (apart from those we’ve already covered in The JRB, of course)



Header image: Getting out of dodge

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