Makhosazana Xaba • Katleho Kano Shoro • Wamuwi Mbao • Lucy Mushita • Fungai Machirori • María Fernanda Ampuero • Mxolisi Nyezwa • Joel Cabrita • Simon van Schalkwyk • PR Anderson • Hugo ka Canham • Gothataone Moeng • Lethokuhle Msimang • Siphokazi Magadla • Kyle Allan • K Sello Duiker • Xolisa Guzula • Keith Oliver Lewis • George Hull • Sihle Qwabe • Victor Dlamini • Tymon Smith
Welcome to the second issue of Volume 7 of The Johannesburg Review of Books!
In this issue, Wamuwi Mbao reviews The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt, ‘a superb macaron of darkly satirical fiction’; George Hull engages with Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò’s new book Against Decolonisation: Taking African Agency Seriously; Kyle Allan dips into Kelwyn Sole’s latest collection of poetry Skin Rafts; and Siphokazi Magadla appraises Mxolisi Mchunu’s Violence and Solace: The Natal Civil War in Late-Apartheid South Africa.
In the second in a series of long-form interviews to be hosted on this platform, which will focus on contemporary poetry collections by Black women and non-binary poets, The JRB Patron Makhosazana Xaba chats to Katleho Kano Shoro about playfulness, rage and her book Serurubele. Fungai Machirori sits down with Lucy Mushita for an interview on her debut novel Chinongwa, and Academic Editor Simon van Schalkwyk chats to PR Anderson about travelling to places you’ve never been, the viciousness of history, and his new collection of poetry, Night Transit, which you can read an excerpt from elsewhere in the issue.
In our survey of new and forthcoming fiction, we present for your enjoyment ‘Blue Boy Lagoon’ by Keith Oliver Lewis, the winning short story from this year’s Short.Sharp.Stories Awards, as well as excerpt from The Frightened, the sparkling debut novel from Lethokuhle Msimang. We are also pleased to share extracts from Human Sacrifices, the new short story collection by acclaimed Latin American writer María Fernanda Ampuero, as well as Gothataone Moeng’s debut short story collection, Call and Response. Xhosa readers will be interested to see an excerpt from K Sello Duiker’s Inkwenkwezi efihlakeleyo, a new isiXhosa edition of The Hidden Star, translated by Xolisa Guzula, and we feature a preview of The Resurrection, the Joburg-set debut thriller from Sihle Qwabe.
In non-fiction, we present an excerpt from Lost Libraries, Burnt Archives, an edited volume of short stories, artworks, poems and essays that engage with the tragic destruction of the African Studies Library at the University of Cape Town in April 2021, as well as samplers from Hugo ka Canham’s forthcoming book Riotous Deathscapes, and Joel Cabrita’s new book Written Out: The Silencing of Regina Gelana Twala.
In our poetry section, we present The JRB presents an excerpt from Mxolisi Nyezwa’s new collection of poetry, Bhlawa’s Inconsolable Spirits, while from our Photo Editor Victor Dlamini this month, a portrait of Don Mattera.
And while you’re reading, enjoy A recent, and very suspicious, lack of loadshedding, a playlist compiled by Tymon Smith.
Here’s the complete breakdown of Vol. 7, Issue 2, which you will also find on our issue archive page:
- A decolonisation that dare not speak its name—George Hull reviews Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò’s Against Decolonisation: Taking African Agency Seriously
- ‘A superb macaron of darkly satirical fiction’—Wamuwi Mbao reviews Helen DeWitt’s new novella The English Understand Wool
- ‘How does one truly listen, as a writer, in South Africa? How does one write?’ Kyle Allan reviews Kelwyn Sole’s latest collection of poetry Skin Rafts
- ‘Death walks everywhere with people’—Siphokazi Magadla reviews Mxolisi Mchunu’s Violence and Solace: The Natal Civil War in Late-Apartheid South Africa
- ‘I am proud that I surrendered to poetry in the ways I did’—Katleho Kano Shoro in conversation with Makhosazana Xaba
- ‘One travels in ideas as well as trains’—Simon van Schalkwyk interviews PR Anderson on his new collection of poetry, Night Transit
- ‘It’s very important to get our books published back at home’—Fungai Machirori interviews Lucy Mushita on her novel Chinongwa
- Poetry by Mxolisi Nyezwa, from Bhlawa’s Inconsolable Spirits
- Poetry by PR Anderson, from Night Transit
- [The JRB exclusive] Read Keith Oliver Lewis’s short story ‘Blue Boy Lagoon’, the winner of the 2023 Short.Sharp.Stories Awards
- ‘She sat at her dressing table, a plastic bag open on her lap, full of the hair that she had just scissored off her head’—Read an excerpt from Gothataone Moeng’s debut, Call and Response
- Read an excerpt from K Sello Duiker’s Inkwenkwezi efihlakeleyo, a new isiXhosa edition of The Hidden Star, translated by Xolisa Guzula
- ‘Grace is not to walk on water, but to sink without resistance’—Read an excerpt from Lethokuhle Msimang’s debut novel, The Frightened
- ‘Immigrant women are bones to be pulverised into animal fodder’—Read an excerpt from María Fernanda Ampuero’s new short story collection Human Sacrifices
- ‘He’d had a home once in Johannesburg, until his father was murdered’—Read an excerpt from Sihle Qwabe’s debut novel, The Resurrection
- What surfaces when a library is burnt? What emerges from the ashes and ruins? Read an excerpt from Lost Libraries, Burnt Archives
- ‘iCuriosity kubelungu iningi kabi’—Read an excerpt from Written Out: The Silencing of Regina Gelana Twala by Joel Cabrita
- ‘Riotous Deathscapes charts a course of black life in vast deathscapes. It is a portrait of life among the dead’—an excerpt from Hugo ka Canham’s new book
The JRB Daily
- Three African writers—Jacob M’hango, ’Pemi Aguda and Arinze Ifeakandu—awarded prestigious O Henry Prize for Short Fiction
- ‘Ambitious, eclectic and hard-hitting’—shortlist announced for 2023 Women’s Prize for Fiction
- ‘These books are all bold, subversive, nicely perverse’—2023 International Booker Prize shortlist announced
- 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist announced—including six new writers from Africa
- ‘Holy ****! Is this real?’ Winners of R3m Windham–Campbell Prizes for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama announced
- 2023 Island Prize for a Debut Novel from Africa longlist announced