Books and writers

Information about the latest books and the people behind them

Press release: Please sign this petition as South African authors urge the National Assembly to reject the Copyright Amendment Bill

PEN Afrikaans PEN Afrikaans 2024-02-23

The bill will deprive local creatives of existing rights and income streams. Further, the local book industry will suffer, with projections of a 33% decrease in book sales and a 30% decline in employment if these provisions should become law. 

A sociological analysis of Breaking the bombers by Mark Shaw

Deon Pretorius Books and writers 2024-02-23

"Shaw provides excellent evidence to show that wherever and whenever different societal agents and agencies started moving towards cooperation and collaboration, they started becoming effective. When the agencies of the state started talking to one another and when leadership compelled the institutional actors to collaborate, the situation changed positively."

Beyond the door of no return by David Diop: a review

Mphuthumi Ntabeni Books and writers 2024-02-20

"If you’ve loved the sparse ironic tone of Amor Towles’s A gentleman in Moscow, you’ll love Beyond the door of no return."

Open Book Festival in partnership with the Book Lounge presents our second dedicated Youth Festival Event in March 2024

LitNet Lifestyle and entertainment 2024-02-14

Open Book Festival is thrilled to announce the return of our dedicated Youth Festival. Building on the success of our inaugural Youth Fest in 2023, we are gearing up to host an even more vibrant and impactful celebration of literature and creativity among young minds. This year’s festival is scheduled to take place 13 – 20 March 2024 at schools, public libraries and other venues.

Manifesto: A new vision for South Africa by Songezo Zibi: a review

Rory Riordan Books and writers 2024-02-13

"With his having written Manifesto, his patriotism and determination to make South Africa a better place are indisputable. And his willingness to abandon an obviously successful career to see through his ideals is very unusual in a country now dedicated to 'What’s in it for me?'."

Sociology of the prickly pear and other sticky things | Etienne van Heerden Veldsoirée 2023

Luvuyo Wotshela Etienne van Heerden Veldsoirée 2024-02-13

"Thoko Didiza, the minister for land reform, has a master plan for dagga. How about the prickly pear? We believe that this plant could make a difference for many poor people if they had access to knowledge to utilise the fruit and the rest of the plant for numerous purposes."

Press release: Announcement of the winner of the Philida Literary Award in 2024

LitNet Books and writers 2024-02-06

Today, on the ninth anniversary of André Brink’s death, we pay tribute to his life and work and announce that the Philida Literary Award, established in his memory in 2020, goes to Penny Haw and is awarded to her for an oeuvre of literary excellence.

Off-centre and out of focus: Growing up “coloured” in South Africa by Nadia Kamies: a book review

Paul Kammies Books and writers 2024-02-06

"In general, a creative nonfiction asks the reader to trust in the author’s voice in revealing the truth. The problem in this is that sometimes the spectrum of a certain experience cannot always be displayed in one recounting of it. That is to say, Off-centre and out of focus cannot be a definitive guideline to all the experiences of coloured bodies in a past or present and perhaps future time, but is rather an enclave."

Remembering Niki Daly, 1946-2024

JL Powers Books and writers 2024-02-03

"With an enthusiasm bordering on sheer abandon, Niki noticed children and entered into their point of view, their world, their strange and terrible and joyful existence, in a way that few children’s writers and illustrators have ever done. This instinct shone on every page of every book he ever wrote or illustrated."

The good, the bad and the ugly: Scenarios for South Africa’s uncertain future by Ray Hartley, Greg Mills and Mills Soko – a book review

Chris Heymans Books and writers 2024-02-01

"In contrast to the joint engagement in the 1990s of at least the major political protagonists, it is telling that the scenario process on which this book is based seems markedly less rooted in dialogue among political parties."

Revisiting Bloke Modisane, from Sophiatown to Gaza: #III – On escape

Robin K Crigler Opinion 2024-01-30

"I suggested that it might be useful to think of Modisane’s history like a kind of monstrous Large Language Model (LLM) – a bizarre and monstrous simulacrum of human intelligence trained on our basest reflexes and insecurities."

The Pole by JM Coetzee: a review

Mphuthumi Ntabeni Books and writers 2024-01-24

"When he has a performance in Barcelona a middle-aged lady, Beatriz, who is a university lecturer, is assigned to care for him during his stay. He becomes obsessed with Beatriz, though she is married."

Fresh off the press: How to fight a war by Mike Martin

LitNet Books and writers 2024-01-17

Has any war in history gone according to plan? Monarchs, dictators and elected leaders alike have a dismal record on military decision-making, from over-ambitious goals to disregarding intelligence, terrain, or enemy capabilities. Conflict scholar and former soldier Mike Martin takes the reader through the hard, elegant logic to fighting a conclusive interstate war that solves geopolitical problems and reduces future conflict.

Revisiting Bloke Modisane, from Sophiatown to Gaza: #1 On pain

Robin K Crigler Opinion 2024-01-17

"We have no idea how things are ultimately going to look in the Holy Land, but I believe we can use Blame me on history as a text to think about the durability of the human spirit, how to be witnesses to pain, and how to be witnesses who are also implicated in that pain."

Rich state, poor state by Greg Mills: a review

Frans Rautenbach Books and writers 2024-01-10

"We have had this hugely informative, picturesque and colourful journey through the history and economics of the developing world. But where are we?"

African languages for a global audience: publishers, writers, and translators on the art of translation

Raphaël Thierry, Bhakti Shringarpure, Hannes Barnard, Tina Kover Books and writers 2024-01-10

In the video Bhakti Shringarpure, Hannes Barnard, Raphael Thierry and Tina Kover discuss translated literature.

Black ghosts by Noo Saro-Wiwa: A review

Mphuthumi Ntabeni Books and writers 2024-01-09

"If, as an African in particular, you visit China or want to learn more comprehensively about the lives of Africans in China, buy Noo Saro-Wiwa’s Black ghosts. You can thank me later."

It’s always Friday somewhere in the universe by Joe Kitchen: a reader’s impression

Gerhard S (Nols) de Bruin Books and writers 2024-01-04

"In his genius way, and always with a satirical and humorous tongue in the cheek, the reader is not only confronted with – but also brought up to date with – the latest science and questions about the reality in which we live."

Press release: AVBOB Poetry, building a community of poets

LitNet Books and writers 2023-12-19

Apart from being a platform on which South Africans from all walks can express themselves, the AVBOB Poetry Library has become an essential resource for readers and writers of poetry, helping aspiring poets to learn their craft and sharpen their skills. In this way, the AVBOB Poetry Project is fostering a community of poets across the country.

Bridge by Lauren Beukes: a review

Laurette de Jager Books and writers 2023-12-18

"And then, a mother is necessarily also the bridge through which we enter this world. Every single one of us crossed that bridge to get here, irrespective of the relationships we may have with our mothers throughout the rest of our lives."