Coming soon: selection of short stories from 12 years of publishing

Coming soon – an anthology of selected short stories from 12 years of publishing short stories.

Modjaji Books is unique in that it is one of the few (only) South African publishers that takes on debut collections of short stories, and by doing so raises the profile of those authors, and in many cases launches their writing careers.

The selection for this anthology was done by Arja Salafranca, a short story writer herself. The stories are meant to give a small taste of each writer’s work. All the stories were previously published in an individual writer’s collection or in a Modjaji collection, Stray or The Bed Book of Short Stories. The authors include Lauri Kubuitsile, Sarah Lotz, Arja Salafranca, Wame Molefhe, Jolyn Phillips, Melissa de Villiers, Makhosazana Xaba, Sandra Hill, Reneilwe Malatji, Meg Vandermerwe, Jayne Bauling, Jo-Ann Bekker, Colleen Higgs, Julia Martin, Alex Smith, and Isabella Morris. We have chosen only one story per writer.

It will be on sale for R290 when it comes out, but you can buy it now on pre-order for R250 including free delivery in South Africa only. Email


A snippet of the background on each writer especially in relation to their selection for this anthology:

Lauri Kubuitsile‘s story, “In the Spirit of McPhineas Lata” was short-listed for the Caine Prize in 2011 for her story in The Bed Book of Short Stories. Lauri is a prolific award-winning writer, and that rare creature in southern Africa who makes a living out of her writing. She lives in Botswana.

Arja Salafranca is a journalist, an award winning poet, short story writer and short story advocate. Modjaji Books published her collection of short stories, The Thin Line in She is the compiler and editor of this collection. She lives in Johannesburg.

Sarah Lotz is now an internationally acclaimed bestselling author; we were lucky enough to have her contribute to both The Bed Book of Short Stories and Stray. Lotz now lives in the UK.

Wame Molefhe is also from Botswana, she has gone onto secure writers’ retreats, publish stories in other prestigious anthologies and one of her stories from Go Tell the Sun was turned into an opera by the Cape Town Opera company!

Jolyn Phillips debut collection, Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories was received with much acclaim, it was selected for the 2016 Homebru, she won the NIHSS award for single author fiction, she was shortlisted for the UJ prize for the collection. In the light of the acclaim that Tjieng Tjang Tjerries received, Human & Rousseau published her debut collection of poems, Raadbraak. They have subsequently acquired the rights for Tjieng Tjang Tjerries and other stories. Phillips is now a lecturer in the Afrikaans department at UJ.

Melissa de Villiers was nominated for the Frank O’Connor prize for her collection of short stories, The Chameleon House. She is working on a novel, and amongst other things teaches creative writing in Singapore where she currently lives.

Makhosazana Xaba‘s debut collection of short stories, Running and other Stories won the 2014 Nadine Gordimer award for Short stories (SALA). Xaba has done a great deal of writing and editing since Running, she edited with Karen Martin Queer Africa and Queer Africa 2, which New Internationalist has gone onto to republish under their own imprint. In 2014 her story “Running” was selected as one of the 20 best stories to be published in the 20 years since 1994. Her collection has been prescribed for university English courses. She lives in Johannesburg. Recently, the story “Running” was included in David Medalie’s prize winning anthology, Recognition published by Wits University Press in 2017.

Sandra Hill‘s debut collection Unsettled and other stories won the 2016 Nadine Gordimer short story prize. She teaches creative writing and lives in Cape Town.

Reneilwe Malatji‘s collection Love Interrupted has sold well over 2000 copies (hugely impressive for a debut collection of short stories). It won the 2014 Nadine Gordimer short story prize and the US based Aidoo-Snyder Award in 2014. Modjaji sold the world English rights to this collection to Catalyst Press in the US. Malatji is doing a PhD and is a lecturer in the English Department of the University of the North.

Meg Vandermerwe teaches Creative Writing at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, she has had two novels published by Penguin Random House since her debut collection of short stories, This Place I Call Home was published by Modjaji Books in 2010.

Jayne Bauling has become a well known, award-winning writer in South Africa, many of her novels written for a YA readership. Her story, “Stains like a Map” in the Bed Book of Short Stories was a first step in changing her focus she says. Prior to that she wrote Romance novels.

Jo-Ann Bekker‘s Asleep Awake Asleep is the most recent debut collection published by Modjaji Books, it came out in May 2019. Bekker was a journalist, she did an MFA at Rhodes University and now focuses more on creative writing. She lives in Knysna.

Colleen Higgs‘s debut collection, Looking for Trouble and other mostly Yeoville stories was published in 2012 by the Hands On imprint of Modjaji Books. Her collection was translated into Croatian and published as Tražeći nevolju by Izdanja Antibarbarus in Zagreb in 2016. Higgs lives in Cape Town and continues to run Modjaji Books from her home.

Julia Martin is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of the Western Cape. She has published other books including A millimetre of dust (2008) and most recently a memoir The Blackridge House (2019). Her story “Letter to the Management” was published in Stray (2015).

Isabella Morris is a writer, creative writing teacher, journalist and an editor. Her story “The Outsider” was published in The Bed Book of Short Stories. She had a collection of short stories published by Wordweaver in Namibia with Sylvia Schlettwein, Bullies Beasts and Beauties (2012)Schlettwein also had a story published in The Bed Book of Short Stories (2010).

Alex Smith is the author of three novels published Umuzi of Penguin Random House. Her story, “The Dream of Cats is all about Mice” was published in Stray (2015). She lives in Cape Town.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,