February newsletter: new books, an unmissable publishing seminar, and more

February newsletter: new books, an unmissable publishing seminar, and more

Welcome to 2020! Modjaji wishes all our readers, writers and book-lovers a wonderful year to come.

Forthcoming titles
WILL, the Passenger Delaying Flight… by Barbara Adair

WILL, the Passenger Delaying Flight…, a novel that challenges conventional Western assumptions that all good novels have a clear story line, a good plot and fully rounded characters, has been described as “enigmatic from beginning to end, the novel (set in an airport) never goes where one expects. The narrative is tightly woven; yet still it soars, borne aloft by its own imaginative charge and linguistic richness” (David Medalie, writer and Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing).

WILL is being launched at Love Books in Johannesburg on 19 March at 18h00. Alison Lowry will be in conversation with the author; join us for a glass of wine and an interesting discussion.

The Cape Town launch will take place on 24 March at 17h30 at the Book Lounge. Join us for a glass of wine (generously provided by Leopard’s Leap), snacks and a discussion between the author and Ashraf Jamal.

In Tangier We Killed the Blue Parrot by Barbara Adair

Modjaji Books is republishing In Tangier We Killed the Blue Parrot, which was first published by Jacana back in 2004. It was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Fiction Award at the time and has continued to attract readers. It  is a mesmerising novel which draws the reader into the creative, erotic and exiled minds of Paul and Jane Bowles. Their struggles to write and their struggle to love, both each other and others, creates an unusually rich experience for the reader, and one which is hard to forget. Don’t miss out on this “haunting tale, delicately told” (Marlene van Niekerk).

Seminar: Everything you wanted to know about getting published in South Africa

Colleen will be running a publishing seminar on Saturday 22 February from 14h00 to 16h00 at the Book Lounge in Cape Town. Spaces are going fast, so email to reserve your place! Tickets cost R500 and can be purchased here.

Some questions that will be answered are:
• What are the reasons to seek publication?
• Will I become rich and famous?
• Should I find a publisher for my manuscript or should I self-publish?
• What are the pros and cons of each option?
• How do I find the right publisher?
• When do I know if my book is ready for publication?
• How do I find an agent?
• Do I need an agent?
Don’t miss this opportunity to delve into the hidden world of publishing!


The Book Lounge will also host the launch of Nedine Moonsamy’s The Unfamous Five on 5 March at 17h30. Kharnita Mohamed will be in conversation with the author, so join us for a glass of Leopard’s Leap wine and a discussion of the novel, which has been called “both robust and tender…a wonderful debut” (Zoë Wicomb, author of You Can’t Get Lost in Cape Town, October).

Blown Away by Books

Colleen will be participating in Blown Away by Books, a book festival organized by the friends of Fish Hoek Library which runs from 11 to 14 March. On Thursday 12 March at 19h00, Helen Moffett will talk to Colleen about the delights and challenges of publishing poetry, fiction and memoir in South Africa.
Reviews and author appearances
Positive reviews have been pouring in for both Nedine Moonsamy’s The Unfamous Five and Olivia M. Coetzee’s Innie Shadows. Don’t miss Olivia’s appearances (1, 2, 3) at Woordfees 2020, where she will discuss her groundbreaking novel, nor poet Annette Snyckers’ discussion of multilingualism and translations in poetry.

Manosa Nthunya writes of The Unfamous Five as a “delicately written yet incisive debut novel [which] contributes to the remaking of the South African novel in the way in which it holds conversations with other novels and in its depiction of identity and relationships in post-apartheid South Africa.”

Herschelle Benjamin says of Innie Shadows, “Ek lees met Innie Shadows ’n skrywer raak wat debuteer nie om te vra vir ’n plek aan die tafel nie, maar liefs aan ’n ander tafel kan sit waarin sy haar mense tot die literatuur verbeeld en skryf wat hul sal herken. Daarvoor het ek die grootste respek en waardering […] Dalk noop ek jou net om Innie Shadows ’n kans te gee, of dalk sou jy hierdie soort boek wil ontvlug, maar hoor my knalkreet: Daar is net leer en verleer wat jou perspektiewe tot jou eie lewens en andere sal verbreed.
In die toekoms sien ek uit na meer van Coetzee in haar eie stem, haar voorouertaal en oor ons eie dinamiese mense met hul ontnugterende wêrelde.”