Join us in celebrating 15 years of feminist publishing: Giveaways, birthday sale, Modjaji trivia, and more
Happy birthday to us – Modjaji Books turns 15 this April! In the past 15 years, founder and MD Colleen Higgs – together with many collaborators, supporters, volunteers, a business partner, freelancers and interns – has published over 150 books by southern African women, started a custom publishing imprint, Hand-On Books, and more.
In 2007, Higgs opened the Modjaji bank account, and had conversations with 2 poets, Megan Hall and Azila Reisenberger about their poetry collections, which became Fourth Child and Life in Translation respectively. Fourth Child won the Ingrid Jonker poetry prize in 2008 and Life in Translation was one of the poetry collections that over the years has become a poetry bestseller.
Here’s how you can celebrate with us:
- Learn more about Modjaji’s origins and early days in the series of blog posts we’re publishing on our website
- Treat yourself to a Modjaji book (or two, or three, or seven …) with our special birthday sale: 15% off and free shipping on orders over R300. Valid until 30 April, only in South Africa. Shop on our online store, and use the coupon code HBD15 at checkout
- Follow along on our Instagram account as we run a series of giveaways for some titles from the Modjaji archive
- Post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #ModjajiTurns15, telling us about your favourite Modjaji titles, or a Modjaji-related memory (an author you met at a book festival? A particularly joyous book launch? Etc …) from the last 15 years.
During the year we will be exhibiting selected Modjaji covers in Cape Town. We will also be making posters of the selected covers for sale.
Thanks for your support over the past 15 years. Here’s to the years to come.
Catch Modjaji authors and others at the Franschhoek Literary Festival this May
The annual Franschhoek Literary Festival is back – and in person this year! Pull through from 13 – 15 May 2022 for a fabulously bookish weekend. This year the lineup boasts names such as Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zakes Mda and Elif Shafak.
Some authors who we’ve published in the past, including Sindiwe Magona, Jen Thorpe, Karin Schimke, Malika Ndlovu and Yewande Omotoso will also be at FLF. Karen Jennings who was a past intern and editor for us will also be there with her Booker-nominated An Island.
Please note that attendance at all FLF events is conditional on showing proof of vaccination, or proof of a negative Covid-19 test result (PCR or Rapid Antigen) less than 72 hours old.
Sally Cranswick (Women out of Water, Modjaji Books) invites Modjaji’s founder and MD Colleen Higgs (my mother my madness, deep south) and psychologist Leslie Swartz to swap notes on their unflinching retellings of their mothers’ last years. Get tickets here.
Sue Nyathi speaks to Sally Cranswick (Women out of Water Modjaji Books), Dudu Busani-Dube and Qarnita Loxton about the art of writing potent heroines – and the power of fiction to interrogate women’s social realities. Get tickets here.
Forthcoming from Modjaji: A Bed on Bricks and other stories by MA Kelly
We’re delighted to be publishing Namibian author MA Kelly’s debut short story collection, A Bed on Bricks and other stories.
A Bed on Bricks gives a gift of nine stories, each tracing complex psychological journeys and relationships pulled apart by chasms of culture, age, class, race and place.
Fumbling for one another across these divides, characters are as rich and diverse as the southern African landscapes they inhabit; an out-of-place academic encounters unusual findings, a too-kind school teacher gets drawn into a drama not of his making, ambitious film-makers go in search of (mis)adventure, children encounter puberty and cross-continental lovers slowly drift apart.
As we delve deeper and deeper into the minds and feelings of these characters, we become ever more immersed in their psychologies, caught up in the tension of their relationships and the suspense of their stories.
These are anything but “silly folktales”. Rather, they offer difficult but profound truths about human nature and relationships and offer us as readers a valuable gift. If you enjoy love stories that rupture cliches and offer a challenge, then A Bed on Bricks will be a gift you’ll want to pass along.
Rhodes University confers honorary doctorate on writer and academic Makhosazana Xaba
Congratulations to Makhosazana Xaba on receiving an honorary doctorate early this month.
We’re incredibly proud to have published Makhosazana Xaba’s work, Running and other stories in 2014 (which won a SALA award in that year) and the republication of her poetry collection These Hands, which was first published by Timbila.
We also worked with GALA Queer Archive to set up their imprint MaThoko’s Books. We’re proud to have been involved together with MaThoko’s Books in publishing Queer Africaand Queer Africa 2, edited by Xaba and Karen Martin, Proudly Malawian: Life Stories from Lesbian and Gender-nonconforming Individuals, and Like the Untouchable Wind, an anthology of poems by African lesbians.
Modjaji titles shortlisted for the 2022 NIHSS Awards
We’re thrilled that two Modjaji titles were shortlisted for the 2022 National Humanities and Social Sciences Awards.
Lynn Joffe’s debut novel The Gospel According to Wanda B Lazarus under the fiction – novel category, and 69 Jerusalem Street, Lindiwe Nkutha’s debut short story collection, was shortlisted under the fiction – short stories category.
In the poetry category, a Hands-On title, Cosmonauts do it in Heaven by Keith Gottschalk was also shortlisted.
We extended our congratulations to all of our authors and those who won.
Fatima Moosa reviews The Girl Who Chased Otters by Sally Partridge for The Daily Vox
“Oftentimes young adults and teenagers find their troubles and issues considered unimportant by adults. In Partridge’s books, not only does she not do that but she also shows how young adults are often forced to experience “adulthood” quicker than they should. The book has several content warnings for bullying, self-harm/suicide and sexual assault which are important for anyone reading the book. It is within these themes that Partridge shows the struggles of Nathan, Olivia and the others around them. ”
The piece also includes a fantastic interview with Partridge.
Win one of two copies of the Modjaji poetry anthology The Only Magic We Know
To enter, first make sure you’re a part of the group. Then, share a poem you like by any female poet and tag Modjaji Books.
The winner will be announced on 30 April, and the prize will be delivered anywhere in South Africa. Find the full list of rules here.
Tariro Ndoro is a Spring 2021 International Writing Program Resident
Zimbabwean poet Tariro Ndoro (Agringarda: Like a gringa, like a foreigner, Modjaji Books, 2019) is a Spring 2021 International Writing Program Resident in Iowa.
Ndoro and the other residents have hosted and read at a series of events, including a poetry reading event and a panel discussion on creating characters. Follow along and keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events on the IWP Twitter page.
Stay tuned for audiobooks coming soon from Modjaji
We’re thrilled to be a part of a pilot project that is working with African publishers to produce audiobooks. We’ll say more closer to the launch, but for now, stay tuned! We can’t wait to bring some Modjaji memoirs, novels, thrillers, and short stories to your ears.
Announcing Pulani Publications: Modjaji partners with small publishers internationally
Modjaji is delighted and proud to be partnering with several international small, independent publishers to bring their titles to South Africa. We’ve started with titles from Spinifex in Australia and Bakwa Books in Cameroon, Ghana. Stay tuned for more information and updates. This distribution partnership is called Pulani Publications.