Happy 2022 from all of us at Modjaji Books! We’re beyond excited for the books we’ll be bringing out this year – we’ve got poetry, short stories, novels, memoir and more for you to look forward to, as well as an exciting new venture that we can’t yet share more about.
In the meantime, here are two upcoming releases …
Payback by Priscilla Holmes
Thabisa Tswane has it all: a loving and supportive husband, two beautiful children, a house in Joburg’s Northern suburbs. Sure, the handsome and mysterious Zakhele Khumalo is away from home often for a job he can’t talk about, but Thabisa understands how it works in his world. After all, it is her world, too. Recently promoted to Major at The Eagles, South Africa’s elite crime-fighting unit, she’s been asked to investigate Victor Maseko – South Africa’s wealthiest and most notorious businessman. All his attention seems focused on the construction and launch of The Maseko building, an embarrassingly opulent shrine to himself. But the people in his inner circle have a nasty habit of dying brutal deaths… And when Maseko’s wife Zibu is shot in Thabisa’s presence, Major Tswane knows she’s caught up in the middle of a web she has yet to untangle.
There are days when the village of Nguni Intile, famous for its intricate beadwork and home of Thabisa’s grandfather, Chief Solenkosi, seems a lifetime away. But will evil follow Thabisa all the way to her childhood home?
Payback is author Priscilla Holmes’s second Thabisa Tswane thriller.
Tim Butcher had this to say about Now I See You, Holmes’ previous book: “A raw, raunchy thriller that interlinks remotest rural South Africa with affluent Johannesburg suburbia, asking questions of each and weaving a tale so rich and twisting that any reader will enjoy tracking it.”
Skin Rafts by Kelwyn Sole
“A courageous collection of poems that comes from a solid, serious and deeply sensitive vision.” – Stephen Clingman, Distinguished Professor of English, University of Amherst, Massachusetts
The second title for 2022 is a Hands-On title, Kelwyn Sole’s 8th collection of poetry, Skin Rafts.
By highlighting and teasing out the mingled emotions of anxiety, disenchantment, hope and anger which characterise South Africans’ current experienced reality, Sole’s poetry questions and expands on our concerns about identity and belonging. In so doing, the poems in Skin Rafts contemplate the relationships that exist between us on a number of seemingly discrete, but actually intertwined, fronts – the personal relationship between lovers; the wider social and political relationships between human beings; as well as the problematic and contested human relationships that are brought to bear on land, landscape and the non-human.
In this collection the reader is confronted with the circumstance that both body and society exist in a fragile dimension of uncertainty, where we all are ‘bobbing / on our raft of skin’.
Birthday Fundraiser for Siyafunda donate-a-book
In January, you helped us celebrate our MD and founder Colleen Higgs’ 60th birthday – and Modjaji’s 15th, coming up this April – by joining our fundraiser. We partnered with Siyafunda Donate-a-Book, a wonderful non-profit that buys books for kids at rural schools.
We slashed the prices of all Modjaji books that are suitable for kids and will deliver them to Siyafunda at our own expense. All you had to do is donate and children all over South Africa got to enjoy the power and joy of reading.
There’s still time to donate, we plan on delivering the books in mid-February. Check our website for details on how to participate. We’re thrilled to have raised R2900.00 so far, which means approximately 25 books we can send to Siyafunda.
A massive thank you to our generous donors: Colleen Crawford Cousins, Carla Pinheiro, Ceridwen Morris, Fiona Snyckers, Jean de Klerk, Karen Boden, Lara Buxbaum, Theresa Giorza, Teresa Crawford and Zaheera Jina.
WomanZone Cape Town celebrates several Modjaji titles
Thanks to WomenZone for all the love! Nancy Richards published a gorgeous review of Go Away Birds by Michelle Edwards on the WomanZone blog, in which she writes:
“If Go Away Birds were a recipe for a dish, the list of ingredients would be long. Created in the kitchens of trendy Cape Town, cool Misty Cliffs and alternative White River, in this dish is the social-media-intense world of foodie magazines; the competitive Cape Town restaurant industry; Taiwanese cuisine; allegations of slave labour; veganism; lowveld farming; mixed and mixed up relationships and messy marriage; a mugging; wanted, unwanted, missed and nearly missing children; sibling closeness and distance; emotional poverty; lost and found selves and souls. And coping with family.”
“It’s always wonderful hearing African women’s voices coming to the forefront and Lindiwe Nkutha is a remarkable storyteller. Her exhilarating stories in this book jump out of the pages and you can see them playing in your mind like a movie. She has a wealth of insight into the human psyche. I can’t wait to read more from her in the near future.”
Sara and Rehane spoke about the origins of The Mothertongue Project as well as Collaborative Conversations, the book they put together to celebrate their twenty-first anniversary and published with Modjaji in 2021.
The Girl Who Chased Otters successfully launched!
In December we held a fabulous online launch party for Sally Partridge’s latest YA title, The Girl Who Chased Otters. The panel included a range of readers who fell into the books audience or shared similar experiences with the main characters: Alex New, Qailah Bhamjee, Sabreen Mohamed and Juanita de Villiers. The conversation was lead by Kate Olivier.
The launch was lovely and enjoyed by all, thanks to those who attended!
Michelle Hattingh to take part in “Livres d’Ailleurs 2022 – Africa edition” literary festival in Nancy, France
Michelle Hattingh, author of I’m the Girl who Was Raped (Modjaji Books, 2016), is participating in the “Livres d’Ailleurs 2022 – Africa edition” literary festival in Nancy, France in March of this year. Find out more on their website.
You’re invited to the launch of Rio Abajo Rio by Barbara Fairhead
Barbara Fairhead would like to invite you to the launch of her latest work, Rio Abajo Rio (Hands-On Books, 2021)
Barbara will be in conversation with poet and musician, Jacques Coetzee.
Date: Wednesday, 2 February 2022
Time: 5.30 for 6pm
Place: Exclusive Books Cavendish
“In Rio Abajo Rio, Barbara Fairhead has successfully captured quicksilver – the inchoate, the unintelligible, the mystery of the landscape of the primordial mind. It is an extraordinary achievement. The only other book that came to mind while reading it is the award-winning book, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. Her book takes us even deeper into the early landscape of language and the earliest human earth.” – Julian Roup (journalist and author of Life in a Time of Plague)
Barbara Grenfell Fairhead was born in the United Kingdom in 1939 and has lived most of her life in South Africa. After her first visit to New Mexico in the early 1990s it became her second home. She made many extended visits over a period of twenty years, staying in her casita close to Black Mesa. She is an artist, writer, poet and lyricist, and lives in Cape Town with her husband, singer-songwriter, poet and editor Jacques Coetzee. Her previous novels, Of Death and Beauty and Whereof One Cannot Speak and The Coming Guest were also published by Sunstone Press.