Complicity at Open Book Festival

Open Book is my favourite festival to attend as an audience member…and now as a panellist, too! I chatted with two other writers on the topic of ‘complicity’.

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I was so happy to be on the same panel as Oyinkan Braithwaite and to be introduced to Jørn Lier Horst, too. ‘My Sister the Serial Killer’ was already on my reading list before I knew I’d be on a panel with Oyinkan – her book is a tight, funny story with killer (sorry!) characters. According to Jørn, Norway’s welfare system is the reason crime is so low in the country – but enough still slips through the cracks to turn this ex-detective into a popular crime writer.

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We were interviewed – in a wide-ranging chat on the topic of ‘complicity’ – by Africa Melane. The three books under discussion are pretty different from each other, but each one is bulging with secrets.



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Lucky Packet in Joburg, CT & Franschhoek

Hello, Joburg…

Lucky Packet had a fantastic welcome in Joburg at Love Books. I couldn’t have asked for a warmer reception, and it was a real privilege to have Harry Kalmer as my discussant. Lovely to have so many friends and family members around me. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Love Books, and to Graeme Jenner for that audience question about the sex scene…


…Cape Town…

I’m grateful to my publishing editor, Carolyn Meads, for fending off a near disaster in Cape Town! Imraan Coovadia, my supervisor, friend, and the designated discussant for the CT launch, was stuck behind a burning bus on the highway and couldn’t make the launch in time. Luckily Carolyn stepped into the role – after all, no-one knows the book better than she (even me, probably) – and it went off beautifully. It’s a dream come true to have my launch at the Book Lounge.


…and Franschhoek!

Next stop on my world tour – the Franschhoek Literary Festival. I was lucky enough to be invited onto a panel discussion mediated by Dianne Stewart and featuring Zanna Sloniowska, author of ‘The House with the Stained Glass Window’. Zanna’s book is truly remarkable, introducing me to the Ukrainian city of Lviv and four generations of strong women.

Lucky Packet has landed!



My precious author’s copies, with incredible cover art by Graeme Jenner

My first novel is finally in my hands…. how surreal, after only ever seeing the book on my screen and dodgy printouts. Thank you, Kwela, for taking it on and seeing it through.

I’ll be talking about the book in Joburg with Harry Kalmer….

Lucky Packet JHB 16 April

And in Cape Town with Imraan Coovadia…

Lucky Packet CT 25 April

Story-making for South America

Photo by ruurmo, flickr

When a review of news articles spanning a 16-year period finds that terms like “Venezuelan people” and “civil society” refer exclusively to groups either in alignment with or actually funded by the US government, we should be wary of what we read about the South American country. Continue reading

What does Tim Noakes think cows eat?

South African nutrition cult leader Tim Noakes says that panda bears have a weight problem. He was also recently quoted as saying that eating meat could save the planet (save it from what, I don’t know – all forms of life?)

I just had to write a reply in HuffPost. So in response….



Photo courtesy Heydere (Flickr)

Anarchy vs Chaos

Anarchism gets a bad rap and maybe it’s a matter of marketing – ‘anarchy’ is confused with ‘chaos’. Perhaps Libertarian Socialism is a better descriptor of this coherent political philosophy. But having paddled a little in the deep pool of anarchist thought, I’ve realised what a rich, courageous history it has (and if we’re to survive as a species, it needs a bright future.) With that in mind, I was moved to write a small defence of the name.



An Eternal Treblinka

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog – well, it’s been a while since I’ve published anything, I guess! I’ve been working away at re-editing my novel, collecting rejection letters for the aforementioned novel, and writing a few short stories. But i did manage to turn out a couple of Thought Leader pieces. This one was a response to an indignant article on the comparison of pig farming and the Holocaust.


The Roots of Boeremusiek

I’m so glad n+1page17-1052-full, one of my favourite publications, ran my piece documenting the mixed-race origins of this fascinating Afrikaner folk music form: The Sound of Musiek

Tate-Coetzee in the New York Times

My short piece on the subject of the 1979 heavyweight fight between Big John Tate and Gerrie ‘The Bionic Hand’ Coetzee ran in the NY Times in 2012. Take a gander here: A Hollow Sporting Footnote in Apartheid-Era South Africa


Sports Illustrated: The Fight the World Forgot

My article on the John Tate-Gerrie Coetzee heavyweight title fight of 1979 ran in the November edition of Sports Illustrated South Africa. So did pages and pages of swimsuit models, so probably no-one read it. I attach it here, in case you’d like to read it without distraction: The Fight the World Forgot

SI Nov 2012

SI Nov 2012

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