Hierdie is die LitNet-argief (2006–2012)
Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za


 
Menings | Opinion > Onderhoude | Interviews > English

English


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''It is shameful that the most high-profile endorser of reading in South Africa is a swimsuit model''
Tom Eaton - 2006-11-06
Michelle McGrane interviews Tom Eaton, the author of Texas Popular Mail & Guardian columnist Tom Eaton is the author of the irreverent South African novel The De Villiers Code (Penguin South Africa, 2005) and two works of non-fiction, Twelve Rows Back: Some Mutterings from Tom Eaton (Double Storey, 2005) and Touchlines and Deadlines: A Compendium of South African Sports Writings (Double Storey, 2005) with Luke Alfred. Tom, when did your interest in words develop? I must confess...

''I think very early on I had the sense that reading and writing gave you power''
Linda Mannheim - 2006-10-30
Michelle McGrane interviews Linda Mannheim, the author of Risk Born in the United States, Linda Mannheim spent the first seventeen years of her life in New York. Her stories have appeared in anthologies and journals in the United States, Canada, and South Africa, including Nimrod International Journal, The Gettysburg Review, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, New York Stories and New Contrast. She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Prose Writing in 2000. She has...

''Good poetry can open eyes closed to the truth''
Helen Moffett - 2006-10-11
Michelle McGrane in conversation with Helen Moffett, academic, editor, poet and compiler of Lovely Beyond Any Singing: Landscapes in South African Writing Born in September 1961, Helen Moffett studied English and was awarded a PhD from the University of Cape Town (UCT), where she has taught regularly for years. She has held fellowships at Princeton University and Mount Holyoke College in the United States and is soon to take up a post-doctoral fellowship at Emory University. In publishing,...

Arja Salafranca on Chris Abani: The novel displays a dark side to life; few have written of the slums of Nigeria with such chilling knowledge
Arja Salafranca - 2006-10-10
Arja Salafranca in conversation with Chris Abani. The novelist I meet in the flashing neon lounge at the Protea Wanderers Hotel is a far cry from the protagonist in his novel, GraceLand. Chris Abani, born in Nigeria, has spent most of his adult life outside of that country. After living in the UK, he moved to the US six years ago, and his Nigerian tones are heavily overlaid with American inflections and idioms. Firmly rooted now in American culture, he has a home in Los Angeles, teaches creative...

Sarah Waters on writing: ''If I waited for inspiration to strike, it would never happen!''
Sarah Waters - 2006-10-04
Michelle McGrane interviews Sarah Waters, author of The Night Watch and shortlisted nominee for the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Born in 1966 in Wales, Sarah Waters was educated at Canterbury University. She has a PhD in English Literature, for which her field of study was lesbian and gay literature from the late nineteenth century. Her first book, the Victorian lesbian novel Tipping the Velvet (1998), won a Betty Trask Award in 1999 and was adapted into a television serial on BBC2 in 2002....

ABSA Ketting: Johann Lodewyk Marais gesels met Alexander Strachan
Alexander Strachan - 2006-09-09
1. Jy bly nou die afgelope twee jaar permanent in Milnerstraat op Harrismith. Hoe het dit gekom dat jy jou daar gaan vestig het? Ek en my broer Johannes het dit drie jaar gelede reggekry om my oupa se familieplaas terug te koop. Op daardie stadium het ek in Johannesburg gewoon en dit het die plaas baie onbereikbaar gemaak. As gevolg van die afgeleë ligging van die plaas moes ek noodwendig 'n huis in die dorp kry - 'n ou huis met 'n eiesoortige plaaskarakter. Verder was ek ook moeg vir die groot...

ABSA Chain: Rose Zwi in conversation with Mothobi Mutloatse
Mothobi Mutloatse - 2006-09-09
We first met about twenty-five years ago at Ravan Press, in the aftermath of the Soweto uprising of 1976. An outburst of raw, powerful literature was emerging from the townships, with nowhere to go. It was written by people who, denied justice and freedom, could only express their frustration in words. Mike Kirkwood had recently taken over Ravan from the banned Peter Randall. In addition to the publication of books, he saw the need for a magazine to accommodate this writing. He contacted you, who,...

ABSA Chain: John Mateer in conversation with Rose Zwi
Rose Zwi - 2006-09-09
You were born in Mexico, have lived in London and Israel and for a long time in South Africa, and now reside in Australia. Have you found that there is a correspondence between the historical "nomadism" of the Jewish people and the extent of your own travelling? Is it possible to see it in that way? The "nomadism" of the Jewish people was imposed on them by historical circumstances. They did not choose a wandering life. When, for example, the Assyrians conquered the Israelites...

ABSA Chain: Anne Kellas in conversation with John Mateer
John Mateer - 2006-09-09
First I would like to refer the LitNet reader, by way of introduction to your work, to the list of books you have published. (See the end of this interview.)I notice that you won the prestigious Australian prize, the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry in 2001 and that, more recently, you received a Centenary Medal for your contribution to Australian literature and society. I am wondering: besides raising one's profile and validating one's art, what does this kind of recognition do for...

ABSA Chain: Ivan Vladislavic in conversation with Anne Kellas
Anne Kellas - 2006-09-09
By inviting you to join this chain, I have defined you as a "South African writer", although you have been away for nearly twenty years. Is your acceptance a tacit endorsement of my definition? Is that how you would describe yourself? Yes, unequivocally. If it is given to me. I am proud to be defined as a South African writer. A writer is always in some sense stateless, but my inner, writer self is South African and even if I lived outside the country for a hundred years I would still...

ABSA Chain: Pamela Jooste in conversation with Ivan Vladislavic
Ivan Vladislavic - 2006-09-09
Can we talk about Vladislavic "the surgeon" first? Antjie Krog, whose Country of My Skull you edited, said of you: "Ivan is not only blessed with an omniscient eye, he is also a surgeon. He would cut back, prune down, smooth, tinker with and once even confessed to hacking about freely with a paragraph." You are known to be happy around words. Do you get as much satisfaction from editing as you do from your own writing? Not at all. The satisfaction derived from editing is...

ABSA Chain: Sonja Loots in conversation with Pamela Jooste
Pamela Jooste - 2006-09-09
Much has been made of your colourful childhood in Cape Town harbour, where your parents managed the Queens Hotel until you were twelve years old. Did those years make a writer of you? Or do you think you would have become a writer even if you had a perfectly normal, suburban, childhood? If much has been made of the geography of my childhood, it is because it impacted so very much on Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter. I had a particular childhood that enabled me to write that book. I don't think,...

ABSA Chain: Diane Awerbuck in conversation with Sonja Loots
Sonja Loots - 2006-09-09
You initially resisted being interviewed. Would you say that being a writer is something you are (a vocation), or that writing is something that you do (a job)? Both. Even if it is a calling of sorts, you can't be a writer without the grim slog of actually getting words down on paper. I think everyone gets irritated with those pretentious poetry café types who present themselves as writers but somehow never get around to writing anything worthwhile. You can't just talk the talk, you...

ABSA Ketting: Jaco Botha gesels met Ingrid Winterbach
Ingrid Winterbach - 2006-09-08
Waar is jy nou en wat doen jy? Ek is hier in Durban, besig met die voltooiing van 'n roman. Hoewel dit na die finale fase klink, sal ek nog minstens ses maande hiermee besig wees. Ten minste het die boek reeds 'n begin, 'n middel en 'n einde. Dit is 'n vertroosting dat dit reeds so ver is. Dit het ook 'n plot, maar helaas nog net 'n voorlopige titel. Omdat dit voorlopig is, wil ek dit liefs nog nie noem nie. (Miskien word dit iets in die lyn van Die Boek van Willens en Wetens.) ...

ABSA Ketting: Ingrid Winterbach gesels met Eben Venter
Eben Venter - 2006-09-08
Waarmee is jy op die oomblik besig? Ek is die afgelope jaar en 'n half besig aan 'n nuwe roman. Dis 'n taai ene dié om uit te kry en by tye is die implikasies so donker dat ek voel of ek selfs daarvan wil ondergaan. Ek is nou aan 'n tweede draft besig. As ek formulerings van die eerste lees, klink dit vir my soms na suiwer kaf. Maar na baie skaafwerk kan dit naderhand tog na iets begin lyk en indien ek voel ek het met 'n bepaalde woordorde en formulering daarin geslaag om iets te sê...

ABSA Ketting: Eben Venter gesels met Marlene van Niekerk
Marlene van Niekerk - 2006-09-08
Ek het die eerste keer kennis gemaak met jou skryfkuns in Sprokkelster. Hoe staan jy teenoor jou digkuns en/of sal jy weer gedigte publiseer? Ek was baie jonk en onnosel toe ek daardie versies geskryf het waarvan jy praat. Miskien is "onnoselheid", in die Nederlandse sin van die woord, wel 'n voorwaarde vir die skryf van poësie. Ek verlustig my deesdae in die prille en bevloge werk, in die vreesloosheid van jong digters wat ek begelei in die skeppendeskryfkunde-kursusse van ons...

ABSA Chain: Marlene van Niekerk in conversation with Michiel Heyns
Michiel Heyns - 2006-09-08
In just over four years you have produced three novels: after the semi-autobiographical The Children's Day came The Reluctant Passenger, a-laugh-a-minute romp that reached cult status in gay circles, and recently Jonathan Ball launched The Typewriter's Tale, a novel which reflects a lifelong intellectual engagement with the world and work of Henry James. Could you reflect on this extraordinary rate of publication and the "writer's logic" of this sequence of works? A blocked pipe gushes...

ABSA Chain: Michiel Heyns in conversation with Russel Brownlee
Russel Brownlee - 2006-09-08
You have been very generous in acknowledging the guidance of your mentor at UCT, André Brink, who supervised the project that turned into your novel Garden of the Plagues. Based on your experience of the MA in Creative Writing, what do you think a creative writing course can and can not do? I think most of those who've been through the Creative Writing programme would agree that it can't teach you how to write, and it can't really turn you into a novelist, poet, or dramatist if you don't...

ABSA Chain: Russel Brownlee in conversation with Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal - 2006-09-08
You recently left South Africa to take up a position at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. What attracted you there, and do you have any specific research or writing projects that you will be pursuing? For some time I’ve been drawn to the delicate weave of islands that largely make up Southeast Asia. My initial interest stemmed from wanting to draw links between Holland, the Cape and Batavia (Jakarta), the Dutch imperial headquarters in Java. What interested me was the human traffic...

ABSA Chain: Ashraf Jamal in conversation with Henrietta Rose-Innes
Ashraf Jamal - 2006-09-08
The thing I came away with after reading Shark's Egg and Rock Alphabet was the immense beauty of the sentences. Quite frankly, I'd gasp after reading one and ask myself: How do you do it? What's the mix of prose and poetry that allows you to reach such sensuous, evocative heights? As long as it's gasping, not choking … But thank you for your very kind words - I'm not sure I can live up to them. The first pieces of writing I ever did for my own satisfaction were poems, and for me the...

ABSA Chain: Henrietta Rose-Innes in conversation with Mary Watson
Henrietta Rose-Innes - 2006-09-08
One of the interesting things about your short story collection Moss is your experimentation with form: the linked short stories can be read independently but cross-reference one other, share characters and play out in linked worlds. I feel we need more of this kind of experimentation in local English fiction, which is traditionally quite conventional – although increasingly we are seeing writers exploring multiple authors, alternative structures, flash fiction, hypertexts and so on. Is form...

ABSA Chain: Mary Watson in conversation with Chris van Wyk
Mary Watson - 2006-09-08
1. I loved Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. Despite the gap of a decade or so, your story really took me back to my own childhood in Cape Town. I found a lot of satisfaction and pleasure in revisiting these experiences with your younger, somewhat fictional self. I’m interested that it struck me as so very similar despite the differences in time and place. To what extent is that particular sense of community which you invoke in your story still intact? Could you write your contemporary experience...

ABSA Chain: Jonny Steinberg in conversation with Henk Rossouw
Henk Rossouw - 2006-09-08
Earlier this year, Henk wrote a 10 000 word piece of reportage called "“The Broken Tin”: Treating AIDS without treatment" which won this year's Ruth First Prize. Many readers will not yet have read it. So before asking Henk the first question, let me begin with a brief description and a few thoughts. "The Broken Tin" is set in a godforsaken village in the North-West province called Mathibestad. Two characters dominate the narrative. Dr David Cameron runs the local...

ABSA Chain: Henk Rossouw in conversation with Bongani Madondo
Bongani Madondo - 2006-09-08
Henk Rossouw: Bongani, in asking you to participate in this, I wrote to you: As you can tell from my interview, I talk a lot about the influence of jazz and Drum on reportage, as it was these kind of prose rhythms that got me writing in the first place and yet, despite the fact that I like reading Kerouac and Matshikiza, I can't write that way myself. You replied - and this is exactly why I wanted to talk to you - like this: Forget Kerouac and Matshikiza: create your own songs. Even if fashioned...

''Literature enables you to examine your life'': An interview with Antjie Krog
Antjie Krog - 2006-08-24
Antjie Krog was born in the Free State in 1952. She completed a BA degree at the University of the Orange Free State, a Masters degree in Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria and a Teacher's Diploma at the University of South Africa (UNISA).Krog's first collection of poetry, Dogter van Jefta (1970), was followed by further collections, including two books of verse for children and the English collection Down to my last skin (2000), which won the inaugural 2000 FNB Vita Poetry Award. She became...

''I thought I'd be something like Tintin, but with dark hair ...''
Henrietta Rose-Innes - 2006-08-08
Michelle McGrane in conversation with Henrietta Rose-Innes, novelist, editor and compiler of Nice Times! A book of South African pleasures and delights Born in 1971 in Cape Town, Henrietta Rose-Innes attended the University of Cape Town, graduating with a BSc with a major in Archaeology. She then took Honours in Biological Anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She spent some time in publishing and travelled to South America before returning to Cape Town in 1997 to complete her masters...

ABSA Chain: Kole Omotoso in conversation with Abraham H de Vries
Kole Omotoso - 2006-07-30
Why is there no humanist tradition in Afrikaans literature? Hierdie vraag bevat feitefoute en geïnsinueerde beskuldigings wat slegs interessant is omdat prof Omotoso dit, om die gesprek aan die gang te kry, kennelik aanhaal uit 'n (redelik herkenbare) "geskiedenis van miskenning", soos Etienne Britz dit noem. So onkundig en beterweterig is hy sekerlik nie. My antwoorde is dus nie aan prof Omotoso as persoon nie, maar aan diegene wat dié menings huldig. Ek verdedig niks....

ABSA Chain: Abraham H de Vries in conversation with Mike Nicol
Abraham H de Vries - 2006-07-30
Abraham H de Vries slightly changed the context of the questions put to him by Kole Omotosho, and asked the same questions to Mike Nicol: Why is there no humanist tradition in South African English literature? Can you combine the writing of poetry with slave trading? The way white writing envisaged the end of apartheid is different from the way black writing did. Is it impossible for writing to prevent the racist slant of the writer, given that writing...

ABSA Chain: Mike Nicol in conversation with Deon Meyer
Deon Meyer - 2006-07-30
The genres - crime, thrillers, historical romance, etc - haven't attracted many proponents over recent decades in SA (probably for obvious reasons, at least as far as cop stories were concerned), but it could be that we are maturing and this might be set to change. A crime novel, you could argue, is about as cool as it gets these days, but why aren't there more people doing it? The good news is that this is changing. I was invited to speak at a crime-writing seminar in Gauteng last year, and...

ABSA Chain: Herman Wasserman in conversation with Damon Galgut
Damon Galgut - 2006-07-30
Has being nominated for the Booker Prize changed the way you think about your work as a writer? No. It's probably changed the way other people think about it. For me, the books remain the same - cause for both embarrassment and pride. Your earlier work has just been republished by Penguin. Upon reading The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs and especially Small Circle of Beings, both written in the late 80s / early nineties, I was struck by how the most intimate lives of your characters...

ABSA Chain: Damon Galgut in conversation with Zakes Mda
Damon Galgut - 2006-07-30
Although you spend a lot of time here, your permanent home base is in the USA. How does that distance affect the way you see South Africa? Do you feel freer to let your imagination loose? I regard myself as a migrant worker in America. I am free to let my imagination loose anywhere I am, Damon. I spend seven months of the year in the USA and five in South Africa. However I do a lot of travelling, mostly in Europe. I write wherever I am: in the plane, at the train station or in the hotel room....

ABSA Chain: Zakes Mda in conversation with Mike Nicol
Mike Nicol - 2006-07-30
Most of our highly engaging and productive writers come from (or have spent a significant part of their writing lives in) Cape Town. What makes the Cape Town literary scene so vibrant? Is it something in the water? Would you say there is a Cape Town literature? What are its defining characteristics? Definitely something in the water, like sharks. Seriously, though, in the 1970s Johannesburg was the literary capital of the country: it had the most vibrant literary magazines, Staffrider being...

ABSA Chain: Mike Nicol in conversation with Tim Couzens
Tim Couzens - 2006-07-30
Introduction: More and more I have become convinced that I come from an alien planet. One of the symptoms of this intimation is the aversion to sections of the electronic media, including e-mail and cellphones, which promote endless meaningless chatter and from which emanate peremptory, even minatory, calls on one’s time and attention. Forward thinking is a thing of the past: job references, for instance, are asked for with a casual, “And, oh, by the way, applications close tomorrow...

ABSA Chain: Tim Couzens in conversation with Jo-Anne Richards
Jo-Anne Richards - 2006-07-30
In real life you have a wonderful way of telling an anecdote or story - quiet but very funny. Do you try to carry this over into your novels? And how does humour fit into your life and writing? And there I thought our conversations were in deadly earnest. Actually, it's quite hard to answer a question that contains an element of praise without sounding above oneself. But thanks. I'm told I tell anecdotes in long, slow curves. I suppose this means I speak as most people write - building the narrative...

ABSA Chain: Jo-Anne Richards in conversation with Athol Fugard
Athol Fugard - 2006-07-28
Ever since I was taken to see Boesman and Lena at the Opera House in Port Elizabeth as a child, Athol Fugard has been a major influence on me. I felt an affinity for what he wrote about, and the way he portrayed his characters. And as a PE person, born and bred, I felt a strong sense of kinship with him. So when I was asked to choose another sacrificial victim, he was my first choice. You project a strong sense of place in your work. Do you think that growing up in the Eastern Cape...

ABSA Chain: Athol Fugard in conversation with André P Brink
André P Brink - 2006-07-28
Dear André Rather silly for two old veterans like us to be relating to each other from the ends of a silly little “chain”, but here goes. As someone who has admired you over the years both as a man and an artist I would like to start my five questions with two personal ones. What is the first or one of the first memories you have from your childhood? And if you can find it, could you share with me the details? How “relevant” the memory is I honestly don’t...

''Every one of us is a little crazy at one time or another in our lives ...''
Michelle McGrane - 2006-07-21
Michelle McGrane in conversation with Rosemund Handler, author of Madlands Rosemund J Handler completed a Master's degree in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town. She has published short stories in South Africa and in the United States. Madlands, Rosemund's debut novel, recently published by Penguin South Africa, is the story of bright and beautiful Carla, a bipolar disorder sufferer. The author describes Madlands as "a tale of family - of damage and the hard road to healing"....

''The biggest challenge is to find exciting, fresh, well-written content''
Michelle Matthews - 2006-07-03
Michelle McGrane in conversation with Michelle Matthews, publishing manager of Oshun Books Michelle Matthews graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1999. She has written for various publications, including Shape, FHM and Men's Health, and worked as an editor, sub-editor and arts reporter at the Mail & Guardian, CityLife and Big Media. She was the managing editor of SL Magazine before being recruited by Struik Publishers in 2004 to develop their new women's imprint, Oshun Books. At the...


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