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 > Briewe | Letters > SpeakEasy

SpeakEasy


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Haunting simplicity (for Kerry Hammerton)
Philip Mercator - 2007-10-23
Hi Kerry. Your poetry displays a charming simplicty that is laden with meaning far beyond the apparent uncomplicated structure. It reminds me of an athlete in full flight. Athletic poetry ... :) I'm looking forward to more. Regards Philip Mercator Email your comments on LitNet material to speakeasy@litnet.co.za. You are welcome to use...

Online poetry course planned for December
De Waal Venter - 2007-10-22
Hello Jean I'm writing a poetry course at the moment. My intention is to offer it as an online course. I hope to have it ready somewhere in December. Contact me if you want more details. Kind regards De Waal Venter Email your comments on LitNet material to speakeasy@litnet.co.za. You are welcome to use a pseudonym.Or enter theLeopard's...

On "Following the ants" by Geraldine Minuk-Eliot
b - 2007-10-22


Any writing courses in Port Elizabeth or East London?
Jean - 2007-10-22
Hi!Is there not a correspondence course or something like it somewhere in the near future? Some of us are stuck in the sticks and cannot get to Jo'burg 4 weekends in succession. What about a two day course in PE or EL for consideration?ThanksJean Email your comments on LitNet material to speakeasy@litnet.co.za. You are welcome to use a pseudonym.Or enter theLeopard's Leap Booklover's Reward: Write a 500 word, or less, book review and stand the...

Wish I were a painter (for Joanne Hart)
DWV - 2007-10-22
Hello Joanne I enjoyed this poem very much. You manage to evoke the visual imagery with great effect. I like the original way you describe colours: "faded Greek shutters" and "silk and taffeta hues." There is one untrue statement in your poem, though: your pen certainly isn't inadequate! Regards DWV Email your comments on LitNet material to speakeasy@litnet.co.za. You are welcome to use a pseudonym.Or enter theLeopard's Leap Booklover's...

Leopard's Leap Booklover's Reward: The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue
Wanda Miles - 2007-10-17
The Mercy Of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (R150 Simon & Schuster) This beautiful novel is Domingue’s debut and she writes with an obvious knowledge of Carl Gustav Jung’s concepts of psychology. As she states quite clearly at the beginning of the book, “meaningful coincidences” enter the picture of our lives and we are forced to ask questions such as whether there is life after death … In fact, the book is what Jung would call a mandala: It completes a full (magic)...

Leopard's Leap Booklover's Reward: Death in the New Republic by David Dirson
Elize Ferner - 2007-10-04
Death in the New Republic is an entertaining read – although I say this less because of the actual tension of the story and more because of the wonderfully vivid descriptions of Johannesburg’s Houghton, and other areas, the idealism and interaction of the protagonist, Nossel, with black South Africans, in the New South Africa. The style of this thriller is dispassionate, so one never feels involved with any of the characters. I found Nossel (lesson spelt backwards) especially wimpish...

Leopard's Leap Booklover's Reward: Demon Lover: My Addiction to Heroin by Anoux Venter
Maya Fowler - 2007-10-03
Demon lover: My addiction to heroinAuthor: Anoux Venter Price: R135.00Publisher: Human & Rousseau (Pty) LtdISBN: 9780798148153Format: SoftcoverPublication Date: 2007/8Pages: 144 If someone could mop up the spelling and grammar, this book would make valuable and gripping prescribed reading at high school level. In a very brave exposé of the darkest times of her life, the author shows how ignorance can lead to destruction. When thirteen-year-old Anoux gets drunk for the first time...

PillowStalk
Sister Innocenta - 2007-08-16
Confessional sex blogging is the new black, this season’s must-have. Or perhaps last season’s must-have - this season’s must-have being the blooks[i] committed as those blogs are pulped into paperback for consumption on a brazillion[1] beach holidays. Last season survived the emergence of Zoe Margolis’s Girl with a One-Track Mind[ii], Jessica Cutler’s Washingtonienne[iii], and the anonymous[2] Belle du Jour[iv] –among countless others, no doubt – from the...

Notes from a lazy scholar
Sam Raditlhalo - 2007-08-01
A few months ago I had the occasion to ask some questions of a judge of a literary prize who went public about his brief before the task had been completed, slating two books under his review. I found his views on Room 207 rather hack-eyed, and I dared to say so. It seems that, like a bad penny, this is one topic that refuses to lapse, given the vituperative criticism directed at the book by Messrs Kopano Ratele and Solani Ngobeni ("Local publishing in need of colour, not drivel", Mail...

Leopard's Leap Booklover's Reward: Flyleaf by Finuala Dowling
Elize Ferner - 2007-08-01
This is an absolute delight of a book for anyone who loves words and the English language. Finuala Dowling has a most charmingly dispassionate style combined with wry humour, which makes the book a pleasure to read from the first to the last page. I found myself reading every word carefully in an attempt to make the book last as long as possible. She loves books and reading and it shines through in her writing. So if you share this passion, the book provides pure joy. The story itself is about...

Leopard's Leap leaps into the spotlight
Beulah Hickey-Meintjes - 2007-08-01
My nearest and dearest women friends were invited to celebrate with me the turning of the seasons of life, turning me into a sixty-year-old. George Seurat’s energetic, supremely balanced acrobat on horseback, in The Circus was pictured on the invitation. The caption: art is about balance. The place, the front verandah of our farmhouse, overlooking the garden and the veld. The Circus was truly the embodiment of the party – everybody who came fell under the spell of the fun and joy of celebration....

Leopard's Leap Booklover's Reward: Portrait with keys by Ivan Vladislavic
Martinique Stilwell - 2007-07-23
Ivan Vladislavic, one of South Africa’s most critically acclaimed writers, lives in Johannesburg within sight of the Marymount Nursing Home, and any reader with ties to eGoli will recognise instantly in this brilliant portrait of a city, and a man who lives in it, startlingly insightful truths about the place and ourselves. But even those of us who didn’t go to the Carlton Centre at the height of its glory, and who still remember "the car tyres squealing in delight" on the smooth...

LitNet’s Leopard’s Leap Booklover’s Reward | Die Leopard’s Leap Leesmedalje
2007-06-14
LitNet is very pleased to announce a new literary supporter, Leopard’s Leap Wines, the proud sponsor of the Leopard’s Leap Booklover’s Reward / Die Leopard’s Leap Leesmedalje on SpeakEasy and SêNet. About the Leopard’s Leap Booklover’s Reward / Die Leopard’s Leap Leesmedalje Silky and sophisticated, Leopard’s Leap Wines has a varietal to suit every literature genre, and is therefore the ideal accompaniment to whatever is at the top of your...

Plagiarism or paranoia?
Donald Paul - 2007-05-31
Good grief! Based on the comparisons of the excerpts cited in the various reports on Christopher Hope’s alleged plagiarism, Liz McGregor and her publishers make me think of Herr Rath’s claims about the non-existence of Aids – just more humorous and less life-and-deathish. Perhaps Ms McGregor should read more good fiction. If fiction isn’t for you, then try Tony Kushner’s excellent essay about writing, “Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika” entitled...

That impolite P-word again
Jean Meiring - 2007-05-29
Another season, another plagiarism row. Just after the close of the inaugural Franschhoek Literary Festival, its founding father and literary behemoth Christopher Hope is tarred with the brush of innuendo and outright accusation. What must the South African reading public, increasingly spoilt for choice locally, make of all this? First it was Cynthia Vongai, who brazenly lifted a slab of magazine copy. Then came Darryl Bristow-Bovey, who cut-and-pasted bits and pieces from all and sundry, even...

Rian Malan's open letter to Christopher Hope on plagiarism
Rian Malan - 2007-05-28
Dear Christopher – Hmm. Nasty little situation. I, too, thought aspects of the story you told were familiar, and I have never read the Khabzela book. That Dutch woman with the miracle Aids cure was close to the Health Minister and thus got a lot of quizzical press in such orgs as the Weekly Mail. I assumed such material was fair game for the novelist. If not, I must immediately launch a plagiarism charge against Nadine Gordimer. As an intrepid crime reporter for The Star in the 1970s,...

Franschhoek Literary Festival misses the mark
Byron Loker - 2007-05-14
If, as director Christopher Hope says, "basically the aim behind the [FLF is] to encourage young writers and young writing", why is it being held in an exclusive and distant place like Franschhoek? Why not Muizenberg or Mowbray, which young writers and book lovers may more easily get to? Why the exorbitant fees to attend events and dinners? How many "youngsters" were in attendance? Looking closely at Ben William's photographs of the audience members on book.co.za, one sees mostly...

Gerrit Brand responds to Tom McLachlan
Gerrit Brand - 2007-05-04
Tom McLachlan recently wrote on LitNet that Afrikaans is most certainly not an African language: Essentially ... Afrikaans remains a West Germanic language. To change its linguistic-genealogical classification to an African language (whatever that may be), would be the same as saying that SA English is an African language, or Australian English is an Aboriginal language, or West Indian English is an Amerindian language. Neville Alexander always argues that, since Afrikaans was standardised in...

Cultural treasures: Speaking up on behalf of NALN
Malcolm Hacksley - 2007-04-30
Allow me, as director of NELM, the National English Literary Museum in Grahamstown, to add my voice to those speaking up on behalf of NALN, our beleaguered sister institution in Bloemfontein. The fact that a national and international cultural treasure CAN be subject to the whims of ignorant but all too powerful provincial bureaucrats is nothing short of a national disgrace. NALN should long since have been removed from the control of the Free State province and transferred to the national Department...

Cultural heritage?
Archie Dick - 2007-04-30
As is the case for the other official languages of South Africa, I could not find Afrikaans on Christopher Moseley's recent Encyclopedia of the world's endangered languages. But the NALN issue, of course, raises a bigger concern. And what is happening there today could happen at places like NELM, the National Archives and the National Library tomorrow. The concern is that these national treasures now have to prove their value to a new breed of managers captivated by privatisation, re-engineering...

25 Best SA Books - have your say
Sharon - 2007-04-30
Hi there The Centre for the Book have come up with a great way to get people talking about good South African books. They're asking people to submit a list of their favourite South African books over the past 10 years - and specifically books that capture something of South Africa post-1994 - so that they can compile a list of the 25 Best SA Books. And not only will they then have a list that you and I had a say in, but you will also stand the chance to win all 25 books at the Cape Town Book Fair!...

Is it not mine by any other language?
Neiloe Khunyeli - 2007-04-24
It’s interesting that I should consider whether African writers should write in their mother tongue or not at this moment. I was recently asked if my thought process took place in English or Sesotho. I thought nothing of it as I lightly said, "English, of course." But now I see how this question is loaded with so much more than just what language I think in. It is directed at my character, at my identity, at my blackness. Unfortunate or not, I express myself more clearly and more...

Follow-up to discussion with Chika
Suzy Bell - 2007-04-23
Just to let everyone know that the Time of the Writer international writers' festival did not video document or record the Publishers' Forum session in which Chika Unigwe spoke. I did request a copy to forward to Chika and was hoping a copy could be made for use on LitNet. This is a great pity as it would have given clarity to all as an independent voice to resolve the "He said, she said" scenario … That said, the crucial thing here is that there is no doubt that this is a topic...

Suzy Bell and Chika Unigwe's exchange re Time of the Writer
Megan Hall - 2007-04-20
A quick note on this topic. I was at the Time of the Writer session and remember Chika Unigwe’s interaction with Siphiwo Mahala of DAC well. Although I wasn’t planning to write a piece (as I’m not a journalist, but a publisher) and so didn’t take as extensive notes as Suzy Bell evidently did, I did take some notes. They suggest that Chika’s response on why she doesn’t write in Igbo was “because she went to school in English from day 1”. My recollection...

Afrikaans an African language?
Tom McLachlan - 2007-04-19
In her response to the discussion between Gerrit Brand and Suzy Bell, Gina Shepherd makes this remark in parenthesis: "We should also not forget that essentially Afrikaans is an African language!" I am not quite sure why she throws in this remark, which has the appearance of a non sequitur, especially in view of her comments about the Afrikaans of Brink and Matthee. It cannot be, therefore, that she would need translators to gain access to Afrikaans literature. Nevertheless, I beg to...

Suzy Bell’s response on further debate of English arts journalism in Cape Town versus Afrikaans arts journalism in Cape Town in mainstream print media
Suzy Bell - 2007-04-19
Dear Tom Do you sincerely disagree there is not daily evidence of mediocrity in our local mainstream arts media, and I’m talking specifically mainstream English newspapers here in Cape Town? When I want to read about the arts I read Art South Africa, Mail&Guardian's Friday section, The Sunday Independent arts pages, Maureen Isaacson’s books pages and Michele Magwood’s Sunday Times books pages, Artthrob online journal and the always sophisticated arts pages in the local Afrikaans...

Speaking Igbo, writing English: Chika responds to Suzy
Chika Unigwe - 2007-04-18
Dear Suzy Thanks for your response. I am finding it really difficult to imagine that I said that I do not speak much Igbo, as I do speak excellent Igbo. Perhaps the Centre for Creative Arts could provide the video of the panel, if need be. Monica Rorvick filmed it. I speak Igbo with family members (not with my children, as they do not speak any Igbo), and not with my husband, as he is Belgian and speaks zilch Igbo. With those I do speak Igbo with, I speak perfect Igbo. So yes, I would like that...

Suzy Bell responds to Chika Unigwe
Suzy Bell - 2007-04-17
Dear Chika I take most seriously what you have raised in your letter and in doing so I have double-checked my notes. My notes read, with focus on the direct quote you have raised in response to the question from the audience member, Sphiwo Mahala, a member of the DAC (Department of Arts Culture), who asked, among other things: "Why do you write in English?" to which I wrote down your response as being: "I can't write in Igbo as I can't speak and read in Igbo." Later you...

On not ''speaking'' Igbo
Chika Unigwe - 2007-04-16
Dear Suzy Bell I have just seen your article on the Time of the Writer 2007 event. I never said that I do not speak much Igbo. I speak very good Igbo. What I said was that in Nigeria, local languages are not taught in "good" schools and as such, one could pass through school speaking her local language but never learning to write or read it. I conceded that I cannot write in Igbo, having never learnt it. But I do speak very good Igbo. Excellent Igbo. With best wishes Chika Unigwe "Egbe...

Journalism: the state of the art
Vicki - 2007-04-16
Tom Dreyer picked up the question of Arts journalism, but the real question which needs to be asked is: Why is what passes for journalism in this country so overwhelmingly poor? On the odd occasion one finds a piece which is decently written, correctly spelled, properly punctuated, and sub-edited to the degree that half-sentences are not randomly omitted, it turns out to be a syndicated piece bought in from elsewhere. It's terminally embarrassing. When one raises the matter, the general response...

Mother tongue or other tongue
Tongue-tied - 2007-04-16
Gina Shepherd writes that the language of expression should be the writer's choice, and posits "former colonial" against "mother tongue" languages. This omits the case of those whose "mother tongue" may be a "former colonial" language, but who choose to express themselves in an indigenous language on paper. There can be many reasons for choosing to do so - from the political (to lend weight to language recognition struggles, or to add to the written holdings...

Writing in one's home language
Abner Nyamende - 2007-04-12
I am glad that Suzy Bell and Gerrit Brand mention Ngũgĩ's commitment to the development of the Gikuyu language. Ngũgĩ writes in Gikuyu and then translates into English. What you perhaps did not know is that Ngũgĩ has influenced some people in Africa to write in their mother tongue. I used to be a lecturer in the English Department, but through reading about Ngũgĩ I felt that I could make a contribution to my home language if I developed myself in that direction....

Not a novel debate
Anneke Botha - 2007-04-12
What language to converse in within a literature context is not a novel debate. A savant on this terrain, one that has perused this both in and outside his novels, would be JM Coetzee. Is Disgrace an African novel? An African tale? The coloniser giving yet another Eurocentric view on Africa and aha! exploiting the continent not just through the story, but through the use of language, English. Africa and Africans remain the victims once again. So used to suffering we are, we the noble savages. Indeed,...

Is there a difference in the level and quality of arts journalism being produced in various language communities?
Tom Dreyer - 2007-04-12
In her letter of 4 April Suzy Bell criticises the "mediocre, lacklustre, provincial" mainstream English entertainment journalists who write "tabloidesque" pieces on the inanities of daily life, rather than "stimulating creatives engaged in the making of interesting art". In this regard she compares them unfavourably with the "sussed, vibrant, intelligent Afrikaans arts media". Is this a fair distinction? And if there is indeed a difference in the level and...

Colourful Tongue – Suzy Bell
Afrika-United - 2007-04-11
Dear SuzyA poignant point emerged from your letter (LitNet, 5 April 2007) which I hope didn't escape the perceptive reader: Unlike our other African languages, Afrikaans is indeed secure as a language of academic standing. Millions of Rands were invested over many years in developing and establishing the language. Many books were, and still are, written and printed in Afrikaans and it has an established support.Whereas, very unfortunately, the other African (official) languages have never benefitted...

Suzy, thanks for your reply
Gerrit - 2007-04-11
Dear Suzy Thanks for your reply to my criticism of your article on Time of the Writer. My impression when reading your article was that you wanted to make a point, the point being that when the great Ngugi read from his magnificent English text, the whole debate you have been describing as to whether African authors should write in colonial languages was settled because everyone was just so utterly impressed with and stunned at what they had heard. It was as if you were saying: Once you hear a...

The issue over what language writers should write in
Gina Shepherd - 2007-04-11
The issue over what language writers should write in (especially with regard to colonial languages) seems like the literary equivalent of the breastfeeding furore of a few years ago. The language a writer chooses to express him- or herself in is a very personal thing, and if that language is not their mother tongue that is the choice they must make. If they choose to write in English, let it be so. If they choose to write in another tongue, bring on the translators so that we don’t miss out...

Gerrit Brand hooked by Suzy Bell's de-bait
Suzy Bell - 2007-04-05
Dear Gerrit How refreshing that you are open to such potentially lively debate on the very topic that interests me. I read your letter carefully and with great consideration. I totally understand your viewpoint and acknowledge your thoughts. However, it appears you have taken my bait! I can’t imagine you deliberately missed my point, but I think perhaps it was your very clever intention to spark and generate debate about more of the real issues that need to be discussed. In this regard...


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