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Chris Marnewick PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 19:20

Chris Marnewick grew up in what was then the Far Northern Transvaal and went to high school at Potgietersrus, now Mokopane. He practised as an advocate in Durban until recently and now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where he writes full time.

After a year in the SA Navy, Marnewick studied Law at Potchefstroom and Unisa. He was admitted as an advocate in 1976, and was awarded senior counsel status in 1991. Marnewick completed an LLM degree in 1991 and obtained his PhD in 1996 at the then University of Natal.

Marnewick’s writing career started with a textbook, Litigation Skills for South African Lawyers. His first attempt at creative writing culminated in Shepherds & Butcher, which earned Marnewick the University of Johannesburg creative writing prize in 2009 in the Debut Category, as well as the K Sello Duiker Prize by the South African Literary Awards that same year. Skilled in fusing fact and fiction, Marnewick’s Shepherds & Butcher narrates a courtroom drama where a fictional multiple killing provides the background for a factual exposition of the way the death penalty was administered in South Africa during the 1980’s.

In 2010, Marnewick published The Soldier Who Said No, a work of crime fiction. This was followed by A Sailor’s Honour in 2011. His first work in Afrikaans,Clarence van Buuren: Die man agter die donkerbril (Protea Boekhuis), will be launched during the festival. The English version of the book will also be available.

Challenging the state’s penchant for secrecy by using fiction as a vehicle to expose those secrets, Marnewick reiterates his firm belief that “history has to be recorded by those living through important events, and that the state should not be allowed to keep any secrets in its cupboards”.

Selected Work

Excerpt from Shepherds & Butchers (2008:26-27):

The Sheriff addressed the prisoner by his name, exactly as it was written on the death warrant.

‘Mnuxa Jerome Gcaba, do you have anything to say before the sentence of the Court is carried out?’ he asked. He struggled with the pronunciation of the Zulu names.

The prisoner mumbled something incoherent. He wanted to speak but did not know what to say. Before he could change his mind, the Sheriff stepped back and made a tick on his own clipboard. The Warrant Officer reached behind the prisoner and handed one of the white hoods to the escort. The custom-made hood was an elasticised headcloth with an additional flap, also elasticised, which would in due course be hooked on the prisoner’s chin and cover his face completely. The escort adjusted the hood under the prisoner’s head and pushed the flap back over the prisoner’s head. When he was satisfied that the hood was properly in place, the Warrant Officer handed the escort the prisoner’s name tag. The escort pocketed the tag and held his prisoner in position in the line. The first prisoner was ready.

‘Thank you,’ said the Sheriff with exaggerated politeness as he went up to the next prisoner to repeat the formality.

‘Joseph Gcabashe, do you have anything to say before the sentence of the Court is carried out?’

From here on things would happen fast. In less than five minutes these prisoners would be hanging from their ropes, destroyed by order of the law. Yet every second would feel like an eternity for those in the gallows chamber.


2002. Litigation Skills for South African Lawyers. Durban: Butterworths

2008. Shepherds & Butchers. Roggebaai: Umuzi.

2010. The Soldier Who Said No.  Roggebaai: Umuzi.

2011. A Sailor’s Honour. Roggebaai: Umuzi.

2012. Clarence van Buuren: Die man agter die donkerbril. Pretoria: Protea Boekhuis

Koos Roets to Produce Film Versions of Novels by Carol Campbell PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 11:27

We are excited to announce that Carol Campbell's novels, My Children Have Faces and Esther's House, have been optioned for film released directed by acclaimed  film makers Koos Roets and André Stolz!

Read more about this story over at BooksLive.

Futhi Ntshingila PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 11:08

Futhi Ntshingila was born in 1974. She grew up in a Pietermaritzburg township called Imbali Unit 18. After Matric, she worked with young people on leadership training and women empowerment. Despite the financial challenges she faced growing up in a large family, Ntshingila succeeded in enrolling at the University of KwaZulu-Natal eight years later. Here, she majored in English and African Theology and worked as the news editor of the student newspaper, Nux. Upon completion of her Honours in English and Theology, the pull into print journalism led Ntshingila to Rhodes University where she completed a postgraduate diploma in Media and Journalism Studies, before starting an internship at the Sunday Times. She was employed at the same newspaper and worked a five year stint in Durban, before moving to Tshwane. Ntshingila continued to excel academically, later earning a Master's degree in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at UKZN.

As a writer, Ntshingila is drawn to telling stories that deal with the marginal, unexplored corners of society. She told the Centre for Creative Arts:

For a long time a large population of South Africans have not had stories that reflect their everyday lives written by people they can identify with. So I try to write stories that can entertain, madden, shock, horrify and affirm my community. I try to address issues that are not normally discussed openly.

In 2008, she published her debut novel, Shameless, the story of Thandiwe, a young woman, who, having grown up in a rural village, moves to the city and sells her body on the streets of Yeoville. In her second novel, Do Not Go Gentle, she continued thematically with a cast of strong women who have little, but are determined to shape their own destinies. Each of Ntshingila’s novels has received a positive reception. Fred Khumalo described Shameless as “the book of our times, speaking as it does about many of the social ills vexing our lovely nation”. Margaret von Klemperer, agreed, commending the book for “telling a South African story in an assured, concise voice”, despite minor faults. Paul H. Thomas praised the transcendent nature of the novel for “collections on women’s issues or contemporary South Africa” and not merely literature collections. Penny de Vries lauded Do Not Go Gentle as “a gut-wrenching novel” while Siyamthanda Skota appreciated Ntshingila’s ability to tell a socially conscious tale that is easy to read.

In light of her efforts she has been invited to participate at several literary events and has garnered many accolades. In 2008, she was part of a a literary session during Newtown’s art programme. She has appeared twice at The Time of the Writer to promote each of her books. This year she is due to appear at the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Do Not Go Gentle has been longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize. It was also selected as one of This is Africa’s best books in fiction, poetry, memoir and non-fiction, published between 2010 and 2014.

Selected Work

Excerpt from Shameless (2008:15-16):

Kwena, a young and ambitious film-maker, has chosen Thandiwe, for her documentary on the life of a Yeoville prostitute. She’s been observing her from a distance for two months now. The day she decides to approach her, Thandiwe comes out of a black BMW swearing up a storm, ‘Fuck off to your wife. Call her the things you’ve just called me and see if she likes it. You think you can come here and treat me like an animal?’

The man in the car mumbles something that makes Thandiwe shout louder. ‘I said go, you old fart, and never bring your ass-less self back here again!’ She slams the door and the shiny BMW screeches away down Rocky Street towards silent Observatory.

A Jewish family walking to the synagogue narrowly escapes the flying BMW, driven by a man who’s feeling the sting of rejection by a prostitute.

Thandiwe turns towards Kwena and barks, ‘Circus is over darling! Keep moving!’

But Kwena shoots back, ‘What makes you think I am here for a circus?’ She stands her ground with her hands on her hips.

‘Look, this is my turf, so you better get a move on before I see red,’ says Thandiwe, whose day is getting worse by the minute.

‘You can keep your turf, it’s you I want,’ replies Kwena, as she feels herself gaining some ground.

Thandiwe laughs so hard that her eyes begin to tear up. ‘No, no, no, little girl, I don’t do women! Never have and never will. Get your ass down to Candy over there. She will do you. She would do a cat if it could pay her for a fix.’

Kwena’s impatience is getting the better of her. She’s not big on begging so she deadpans her pretty face and says, straight to the point, ‘Look I’m no prostitute and I’m not looking for pussy, but I am looking to document the life of a prostitute in these streets.’ Her hand gestures up and down Rocky Street.


2008. Shameless. Scotsville: UKZN Press

2012. Do Not Go Gentle. Cape Town: Modjadji Books

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