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Archive for the ‘International’ Category

“Children are not colour-blind” – Mylo Freeman on racial diversity in children’s books

Mylo Freeman

 
The Dutch author Mylo Freeman, who gained recognition for her Princess Arabella-series, which features a black princess as main character, recently wrote a piece for The Guardian on how the struggle for diversity in children’s literature still has a long way to go:

I’m a black Dutch author and illustrator of picture books and I’d like to tell you something about my work. The idea for my main character Princess Arabella came from a story I heard about a little black girl who was offered the role of princess in a school play, which she declined, simply because she didn’t believe that a princess could be black. I decided then and there it was high time for a black princess to appear in a picture book! Once the book was finished I had to look for a publisher of course. After some research I thought Eenhoorn, a Belgian publisher, would be the best candidate. I wrapped all the illustrations carefully and sent them by mail to Belgium. After that it was just a matter of waiting for a response…

“It was a rainy day,” my publisher told me later. “I had just attended what was supposed to be a meeting to celebrate an organization that provides books for children who are having difficulties learning Dutch as a second language. They were mainly children from a Moroccan background”. The books my publisher brought to read to them didn’t relate to them at all. Frustrated and disappointed she returned to the office only to find my first manuscript and illustrations for Princess Arabella carefully wrapped at her desk!

This was 10 years ago and now there are 10 Arabella books published and more to come! Princess Arabella’s Birthday was very well received, won prizes and was translated into many languages. However when it came to selling the rights to the US things got complicated. “It’s her hair”, white American publishers whispered, embarrassed, “her hair looks uncombed, our audiences will be offended”. I was baffled, how could Arabella’s and her mum the queen’s hair be offensive to anyone? I modelled it after traditional African hairstyles after all?

 
This of course had everything to do with African American history. A history marked by slavery and where generations after still reflected the white dominant culture. However, there has been a trend going on for some time now for black women to have their own natural hairstyles. And it seems that women nowadays get to make a choice as how to wear their hair and not out of an imposed sense of social pressure.

Continue reading here.

Princess Arabella’s Birthday
‘Once upon a time, there was a little princess called Arabella. She lived in a big palace with her father, the King, and her mother, the Queen. It was nearly Arabella’s birthday. But what do you give a little princess who already has everything?’Ruby-encrusted roller skates, a golden bicycle, a stuffed mouse, a cuddly mouse, a tea set, a doll’s pram carriage? No, Princess Arabella wants something different for her birthday: an elephant.But will she get what she wants?

Princess Arabella Mixes Colours
Princess Arabella thinks her room is boring. So she decides she’s going to do something about that – all by herself. She mixes up some paint and in no time at all her room looks fabulous.The latest book about the popular little Princess Arabella, with fun information about mixing colours.

Princess Arabella's Birthday

Book details

 
 

Princess Arabella Mixes Colours


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University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Writing in English 2016 winners announced

 

The University of Johannesburg is pleased to announce the winners of its annual literary award:

The main prize of R75 000 is awarded to Nthikeng Mohlele for Pleasure (Picador Africa).

The debut prize of R35 000 is awarded to Mohale Mashigo for The Yearning (Picador Africa).

A formal prize-giving ceremony will be held later in the year.

Publishers who wish to submit entries for the UJ prize for works published in 2017 should contact Prof Ronit Frenkel (ronitf@uj.ac.za).

Background information

The prizes are not linked to a specific genre. This may make the evaluation more challenging in the sense that, for example, a volume of poetry, a novel and a biographical work must be measured against one another, but the idea is to open the prize to as many forms of creative writing as possible.

Approximately 60 works were submitted this year, from which the following books were selected for the shortlist:

Main Prize:
Pleasure by Nthikeng Mohlele
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso
Sigh the Beloved Country by Bongani Madondo

Debut Prize:
The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo
Loud and Yellow Laughter by Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese
Tjieng-Tjang and Other Stories by Jolyn Philips
The Keeper of the Kumm by Sylvia Vollenhoven

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Johannesburg launch: Wellbeing Economy

Using real-life examples and innovative research, acclaimed political economist Lorenzo Fioramonti lays bare society’s perverse obsession with economic growth by showing its many flaws, paradoxes and inconsistencies.

He argues that the pursuit of growth often results in more losses than gains and in damage, inequalities and conflicts.

By breaking free from the growth mantra, we can build a better society that puts the wellbeing of all at its centre.

A wellbeing economy would have tremendous impact on everything we do, boosting small businesses and empowering citizens as the collective leaders of tomorrow.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 25 July 2017
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville
  • Guest Speaker: Pat Pillai
  • RSVP: kate@lovebooks.co.za, 011 726 7408
     
    Book Details


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“I feel that as a writer, our duty is to capture the human experience” – read an interview with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim

I think a lot of novels that we have coming out that most people consider particularly African novels are expected to play on politics, on corruption, on all these things. I don’t want those to be at the forefront. They are there, obviously, and they are very dominant, like on the landscape and the scenery. But despite all this, people carry on with their lives. They are little romances in hidden corners, they have their issues with their children, and all that. This corruption, this politics, this violence, in a way it kind of shapes certain things in the way we behave and the way we act, it is not necessary that every time you have to struggle with corrupt politicians and corrupt people, but the decisions they make somewhere, so far away from you, somehow have a resonance in the way you make your decisions and the choices you make in life.

Jennifer Malec, editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, interviewed Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, during Ibrahim’s recent visit to Johannesburg.

Ibrahim received the Nigeria Prize for Literature for his novel Season of Crimson Blossoms.

Read their interview here and listen to Ibrahim read an excerpt from Season of Crimson Blossoms here.

Season of Crimson Blossoms

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Pan Macmillan to represent Cassava Republic Press in South Africa

Season of Crimson BlossomsBorn on a TuesdayThe Lazarus Effectnullnull
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Pan Macmillan is delighted to announce that as of July 2016 the company will represent Cassava Republic Press in South Africa.

Cassava Republic Press is a leading African publishing house and their list comprises an eclectic selection of quality literary fiction, non-fiction, crime, young adult fiction, children’s books and romantic fiction under the Ankara Press imprint. The publisher aims to spotlight the vibrancy and diversity of prose by African writers on the continent and in the Diaspora.

Their 2016 fiction list includes Elnathan John’s breathtakingly beautiful Born on a Tuesday which tackles unexplored aspects of friendship, love, trauma and politics in recent Northern Nigerian history; Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s mesmerising Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun, a subtle story about ageing, friendship and loss and the erotic yearnings of an older woman; the crime novel Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s Season of Crimson Blossoms, a controversial and gripping story of an affair between a devoted Muslim grandmother and a 25-year-old drug dealer and political thug.

Cassava Republic Press has headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria with a second base in London. Since its founding 10 years ago in Nigeria, it has become a dynamic and truly international publishing house that Pan Macmillan is proud to represent.

Related links:

 

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Why is the discovery of gravitational waves a big deal? Sarah Wild explains

InnovationInnovasieLast week, as South Africans were following the 2016 State of the Nation and related drama, a significant scientific announcement was made: Scientists had detected gravitational waves.

If you have no idea what this means, don’t worry – we didn’t either. Multi-award-winning science journalist Sarah Wild, author of Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science, has written an article in which she breaks down what this discovery means and why it is such a big deal.

Read the article:

This was perhaps the worst-kept secret in all of science: the detection of gravitational waves.

It has been seeping out of sources like leaky taps. But on 11 February, it was finally announced that scientists had detected gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are distortions in space and time that – rather than the force of “gravity” – explain the dances of planets, stars and galaxies.

In 1916, in his theory of General Relativity Albert Einstein predicted the existence of these gravitational waves, linking space and time. Now, a century later, scientists from the California Institute of Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the LIGO scientific collaboration called the media together to tell them what they have been anticipating for weeks.

If you still don’t understand, watch this short film featuring the scientists involved explaining how this project worked to discover gravitational waves:

YouTube Preview Image

 
Also read:

 
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French stamp of approval for Imperfect Solo by Steven Boykey Sidley

Ben Williams & Steven Boykey Sidley

 
Imperfect SoloThe French edition of Imperfect Solo by Steven Boykey Sidley has been receiving some excellent media coverage in that country, with the author being compared to heavy hitters such as Joseph Heller, Philip Roth and Richard Ford.

Published locally by Pan Macmillan in 2014, this dark comedy follows the flailing and hapless Meyer who is seeking hope and redemption as his world unravels around him. His random misfortune begs the question: Will Meyer find his grace? Can he, or we, ever?

Imperfect Solo is Sidley’s third novel and was longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

The French translation is titled Meyer et la catastrophe and published by Belfond. We love the cover, a completely different design to the local one:

 

Even if you don’t understand French, have a look a the incredible number of positive reviews in the French press:

French Reviews of Imperfect Solo

 
About the book

Meyer is filled with dread. His fading musical aspirations, his tyrannical CEO, his ex-wives, his exiting girlfriend, his ageing father, his beloved and troublesome children and his confused and bewildered life all bear witness to the sky that he is convinced will soon fall on his head.

And then it does.

This is the story of a man adrift in anxiety, ill-fortune and comic mishap, buffeted by the existential and prosaic concerns that modern life in Los Angeles inflicts. Forty years old, caught in the netherworld between the reckless optimism of youth and the resignation of age, Meyer tries to find handrails and ballast. Funny, intellectually probing and poignant, the story follows the flailing and hapless Meyer seeking hope and redemption as his world unravels around him. Surrounded by the absurdity of an ageing America, the affection of flawed but well-meaning friends and family and the randomness of everyday life, Meyer tries gamely to stay afloat.

He must navigate love lost and found and lost, the indignities of ageing, the courage to stand up to assholes and the search for the perfect sax solo. Will Meyer find his grace? Can he, or we, ever?

About the author

Steven Boykey Sidley has divided his adult life between the USA and South Africa. He has meandered through careers as an animator, chief technology officer for a Fortune 500 company, jazz musician, software developer, video game designer, private equity investor and high technology entrepreneur. He currently lives in Johannesburg with his wife and two children. Sidley’s novel Entanglement is the winner of the 2013 University of Johannesburg Prize (Debut) and was shortlisted that same year for The Sunday Times Fiction Prize and The MNet Literary Award. In 2014, Sidley’s second novel Stepping Out was shortlisted for the UJ Main Prize.

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Pan Macmillan South Africa acquires first book by Trevor Noah

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Pan Macmillan South Africa is thrilled to announce that it will publish Trevor Noah’s forthcoming book in November 2016.

Pan Macmillan South Africa has acquired southern African rights to comedian Trevor Noah’s first book, a collection of personal stories about growing up in South Africa during the last gasps of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that came with its demise.

Already known for his incisive social and political commentary, here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers an intimate look at the world that shaped him. These are true stories, told in the tradition of David Sedaris – sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious. Whether subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically hapless attempts at teenage romance, from the time he was thrown in jail to the time he was thrown from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters, the experiences covered in this book will shock and amaze, even as they leave you rolling on the floor with laughter.

Terry Morris, MD of Pan Macmillan South Africa, says: “Trevor Noah captured the hearts of South Africans long before he took up the helm at The Daily Show.

“His incisive, intelligent brand of humour became the perfect antidote to the stresses of life in South Africa. His international success has become our collective success and we so look forward to working with Trevor to bring his unique voice to print.”

Trevor Noah said: “I couldn’t find a good book about myself so I decided to write one. And just like me this book doesn’t have an appendix.”

Rights were acquired from Abner Stein on behalf of Peter McGuigan of Foundry Media, Inc. The book, as yet untitled, will be published in print and electronic form in southern Africa in November 2016.

For all press enquiries please contact Laura Hammond at Pan Macmillan

For all translation rights enquiries please contact Kirsten Neuhaus at Foundry Literary + Media in New York

Image: Supplied


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Idris Elba: Mandela, My Dad and Me To Be Screened Locally

Photo @ Liam Dickson

 
The non-scripted film that followed British actor Idris Elba as he went on a journey of self-discovery after starring in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom will be airing on local TVs this month.

DSTV’s History Channel (186) will be screening Idris Elba: Mandela, My Dad & Me on Sunday, 6 December, at 8:30 PM. This documentary “not only documents one man’s struggle in producing his first album, but also his emotional quest to pay a fitting tribute to two inspirational men”.

After his role as the late first democratically elected president of South Africa Elba was inspired to produce an album with music that Mandela himself would have listened to. Before embarking on the project, Elba’s father sadly passed away, sending the album and eventual film in a whole other direction.

Watch the trailer to see what you can expect:

 

Media Update reported on the local screening of this fascinating documentary film:

Elba says; “Although difficult at times, Mandela, My Dad and Me was an incredibly fulfilling project and I’m thrilled to bring the film to Africa. HISTORY offers the perfect platform to share this story and I hope viewers will enjoy following my journey while producing my album mi Mandela, which is a tribute to my father and to Madiba, one the world’s most inspirational icons.’’

Mandela by Anant Singh, Ahmed Kathrada and William Nicholson serves as a historical companion to Elba’s biopic.

Mandela

 
Related links:

 

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Image courtesy of Liam Dickson


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Catch Tony Park on His International Book Tour for the Launch of An Empty Coast

Invitation to the launch of An Empty Coast

 
An Empty CoastPan Macmillan would like to invite you to celebrate the launch of An Empty Coast by Tony Park at various events during his book tour in South Africa and Namibia.

The tour kicked off this week in Johannesburg, and Cape Town is next in line to meet the author.

Join Park on Thursday, 3 December, in The Palmyra Room at Kelvin Grove Club at 12 for 12:30 PM, and at the Dros Restaurant in Willowbridge at 6 for 6:30 PM.

On Friday, 4 December, Park is moving on to Namibia, where he will talk about his book at The Book Den at 1 PM and at Steak House Zum Grünen Kranz at 6 PM. On Saturday, 5 December, Park will be at Die Muschel Book & Art in Swakopmund at 6 PM.

On Monday, 7 December, the author will be at Exclusive Books Nelspruit at 6 for 6:30 PM and on Tuesday, 15 December, he will visit PNA Tzaneen at 6 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Cape Town

 

 
 
Namibia

 

 

 
 
Nelspruit

 
 
Tzaneen

  • Date: Tuesday, 15 December 2015
  • Time: 6 PM
  • Venue: PNA Tzaneen
    Shop 7
    Voortrekker Road
    Avispark
    Tzaneen | Map
  • RSVP: laura@panmacmillan.co.za, 011 731 3344

 
About the book

A father will do anything to solve the mystery of his son’s disappearance.
A mother will do anything to find her daughter.
A man tries to keep both parents alive.

Sonja Kurtz – former soldier, supposedly retired mercenary – is in Vietnam carrying out a personal revenge mission when her daughter sends a call for help.

Emma is on a dig at the edge of Namibia’s Etosha National Park studying archaeology and she’s discovered a body that dates back to the country’s liberation war of the 1980s.

The remains, identified as Hudson Brand, are a key piece of a puzzle that will reveal the location of a modern-day buried treasure. A find people will kill for. Sonja returns to the country of her birth to help Emma, but she’s missing.

Former CIA agent Hudson Brand is very much alive and is also drawn back to Namibia to finally solve a decades-old mystery whose clues are entombed in an empty corner of the desert.

“Australian author Park, who spends much of this time living in South Africa, writes in the same vein as Wilbur Smith and Bryce Courtenay, with a deep love for the African bush and wildlife.” – Sunday Age

“Tony Park has the uncanny ability to keep the reader reading and guessing.” – Sydney Morning Herald

About the author

Tony Parks has worked as a reporter, a press secretary, a PR consultant and a freelance writer. He is also a major in the Australian Army Reserve and served in Afghanistan in 2002. Tony and his wife divide their time between Sydney and southern Africa where they own a home on the border of the Kruger National Park. He is the author of eleven novels set in Africa.
 
Also read:

 

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