An Imperfect Blessing by Nadia Davids

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It is 1993. South Africa is on the brink of total transformation and in Walmer Estate, a busy suburb on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, fourteen-year-old Alia Dawood is about to undergo a transformation of her own. She watches with fascination and fear as the national drama unfolds, longing to be a part of what she knows to be history in the making. As her revolutionary aspirations strengthen in the months before the elections, her intense, radical Uncle Waleed reappears, forcing her parents and sister Nasreen to confront his subversive and dangerous past.

Nadia Davids‘ first novel moves across generations and communities, through the suburbs to the city centre, from the lush gardens of private schools to the dingy bars of Observatory, from landmark mosques and churches to the manic procession of the Cape Carnival, through evictions, rebellions, political assassinations and first loves. The book places one family’s story at the heart of a country’s rebirth and interrogates issues of faith, race, belonging and freedom.

An Imperfect Blessing is a vibrant, funny and moving debut.

About the author

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Nadia Davids’ work has been published, produced and performed in southern Africa, Europe and the United States. She was awarded the 2003 Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for new directors for her play At Her Feet and in 2008 received three Fleur de Cap Award nominations for Cissie. Nadia Davids holds a PhD in Drama from UCT and lives in Lon­don, where she lectures in the Drama Department at Queen Mary’s, University of London.

Follow Nadia on Twitter HERE and like her page on Facebook HERE

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781415207154

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When the Bough Breaks by Casey B. Dolan

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Amber Whittington-Jones is dying of cancer. In her last days she writes a series of letters to her son and husband, explaining her actions and begging for forgiveness. Late one night she is rushed to hospital, having slipped and fallen in the bathroom, and in the confusion that follows her admission someone – her lover, her husband, her son – silences her forever.

An extraordinary novel which keeps the reader guessing to the very last page,When the Bough Breaks is the work of a born storyteller – a compelling, sexy, fast-paced tale of love, addiction and infidelity.

 Courtesy of Kwela, click HERE to read an extract.

About the author

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Casey B. Dolan began her TV career as a continuity presenter. Thereafter followed the controversial series 37 Honey Street, in which the first-ever lesbian kiss was shown on South African TV. Her acting debut was followed by dramas such as KeleboneBoomspruit and Backstage. She also presented for Jika MajikaFresh, 20something and Top Billing.

Casey also had a stint on radio in 2000, working on the afternoon drive show for 5fm. She was voted FHM’s Sexiest Woman in South Africa (and the second Sexiest Woman in the World) by South African readers the same year.

More recently, Casey has appeared in a number of movies (working with both local and international directors), including Sumuru, directed by Darrell Roodt, No Man’s Gold, Lost Boys: The Thirst, directed by Dario Piana, Skeem and Copposites.

Casey achieved Springbok status in Karate and has already published an autobiography, An Appetite for Peas (Kwela Books), followed by her first novel, When the Bough Breaks.

View Casey‘s website HERE

Follow Casey on Twitter HERE and like her page on Facebook HERE

Published by Kwela (An imprint of NB Publishers)

ISBN: 9780795706608

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Chester Missing’s Guide to the Elections ‘14

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“I know puppets don’t usually write books, but puppets also don’t usually interview heads of political parties, cabinet ministers and the public protector on national television, or write for newspapers, or get involved in debates with actual political professors on radio shows. The most satisfying part of being a puppet is that no matter what you say you never have to take responsibility for saying it, so really being a puppet is just like being a politician.”

Chester Missing is one of South Africa’s most prominent political commentators. His hard hitting, no holds barred analysis of South Africa’s socio-political landscape leaves public figures running for cover. Another thing about this book is that if you don’t know who Gwede Mantashe is, don’t worry. That’s what I am here for, to tell you know that if you look for the hairiest comrade in the room, one who sounds like a diesel engine, and is kind of beach ball shaped, that comrade is probably ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Give him a hug. It makes him growl. Chester is a regular on eTV and eNCA’s Emmy Award-winning satirical comedy, Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola. Chester has performed on the comedy circuit, appearing in shows such as Blacks Only, The Metro FM Comedy Experience, and the Vodacom Funny Festival. His importance to the South African political landscape was highlighted when he was invited to cover the ANC Elections at Mangaung as part of eNCA’s team of reporters.

“The EFF want to apply a Thomas Sankara (awesome previous president of Burkina Faso) type solution where all public officials use government services, earn modest salaries and drive modest cars. Why am I skeptical? One word: Breitling.”

View Chester Missing‘s website HERE

Follow Chester on Twitter HERE and like his Facebook page HERE

Published by Jacana Media

ISBN: 9781431410699

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RIP Sue Townsend

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The author Sue Townsend, whose most popular character Adrian Mole defined a generation, has died at the age of 68.

She was best known for the fictional diaries of Adrian Mole, who began confiding his deepest desires and ambitions in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole 13 3/4 in 1982. His teenage years were recounted in The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole and further novels dealt with married life and middle age.

Townsend died on Thursday evening after a stroke. As the news of Townsend‘s death broke, tributes were paid to the writer on Twitter. Stephen Mangan, the actor who played Adrian Mole in a TV adaptation of the books, tweeted: “Greatly upset to hear that Sue Townsend has died. One of the warmest, funniest and wisest people I ever met.”

Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random House UK, her publisher said she will be remembered as “one in a handful of this country’s great comic writers”.

“She was loved by generations of readers, not only because she made them laugh out loud, but because her view of the world, its inhabitants and their frailties was so generous, life affirming and unique,” he said.

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BAILEYS Women’s Prize for Fiction – 2014 Shortlist

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction – the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman – has announced the 2014 shortlist.

This year’s six shortlisted books were whittled down from a twenty-strong longlist and it boasts one previous Orange Prize winner, one previously shortlisted author and three debut novelists.

Shortlist - Baileys

  • Chimamanda Ngozia Adiche – Americanah
  • Hannah Kent – Burial Rites
  • Jhumpa Lahiri – The Lowland
  • Audrey Magee – The Undertaking
  • Eimear McBride – A Girl is a Half Formed Thing
  • Donna Tartt – The Goldfinch

The judges must now choose an overall winner, who will be announced on 4th June 2014.

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The Chicken Thief by Fiona Leonard

Fiona Leonard - The Chicken Thief HR

Alois is The Chicken Thief, a bright young man struggling to find his way in a southern African country wracked by political unrest and a crumbling economy. Through a chance encounter, Alois is set to make some fast money. But the enterprise goes horribly wrong, and he finds himself in a complicated and perilous struggle to rescue a war hero and transform the political landscape. Though an unlikely hero, Alois discovers, in this charming and fast-paced adventure, that both dreams and justice are within his grasp.

Courtesy of Penguin BooksRead an extract from The Chicken Thief by Fiona Leonard.

About the author

Fiona Leonard Profile Photo HR

Fiona Leonard has a gypsy soul that has carried her across twenty countries on four continents. She has worked as a diplomat, foreign and trade policy consultant, freelance writer, theatre producer, blogger, home schooler and author, and sometimes several of these at once. She lives in Ghana, West Africa, for now.

Follow Fiona on Twitter @FionaJLeonard and visit her blog at www.fionaleonard.net

Like The Chicken Thief’s Facebook page HERE

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143538554

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The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

The One Plus One is the beautiful, poignant and utterly compelling new novel by the internationally bestselling author Jojo Moyes.

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One single mum

With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it’s hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn’t. Because you have to . . .

One chaotic family

Jess’s gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she’ll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess’s teenage stepson, can’t fight the bullies alone.

Sometimes Jess feels like they’re sinking . . .                              

One handsome stranger

Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it’s like to be lonely. And he wants to help . . .

One unexpected love story

The One Plus One is a captivating and unconventional romance from Jojo Moyes about two lost souls meeting in the most unlikely circumstances.

Courtesy of Penguin Books, click HERE to read an extract.

About the Author

Jojo-Moyes

Jojo Moyes was born in 1969 and grew up in London. After a varied career including stints as a minicab controller, typer of braille statements for blind people for NatWest, and brochure writer for Club 18-30 she did a degree at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. In 1992 she won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to attend the postgraduate newspaper journalism course at City University, and apart from 1994 when she worked in Hong Kong for the Sunday Morning Post, she worked at The Independent for ten years, including stints as Assistant news editor and Arts and Media Correspondent.

She has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain was published. She lives on a farm in Essex with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.

View Jojo‘s website HERE.

Follow Jojo Moyes on Twitter.

Like Jojo Moyes‘ page on Facebook.

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780718177003

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Digging Deep by Jade Davenport

Digging Deep

Before the advent of its great mineral revolution in the latter half of the 19th century, South Africa was a sleepy colonial backwater whose unpromising landscape was seemingly devoid of any economic potential. Yet lying just beneath the dusty surface of the land lay the richest treasure trove of gold, diamonds, platinum, coal and a host of other metals and minerals that has ever been discovered in one country. It was the discovery and exploitation of first diamonds in 1870 and then gold in 1886 that proved the catalyst to the greatest mineral revolution the world has ever known, which transformed South Africa into the greatest industrialised power on the African continent. Here for the first time is the complete history of South Africa’s phenomenal mineral revolution spanning a period of more than 150 years, from its earliest commercial beginnings to the present day, incorporating seven of the major commodities that have been exploited.

Digging Deep describes the establishment and unparalleled growth of mining, tracing the history of the industry from its humble beginnings where copper was first mined on a commercial basis in Namaqualand in the Cape Colony in the early 1850s, to the discovery and exploitation of the country’s other major mineral commodities. However, this is also the story of how mining gave rise to modern South Africa and how it compelled the country to develop and progress the way in which it did. It also incorporates the stories of the visionary men – Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Beit, Barney Barnato, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, Sammy Marks and Hans Merensky – who pioneered and shaped the development of the industry on which modern South Africa was built.

About the Author

Digging Deep - Author

Jade Davenport, the author of Digging Deep: A History of Mining in South Africa, is a historian, journalist and columnist based in Johannesburg. Since early childhood Jade‘s passion has been rooted in the history of South Africa, a passion stemming largely from many holidays spent exploring the historical landscape of the country.

After completing her undergraduate and Honours degrees in Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town, Jade began writing for Mining Weekly in 2005. She has worked for the publication in various capacities, from features writer, news reporter, freelance correspondent and columnist, for the last nine years.

In 2007, Jade married her passion for history with her growing interest in the subject of the South African mining industry through a Master of Arts degree at the University of Cape Town.

Over the last few years Jade‘s focus has evolved to encompass the active promotion and preservation of South Africa’s mining heritage.

View Digging Deep‘s Facebook page HERE

Follow Jade on Twitter HERE

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN: 9781868424238

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Unbelievable! by Chad le Clos and Myan Subrayan

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At the 2012 Olympics Chad le Clos, a twenty-year-old from Durban, astounded the world by achieving the ‘unbelievable’: he beat Michael Phelps, his childhood hero and the world’s number one swimmer, in the 200 metres butterfly final.

Unbelievable! is about the making of a swimming sensation – in the words of the golden boy himself, his family and those who have stood by him from the start. It is an encouraging account of realising the ultimate goal, not through chance, but with the resolute support of family and friends and Chad’s own relentless dedication to his sport.

Taking its title from his dad, Bert le Clos’, famous exclamation on BBC TV when his son defeated Phelps, this book follows Chad’s rise to Olympic stardom. An inspirational story for all wishing to achieve beyond what may seem possible.

View Chad‘s website HERE

Like Chad‘s page on Facebook HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE

About the author

Myan

Myan Subrayan is a writer and motivational speaker, and works with top sportspeople and professional teams as a life coach. He is the author of Pierre Spies: More than Rugby and Inga: My Story, biography of former All Black Inga Tuigamala.

View Myan‘s website HERE

View Myan‘s Facebook page HERE

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143538653

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Half of One Thing by Zirk van den Berg

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Gideon Lancaster, a New Zealand soldier fighting for the British, infiltrates a Boer commando.  He soon finds himself entangled in a confusion of loyalties as he becomes better acquainted with the men and, worse, falls in love with Esther Calitz, a Boer woman of considerable mettle who demands his loyalty over every other allegiance. Between Esther and Commandant Jacob Eksteen, his taciturn rival in love and a man of clear black-and-white convictions, Lancaster navigates his way only with great difficulty. So powerful are the conflicting demands of fidelity and love that he seizes a quixotic opportunity when a large British battalion is mobilised in what is to be the final triumph of the imperial forces.

About the Author

Zirk van den Berg 1 (must be credited if used)

Zirk van den Berg made his literary debut with a volume of Afrikaans short stories in 1989, followed by a short historical novel. After moving to New Zealand in 1998, he switched to writing in English. His crime novel, Nobody Dies, was published to considerable acclaim in New Zealand and saw an Afrikaans edition released as ’n Ander mens in South Africa in 2013. Half of One Thing is his first English novel to appear in his native South Africa. Van den Berg is a language practitioner in Auckland.

View Zirk‘s Twitter page HERE

Published by Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143538622

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