WINNERS of the 2013 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and Fiction Prize

The winners of the 2013 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and the Fiction Prize were announced last night.  Congratulations go to …

Redi Thlabi - Endings and Beginnings

REDI TLHABI, for her book Endings & Beginnings – winner of the Alan Paton Award.  This award is given for a work of non-fiction that promotes “the illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it which are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power; compassion; elegance of writing; and intellectual and moral integrity”.

And …

Karen Jayes For the Mercy of Water

KAREN JAYES, for her book For the Mercy of Water – winner of the Fiction Prize. This prize is given for a “work of rare imagination and style, evocative, textured and a tale so compelling as to become an enduring landmark in contemporary fiction”.




We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

‘To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in – who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?’


Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn’t all bad, though. There’s mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges – for her and also for those she’s left behind.

“Bulawayo’s use of contemporary culture, as well as her fearless defense of the immigrant experience through honouring the cadence of spoken language, sets this book apart.” – Oprah magazine

“Darling is 10 when we first meet her, and the voice Ms Bulawayo has fashioned for her is utterly distinctive – by turns unsparing and lyrical, unsentimental and poetic, spiky and meditative… stunning novel… remarkably talented author.” – Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

About the Author


NoViolet Bulawayo was born in Tsholotsho a year after Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule. When she was eighteen she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2011 she won the Caine Prize for African Writing and in 2009 she was shortlisted for the South Africa PEN Studzinski Award, judged by JM Coetzee.

Her work has appeared in magazines and in anthologies in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK. She earned her MFA at Cornell University, where she was also awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship, and she is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University in California.

View NoViolet’s website HERE and like her page on Facebook HERE

Published by Random House Struik

ISBN: 9780701188047

Dystopia by James Siddall


From Glittering Media Career to Sordid Shebeen Gutter – and Back Again


From highflying Playboy editor to pathetic, homeless alcoholic, this account charts an Icarian fall from grace. It’s the sobering tell-all tale of a young, successful, arrogant, hard-drinking journalist who, in his meltdown, becomes the scourge of pubs around South Africa. Regularly found comatose, collapsed in a puddle of his own excesses, he became a frequent patient in lock-down psychiatric wards, confronting himself after being granted a court-order for two years in rehab.

The story stands out in a world awash with so-called misery memoirs and victim literature, providing a new take on addiction. Far from being a mere account of sordidness and degradation, it also peels away the misconceptions about this disease.

This is a story of triumph: a broken man finds his way home to become a functioning human being again and a working journalist. Delving deeply into the myths and misinformation surrounding addiction, the book provides an examination of a condition that’s been dubbed “the most democratic and painful of all diseases.”

Written by the brilliant and award-winning James Siddall, this is the book James Frey could have produced if he told the whole truth.


About the author

James Siddall is a freelance journalist who has previously worked on a host of publications, from Scope magazine and South African Playboy to the Zululand Observer. He specialises in motoring and lifestyle writing, as well as corporate journalism.

You can follow James on Twitter HERE

Published by MF Books, an imprint of Jacana Media

ISBN: 9781920601003

Zebra Crossing by Meg Vandermerwe

Set in the underbelly of a pulsating Cape Town, Meg Vandermerwe’s Zebra Crossing is a bold, lyrical imagining of what it might feel like to live in another’s skin.


Ghost. Ape. Living dead. Young Chipo has been called many names, but to her mother – Zimbabwe ’s most loyal Manchester United supporter – she had always just been Chipo, meaning gift.

On the eve of the World Cup, Chipo and her brother flee to Cape Town hoping for a better life and to share in the excitement of the greatest sporting event ever to take place in Africa.

But the Mother City ’s infamous Long Street is a dangerous place for an illegal immigrant and albino. Soon Chipo is caught up in a get-rich-quick scheme organised by her brother and the terrifying Dr Ongani.

Exploiting gamblers’ superstitions about albinism, they plan to make money and get out before rumours of looming xenophobic attacks become reality. However, their scheming has devastating consequences.

About the author


Meg Vandermerwe was born in South Africa in 1978. She read English at Oxford University and holds Masters degrees from the universities of Sussex and East Anglia. She teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of the Western Cape and lives in Cape Town. Zebra Crossing is her second book.

Published by Umuzi (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN 9781415203927

Confessions of a Hungry Woman by Sam Woulidge

Confessions of a Hungry Woman began as a monthly column for Woolworths’ Taste magazine, and gradually grew into what Sam Woulidge describes as a ‘love letter’, to food and foreign places, but ultimately to South Africa.


After four years of travelling the world, sampling every delicacy the globe could offer, the tastes of home drew Sam and her husband back to the southern shore of Africa. But returning home meant domesticity and culinary challenges, and, by her own admission, Sam had always been wary of both: ‘I don’t want to work too hard in the kitchen and I would really rather share a glass of wine with my guests than worry over fussy, higher-grade-science-required recipes.’ And so she asked some friends to share their fail-proof recipes with her, recipes with the guarantee that if she could make them, anybody could.

Confessions of a Hungry Woman is a cookbook of two parts. Firstly, it is a compilation of 45 columns previously published in Taste, in which Sam takes the reader on a personal journey as she discovers the exotic flavours of foreign places, reminisces about the carefree tastes of childhood and recreates the nostalgic aromas of home. Secondly, it is a celebration of 14 of Sam’s foodie friends. Each was charged with producing a menu for 6 people featuring relatively effortless, but nonetheless impressive, dishes.

Featuring 45 recipes, each one tried and tested by Sam herself, Confessions of a Hungry Woman will inspire and delight both the novice cook and the seasoned professional, with its beautiful photography and Sam’s honest, witty and sometimes sombre writing.

About the author


Sam Woulidge is a Cape Town-based journalist. She has edited various magazines including Cape ReviewCape Etc, Time Out Cape Town and Eat Out. She started writing the Confessions of a Hungry Woman column for Woolworths’ Taste magazine in 2006 when she first embarked on what would eventually become a four-year adventure travelling the world with her husband, Jacques, who was employed as a ship’s doctor onboard various luxury cruise ships and ocean liners. Among others, Sam freelances for ElleVisi and Taste. She is also a popular food blogger.

You can visit her blog HERE

Like her page on Facebook HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Published by Ekhaya (An imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN: 9781432300081

21 Yaks and a Speedo by Lewis Pugh

Lewis Pugh knows oceans. He was the first to complete a long distance swim in every ocean of the world, and has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other person in history. He swam across the icy waters of the North Pole to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice, and across a glacial lake on Mt Everest to draw attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayan glaciers.

It was there that he met his first Yak.


Trekking behind them up the icy slopes, watching them cross skeletal bridges over dizzying ravines, and listening to them breathe outside his bivouac each night, Lewis got to thinking about the things he most admires in a yak. And found that those qualities were not unlike the ones that enabled him to meet his own challenges – and achieve things that people believed to be impossible.

The ’21 Yaks’ collected here are the key lessons Lewis took home from each adventure. From swimming in sub-zero temperatures (famously, in nothing more than a speedo), to dodging harbourmasters (in Sydney and London) and Great White sharks (off the southern coast of Africa), to facing off to the Russians in a new kind of Cold War (in frozen Finland), Lewis developed strategies for pushing the boundaries of what is humanly possible. These were not just feats of physical stamina and endurance, but about overcoming the psychological obstacles to success. And his strategies are as applicable to business and personal development as they are to extreme sports.

In 21 Yaks and a Speedo Lewis shares his ability to dream big dreams, build crack teams, and get the job done. You’ll be inspired by his devotion to excellence, his loyalty to his crew, and his belief in never giving up. The principles are simple, but effective. Stick by them, he says, and they’ll see you through.

Lewis is a vivid storyteller. His efforts to spread awareness of the fragility of our global ecosystem, and the dangers that threaten our oceans, have made him one of the world’s most popular public speakers. He’s been nicknamed ‘the human polar bear’ and ‘the people’s porpoise’. As US President Bill Clinton observed, “Lewis Pugh doesn’t tell us what to do, he shows us what can be done.”

These are the 21 strategies Lewis used to achieve what no one thought was possible. So now you can too.

About the Author


Lewis Pugh, (born 5 December 1969) is a British environmental campaigner, maritime lawyer and endurance swimmer.

In 2010 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for his ‘potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership.’ In the same year his autobiography Achieving the Impossible was published, quickly becoming a bestseller.

View Lewis‘ website HERE

View his Facebook HERE and his Twitter HERE

Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers

ISBN 9781868425730

Movie Release of Spud 2: The Madness Continues

The big screen adaptation of the second Spud book – Spud: The Madness Continues …, written by John van de Ruit, hits our big screens today!

View the official trailer HERE

View the movie’s Facebook page HERE and follow the movie on Twitter HERE


The year is 1991, and Spud Milton’s long walk to manhood is still creeping along at an unnervingly slow pace. Approaching the ripe old age of fifteen and still no highly anticipated pubescent signs of manhood, Spud is coming to terms with the fact that he may well be a freak of nature. With a mother hell-bent on emigrating, a father making a killing out of selling homemade moonshine, and a demented grandmother called Wombat, the new year seems to offer little except extreme embarrassment and more mortifying Milton madness.

But Spud is returning to a boarding school where he is no longer the youngest or the smallest among the boys. His dormitory mates, known as the Crazy Eight, have an unusual new member and his house has a new clutch of first years. If Spud thinks his second year will be a breeze, however, he is seriously mistaken. He is soon beset with girl trouble, coerced into misguided late-night adventures, and finds his dreams of a famous career on the stage in tatters after landing the part of the ‘Dove of Peace’ in a disastrous house play production of Noah’s Ark.

To top it all off, boarding master Sparerib and his prefects, Death Breath and Earthworm are devising a devious plan to get Spud and the Crazy 8 expelled. If you have read the book, you know that the film will be hilarious, bitter-sweet, tragic and real. Join Spud as he takes another tentative step forward while all around him the madness continues.

About the author


John van de Ruit is an actor, playwright and author who was educated at Michaelhouse and received a Masters degree in Drama and Performance studies from the University of KwaZulu – Natal. His debut novel, Spud, is a publishing phenomenon in South Africa, smashing all local fiction records.

Following Spud’s release in September 2005, the sequel Spud – The Madness Continues… (2007) received rave reviews and both books have since been published around the globe. The penultimate book in the side-splitting series, Spud – Learning to Fly, was released in June 2009. The final book in the series, Spud – Exit, Pursued by a Bear was released in August 2012.

The Spud series has sold over half a million copies in South Africa alone. A feature film of John’s first novel, Spud, was released in Southern Africa in December 2010 starring John Cleese and Troye Sivan. The first film debuted at number one at the South African box office and is being distributed internationally.

View John’s website HERE

View the Spud books Facebook page HERE

Follow John on Twitter HERE

Are Trout South African? by Duncan Brown


Are Trout South African? explores questions about the complex community of humans, fauna and flora that make up South Africa. ‘South Africanness’ usually refers to human identity, or at least to something with a valued place in our national history. In asking whether a fish species that was introduced as part of the process of colonial occupation could be called ‘South African’, this book uses discussions on trout, their history, the literature about them, scientific work on what is considered ‘indigenous’ or ‘alien’, as well as the author’s moving personal stories of fishing to provide an engaging and accessible exploration of a contested physical and cultural terrain.

Are Trout South African? will be of interest to anyone who is engaged with notions of how people belong or claim to belong, how people interact with landscapes, animals, plants or fish species, how our histories and family relationships may form around shared pursuits such as fishing, and, of course, what pleasures, complexities and contradictions there are in the activity of fly-fishing for trout in South Africa.

About the author


Duncan Brown caught his first fish at the age of four, and has fished ever since. He is happiest in or around water. He is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Professor of English at the University of the Western Cape. Brown has published widely in the field of South African literary and cultural studies.

Published by Picador Africa

ISBN: 9781770103023

African Brew by Lucy Corne and Ryno Reyneke


From beer’s porridge-like beginnings through to the cutting edge craft beers being poured across the country today, African Brew tells the story of South African beer. Join a pint-studded journey through seven provinces to meet the brewers, taste their beers and learn exactly what goes into that beverage you wouldn’t dream of braaiing without. There is also a section that covers up-and-coming breweries.

Delve deeper into food and beer pairing with delectable recipes from top South African chefs, each dish paired with a local lager or ale. And for those who don’t know the difference between the two, African Brew hopes to turn the beer novice into a connoisseur with tasting notes and troubleshooting tips showing you what to look for in your preferred pint.

Published by Umuzi (an imprint of Random House Struik)

ISBN 9781431702893

About the authors

Lucy Corne

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALucy Corne has worked as a travel writer for almost a decade, with work published in magazines, newspapers, guidebooks and anthologies around the world. Beer generally plays a large part in her travels, and breweries often appear above museums on a trip itinerary. When she is not writing or travelling, she can be found at her Cape Town home, enjoying her husband’s homebrewed ales and studying to become a certified beer judge.

View Lucy’s website HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE

Ryno Reyneke


Ryno Reyneke is an established food and décor photographer living and working in Cape Town. He has been commissioned to photograph over 30 food and lifestyle books, including Franschoek Food, Zhoosh and La Petit Ferme, working with some of the top foodies in the country. He is also a recognised figure in the local craft beer industry and is working towards the accredited Beer Judging Certificate (BJCP). Ryno is himself an enthusiastic craft beer brewer and recently launched his label ‘BruHouse’.

Follow Ryno on Twitter HERE

Exclusive Books inaugural Buddy Book Day: Saturday 22 June

GruffaloWhere can your kids meet their favourite story characters from books such as The Gruffalo, Where’s Wally, Maisy, Peter Rabbit and Babalela in one day? Exclusive Books are hosting Buddy Book Day for one day only on Saturday the 22nd of June 2013 at two of their flagship stores in Johannesburg – Bedford Centre and Morningside.

Peter RabbitParticipating in Buddy Book Day is free of charge! Reserve your space now for a fun-filled day of reading and games with exciting prizes up for grabs – the perfect place for family entertainment on an icy winter day.


Where's WallyThe Buddy Book Day activities on offer include story time, meeting the characters, colouring-in competitions, craft fun, games and fabulous prize giveaways. There are three time slots for Buddy Book Day, which means that there is room for everyone: 10h00-11h00, 12h00-13h00 and 14h00-15h00. Please book your child’s place by RSVPing to the email addresses below. 

EB Bedford Centre: or call (011) 616 1183

EB Morningside: or call (011) 798 0210