Karavan Press title: FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons

“Stephen Symons’s new collection is engineered for flight, gliding its way between the heavy and the weightless, memory and forgetting. It is a self-proclaimed ‘language of feathers’ that makes this flight possible, a spiritual athleticism that brings to mind George Herbert, whose idea was that the ‘fall furthers the flight in me.’ Symons’s skill is in creating a fathomable sphere for the dimensions of war, contextualizing the enormous facts with small detail, whether referencing Amichai’s ‘diameters of bombs/and sadness of open closets’ or exploring the weightless dross of childhood in the beautiful piece ‘My son was conscripted.’ Symons creates an epicentre of violence by means of an exquisite prose poem sequence that reverberates even to the quietest poems in the book. But the work, as in all of Symons’s poetry, keeps thrusting us back into the present with all its perfect natural math as counter to aftermath: a child’s laughter; sunlight trickling over mossed stones; a ballet of cormorants. This is a beautiful book by one of South Africa’s most tender poets of witness.”

— David Keplinger, author of Another City (Milkweed Editions, 2018), and The Long Answer: New and Selected Poems (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020)

ISBN: 978-1-990992-56-8

Publication date: 9 November 2020.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

STEPHEN SYMONS has published poetry and short-fiction in journals, magazines and anthologies, locally and internationally. His debut collection, Questions for the Sea (uHlanga, 2016) received an honourable mention for the 2017 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, and was also shortlisted for the 2017 Ingrid Jonker Prize. His unpublished collection Spioenkop was a semi-finalist for the Hudson Prize for Poetry (USA) in 2015. His second collection, Landscapes of Light and Loss, was published by Dryad Press in 2018.

Symons holds a PhD in History (University of Pretoria) and an MA in Creative Writing (University of Cape Town). He lives with his family in Oranjezicht, Cape Town.

Author photograph by Carol Bradley.

Karavan Press title: Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

Joanne Hichens lost first her mother, then, in quick succession, her husband, her father and her mother-in-law – two deaths anticipated, two coming as the worst kind of shock. In this memoir of grief and recovery, she writes with honesty and humour of death, our ‘constant companion’, and the stumbling journey through the country of grief. By turns searing and sparkling, her account gives compelling insight into the losses that stalk us all, while also celebrating the mainstays of life – friendship, family, and the memories of those we love and lose.

ISBN: 978-0-9946805-5-6

Publication date: 2 November 2020

“If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.”
— Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JOANNE HICHENS, author and editor, lives in Cape Town. She has edited numerous short story anthologies, including Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity, Bloody Satisfied, the award-winning Adults Only, Incredible Journey, Die Laughing and Trade Secrets. Her crime novels are Out to Score (co-written), Divine Justice (soon to be published in the United States), and Sweet Paradise. Her YA novels, Stained and Riding the Wave, were both shortlisted for the Sanlam Literature Award. 

Author photograph by Rob Turrell.

Karavan Press title: Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh

‘Hi,’ he said. He had perfect teeth.
We clinked glasses, his martini with my local craft gin cocktail.
‘Let it fall where it will,’ he said.

The die is cast in Lester Walbrugh’s debut collection of stories. Set in the Western
Cape and in Japan, Let It Fall Where It Will showcases the stunning versatility of the
author. Ranging from witty to poignant, occasionally employing magic realism to
great effect, the stories capture a vibrant chorus of voices and fearlessly explore
contemporary topics of identity and sexuality while illuminating South Africa’s
troubled past and the shadows it throws on our present.

The rooms are aglow, another morning with portals of light. Its clarity is blinding.

ISBN: 978-1-990931-91-8

Publication date: 2 November 2020

“A thrilling debut … gritty and intimate. Walbrugh’s prose, whether in the Cape
vernacular or standard, illuminates a diverse world with subtlety and wit.”
— Zoë Wicomb

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LESTER WALBRUGH is from Grabouw in the Western Cape. His acclaimed short stories have been published in, among others, the anthologies of Short.Sharp.Stories and Short Story Day Africa, New Contrast and, most recently, Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity. He has lived in the UK and Japan and is currently back in his hometown, working on his first novel.

Author photograph by Francois F. Swanepoel.

The Book Lounge – Karavan Press Pre-Order Specials

For the whole of October, if you pre-order either of the below titles, you will receive 20% off the retail price! The Book Lounge will also deliver free of charge within 20km of the store, and will arrange signed/dedicated copies as requested. Both books will be published early November. Click the cover images to pre-order on The Book Lounge website, or send them an email to request an invoice.

Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh

The Book Lounge pre-order special: R224

“A thrilling debut … gritty and intimate. Walbrugh’s prose, whether in the Cape vernacular or standard, illuminates a diverse world with subtlety and wit.”

— Zoë Wicomb

Lester Walbrugh is from Grabouw in the Western Cape. His acclaimed short stories have been published in, among others, Short.Sharp.Stories’s Die Laughing, Short Story Day Africa’s anthologies, New Contrast and most recently, Hair: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity. He has lived in the UK and Japan and is currently back in his hometown, working on his first novel.  

Let It Fall Where It Will is Lester Walbrugh’s debut collection of stories. Set in the Cape and Japan, the stories showcase the stunning versatility of the author. Ranging from witty to poignant, they capture a fascinating diversity of voices and fearlessly explore contemporary topics of identity and sexuality as well as South Africa’s deeply troubled past. A few employ magic realism to great effect. The book’s epigraph and title were inspired by Adam Small’s poem, ‘Die Here het gaskommel’. 

die Here het gaskommel 

en die dice het verkeerd geval vi’ ons 

daai’s maar al 

Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens

The Book Lounge pre-order special: R256

“If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.”

— Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy

Joanne Hichens, author and editor, lives in Cape Town. She has edited numerous short story anthologies, including Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories, Hair: Weaving and Unpicking Stories of Identity, Bloody Satisfied, the award-winning Adults Only, Incredible Journey, Die Laughing and Trade Secrets. Her crime novels are Out to Score (co-written), Divine Justice (soon to be published in the United States), and Sweet Paradise. Her YA novels, Stained and Riding the Wave, were both shortlisted for the Sanlam Literature Award. 

Joanne Hichens lost, in quick succession, her husband, both her parents, and her mother-in-law – two deaths anticipated, two coming as the worst kind of shock. In this memoir of grief and recovery, she writes with honesty and humour of death, our ‘constant companion’, and the stumbling journey through the country of grief. By turns searing and sparkling, her account gives compelling insight into the losses that stalk us all, while also celebrating the mainstays of life – friendship, family, and the memories of those we love and lose.

Cover reveal: DEATH AND THE AFTER PARTIES by Joanne Hichens

It is pure joy to share the cover of the forthcoming Karavan Press title with you. Without further ado:

‘If you have loved, lost or grieved … then this book will resonate deeply. Searching for a new place in her changed world, Joanne Hichens reminds us that especially in our darkest moments we need to embrace our vulnerability in order to find strength. Tender, courageous, compelling.’ 

– Tracy Going, author of Brutal Legacy 

Karavan Press books at The Alma Café Traders’ Market on 15 August

Karavan Press and Brink books

Writer and Karavan Press publisher, Karina M. Szczurek, will be offering a selection of new and second-hand books by Karavan Press authors and a few titles by her late husband, André Brink, as well as her own books for sale at the Alma Café Traders’ Market on Saturday, 15 August 2020, between 10:00AM and 1:00PM. Price range: R20 to R200. Part of the proceeds from the book sale will be donated to The Alma Café.

The Alma Café, 20 Alma Road, Rosebank, Cape Town.

For more info, please see: The Alma Café Traders’ Market, karavanpress.com and karinamagdalena.com.

 

Mignonne Breier’s comments on Breaking Milk and the ‘physicality’ of Dawn Garisch’s writing

Breaking Milk cover

I wanted to express what I find unusual and fascinating about your writing – which this book seemed to exemplify – and I needed to think about it. I know you talk about ‘embodied’ writing. I am not sure exactly how you define that, but having read six of your books now I am going to try to articulate what I think is the ‘physicality’ of your writing.

I think your writing takes one to the edges of human experience and tells us what it is like to be there. Your knowledge of the human body makes it possible for you to describe what one can barely imagine – being the mother and grandmother of conjoined twins in this case – and tell us what it is like, in a physical as well as emotional way. (Other examples: the relationship between Phyllis and the young boy in Trespass, and the ‘accident’ in Accident). Your writing takes one to the edge of what many of us have been taught to regard as acceptable subjects to speak or write about. You write as elegantly about urinating and defecating, sex and orgasms as you do about mountains and music and ideas. Breaking Milking also seems to be particularly well-researched, yet one never gets a sense of the labour that must have been involved. You write as if you were a cheesemaker yourself!

I continue to be a great admirer of your writing.

Dr Mignonne Breier is an author and academic based in Cape Town.

(Personal note posted with permission of the author.)