Questions Commonly Asked by Writers

Cathy Park Kelly

I love questions. Especially open-ended questions that somehow make us rethink what we thought we knew, that entice us to look at ourselves or at life from an unexpected angle.

And when I’m needing answers to questions that jostle restlessly inside me, I go to the page. As my pen shapes each word, as it moves from line to line, I know that eventually, the solutions will begin to form from the ink.

As writers contemplating any sort of creative project, we tend to have lots of queries. All About Writing recently hosted a webinar with me and my publisher, Karavan Press, attended by writers of all levels. The following are some of the questions that we didn’t have time to address online. I’ve picked two common ones that were asked in different ways by many of the attendees.

From Fred: My memoir is so personal that, as Karina…

View original post 772 more words

“Section 22” – a short story by Nick Mulgrew

Nick Mulgrew

Subtropical sounds nice, but it actually just means that it’s hot, and that when it isn’t hot, it rains.

Over the years he’s slid a fair bit down the hierarchy of needs. Technically he could rent through Social Housing, but he has enough coming in to get someplace on his own sweat. Not in Ifafa Beach or Hibberdene, no — more like Clansthal, a roomshare in Port Shepstone. The distance doesn’t matter — the road is his job. For now a house is an overexpenditure of effort. Maybe one day.

He’s used to it, this. His parents used to take him camping. Life is one long camping trip. It’s more convenient to live in the bakkie. He’s not a tall man anyway. He’s lined the fibreglass canopy with insulation, hooked up some curtains and a second battery. It’ll chow his alternator — but what else are things for other than to be used?

To be more specific, he empties bins. The classified in the Mercury said it was a plus if you came with your own car — you could cover a greater stretch. The municipality was trying to cut costs. He does the job of four people for the salary of just one …

minor literature(s)

Continue reading: “Section 22”

The story was runner-up in the Desperate Literature Prize for Short Fiction in 2021. There is still time to enter this year’s prize:

BOILING A FROG SLOWLY by Cathy Park Kelly launched at Love Books

There must be a thing like book launch envy, because I am definitely experiencing it. Boiling a Frog Slowly by Cathy Park Kelly was launched at the beautiful Love Books last night, and I really, really wish I could have been there. Cathy was in conversation with the fabulous Joburg author, Pamela Power.

This is what Pamela had to say about the launch:

During all of this, I had to prepare for the launch of Boiling a Frog SlowlyCathy Park Kelly’s Memoir published by Karavan Press about “love gone wrong”. It was FANTASTIC and more than a little emotional to be book-launching at Love Books after two years, and it was very exciting to meet Cathy in the flesh as we have only met online. The launch was packed and I saw a couple of familiar faces, including Nicola Cloete who is a former student of mine from WITS (and is now very fancy and much degreed), and her husband who is a former student of Cathy’s (nothing like meeting former students to make you feel seriously MATURE).

The book sold like hotcakes which is always lovely to see, and Cathy has organised for a book box where you can buy an extra copy of the book which then goes to organisations that deal with the survivors of GBV like Kwanele and POWA which I think is WONDERFUL. There are some copies left at Love Books, including signed copies, so hurry up if you want one for yourself or you want to contribute to the book box because I think they will sell out fast.

Authors Sue Nyathi and Gail Schimmel were both at the launch, Gail reminded me that it was exactly five years ago that we launched Delilah Now Trending at Love Books. Shocking that it’s taken me so long to get another book out (and a quarter of a book at that) but I guess it’s been a rather busy five years. Sue, who was Cathy’s editor on the anthology When Secrets Become Stories also got to meet Cathy IRL for the first time which was rather special.

The Week That Was – Go.See.Do. South Africa

Thank you, Love Books, Pamela, and all who attended (lucky yous!). And thank you, Cathy, for your brave and beautiful book.

Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh shortlisted at the HSS Awards in the Best Fiction Short-Stories subcategory

Congratulations to Lester – we are so proud! – all the other shortlisted authors, and the winner of the subcategory: Nthikeng Mohlele!

Congratulations also to the winner of the Best Fiction Edited Volume subcategory: Hauntings edited by Niq Mhlongo. The anthology includes short stories by Lester Walbrugh and Joanne Hichens!

“GAGMAN: Exposing the horrors through humour” by Jessica Abelsohn

Could you entertain the commandant if it meant your survival? Can we turn horror into art and, dare we say it, humour? This is the question that Gagman – a uniquely uncompromising book by revered cartoonist Dov Fedler and his daughter Joanne Fedler – poses.

Gagman is scattered with comedian’s notes. The first one opens with the lines: “You think you’re a tough audience? I’ve died more times than you’ve belched …”

It’s these words that set the tone for the book, a Holocaust story with a difference and its certainly not the kind of book one would associate with a political and satirical cartoonist. Yet, it is written and illustrated by acclaimed South African cartoonist Dov Fedler along with his daughter Joanne.

Continue reading: Australian Jewish News

Open Book Festival 2022

It was smaller, more intimate, but simply fabulous; and the new venue – Bertha House – with its beautiful spaces and light, is a great hit. The conversation were engaging and inspiring. Books were acquired, signed and eagerly dipped into. I think we all were feeling re-energised by these two days of listening to our literary heroes and discovering new voices.

It was fantastic to hear Joy Watson talk in public about her debut novel – The Other Me – for the first time and to see her signing copies of the book afterwards. And Nancy Richards told more beautiful stories about her memoir – or ‘mumoir’, as she call the memoir about her mum, The Skipper’s Daughter.

The festival offered a few workshops in the runup to the main event and Karavan Press authors Melissa A. Volker and Lester Walbrugh participated in the non-fiction and script writing workshops respectively.

Thank you to Vasti, Frankie, Mervyn and the entire Book Lounge team, all the sponsors, the Bertha House and all the amazing authors for these few days of literary magic!

We are all looking forward to the next one – pandemic etc. allowing – in September!