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BOOK LAUNCHES (article first published : 2002-03-9)

Following the success of the book launches in the previous Time of the Writer, five book launches will take place during this year's expanded festival. The launches will take place most evenings from 18h30 on the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre deck, with the exception of the book launch at Exclusives Bookshop, Gateway on Wednesday at 17h00.

March 12 (18h15 -19h00): Jonathan Ball Book Launch, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre Deck presents The House of Blue Mangoes by David Davidar. This book is a big family saga about three generations in the south of India living through the turbulent decades leading up to independence. The book, which took him more than a decade to write, is almost autobiographical in a sense in that it does capture memories of south India that Davidar has long cherished. During an interview he said, "Everybody writes a book because he has something to say. This sense of excitement, or the strange feeling of living in several places at the same time, acted as the catalyst in the book's creation."

March 13 (17h15-18h00): Exclusive Books at Gateway hosts the UN Press book launch as part of Exclusive Books’ Homebru campaign. Books launched will be Have you seen Zandile? and Love Child by Gcina Mhlophe. The writer is most famous for her live performance shows but her work is also used extensively in many schools and universities and she has received Honorary Doctorates from the London Open University as well as the University of Natal.

March 14 (18h15-19h00): Brevitas book launch, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre Deck, presents A Million Years Ago in the Nineties and The Shades by Ashraf Jamal. Ashraf Jamal's debut, Love Themes for the Wilderness (Kwela Books) was nominated for the MNET Book Prize. In A Million Years ago, in the Nineties, Jamal once again draws us into the underworld of artists who inhabit the realm of music, philosophy, and theatre. Technically daring as it is emotionally and intellectually searching, Jamal takes us further into the possibilities of lives lived true to themselves. Here creativity and the intellect is seen as a deliverance and a reason to be.

In The Shades, Ashraf Jamal's first collection of stories, he tracks the "states of unease" of life in South Africa's phantom democracy. Chilling and haunting, the stories draw the reader into a web of psychic unrest. Flight and fear, revenge and atonement, guilt and innocence are the conflicting themes of a searching and suspenseful collection. Here Jamal shifts from drama and the novel to place his own unique stamp on the short story form. "More fragment than story, more shade than colour," The Shades is as compelling as it is enriching. Perceived by the author as "variations on a story," it assembles "a broken mosaic of who and what we are and what we must become."

March 15 (18h15-19h00): Jonathan Ball - (Ad Donker) book launch, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre Deck, presents The New Century of South African Poetry edited by Michael Chapman. Is South Africa part of Africa or the West? This major new anthology suggests a dynamic interchange between the two. Hunting songs jostle with city imagery, and the range of the poems speaks loudly of the diversity of our multicultural inheritance. Established figures such as Roy Campbell, N P van Wyk Louw, Mazisi Kunene, Douglas Livingstone, Mongane Wally Serote and Antjie Krog share pages with maskanda, kiba, praises and rap. All have one key thing in common - accessibility to a wide readership.

March 16 (18h15-19h00): Protea Book House, The French Embassy, the French Institute of S.A., and Alliance Française book launch, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre Deck. Plaisir de Lire (The Pleasure of Reading) edited by Ivan Gut is a collection of 47 literary texts based on nine themes, compiled by South African teachers, whose objective is to encourage secondary school pupils in Southern Africa to take pleasure in reading in the foreign language they are studying: French. The teenagers’ aspirations have therefore been instrumental in the selection of texts chosen from the large range of French and Francophone literature from early 16th Century to present day.

A variety of written and oral activities, a glossary and a listing of websites enhance the contents of this textbook and make it a modern tool for learning French. They also help the reader to open up to other cultures through a communicative practice of the French language.

The full program of activities for the fifth Time of the Writer festival and details of the accompanying book launches to be found on www.und.ac.za/und/carts/ (also available in French). The site also carries daily updates, writers biographies and photographs.




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