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Wordsetc Journal

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Wordsetc 5: Nadine Gordimer

Wordsetc 5

Nadine Gordimer: Fifth edition of Wordsetc hits bookshelves

“Gordimer’s extraordinary achievement is that for a period of some sixty years she has been providing us with (in Stephen Clingman’s telling phrase) a history from the inside.” – Tim Keegan

This fifth edition of Wordsetc, South Africa’s foremost literary journal, is coming out on Monday, 18 May 2009. After dedicating the entire fourth edition to analysing US President Barack Obama, the current edition is back on familiar territory – sampling the best in South African literature. True to its founding mission, it predominantly features works of emerging but exciting new writers, proving that South African literature has a bright future in the hands of emerging writers. But we also remember icons who have been in the field for longer. Our main story is on Nadine Gordimer, our very own Nobel laureate and one of our country’s foremost intellectual. Novelist André Brink has also contributed a fascinating essay.

Contents at a glance

In a captivating and thoroughly researched main profile on Gordimer, novelist Tim Keegan (Tromp’s Last Stand and My Life with the Duvals) pays tribute to Gordimer. Meticulously, he goes through her entire body of work and finds a lot to savour, exploring Gordimer’s world in fiction and in real life. In the end, Keegan implores all serious readers of literature to read Gordimer. In the same profile, fellow novelist and friend Dr Mongane Wally Serote, chips in about a woman he has known for many decades, someone who has had a profound influence on him.

Veteran novelist André Brink also makes an appearance in our pages with an essay on a decisive importance of a title. This is an extra essay that did not make it into his new memoir A Fork in the Road/’n Vurk in the Pad. It appears here for the first time.

In an eloquent personal essay, sensational new Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah (author of An Elegy For Easterly) reflects on how she became a keen reader, a writer and a lawyer. She especially singles out her autodidactic father for praise. Moving.

Writer and poet Dr Helen Moffett laments about the neglected art and craft of editing in South African publishing. She details the pain and offers a heartfelt advice to publishers and writers.

In an innovative feature written in letter form, Carla Chait discusses a mysterious murder of a young, vivacious girl (“From Mimsy”) in the 1940s. Chait’s elegant and masterly style of writing belies her background in Science.

In “I’m Elliot”, writer and journalist Jeanne Hromnik draws on real life to tenderly reflect on a bittersweet relationship she has with her gardener, Elliot, where something always seems to get lost in translation each time they communicate.

A young historian, Mwelela Cele, grapples with the rich legacy of writer and dramatist H.I.E Dhlomo.

Nthikeng Mohlele (author of Scent of Bliss) tells us how he writes, how sometimes this force called creativity plays havoc with him. Funny and illuminating about how a great writer goes about his work.

Brian Jones and Jane Morris are a dedicated pair of publishers who run ‘amaBooks in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. They tell of the trials and tribulations of publishing in a Zimbabwe under strain. Inspiration stuff.

In our Bookshelf Series, Alex Perry, author of Falling Off The Edge: Globalization, World Peace and Other Lies, and Time magazine Africa bureau chief, tells us what he’s reading. But first he clears the confusion about how the world understands globalisation.

There’s all this and more – literary travel, book reviews, a restaurant review and listings pages. It’s a jam-packed edition that will satisfy literature lovers and those keen to know more about Gordimer.

Purchase and get involved

See website at or Facebook group called Wordsetc – A South African Literary Journal.

Wordsetc is available at bookshops (Exclusive Books, CNA and many independent bookstores such as Boekehuis, Kalk Bay Books, Clarke’s Bookstore, Protea Books and The Book Lounge) and alternative distribution points such as DVD Gurus, Absolutely Fabulous DVD Nouveau (Morningside), Service Station Café and Wild Olive bistro (Greenside). The journal retails for R49.95. Subscription is R170 for four editions. Back copies are available.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    May 19th, 2009 @01:06 #

    Don't miss this one, folks! I read it till late the day I got it, and am now re-reading. Grand to read so many reviews, written by such a spread of readers, esp given that review space in newspapers seems to be shrinking.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Lauren Beukes</a>
    Lauren Beukes
    May 19th, 2009 @01:25 #

    Looks amazing - really looking forward to it (as soon as my subscription arrives, Phakama - hint, hint!)

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Karina</a>
    May 19th, 2009 @01:33 #

    One of the publishers at the FLF said about Phakama: "He is my favourite young man in this country!" I think he should be voted "Favourite Young Man" of the entire literary community. Thank you, Phakama. Your work and dedication mean so much to all of us!


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