Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Election Day at HIFA 2010

Christopher Mlalazi's play Election Day, adapted from the short story of the same name that appears in his award-winning collection Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township, is to performed at HIFA this week, at Reps Theatre Upstairs on Wednesday 28 April at 4pm, Friday 30 April at 11.30am and Saturday 1 May at 4pm. Tickets are $5.

The book, also containing 9 other stories, can be purchased at several venues in Harare and Bulawayo for around $8.

'Election Day is a darkly comic tale about His Excellency, Poka Oka Ndiseng, whose party is losing a very important election. His wife, Samantha, and his personal advisor, Twenty, both panic and urge Ndiseng to flee the country, but an adamant Ndiseng wants to see things through right to the end.'

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Long Time Coming discussed by Botswana's award-winning writer Lauri Kubuitsile

The following is an extract from 'Thoughts from Botswana', http://thoughtsfrombotswana.blogspot.com/2009/02/two-thin-books.html

The second book is a short story collection, Long Time Coming Short Writings from Zimbabwe published by 'amaBooks. The title is a bit wrong since two Batswana writing friends have stories inside both set in Botswana - Wame Molefhe and Gothataone Moeng. The book is deceptive. I’m not sure if it is the layout or the size, but there are 38 substantial stories and poems inside a very thin looking book. Zimbabweans are masters of economy.

Mma Molefhe’s story
Six Pack is named after the practice of Batswana police collecting illegal Zimbabweans in the country in groups of six they call six-packs. The story is a painful account of a Zimbabwean woman who must work as a prostitute in Botswana to raise money for medicine for her husband back home.

Gothataone Moeng’s story also looks at the plight of Zimbabweans in Botswana. It is called
Who Knows What Season Tomorrow Brings. It is about the xenophobia Zimbabweans must deal with in Botswana. The title alludes to the fact that who knows what the future holds; perhaps tomorrow Batswana will be in the position of Zimbabweans so maybe its time for some empathy.

The Cracked Pink Lips of Rosie’s Bridegroom by Petina Gappah is an excellent tale about HIV/AIDS and the community’s response to those infected with the virus. The First Lady’s Yellow Shoes by Peter Ncube is a lovely take on the day THEY leave. I liked the writing in Brian Chikwava’s story Fiction, though the ending disappointed me. I also liked Miss Parker and the Tugboat by Byrony Rheam.

The stories are always framed in the dire circumstances of political collapse, HIV/AIDS, poverty hunger, and desperation, that is modern Zimbabwe. An eclectic collection that, despite the setting, is not always heavy and depressing which I thought was very nice.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bryony Rheam's Harare Book Signing

Photographs of Bryony Rheam signing copies of This September Sun at Avondale Bookshop in Harare are shown in an article about the book signing on Zimbo Jam (see link above).
The photo above, from Zimbo Jam, shows Bryony with performance poet Albert Nyathi, who is a fan of the novel, at the signing. Albert has said of This September Sun: 'This is a wonderful book. I read it on the plane, underground trains, buses. I finished it today on the bus when I was coming from Birmingham to Coventry and I said to myself, here is another Doris Lessing.'

'amaBooks not at the London Book Fair

Jane Morris and Brian Jones of 'amaBooks failed to get to the London Book Fair, as, with so many others, their flights were cancelled due to the volcanic ash cloud over the United Kingdom.
The book fair, which is attended by around 23,000 people in the book industry from across the world, was held from 19-21 April. 'amaBooks hoped that attending the fair would help to promote their books to a much wider readership and that they would become more aware of the many technological changes taking place in the publishing industry.
The focus of the London Book Fair 2010 was on South Africa, and many of the South African representatives also failed to make it to London in time.

An article on the failure of 'amaBooks to make it to London appears on Zimbo Jam: http://www.zimbojam.com/culture/literary-news/1348-ash-cloud-denies-zimbabwe-london-book-fair-presence.html

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bryony Rheam Book Signing in Harare

Bryony will be at Avondale Bookshop in Harare this Friday (16th April) at 10am to sign copies of her novel, This September Sun.
Please come along if you would like your copy signed, or to buy a copy, or to talk to Bryony about her novel.

This September Sun is a chronicle of the lives of two women, the romantic Evelyn and her granddaughter Ellie, from the time Evelyn arrived in the then Rhodesia at the end of the Second World War to the present day.

Growing up in post-Independence Zimbabwe, Ellie yearns for a life beyond the confines of small town Bulawayo, a wish that eventually comes true when she moves to the United Kingdom. However, life there is not all she dreamed it to be, but it is the murder of her grandmother that eventually brings her back home and forces her to face some hard home truths through the unravelling of long-concealed family secrets.

Bryony Rheam offers us a rich portrait of a family and a society in the grip of inexorable change, through the eyes of the sensitive, spirited Ellie. Elegantly written, funny and poignant, this is a wonderful first novel from a writer of great promise. A true original. - Caroline Gilfillan

Monday, April 12, 2010

Article on This September Sun signing from Bulawayo's Chronicle

This September Sun author signs autographs

Entertainment Editor

BRYONY Rheam, the author of the book This September Sun, which was launched in Bulawayo last year, was yesterday at the Indaba Book Cafe signing her book.
Indaba Book Cafe is a bookshop which was recently opened in Bulawayo. A handful of people had the opportunity to meet and ask her questions on her book and have her sign
the books that they would have bought.
The book was published by AmaBooks, a Bulawayo-based publishing house that has
published 23 books in its three years existences - a milestone.
An official from AmaBooks, Jane Morris, said the batch that was being signed was from their
second print run and the book has been well received.
"This is the first time that we have had a second print and the book has been popular among women," she said.
Morris said they initially printed 500 books and they ran out. Each copy costs US$20.
Book signings provide more than just a chance to get signatures.
For authors and bookstores the obvious benefit is that many copies of the book being promoted are sold.
Signings also increase public goodwill and allow authors to connect with their fans. For fans,
signings give them a chance to see and meet a favourite author and to ask them questions.
Book signing is popular because an author's signature increases the value of books for collectors.
The author may add a short message to the reader, called a dedication, to each book, which may be personalised with the recipient's name upon request. A simple author's signature
without a dedication is typically more valuable to collectors.
This September Sun was recently launched in Zambia, where Rheam is now based.

This September Sun review from The Zimbabwean

Phillip Chidavaenzi's review of Bryony Rheam's novel has appeared in The Zimbabwean, summarizing it as 'an engaging novel... a worthy read.'

The review continues:
'The book tells the story of Ellie, intertwined with the tales of her loved ones, and how fate often interferes with people’s well-laid plans...
Rheam successfully punctures the romantic illusions that many locals have about the European Diaspora –especially in the UK – showing that London is, after all, not the paradise of our dreams, as those fleeing a collapsing nation would quickly admit.
When the protagonist, Ellie, gets a chance to go to the UK, she’s overjoyed, but her stay there gives her a rare opportunity of introspection.
What I found striking was the fact that despite her joy at leaving Zimbabwe, when she gets to the UK, she felt “a dislocation” from her “surroundings” and learns that life “was unreal there”.
The general assumption is that white Zimbabweans who go to the UK are better off and can fit in better than their black counterparts, but Rheam successfully enables the reader to disabuse themselves of this notion.
It would appear that dislocation from a familiar environment forces people to hold on to anything that keeps them firmly attached to their roots and this comes out strongly as Ellie begins to think so much about her home. She confesses: “I found myself reading African novels more and more: Nadine Gordimer, AndrĂ© Brink, Doris Lessing…”.
Rheam also poignantly captures what I would call the terror of the abortive land “reform” in Zimbabwe. Ellie’s return from the UK coincides with the people’s attempts at an artificial escape of the horror on the ground through turning to foreign news and locking themselves up in their homes.
The book is littered with deeply-felt, moving scenes such as Ellie’s last encounter with Miles, when she receives the sad news of her grandmother’s murder and when she discusses the family history with her mother as well as the time she spends with Wally dying in a British hospital. '

The full review in The Zimbabwean can be found at http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/2010040929945/books/this-september-sun-a-worthy-read.html

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bryony Rheam Signs Books at Bulawayo's Indaba Book Cafe

Bryony Rheam was at the Indaba Book Cafe on Friday 9 April signing copies of her novel This September Sun. She is seen here signing a copy for Tswarelo Mothobe, who is involved with The Lounge, The Green Room and Poetic Brush.

Bryony brought with her from Zambia a copy of Lusaka's Lowdown magazine, which featured a review of This September Sun and read 'the book was easy to read... the type of book I could not put down until the final page.'

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bryony Rheam Book Signing in Bulawayo

Bryony Rheam is back in Bulawayo from Zambia this week for a short break, and will be at the Indaba Book Cafe (9th Avenue/J. Tongogara) to sign copies of her novel about the lives of two women in Zimbabwe, This September Sun, on Friday 9 April at 10am.