Friday, December 21, 2018

The front cover of the Arabic version of 'This September Sun'

The front cover of the translation into Arabic of Bryony Rheam's This September Sun, to be launched by Al Arabi Publishing and Distribution at January's Cairo International Book Fair.

Monday, December 17, 2018

'This September Sun' in Arabic

Bryony Rheam's novel This September Sun has been translated into Arabic by Al Arabi Publishers and will be launched on 23 January, 2019, at the Cairo International Book Fair. It is going to be one of our longest fiction books this year at the fair. We are excited at the prospect of the Arabic cover, which has not been finalised.

“White Man Crawling”: Time, Race and Power in John Eppel’s Depiction of Middle-aged and Elderly Whites during the Zimbabwean “Crisis”

This article, by Thabisani Ndlovu in the Journal of Literary Studies, applies Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope, in conjunction with a rights-reading approach, to John Eppel’s fiction, with particular reference to Eppel’s depiction of middle-aged and elderly whites during the Zimbabwean “crisis”. Taken at one level to mean the organisation of value-laden space-time in a literary text, and also at another level, the spatio-temporal relationship between a text and its socio-historical context, the chronotope emerges as a useful concept in analysing polarised racial relationships that characterised Zimbabwe during its “crisis” period. While the Chimurenga chronotope is a cyclical representation of time whose racialising strategy depersonalises whites as constant foes and strangers rendered in a permanent war narrative, Eppel responds in his fiction, particularly through the chronotopes of ageing and reversal, by delineating an array of white subjectivities characterised by physical infirmity and loss of socio-political power, to challenge the homogenisation and vilification of whites.

The full article appears in the Journal of Literary Studies, Volume 34, 2018 - Issue 4: Exploring the Dynamics of Time in Literary Texts, pages 80-96 

Thabisani Ndlovu, of Walter Sisulu University, carries out research in literary studies and human rights, particularly in the areas of race, gender and ethnicity. As a creative writer, he has had stories published in most of the amaBooks Short Writings series and translated the anthology of short stories Where to Now? into Ndebele as Siqondephi Manje?.

White Man Crawling, The Caruso of Colleen Bawn and other amaBooks publications of John Eppel are available through amaBooks or, outside of Africa, through

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why I Read: Mzana Mthimkhulu

As an eight year old, my hero was the swashbuckling picture magazine jungle man Samson the Lion Heart.  I believed that when I grew up, like my hero, I was going to be: ‘strong as an elephant, brave as a lion and fast as a striking mamba.’

So, whilst waiting to grow up, I read and studied everything my hero did. The two weeks I had to wait for the next instalment of True Africa magazine was too long. I filled in the time with other comic magazines – Dandy, Beano and The Archies. Today I often cringe with embarrassment when I read the lofty names of the writers read by other writers in their youth. Not a single classic writer features in my early reading list.

One day after glancing at the first picture of a story in Dandy I made a painful decision – it was time I stopped reading comics. The moment I saw the picture I closed my eyes and recited the whole story. I had read it ten years earlier and still recalled it. The Dandy writers must have believed that the kids who had read the earlier story were no longer reading comics and so it was safe to reprint it. Like Samson after defeating a villain, it was time I moved to the next adventure.

Fortunately by then I had broadened my reading diet. From Njube Library, I borrowed books by the Drum generation of the fifties. I now was reading books by Ezekiel Mphahlele, Can Themba, Bloke Modisane and Lewis Nkosi. These writers spoke to my experience as a boy growing up in the townships. I notice that the writers are now sometimes described as ‘classic.’ May I therefore raise my pedigree as a writer?
For old time sake, I once went  back to Njube Library. I perused and read a few books. A ten year old stared at me in awesome wonder. ‘Look,’ he said to a friend, ‘an adult in the library.’

Recently I renewed my membership at the British Council Library. ‘So, when did you first join the library?’ the librarian asked me.  ‘We may still have your details.’
‘I first joined in 1983 in Harare, and then transferred to Bulawayo library in 1989.’
‘Oh, then you have to give us your details again. I was born in 1996.’

I wonder why I’m taking so long to state why I read. I read because for me it is the greatest source of entertainment and information. Books are my best friend. I laugh, cry, smile and curse in the world of books. Further, writing is a profession in which you are forever an apprentice. I read so that I know what and how others are writing. I then try to adapt the best and avoid the bad.

Mzana Mthimkhulu.  11 December 2018 

Mzana Mthimkhulu was born on Martin Luther King’s twenty-fifth birthday and was educated at Matshayisikhova and Kuredza Primaries, Inyathi Secondary, Edinburgh College and the then Polytechnic of North London. His short stories have appeared in the amaBooks anthologies Short Writings from Bulawayo III and IIILong Time ComingWhere to Now?Siqondephi Manje? and Moving On, and his short stories and poems have appeared in other anthologies, newspapers and magazines in Southern Africa, United Kingdom and online. An enthusiastic culture activist, Mzana is also a newspaper columnist and a playwright.

Mzana and his wife Naume have three biological children and several other traditional ones. 

Mzana Mthimkhulu has a blog