Follow @book_lounge
Subscribe here to receive invitations to our events and our monthly Newsletter
* = required field

Robin Malan: Yes I Am

Thursday, April 29th 2010 at 5:30 PM

yes i am.jpg

29 April 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Robin Malan: Yes I Am
Taking its cue from ‘the first time’, this is a collage of what it’s like to be South African, and male, and gay. The experiences of some forty writers come together, in stories, poems, letters, diary-entries, SMSes and emails…Among the stories they tell are of first love in the face of colour legislation that outlaws it, love that blossoms despite religious injunctions against it, a chance finding of a condom in the jacket pocket of a life partner, the sheer fun of being young and gay in an early-morning that makes Cape Town look gorgeous…

The book has become something of an internet sensation since publisher Robin Malan announced it – its Facebook group has 1200 members and counting.
Contributors include Zackie Achmat, Edwin Cameron, Jonny Steinberg, Damon Galgut, Shaun de Waal, Antony Sher and Mothusi Mathibe, among many others.


Kopano Matlwa: Spilt Milk

Wednesday, April 28th 2010 at 5:30 PM

spilt milk.jpg

28 April 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Kopano Matlwa: Spilt Milk
Spilt Milk is the story of two passionate people who share a shameful past and a tenuous present.
Decades after a childhood love affair earns upright school principal Mohumagadi and disgraced preacher Father Bill expulsion from their communities, the two characters are brought back together under the most unlikely of circumstances.
Mohumagadi, headmistress of the elite Sekolo sa Ditlhora school for talented black children, takes in Father Bill as a teacher much to the dismay of her students and faculty. Thus begins a battle of wills and wits for the hearts and minds of the students living in the shadow of revolution and change.
 A parable for our times, Spilt Milk is the new novel by EU Literary Award Winner Kopano Matlwa – one of South Africa’s most vibrant young writers. A medical graduate, Kopano is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Coconut. She is a founding member and chairperson of Waiting Room Education by Medical Students, a non-profit organisation run by students and is a 2010 Rhodes Scholar.


Eleventh Caine Prize Shortlist Announced

Wednesday, April 28th 2010 at 12:56 PM

The shortlist for the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing has been announced (Monday 26 April 2010). The Caine Prize, widely known as the ‘African Booker’ and regarded as Africa’s leading literary award, is now in its eleventh year. The chair of judges, The Economist literary editor Fiammetta Rocco, said: “Africa has much to be proud of in these five writers. Not only are their stories all confident, ambitious and skillfully written, each one boasts an added dimension – a voice, character or particular emotional connection – that makes it uniquely powerful.”
Selected from 115 entries from 13 African countries, the shortlist is once again a reflection of the Caine Prize’s pan-African reach. The winner of the £10,000 prize is to be announced at a celebratory dinner at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, on Monday 5 July.
The 2010 shortlist comprises:
Ken Barris (South Africa) The Life of Worm from ‘New Writing from Africa 2009’, published by Johnson & King James Books, Cape Town
Lily Mabura (Kenya) How Shall We Kill the Bishop? from ‘Wasafiri’ No53, Spring 2008
Namwali Serpell (Zambia) Muzungu from ‘The Best American Short Stories 2009’, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston MA
Alex Smith (South Africa) Soulmates from ‘New Writing from Africa 2009’ [see above]
Olufemi Terry (Sierra Leone) Stickfighting Days from ‘Chimurenga’ vol 12/13, Cape Town 2008
Joining Fiammetta on the judging panel this year are Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, Professor Jon Cook of the University of East Anglia, and Georgetown University professor Samantha Pinto.
Once again the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will be given the opportunity of taking up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC, as a Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence. The award will cover all travel and living expenses.
Last year the Caine Prize was won by Nigerian writer EC Osondu for his short story Waiting from, October 2008. Chair of judges Nana Yaa Mensah called it “a tour de force describing, from a child’s point of view, the dislocating experience of being a displaced person. It is powerfully written with not an ounce of fat on it – and deeply moving.”
Previous winners include Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, for Jambula Tree from ‘African Love Stories’, Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2006, and Brian Chikwava, from Zimbabwe, whose first novel Harare North has just been published.
Megan  28 April 2010

A Fond Farwell to Alan Sillitoe…

Monday, April 26th 2010 at 12:49 PM

Alan Sillitoe, who has died aged 82, was a Nottingham-born novelist who emerged in the 1950s as one of the Angry Young Men of British fiction. His novels included Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, both of which were made into films. The two books are regarded as classic examples of kitchen sink dramas reflecting life in the mid 20th century Britain.

He was born on 4 March 1928 – the second son of an illiterate tannery labourer who was often out of work. Later, he described life growing up in a poor household. “We lived in a room in Talbot Street whose four walls smelled of leaking gas, stale fat and layers of mouldering wallpaper,” he said.

He said his mother burned his first semi-fictional work when he was a 12-year-old. It was about the behaviour of his cousins but she felt it to be too “revealing”. He then left school at 14 to work in the Raleigh bicycle factory in his hometown before joining the Royal Air Force (RAF) four years later. He worked as a wireless operator in Malaya but, while in the RAF, he contracted tuberculosis and spent 16 months in hospital where he began to write novels.

After travelling to France, Spain and Majorca – where he met the poet Robert Graves – he wrote the pioneering novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Published in 1958, the tale about the life of hard-working factory employee Arthur Seaton won the Authors’ Club First Novel Award and received instant critical acclaim. It was adapted as a film in 1960, starring Albert Finney.

His story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, focusing on a rebellious boy with a talent for running, won the Hawthornden Prize in 1959. It was also turned into a film, starring Tom Courtenay, in 1962.

The award-winning writer was married to the American poet Ruth Fainlight, with whom he had David, and adopted daughter Susan. Although he tended to spend most of his time in London, they also lived in France, Spain, Tangier and Israel.

Poet Ian McMillan paid tribute to the author, describing him as a “marvellous prose stylist” whose work had a “kind of Midlands sonority to it“.

He was a man who attempted to capture the majesty and drama of ordinary life,” he said. “He wrote this great line which said ‘the art of writing is to explain the complications of the human soul with the simplicity that can be universally understood’ and I think that’s what he achieved.”

Sillitoe rejected the celebrity life and all he wanted to do “was sit in his house in London and write and write and write“.

As well as numerous novels he published several volumes of poetry, children’s books and was the author of several stage and screen plays. In 1995, his autobiography Life Without Armour was well received. In 2007, he published Gadfly – an account of his travels in Russia.

In 2008, he was recognised for his Nottingham roots and given freedom of the city.Earlier this month, along with others with the same honour he was due to herd sheep across Trent Bridge, as was his right. However he had to pull out because of illness.

Last year, he appeared on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, where he said if he were cast away his ideal companions would be a record of Le Ca Ira sung by Edith Piaf, a copy of the RAF navigation manual, The Air Publication 1234, and a communications receiver – but for receiving only.

Megan  26 April 2010

Storytime: The High Seas

Saturday, April 24th 2010 at 11:00 AM


24 April 2010 @ 11am

Storytime: The High Seas
We are so lucky to have the best Captain on the wild seas reading stories today. Captain Jody will dock her boat and bring you stories of oceans and stormy seas. There will be no pirates! Captain Jody runs a smooth ship!


Fiona Snyckers: Trinity on Air

Friday, April 23rd 2010 at 5:30 PM


23 April 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Fiona Snyckers: Trinity on Air
Following the popular success and critical acclaim of her first novel, Fiona Snyckers is back with the second book in the beguiling Trinity Luhabe series – which we are delighted to be launching at the Book Lounge. The much-anticipated sequel to Trinity Rising picks up the story four years on, when Trinity is 23 and living in Johannesburg.
Trinity On Air is packed with all the charm and humour readers have come to expect from Fiona Snyckers – with just an added pinch of danger.
With her university days behind her, life couldn’t be better for Trinity Luhabe. She’s got everything a Sandton girl needs –
The Perfect Boyfriend: Ethan brings her (fat-free) breakfast in bed and takes her to craft markets on weekends.
The Perfect Job: Working at Jozi Talks radio is a dream come true for Trinity. She’s still only on the traffic desk, but one day she’ll be reading the news … just as soon as she can convince her boss that ’15 Hot Hairstyles For Summer’ is a serious news story.
The Neighbour: Ajala is six foot five inches of mysterious Nigerian.  Trinity thinks he’s a pussycat.  Her best friend Steph thinks he’s a man-eating tiger.  Looking into his business dealings could be Trinity’s ticket off the traffic desk and onto hard news.
The Ex: An old flame from university days is back … and hotter than ever.  He’s threatening to turn Trinity’s comfortable life upside down.
Join Trinity Luhabe for the ride of her life as all the elements in her perfect world collide.


Zwelethu Mthethwa: Photographs

Thursday, April 22nd 2010 at 5:30 PM


22 April 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Zwelethu Mthethwa: Photographs

Please note this launch will take place at the iArt Gallery, 71 Loop Street.

Zwelethu Mthethwa: Photographs by Zwelethu Mthethwa is the artist’s long-awaited first comprehensive monograph, providing an overview of his work to-date and featuring the stunning portraits that have brought him international acclaim.
A portion of the money raised by the event will go towards the funding of a scholarship, co-supervised by Zwelethu Mthethwa and a leading South African University.


2010 Orange Prize Shortlist Announced

Tuesday, April 20th 2010 at 12:25 PM

A mix of débuts and established names have made the Orange Prize for Fiction shortlist, announced today at a breakfast event at the London Book Fair. The shortlist was indie-heavy with four books on the list, two from Faber and one each from Alma and Serpent’s Tail.

Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker – winning Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate) will battle Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna (Faber) and stablemate Lorrie Moore’s first book in 11 years A Gate at the Stairs. Rosie Alison (The Very Thought of You) and Attica Locke’s (Black Water Rising) début novels, respectively from indie publishers Alma and Serpent’s Tail, also made the list, as did Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Simon & Schuster).

This shortlist achieves the near impossible of combining literary merit with sheer readability,” said chair of judges Daisy Goodwin.

With a thriller, historical novels that reflect our world back to us, as well as a tragicomedy about post-9/11 America—there is something here to challenge, amuse and enthrall every kind of reader.”

The judges comprised rabbi and author Baroness Neuberger, author Michèle Roberts, journalist Miranda Sawyer and editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman.

The winner of the £30,000 prize is announced on 9th June.

Megan  Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not the London Book Fair @ The Book Lounge!

Monday, April 19th 2010 at 5:30 PM


19 April 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Not the London Book Fair @ The Book Lounge!

Due to large amounts of volcanic ash hovering over Europe, many South Africans have been denied the chance to attend the 2010 London Book Fair (whose focus this year is South Africa!).

HOWEVER – do not fear – due to the initiative and hard work of many of the stalwarts of the trade, and friends of the Book Lounge, Cinders SHALL go to the Fair – right here in the shop!
Check out   for more details, and keep an eye on and Facebook throughout the day for updates…


Not the London Book Fair @ The Book Lounge

Monday, April 19th 2010 at 12:23 PM

Exciting event tonight!  Monday 19th April, 5.30 for 6pm at the Book Lounge – check out

Megan  Monday, April 19, 2010