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

Allister Sparks

Thursday, June 17th 2010 at 5:30 PM

1st draf.jpg

17 June 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Allister Sparks

We are delighted to be welcoming renowned local writer Allister Sparks to the Book Lounge – author of Beyond the Miracle, The Mind of South Africa, Tomorrow is Another Country and, most recently, First Drafts.

He will be here to discuss the current situation in South Africa.


Youth Day: Tintin at the Movies

Wednesday, June 16th 2010 at 1:00 PM


16 June 2010 @ 1.30pm

Youth Day: Tintin at the Movies
Firstly, since today is a public holiday – Youth Day! – we have put together something special for kids of all ages: we are borrowing a projector and a screen and will be screening some short animated Tintin movies! The screenings will be from approximately 1:30-3pm. Do join us!


Deborah Steinmair: Marike se laaste dans

Monday, June 14th 2010 at 5:30 PM


14 June 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Deborah Steinmair: Marike se laaste dans
Ons stel Deborah Steinmair se eerste roman, Marike se Laaste Dans bekend. Deborah het reeds roem verwerf as ‘n digter, maar met hierdie eerste roman verweef sy ‘n gefiksionaliseerde Marike de Klerk met die storie van die siener Maud Grobler wat haar in die volgende wêreld bevriend. Deborah sal in gesprek met Danie Marais verkeer.


Storytime: Stories from Around the World

Saturday, June 12th 2010 at 11:00 AM


12 June 2010 @ 11am

Storytime: Stories from Around the World
As so many people from other countries are currently visiting our country, we thought it might be a good time to read some traditional stories from across the world. We will also do some colouring in, just a good old-fashioned fun morning.


Nina Mensing: A Manic Marriage

Thursday, June 10th 2010 at 5:30 PM

3-manic marr.jpg

10 June 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Nina Mensing: A Manic Marriage
Having lived with someone suffering from Bipolar Mood Disorder for over twenty years, Nina is better qualified than most psychiatrists to speak about the affect this condition has on relationships. From caring for her partner whilst he was suicidal with depression to visiting him in a state mental asylum after he was committed during a manic episode, she’s seen and experienced it all.
This story is a journal account of her tumultuous relationship. Juggling motherhood, a career in journalism and photography, and a partner who refused treatment, she has been left with some battle scars. However, she has persevered and through her book, support groups, and community workshops on Bipolar Awareness her knowledge is now helping fellow supporters conquer and befriend this monster she calls Bipolar.
The foreword is written by specialist psychiatrist Dr Isabel Nunes
Nina Mensing is a freelance photo journalist who has been published in Fair Lady, Men’s Health, Africa Geographic, Divestyle, Cape Argus, Cape Times, Cape Town Child, Escape, Today and more, as well as running her own photography business for twelve years.
She is currently doing community workshops on bipolar awareness as well as running a support group at Crescent Clinic, and working with SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group).
Nina will be in conversation with Jacqui L’Ange, book editor of Psychologies Magazine.

10% of the book sales on the night will be donated to The Friends of Valkenberg Trust, which aims to improve the quality of life of patients, as well as staff, at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital. They achieve this by working in conjunction with hospital staff to provide a range of services that meet the needs of patients and staff, which are unable to be met by hospital structures.
Basic patient needs – clothing, transport, meals, entertainment
Projects with patients – recovery support, crafts and activities, coffee trolley, hair salon
Hospital staff support – special events, training and development workshops, funding and events management
 Raising awareness of and destigmatising psychiatric conditions


Barbara Kingsolver wins the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction

Thursday, June 10th 2010 at 12:06 PM

An epic, ambitious novel that straddles the Mexican revolution and the crazed communist witch-hunts of 1950s America was last night named winner of this year’s Orange prize for fiction.

Barbara Kingsolver took the £30,000 prize for The Lacuna, her eagerly awaited first novel since 2000.

The American novelist held off heavyweight competition from Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall, and Lorrie Moore, for A Gate at the Stairs, to take what is the biggest literary award for women writers.

Daisy Goodwin, the TV producer who chaired this year’s judges, praised The Lacuna’sbreathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy” and said the winner was only ever between the three books. “It was a bit like trying to choose between your three beloved children,” she said.

In the end I suppose that while a couple of us felt very passionately about The Lacuna everyone was happy for it to be named winner. They were three of the finest books I’ve read in a long time. It wasn’t like we were scraping in any sense.”

The Lacuna, made up of memoir, diaries, letters, newspaper reports and congressional transcripts, is arguably the most demanding of the six books on the shortlist. It’s a doorstopping novel that needs to be read properly rather than in snatches and tackles big subjects that resonate today – not least, the media creation of, and obsession with, celebrity.

Beginning in 1929, it follows the life of Harrison Shepherd from his sensitive teenage years in Mexico to fame in 1950s America as the reclusive author of Aztec swashbucklers. In between – and central to the story – Shepherd gets work in the bohemian household of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo while they entertain house guest Leon Trotsky, for whom he becomes a scribe.

Some readers have found it heavy and daunting, but Goodwin said: “I’m a book slut, I’m not high minded and I’m happy to read anything and everything from Dan Brown to Georgette Heyer to Ian McEwan, and I loved The Lacuna.”

Goodwin said she also discussed the shortlist with her book group – “a random collection of non-literary people” – and they all said “it was one of the finest books they had ever read. It’s such a fascinating and beautifully constructed book. I don’t want to sound wanky but the architecture of the book is fantastic.”

All six shortlisted books have seen a marked sales increase and Jonathan Ruppin, of Foyles bookshop, said The Lacuna had been “by far the bestselling title on the shortlist“. He added: “It’s a daunting read, which fans of her hugely popular novel The Poisonwood Bible won’t all take to, but it rewards patient reading. It would be good to see more British writers and more women coming up with fiction as ambitious as this.”

The Kingsolver was not a unanimous choice but Goodwin said no vote had been taken. The decision was a consensus. “As a jury we argued passionately about the books and we agreed that we wanted a winner that at least some people were passionately committed to.”

Goodwin said she was proud of all six books and the three other books on the list would not be selling anywhere near what they are without the Orange. In particular, the curve ball of the shortlist, Rosie Alison’s old-fashioned romance The Very Thought of You, which had not even been reviewed by a national paper when it was chosen, could have slipped off the radar. Instead, Amazon, revealing different sales figures from Foyles, said it made up a fifth of the sales of all six books combined over the past month – Wolf Hall sold 53% and The Lacuna 8%.

The inclusion of a thriller was also a surprise – Attica Locke’s 1980s Houston-set Black Water Rising, which interweaves black activism and corporate dirty dealing. Then there was the page-turningly enjoyable The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey, telling the story of a white couple who move to Trinidad for a new life they love and loathe in equal measure.

In a way, Mantel had the least to gain. Her novel won the Man Booker last year and is already a soaraway sensation. “There’s no doubt that Wolf Hall will become a classic,” said Goodwin.

This is the Orange’s 15th year and there have been notably fewer voices speaking out against it. For some, it is simple discrimination to exclude men.

But Goodwin called the argument boring and said you could just as well complain the Man Booker prize excluded Americans, which it does.

She said the Kingsolver and Moore novels would sell nowhere near what they deserve to in the UK if it were not for the Orange.

Kingsolver was presented with her prize by the Duchess of Cornwall after a champagne reception at the Royal Festival Hall [wed].

Irene Sabatini won the Orange award for New Writers, for The Boy Next Door. Anne Michaels won the youth panel award and Anna Lewis won the short story competition for unpublished writers.

The other judges who helped plough through the 129 submissions this year were: Rabbi Baroness Neuberger, novelist Michèle Roberts, and journalists Miranda Sawyer and Alexandra Shulman.

Goodwin attracted headlines this year when she complained about the misery and despair and lack of humour in so many of the novels written by women being published. Today she admitted the next book she read would be a Jane Austen novel.

(This article first appeared in the Guardian)

Megan  Thursday, June 10, 2010

Robert Edward Bolton: Late Quatrains – Exercises and Complaints

Wednesday, June 9th 2010 at 5:30 PM

4 quat.jpg

09 June 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Robert Edward Bolton: Late Quatrains – Exercises and Complaints
Each of these Late Quatrains, which together document an eighteen-month period in the author’s life, was originally a text message, composed spontaneously at the cellphone keypad. The exercises are formal experiments in rhythm and metre, in the spirit of musical études.
This collection of carefully crafted quatrains (and several sonnets) is in turn witty, profound and enigmatic. At times elusive, the poems shimmer with possibility and reward close reading. The classical references are elegant and this collection should fully establish Robert Edward Bolton as a poet of great talent and promise.”       Gus Ferguson
Robert will be reading from his collection, and will be in conversation with Rustum Kozain.


Marilyn Honikman: The Mystery of the SS Waratah and the Avocado Tree

Wednesday, June 9th 2010 at 3:00 PM

ss war.jpg

09 June 2010 @ 15.00

Marilyn Honikman: The Mystery of the SS Waratah and the Avocado Tree
This is a slice of our South African maritime history examined and made palatable for young readers. Based on the true unsolved mystery dating back to 1909, the disappearance of the steamer remains one of the most baffling nautical mysteries of all time. The author has woven a story around the historical facts, involving present day children doing research of their own.
“The book is a storyteller’s book, it is a Durban book….She is someone with a fine sense of time and place, because this book is all about a time and a place and an avocado tree. Her love of Durban shines through it, the beautiful City Hall, rickshaws, oversized avos, sailing among the ships in Durban Harbour, Salisbury Island, Adams Bookshop and the occasional pith helmet.
The book is also instructive in history, boating and the internet.  She has shown the same care, meticulous preparation and careful research that she has always done with everything she takes on.
She has taken a tale she heard many years ago, and turned it into an adventure for kids, a story of intellectual detection. She has wound together history, both national and personal, and her sense of family and childhood adventure. It is rooted in her personal past, but transplanted into an age of the internet and new Durban street names.
Someone once said that children get the books that their parents’ deserve. This is one of them.
It is delightful. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.”
                                                                                        Anton Harber


Johann Maree: Collective Bargaining in South Africa

Tuesday, June 8th 2010 at 5:30 PM

j maree.jpg

08 June 2010 @ 5.30 for 6pm

Johann Maree: Collective Bargaining in South Africa
We are very pleased to welcome Professor Johann Maree of the Department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town, to talk to us about collective bargaining in South Africa.
Professior Maree is interested in the workplace restructuring and economic performance in South African industries in the light of South Africa’s re-entry into the global economy. Job creation and skills development in South Africa. Employment relations and the labour market in Southern Africa. The role of trade unions in defending and advancing democracy in Southern Africa.


Storytime: World Cup Fever!

Saturday, June 5th 2010 at 11:00 AM


05 June 2010 @ 11am

Storytime: World Cup Fever!
Laduuuuuuuuuuuma! World Cup time has finally arrived and today we will be getting all excited while reading soccer stories and practicing our goalkeeping skills!