Longread | The Johannesburg Review of Books

The latest issue of the Johannesburg Review of Books brings you, amongst many others: Bongani Madondo, Rustum Kozai, Lebohang Mojapelo, Troy Onyango, Victor Dlamini, Niq Mhlongo, Eben Venter, Guy Tillim and Efemia Chela. 

In this issue, in a world exclusive, we’re pleased to announce the longlisted stories for the 2018 Short Story Day Africa Prize. This year’s prize theme is ‘Hotel Africa’, with SSDA seeking ‘innovative short fiction set in the rooms, the passages, the bars and the lobbies of hotels across the continent, as well as metafiction exploring Africa as a hotel herself.’

James Baldwin’s novel of half a century ago, If Beale Street Could Talk, now reissued by Penguin Random House, was successfully adapted into an Oscar-winning film by screenwriter and director Barry Jenkins. Bongani Madondo reconsiders the text and the film as part of the Transatlantic blues tradition.

Rustum Kozain reviews Dread Poetry and Freedom: Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Unfinished Revolution by David Austin, the first published, book-length study of one of the most important poets to have emerged in the English-speaking world in the late-twentieth century.

Lebohang Mojapelo reviews Ngũgĩ: Reflections on His Life of Writing, a collection of essays that reflects on the life and work of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who celebrated his eightieth birthday in 2018.

Literary giant Charles Mungoshi died on 16 February, at the age of seventy-one. In this issue, we republish an interview between Mungoshi and Lizzy Attree, from 2006.

The JRB Photo Editor Victor Dlamini’s contribution this month also honours Charles Mungoshi, with literary portraits from the 2008 Time of the Writer Festival in Durban.

In original writing this month, we feature two Kenyan writers, with new short fiction from Troy Onyango, and new poetry by Ngwatilo Mawiyoo.

Eben Venter presented the world debut of his first visual exhibition, ‘Translate Yourself’, at the February Lectures conference at North-West University’s Potchefstroom campus at the end of February. Wemar Strydom reports from the event.

With his tongue firmly in his cheek, City Editor Niq Mhlongo presents a piece on township etiquette and an irreverent guide to Soweto.

Read an exclusive excerpt from Ekow Duker’s forthcoming novel, Yellowbone, which will be published in April 2019.

In Francophone news, we take a look at the new novel from celebrated Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun, L’Insomnie. This darkly humorous thriller is narrated by a life-long insomniac who learns that murder is the secret to getting a good night’s sleep.

Our header image this issue is taken by renowned photographer Guy Tillim, and is excerpted from his new book Museum of the Revolution, which coincides with his major solo exhibition at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris, France.

Read the Review here.