Soon to-be-released books whet audience’s appetite

EVENT: Forthcoming Attractions 2 (Thursday, 22 September; Townhouse Imbizo)



Imraan Coovadia, Steven Amsterdam, Margie Orford and NoViolet Bulawayo read from forthcoming works

An audience of some two dozen people was enthralled by the readings of these four notable authors – works currently being printed or pending public release.

Imraan Coovadia is the author of three novels – The Wedding, Green-eyed Thieves, and High Low In-Between, which won the 2010 Sunday Times Fiction Prize as well as the University of Johannesburg’s annual literary award.

Margie Orford, who was in 2009 described by The Weekender as “the queen of South African crime thriller writers”, has written four novels – Like Clockwork, Blood Rose, Daddy's Girl, and the about-to-be-released Gallows Hill.

Australian author Steven Amsterdam’s debut work, Things We Didn't See Coming, has been widely praised and won the Australian newspaper’s The Age 2009 Book of the Year. It is set to hit South African bookshelves early next year.

Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo, who penned the short story Hitting Budapest, won this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing, also known as the African Booker.

Michelle Hambly-Grobler, who described herself as an “avid consumer of the written word”, chaired the readings, and there was a little light-hearted banter when the writers  breezily faulted her for asking them to read from their “unpublished” works.

The readings were fresh, energetic and poignant, so much so that Bulawayo’s story of the hardship of African immigrants in America reduced one member of the audience to tears, who later told me: “As a white immigrant in Canada, I suffer quite a lot [of discrimination]. I can imagine the terrible pain African immigrants go through in the US, so vividly captured by Bulawayo.”

The reading was followed by lively informal conversations between the featured writers and the audience.