15 Oct

ABOUT: Wanda Verster

img_coinage-wvjpgWanda Verster is an architect, an academic and a writer (in training). She lives in Bloemfontein and is deeply connected to this strange central town that tries to be a city. She developed a love for stories through the influence of her Grandparents, who loved history, her mother who read to her from an early age and her father who stocked their house with great literary works.

Wanda is published as an academic writer but this is the first fiction that has been accepted for publication. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing short stories since her school days. Her training as a writer was strictly academic, through her studies in architecture and Art history. As with most lecturers, a bit of formality always sneaks in when she tries her hand at writing anything other than fact-driven arguments.

Her published work is limited to the academic world. She has written research articles for the South African Journal of Art history and has contributed to architectural publications.

She writes sporadically between grading assignments and submitting plans and aspires to have more creative writing published in future. She does have half a novel on a hard drive and a few loose ideas for other essays and short stories, but her current writing project is sadly not a creative work. It is the time-consuming painful slog of a Ph.D
. All Wanda’s creative writing is fuelled by vast amounts of coffee, procrastination and a desire for a creative outlet.

Footnote was inspired by the lecturers that shaped her career, a few imagined scenes and a love for the world of academics.

27 Feb

ABOUT: Batia Efrat

Batia is a writer of many things, poetry being her favourite. Born to an artist mother, she found herself gifted with words at an early age. Her work explores both the thrills and fragility of the human condition – those murky spaces where few dare tread. Batia’s free style imbues her writing with poignant images that are riveting and personal.

A feminist and humanitarian at heart, Batia writes on society and politics at On the line and manages a Facebook platform called Don’t Flatter Yourself – a body-positive initiative which tackles beauty stigmas and standards in the media. Batia has a diploma in copywriting and, when she isn’t raising controversial issues, spends her time working on her music blog.

Batia’s allows the words to choose themselves, then breathe a little, before making changes – a routine she believes preserves the roughness and authenticity of her work. Batia’s poetry is intended as a performance of uncensored expression rather than as poised literature – and that’s exactly how she likes it. She feels artists can destroy a wonderful messiness in their work by over embellishing or ironing out too many kinks. Batia admits that her most memorable writings are the ones which she spent very little time correcting. “When it comes to writing poetry, my method is entirely different to when I write copy.”

Batia’s signature is her wonderful use of rhythm – a quality that comes naturally to her – and, though she has no overarching theory of it, Batia’s easy (or, if she wishes, jarring) cadence comes from an instinctive attention to words. As an author, Batia is less concerned with construction and diction than she is with the ebb and flow of a piece. “If it doesn’t sound right on the ear, it’s not working,” she says. “Poetry is meant to sing. It’s music for your mind.”

Batia’s poem Sunday renders late-capitalist modernity – and our lives in it – as tedious and grasping, evoking the sobering come-downs that follow the brief, hopeful (futile? desperate?) escapes we all ache for. Like most of Batia’s work, Sunday speaks of a frustrated pursuit of happiness and the futility (or unavoidability) of searching for fulfilment through recklessness and hedonism. Sunday is disillusioned, asking “is there nothing more to life than this?” – this plight of routine and the concealed desperation for exile and escape in a society which favours structure over freedom. Sunday tries to leave the reader feeling uneasy and isolated, and arrives at the disappointment which hides behind every elevation and ecstasy – it’s the promise that nothing good lasts forever.

06 Feb

ABOUT: Dominic Pretorius

Dominic’s What Our Father Did is an extract from a novel-in-progress. The piece, being the opening of the novel, is an introduction to the character of Michael, a student living in contemporary Cape Town. His father left when he was a child and nobody ever explained to him why. The novel traces his learning this untold narrative, which has its beginnings in the political turmoil of the 1980s, and introduces him to unbeknown people who are integral to his life story. “A story can be of significant consequence, but to be known must first be told,” writes Dominic in the first chapter. Michael’s stable life is undermined by a history revealed to him only now that implicates his father in atrocities, but what is perplexing is that it is a history that never did not exist. Do we have to engage with our histories, which may bring forth difficult truths, for their implicit effects on our lives to be fully grasped? The novel poses this question to young people, those ever contradictory, elusive identities that are caught in a liminal space between responsibility and youthful abandon, past and present, both eras filled with untold injustice and trauma.

Born in 1996, Pretorius is also a student at the University of Cape Town. Contrary to the premise of his story, he thinks that his father is a nice enough guy and has not bequeathed an inheritance as unsettling as Michael’s. As an undergraduate student in Philosophy, English Literature, and Politics, Dominic’s existence revolves around reading and writing, with occasional plunges into the dark depths of social anxiety. This anxiety is most likely the product of growing up in an isolated valley in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, but, it could be that as observed by Pretorius: gone is that childhood time when it all seemed to work; like a song, a nation – a time when all was dandy. In this post-apartheid era, What Our Father Did is partly yet not exclusively, a meditation on this remark.

For Dominic, Cape Town can only be described through the poetry of Stephen Watson. Having showed a heightened interest in him, he is most likely to blather on about Watson’s affinity with Albert Camus – two men obsessed with oceans at symmetrical latitudes under provincial skies, trying to figure out what it means to be born into the harsh peripheries of their respective canons, both in terms of literary culture and the effects of racist imperialism and all its concomitants – those are the general themes. If you intervene and ask him what he does for fun, he won’t tell the truth in case his grandmother reads this – but drum and bass and whiskey are usually involved.

His work has been published on Aerodrome, a predominantly South African online literary platform, and Itch (Issue 14), Wits University’s digital literary journal. He also sporadically posts South African cultural content on his personal blog, ‘bloom| south’, where you can also read some of his other writing.

 

An extract from Dominic’s novel What Our Father Did ” will be featured in The #Coinage Book One

05 Oct

ABOUT: Raphael d’Abdon

Dr Raphael d’Abdon is a writer, scholar, editor and translator. He holds an MA in Arts from the University of Uppsala (Sweden) and a PhD in Linguistics and Literary Studies from the University of Udine (Italy), and is currently a lecturer at the English Studies Department of UNISA. He has read his poetry in Italy, Nigeria, and the United States, where he chaired a session on ‘spoken word and literature’ at the 2011 Chinua Achebe Colloquium, a conference that hosted poets such as Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez, Yusef Komunyakaa and Prof. Achebe himself. In South Africa he has performed at various festivals and poetry events which include, amongst others: the “Jozi Book Fair”, “Jozi House of Poetry”, the “Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series”, and

In South Africa he has performed at various festivals and poetry events which include, amongst others: the “Jozi Book Fair”, “Jozi House of Poetry”, the “Word N Sound Poetry and Live Music Series”, and “The Orbit” jazz club (Johannesburg); the “Night of the Poets” at The State Theatre, the Pretoria Biennale and the “67 Poems for freedom” at the Freedom Park (Pretoria); the Polokwane Literary Festival; the 2013 international festival “Poetry Africa” (Durban). He is the winner of the 2010 “Anna Panicali” literary prize (Italy), and has published poems in several volumes and journals which include: Splinters of a Mirage Dawn. An Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa; Unbreaking the Rainbow. Voices of Protest from New South Africa; 100 Thousand Poets for Change; Sagarana; Le Simplegadi; Semicerchio; The Palestine Chronicle; LitNet; New Coin; Guillotine. He published one collection of poems, Sunnyside Nightwalk (Geko, Johannesburg, 2013), and is currently finalizing his second collection which will be available at the end of 2015. He also translated into Italian and edited I nostri semi – Peo tsa rona, an anthology of South African spoken word poetry (Mangrovie, Naples, 2007) and Marikana. A Moment in Time (Geko, Johannesburg, 2013). With Natalia Molebatsi and Myesha Jenkins, he has co-edited the first anthology of South African erotic poetry, which will be published next year by Cassava Republic Press.

The poem “old sweet dolly” was written on the 18th of April 2014, the 100th birthday of Ms Dolly Saville, the oldest barmaid in the world. He found an article that was talking about a big party to be officiated in her honour at the Red Lion Hotel in Wendover (UK), the pub where she was working (see video here). After researching her amazing story, he wrote the poem as a tribute to her.

28 Aug

ABOUT: Christina Engela

Christina Engela is a fervent advocate of human rights and equality for all people, and also the proud owner of a warped sense of humour, and it shows. She lives in Port Elizabeth (where she enjoys watching birds fly backwards) – a tourist haven with an unhealthy preoccupation with apples and whose mascot symbol is a Jackass Penguin – which should give you some idea.

At school she was known for her quirky poetry and weird sense of humour, which came in handy while directing a school play (which involved, incidentally, 3 toilet rolls, a walkie-talkie and a hammer marked ‘exhibit A’).

After completing high school in 1991 at the tender age of 18, she enlisted in the Army (ordinary work being scarce at the time). In 1999 she qualified as a computer technician (A+) and moved into the network support environment, where she gathered a lot of experience in Conflict Resolution and Self Control – and using Solitaire to teach people How To Use The Mouse without inflicting self-injury. At almost the exact same time, she began her gender transition, and started living as a woman full-time in 2000.  In 2006, at long last, she was promoted to Female.

She writes across several genres, including sci-fi, fantasy and horror, writing most frequently about aliens, space ships, big explosions – and crypts, ghosts and vampires – often in the same books and in a way that makes all of these topics fit with each other without causing a melt-down or an inter-dimensional rift. She also enjoys sushi.

Her story settings include starship situations and planetary locations. Her favourite setting for her stories is on a planet called Deanna – which orbits a star called Ramalama, and which is orbited by two small mad little moons called Ding and Dong – where she expresses her own brand of fantasy combined with sci-fi.

For some reason, this location lends itself to what she calls “quantum-ness” and for creating the unique characters around which her stories flow. She loves to create characters and situations and to blend them with her past real life experiences and sometimes endearing (or not so endearing) parts of her real life acquaintances.

The Galaxii universe is set between 30 and 80 years in the future, possibly in a parallel dimension, where everything can be set right by a few characters with guts, heart and conscience – and an author with a warped sense of humour, a sharp pencil, even sharper wit, and a good sense of irony.

Two of her novels have recently been released by J. Ellington Ashton Press (JEA), with the first ‘Blachart’ appearing under JEA’s ‘Hardwired’ imprint in October 2014 and the second title in the series ‘Demonspawn’ in April 2015. The third title ‘Dead Beckoning’ is due out soon, with a string of others to follow.

Aside from the Galaxii Series, a growing number of Christina’s short stories also appear in various JEA anthologies (‘Autumn Burning’, ‘Inanna Rising’, ‘For Love of Leelah’). A children’s book by Christina, ‘Every Kid Is A Kid Almost Just Like You’, is also due for launch during 2015.

Keep in touch with Christina on: FacebookGoogle+Twitter ,Tsu , YouTubeGoodreadsTumblrLinkedInAcademia.eduLuluHei! BooksBooks Online DirectoryStumbleUponNothing Binding,  GliphoDilmotPintrest

Her short story, “I, Mac” will be featured in The #Coinage Book One – on sale November 2015.

 

 

 

23 Aug

ABOUT: Nohlee Cloete

It never goes away. We just become strong enough to carry it, to let it change us for better or worse. The funeral was like any other; I cried a bit and laughed a bit, but more than anything, I grew.

– My Sister

NCloete-225x300Nohlee (pronounced: No-lee) Cloete was born on the 15 February 1993 in Eesterivier, Cape Town. She graduated high school at the age of 17 at Forest Heights High Schoo,l as one of the school’s top ten matriculants in 2010. She is enrolled at the University of The Western Cape for a bachelor’s degree in Education with the intention of spreading her love for literature as an English teacher.

The inspiration for the memoir titled My Sister was when her older sister, Jami, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and focuses on the emotional journey and sudden changes in her life during that time.

She lives with her mother, Rachel, her nephew, Alex, and her tuxedo cat named Cake. She dreams of travelling the world as an accomplished author and is currently working on her first novel during her spare time.

Her memoir is featured in The #Coinage Book One on sale here.