It seems that the promise of a case of Leopard’s Leap wine to the best blog entry per month is fueling the banter on Book SA. Congratulations to this month’s winner, Ron Irwin from Cape Town, for his witty contribution to the Book SA topic “Are the odds against writers from Africa/South Africa?”
“In defense of the South African publishing scene, I would like to also say that what is going on in Cape Town right now reminds me of Paris in the 20s and 30s–the Paris of Henry Miller and Hemingway. There are numerous small houses growing up catering to South African writers, and the entire business is very personal. This is what I like best about it. It is far more old fashioned and less corporate than what goes on in the USA, where editors and agents think they are running a mini Hollywood. So many big time authors of 20th century lit worked with small local presses in Paris: Joyce, Miller, Hemingway among them. There is far more room for creativity and really gnarly writing down here, and thanks to blogs like this you can get the word out quickly to the serious reading public. I know in another life I lived in Paris and edited and wrote. Cape Town is my Movable Feast and as a local writer it should be yours. If you really smash the sales down here, people like me will try to get you out to the UK and the USA. I was not suggesting in my last post that you try to copy Jackie Collins. What I am saying is that some local person is going to really light up the pinball machine. Coetzee’s first book was published by a small publisher that is long gone, and he’s done pretty well–and back then he could have been arrested for what he had to say if the apartheid lunkheads could understand what they were reading.”
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