Well, the whirlwind journey that has been SPIRE reaches a climax this Thursday with our official launch at Love Books. Fiona will be in conversation with Gus Silber, and I think it’s going to be incredible – I do hope I’ll see you there? Don’t forget to RSVP – as Pamela Power is fond of saying, we’d hate to run out of wine! Pop a mail off to kate@lovebooks.co.za to let her know you’ll be there.

If you don’t manage to make it to the launch to get your copy of SPIRE signed, come on over to Icon on 17 June, where Fiona will be making an appearance to chat to readers and sign books. Details a little further on.

As always, Clockwork Books is looking out for YOU, our readers. I’ve managed to wrench two copies of SPIRE from the hordes at the door waiting to read it, and two lucky subscribers to this newsletter will be randomly selected to win their very own SIGNED copy of SPIRE, Fiona Snycker’s latest thriller set in Antarctica. Your prize will be delivered right to your door, courtesy of Clockwork Books. To increase your chances, hit reply to this email and tell me which South African book has been your fave read of 2017, and I’ll make sure you get another two entries into the competition.

Father’s Day is just around the corner – might I recommend a copy of SPIRE for the father in your life? It would be the perfect gift! Here’s an excerpt from Gus Silber’s review to convince you:

“[I feel] that SPIRE belongs firmly in the horror genre: “Thriller” doesn’t do it justice. Thrillers just thrill us, but horror is metaphor, and here the subtext is the exile of the self, in the frozen emotional wasteland of our technological era. Well, that’s how I read it, especially late at night, when the world is cold outside and quiet within.
SPIRE is a novel of apocalypse, not just as in the end of the world, but as in The End of the World, because that is where it is set, as far south as you can possibly go before completely losing your way.
But as bleak as it may sound, this is a very humanist tale of resilience and survival, and Snyckers counterpoints the cold with her warm, breezy, perfectly measured writing.
She also injects a strata of clinical, technical data into the telling, and it is so rich in detail, that you could pretty much use this book as a survival manual if you ever get stuck at the South Pole. Which is a comfort to know.”

Read Gus’s full review (it’s worth it, trust me) here.

In other news, I am deeply proud to announce that the Clockwork Books online store is now stocked entirely of South African authors and books. Our latest additions are a selection of the delightful Book Dash range in … this is the exciting part …. English, isiXhosa, isiZulu, sePedi, seSotho, tshiVenda and seTswana! One of our favourite newsletter readers reviews Book Dash book Amazing Daisy! a little later in this issue, and we get to know Julia Norrish, programme director for Books Dash, below.

Now that our stock is 100% South African, the Clockwork Books team is on a mission to fill our shelves with the best local reads we can find. Keep your eyes right here for new announcements monthly, and be sure to visit our store to check out our new arrivals.

Writers – we got your back! Here’s a heads up about an exciting Storylining Course that Pamela Power will be hosting in Melville from July. Check out the flyer further on, or email info@worktheclock.co.za for more info. This is not to be missed if you want to write for TV.

And if you’re an aspiring author, don’t forget to check out my tips for writing the perfect synopsis at the end of this letter. The synopsis is key to how a prospective publisher reads your manuscript, so you really want to nail this skill.

Till next time, stay warm and don’t forget to #ReadSA!

Sarah

Getting to know: Julia Norrish

Julia Norrish is an insatiable reader who got to pursue her dream of reading for a living when she studied English and French Literature at the University of Cape Town. Later, she realised that not everyone loved to read, and some children didn’t even have books in their homes. In a quest to change this, she volunteered as the President of SHAWCO while completing her Honours in English Studies, focusing on South African children’s literature, also at UCT. For her efforts to combat illiteracy, she has been nominated a LeadSA Hero, selected as one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans, and awarded the UCT Ackerman Family Foundation Award. She now runs non-profit publishing house, Book Dash, day-to-day and loves being part of putting beautiful new South African stories into kids’ hands.

I asked Julia about working for Book Dash.

 

Sarah: What attracted you to working with Book Dash?
Julia: Honestly, it was the founding team who really cinched the deal for me. I worked for Arthur Attwell at EBW before he and the other founders of Book Dash, Tarryn-Anne Anderson and Michelle Matthews, asked me to head up Book Dash. They are all such passionate, talented and intriguing people wanting to improve how we publish books in South Africa. I found that really exciting, and felt I could learn a huge amount from them. Obviously, given my past work and interests, the work that Book Dash does to create local storybooks and give them away freely also made it a no-brainer for me.

 

Sarah: What has been your greatest challenge at Book Dash? And greatest triumph?
Julia: Book Dash started working from a combined office (with a few other organisations), but soon rent became an issue and we also decided to work from home. For a long time I was the only employee at Book Dash (the founders have other full-time jobs), so I worked from my house alone. It’s hard to stay motivated when you aren’t surrounded by others who are also working. I think a lot of freelancers also feel this way (and it’s why hubspaces and communal offices are really taking off). Creatives especially, I think, benefit from bouncing ideas off each other, so it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people. We now have an intern working with me, and that helps a great deal!

I think my greatest triumph is that Book Dash is still around and still financially viable, despite giving away 130 000 books! I knew it was a big responsibility when I took on the management of such an amazing organisation, and I’m glad that – with lots of support of course! – we’re still around to keep changing the world.
 
Sarah: What’s the toughest question you’ve ever been asked by a child?
Julia: I love kids! They point out thing we wouldn’t dare say as adults. I get a specific question a lot and the resulting conversation usually goes something like this:

“Why do you have an earring in your nose?”
“Because I like how it looks”
“Why?”
“It’s something different, not everyone has one.”
“Why?”
“Well, not everyone thinks it looks nice, but I do.”
“Can I take it out and play with it?”
“No, why don’t we rather go read a book!”

Clockwork Books Recommends:

Amazing Daisy!
by Nozizwe Herero, Siya Masuku & Leona Ingram

On a little farm lives Daisy, a little chicken who wishes she could fly. All the other chickens laugh at her daily flying practice. But one day something amazing happens…

Founder of Bookamoso Book Club, Omphile Raleie says:
I am a huge fan of children’s books illustrations – and the illustrations in Amazing Daisy are beautiful! Simple. And the story is also inspiring: Daisy is absolutely determined  – there’s a lesson in here for us all, that whatever we put our mind to, all we have to do is to give it our best!

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