Friday 21 February 2014

Reading about South Africa

The call of the wild, visions of lions and gleaming gold. The vibrant beat of drums or throb of peak hour traffic. South Africa is all this and more. If you’re dreaming of visiting South Africa, you might like to read some books that give you an idea of this vast and magnificent country with all its complexities and its beauty. 
With two Nobel Literature Laureates among our many Nobel prize winners, here are a few of my favorite books set in South Africa.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, so what books about South Africa would you add to the list? 
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

The Anglo-Boer War 1899 - 1902 by Fransjohan Pretorius

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Country of my Skull by Antjie Krog

My Traitor's Heart by Riaan Malan
The Story of an African Farm  by Olive Schreiner

Mafeking Road and Other Stories by Herman Charles Bosman
Waiting for the Barbarians by J M Coetzee
When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur Smith

The Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda
The Power of One by Bryce Courtney
My novel DANCING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE, my poetry A LAMP AT MIDDAY and my collection of short stories THE WEIGHT OF A FEATHER AND OTHER STORIES also show different aspects of this passionate country of mine, with its tragic history and bright future. 

Sunday 16 February 2014

Author Photos

If there is anything on this earth I hate with a passion, it's having my photograph taken. But, as one of my New Year's Resolutions was to take my writing more seriously, I thought I'd bite the bullet and set up not one, but two, photo sessions for a professional Author Photo. 

I booked the lovely Aurelie Stratton from ELOQUENT PHOTOGRAPHS . We spent an intense few hours, with Aurelie snapping away, at the same time trying to relax me from my frozen gritted-teeth pose! I posed outside, I posed inside, I posed with Shadow my cat. I posed until I melted and Aurelie had taken hundreds and hundreds of snaps! (It felt like thousands!)

But I hate the camera and the camera hates me right back. The chances of getting a photo of me with my eyes open and my mouth shut (at the same time!) is very slim, but there are some very nice ones, although you can clearly see my suffering at the thought of being in the camera spotlight! I've put the photos from my first (and, if I have my way, last!)  real photo shoot on my Facebook  so you can see how gorgeous Shadow is, with her black fur, pink collar and great big green eyes.  

I'd also booked a back-up session with my big sister Iona Cockerill, who is a talented artist (watercolours) and an equally talented photographer.  Below is my favourite author photo, taken by my sister. I think it's the blissful look on Shadow's face that makes this such a great photo to use as a profile and PR author photo!

Photograph by Iona Cockerill 2014