We need to see ourselves in books. – Mohale Mashigo


It was a great weekend at the 8th Jozi Book Fair: Youth Rising at Wits University. The sun was out and so were all the readers, writers and booksellers.

Duduzile Mabaso handed down her short story wisdom to the students in the How To Write a Short Story workshop.

Below the learners from Phomolong Secondary, imaginations ignited came to visit our stall afterwards. We were very impressed by their raw talent, imagination and enthusiasm. South African publishing industry watch out, the youth are rising swiftly!

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Thanks to everyone who came by and said hello and picked up some books. We hope you’re enjoying them. The whole family was there – all the Poetry Potions and short story collections we’ve published. If you forgot to buy a book  that took your fancy you can shop for any of them online here.

Around us the jazz was swinging, the children were laughing and the discussions flowing. Some incredible speakers were engaging with audiences on a range of meaningful topics in a fun and direct way.



One of the discussions we found particularly illuminating was the panel on Decolonising the Arts with filmmaker (notably of Action Kommandant) Nadine Cloete, Mohale Mashigo (author of The Yearning) and contemporary artist Kemang Wa Lehulere. The panel was moderated by legendary author, literary activist and playwright Zakes Mda. A lively discussion was had about the state of the arts in African languages, decolonisation and South Africa.

Here are some of the best tweets from the discussion below:



















Our second event was a preview of The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story! Vol. 2 which will be released later this year. The shortlisted writers had already been announced and this event celebrated their achievement, the quality of their writing and revealed the runner ups and winner.  The total prize money to be shared amounts to R7000!

Mapule Mohulatsi, who wrote “Circles” and Thato Magano, the writer of “Parallels of Yesterday” were in attendance. They answered Duduzile’s questions as well as some they were asked by the captivated audience.

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The proceedings were Periscoped for viewers around the world and our assistant Efemia managed to live tweet some of the highlights as well. The crowd had a very visceral reaction to the stories, cheering and sighing during the short readings. If their response is anything to go by, certainly this is not a collection to be missed when it hits the shelves. These writers are lions, and their stories roar.

And so it began:










An audience member asked Thato about his goals as a writer, especially with regards to this story. He replied:



Then the event reached its climax! Time to announce the winners:



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WINNER! : Men are Fools by Obinna Udenwe

Joint second placeA Night to Remember by Christine Coates and Circles by Mapule Mohulatsi


Well done to the top three and all the writers in the collection!

Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements about The Short Story is Dead, Long Live the Short Story! Vol. 2, right here on the Black Letter Media blog.

All in all we had a wonderful weekend speaking to everyone who came by the stall, discussing our upcoming books and the local publishing industry. The fair was very kid-friendly and it was so heartening to see many young readers and burgeoning writers engaging with our books and some of the complex topics and ideas presented. And the weather was divine. Thank you to Wits and Jozi Book Fair.

We had a wonderful time and hope to see you all there next year!