LEGO book review: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Halloween is less than a month away. It’s about this time every year that I start frantically Googling horror movies I haven’t seen and listing scary books to read in October. This year I dove into a Halloween read early. Technically, There’s Someone Inside Your House is only being released in October – just in time for the big night – but I was lucky to receive an advance copy.
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Notes from my Open Book Short Story Workshop

I hosted a workshop on short story writing at this year’s Open Book Festival. Some of the greatest writers in the world are known for their short stories – Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Nadine Gordimer – and South Africa is home to some of the best.

I love short stories, writing and reading them, and wanted to share some tips for aspiring writers.

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Kitchen experiments

I love the alchemy of cooking and baking – how mixing certain ingredients together can result in something deliciously pleasurable. I especially love the effect that good food has on people – that ooh after the first bite, the satisfied sigh.

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LEGO book review: One of us is Lying

The Breakfast Club meets Gossip Girl in this fast-paced teen murder mystery.

Five high school students are given detention when phones are discovered in their bags by a teacher notorious for searching gym bags before lessons. One of the students, Simon, runs a gossip App called About That, making him the most hated kid at school. What makes him so dangerous is that the rumours he reports always turn out to be true.

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Taking it slow on Route 62

Working full time is tough. Not only do I have less time to write fiction, it also means getting up super early every day to the same alarm tone, sitting in traffic, and working long hours that often eats into my personal time. The next thing I know, there’s three or four hours left to make dinner, shower, catch the latest episode of something and then its bedtime.

Free nights and weekends become a game of Roulette. Is the dice going to land on writing, spending time with friends, catching up on chores or taking work home yet again? It can wear you down.

A long weekend away is the perfect antidote.

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LEGO book review: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls has been sitting on my shelf for a while, (terrible, I know.) In my defense I had a book to finish, short stories to hand in and a workshop to plan. But once I had finished relaunching my website, it was the first book I reached for. To sum up my thoughts – it’s just magical.

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Book review: Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma

My shelf of South African poetry can hardly be called a collection. Strange Fruit by Helen Moffett, Please, Take Photographs by Sindiwe Magona, Ingrid Jonker’s Black Butterflies translated by Andre Brink, The Tempest Prognosticator by Isobel Dixon, Doo-Wop Girls of the Universe by Finuala Dowing, Matric Rage by Genna Gardini. I’m ashamed that I don’t own more. Continue reading “Book review: Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma”

LEGO book review: The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories

Edited by Jared Shurin and Mahvesh Murad, this gorgeous anthology features a diverse array of authors, including Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, EJ Swift and James Smythe.

The collection comprises dreamy tales with a palpable middle-eastern flavour, reminiscent of One Thousand and One Nights. Many of the stories are set in the middle east. What holds them together is that they all feature the legendary djinn, a creature from Arabian mythology – commonly known as the genie from Aladdin’s lamp.

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In praise of Japan

I don’t have the most refined palate. Growing up, meals were a rotating conveyor belt of toast, spaghetti, mac and cheese, stew and braai (charred to a crisp, the way my father liked it.) Take-aways like KFC were a weekend treat, and on special occasions, and I mean, really, really special, we went to Spur.

I consider this a blessing. Being raised without a silver spoon in my mouth helped me understand the value of hard work and getting what you pay for. Which is why these days, when I do have a little extra to spend on eating out, I try to get my money’s worth.

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Open Book Festival: RSVP for my Short Story Workshop

The Open Book Festival takes place from 6-10 September at the beautiful Fugard Theatre in Cape Town.

I’ll be hosting a free workshop on short story writing at this year’s festival which is open to anyone, whether you’re a beginner, experienced writer or simply love short stories and want to know more about the craft.
I’ll be giving a brief introduction to short story writing, offering tips and advice, reading excerpts from some of the country’s top storytellers, and inviting attendees to take part in writing exercises designed to sharpen their skills.
I’ve run two previous workshops for the festival, one on Writing for Young Adults with Cat Hellisen and Sarah Lotz and another on Worldbuilding with Cat and Zimkhitha Mlanzeli.

This year I have another special guest lined up.

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