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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How to throw a Harry Potter party

As a fan of theme parties, cosplaying, and all-round geekery, I have in my adult years thrown more than one Harry Potter party. There is no shame in this. After all, I am a huge fangirl, so are my friends, and with recent headlines dominated by racist mob violence, corruption, and impending nuclear war (and that was just this week) sometimes a night of light-hearted fun is needed to lift the spirits.
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Book review: The Fifth Mrs Brink

The Fifth Mrs Brink is the memoir of writer and academic Karina Szczurek, the fifth wife of author Andre P Brink.

The book describes their romance and happy marriage, but it also offers a portrait of the woman behind the title. Karina writes that to know her, you must visit the places close to her heart, and in this book she shares some of the moments that have defined her.
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Exploring the Cape

Living in Cape Town means you don’t have to venture out very far to see breathtaking scenery. It’s a permanent backdrop.

As someone who doesn’t enjoy summer very much (this pale complexion takes years of avoiding the sun) winter is my favourite time to explore The Cape of Storms. The world comes alive, like a dog shaking off its wet fur. Just look outside to see how vivid green the grass has become as it waits expectantly for the rumbling black clouds to release more rain; how the skies are never anything less than dramatic.

It’s so wonderfully gloomy.

Here are some of my favourite places to go when it’s cold outside.

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LEGO book review: The Fault in our Stars

From  the archive: 5 June 2014

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I read The Fault in Our Stars over Christmas (it was a gift to myself). In fact, I very rudely sat outside in the sun, while my partner and his family were inside in the middle of Christmas lunch celebrations. I couldn’t put the book down, not even on Christmas Day.

(See this picture? That’s me stretched out between two camping chairs while trifle is being served inside.)

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LEGO book review: The Roanoke Girls

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I know a few people who make a habit of not reading Next Big Thing books because ultimately, the end result never quite lives up to the hype. (I haven’t read The Girl on the Train and the movie’s already gone to DVD).

But sometimes it does.

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