Sean de la Rosa's Reviews > New Writing from Africa 2009

New Writing from Africa 2009 by J.M. Coetzee
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Jun 17, 11

Read from April 15 to June 17, 2011

With more than 800 pieces submitted from across Africa for the Studzinski Literary Award, JM Coetzee and his panel went to work selecting the 34 entries that would make it into the New Writing From Africa, 2009 Volume. Some of Coetzee's comments on the works selected:
"The best of these stories showed that difficult and disturbing material - social breakdown, inhuman exploitation, violence - could be explored, shaped and made sense of...In stories originating in southern Africa the dominant theme was, not unexpectedly, grim. Child rape, xenophobic violence and white paranoia were subjects repeatedly treated. Stores from West Africa tended to be more expansive and comic in tone and were able to link with a by now well established tradition of literary storytelling."

Being a South African, I related better to the South African short stories. The topics were addressed brutally and there were a couple of times I stopped reading to process the terror, fear and uncertainty being experienced by the characters. We do live in a very strange world...

There were many quotes I loved. But this one on a xenophobic attack haunted me throughout the reading of the book:
"Do you want to go home one day?" I asked.
He leaned forward, rested his weight on both his arms. "The only home you'll ever have is inside you," he said. "Nothing else stays constant long enough."

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Reading Progress

05/16/2011 page 159
06/16/2011 page 329
81.0% "Almost done and what a ride it has been. Cotezee chose some tough material to make up this volume. I most definitely related better to the South African short stories more than the others from the rest of Africa."
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