Why poets are eternal beginners

– BY FIONA ZERBST   There are no short cuts in poetry. Even if you have been writing for over 20 years, you start at the very beginning when you sit down to a blank sheet of paper. In fact, if you have written good poems in the past, there is no guarantee you will write good poems in the future. You cannot predict that you will write a great poem, even if you have mastered some poetic forms and you feel reasonably

Q & A with Laurie Halse Anderson: Writer

  Her first novel for young adult (YA) fiction was not only a New York Times best-seller in 1999, but was also later adapted into a film starring a young Kristen Stewart in 2004. Laurie's latest YA novel Wintergirls received five-star reviews and nominations for state awards, and was also debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list.   Lucy Mansell interviews Laurie Halse Anderson about the ideas and inspiration behind her best-selling novels Wintergirls and Speak.      Q: What can you tell me about

An Interview with Short Story Writer, Ginny Swart

Ginny Swart was one of the first writers to join us when we started our writing college in 2005. She designed the Short Story Writing for Magazines Course. One of our best-loved tutors, Ginny has been an unfailing support for novice writers on an international level.     Q. How did you become a writer? By accident! I’m actually trained as a graphic designer but have had various jobs and one was selling advertising for a weekly trade paper. One day I sold a full page advert

Q & A with Sola Oguche-Agudah – Writer, Speaker & Coach

  Sola is the first in her family to have written a book, and she describes herself as a writer, speaker and coach. Born in Lagos, a large city on the southwestern end of Nigeria, it was after five years of studying to be a mechanical engineer in one of Nigeria’s prestigious universities, that Sola discovered her passion for both speaking and writing. 6179

Four Habits of Successful Writers

Books, blogs and courses offer valuable advice and guidance for writers, but to make the most of them, there are four vital habits we have to establish for ourselves.   BY TRISH NICHOLSON   1. Create a writing support network Putting words onto paper or the screen is something we do alone and it can be lonely. Not only that, inspiration comes not from staring at a blank space waiting for the muse, but from  engaging with life past and present, observing, recording, thinking and

Q & A with Lotta Dann – Writer, Blogger and Recovery Advocate!

  When Lotta received her ‘Local Hero’ award in 2014, she celebrated it with lime and soda rather than bubbly. Lotta wrote her way sober with a blog called 'Mrs. D Is Going Without', attracting such a huge following that she wrote her memoir of the same name three years later. JEANNA THOMSON chats to Lotta Dann about writing and the role it has played in her recovery from alcohol addiction. Q: How did you become a writer?  Tell us a bit about your

Q&A with Crime Writer Michael Robotham

  Best-selling crime author, Michael Robotham, continues to make his mark in the fictional world of murder, mystery and twists. BY MATILDA TULLIE Michael Robotham started his writing career as a journalist, but is now one of the world’s best crime writers. The Australian author has sold over six million books, and has received and been shortlisted for many awards, winning the prestigious Gold Dagger crime writing award in 2015 and the Ned Kelly award for best novel in both 2005 and

Is Aanlynmedia die Toekoms? Onderhoud met Annelien van Basten

  GESKRYF DEUR GINA VAN STADEN ’n Gedrukte boek of tydskrif sal altyd nostalgie aanwakker, maar hierdie industrie is stadigaan besig om uit te sterf. Annelien van Basten, bekende skrywer en webredakteur van die trou-blog, Troukoors, gee meer inligting oor wat suksesvolle aanlynmedia behels asook oor die uitdagings van die oorskakeling van gedrukte- na aanlynmedia.   Vertel ons eers hoe jy in die joernalistieke-bedryf beland het? “Ek het van jongs af gedurende speeltyd al draaiboeke en storielyne geskryf vir my en my niggie se Barbie-poppe.

Q & A with author of ‘Namaste Life’, Ishara Maharaj

Ishara Maharaj completed the Write a Novel Course at SA Writers College a few years ago.  Since then her debut novel Namaste Life (Modjaji Books, 2016) has been published. We ask Ishara about her writing journey that led to her success. Q: Ishara, you have written a non-fiction book, but Namaste Life is your debut novel. Can you describe the process you went through to find a publisher? A: As a novel for young adults, particularly for female readers, I looked at

Q & A with Toby Manhire – Editor, Journalist & Writer

    He’s the son of New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate and describes himself as a freelance writer and editor. He's a columnist for the NZ Herald and RNZ Online, political editor at The Spinoff, and contributor to the Guardian. ROCHELLE SEWELL chats to Toby Manhire about his work.   Question: You hail from New Zealand writing pedigree. I imagine you grew up in a household of books and literary discussions at the dinner-table. Did this influence your decision to become a writer? Answer: I didn’t

Q and A with Tamara Rothbart – South African Award-winning Journalist

For someone who’s been in the journalism game for nearly 20 years, and has edited magazines like Cosmopolitan and Elle, it’s clear Tamara Rothbart is a full vessel. GILBERT GWATIDZO speaks to Tamara as she dishes out wisdom on the magazine journalism industry.   Question: I was terrified to make this call. How do you overcome nervousness before a big interview? Answer: Focus on the end goal. The story you are writing is not about you, it’s about them, their life. Concentrate on

How to Land The Big Author’s Deal: Q and A with Sarah Lotz

  BY ALEX SMITH   I can remember a few years ago having weekly meetings at a little cafe in Noordhoek with Sarah Lotz and a couple of other writer friends. Sarah and I had recently completed our MA in Creative Writing. We'd drink black coffee and discuss the state of publishing, rage about poorly edited novels, and lament over the seemingly impossible quest to land The Big Deal. Then a close friend of Sarah's, Lauren Beukes, won a major international prize - the

An Interview with writer and novelist Mary Miller

Mary Miller is an American-born fiction writer. Her debut novel The Last Days of California has sold over 25,000 copies. Mary gives us a peek into her life as a writer and shares advice on how to start out in the writing industry.   Born in Mississippi, Mary Miller never thought of writing as a career. After publishing her first short story collection Big World, Miller’s career grew substantially. In 2014 she published her first novel, The Last Days of California which

Q and A with Rian Malan – South African Writer and Journalist

  Just waking up in South Africa presents you with extraordinarily strong writing material, says Rian Malan, who has written widely about the country and its people, its tragedies and triumphs. His best-selling book, My Traitor’s Heart, has been translated into eleven languages. As a journalist, he has written for newspapers and magazines across the globe. Yet, he talks about his writing with a humility that belies his success. Or perhaps it’s this very humility that has helped him succeed. KAREN SOUTHEY speaks

A Writer’s Inner Workings: Andrew Salomon

  Andrew Salomon is the author of The Chrysalis (Oxford University Press) and Tokoloshe Song (Random House Umuzi). Shortlisted for the Terry Pratchett First Novel Award, twice shortlisted for the Science Fiction and Fantasy SA Short Story Competition, Andrew was one of the winners of the PEN/Studzinski Literary Award for African Fiction, as well as the winner of the 2015 Short.Sharp.Stories Competition. Andrew is a tutor for the Write a Novel Course at SA Writers College. GREG SEEBREGTS talks to Andrew about his

Marilyn Duckworth: Chronicler of Women’s Lives

  Wanting to portray how women really felt about their lives has been a constant theme for acclaimed New Zealand novelist, Marilyn Duckworth.   Marilyn’s first novel A Gap in the Spectrum was published when she was only 23; her sixth Disorderly Conduct won a New Zealand Book Award. In 1987 she was awarded an OBE for services to literature. Her autobiography Camping on the Faultline revealed her life during the changing literary scene of 1950’s New Zealand, a life as eventful and unconventional

Kennedy Warne: Writer, Editor and Man of Nature

  As a self-taught writer and editor-at-large at NZ Geographic, Kennedy Warne connects readers to the natural world. “There is nothing more precious than bridging the gap between the reader and the relatively unknown,” says Kennedy Warne, a world-renowned natural history writer, and co-founder of the NZ Geographic magazine. Pick up any copy of NZ Geographic and you will find his inspiring words. The 56-year-old writer “speaks for nature and those who have no voice”. Kennedy co-founded NZ Geographic magazine in 1989. Now, as

An interview with storyteller and writer – Anoeschka Von Meck

  BY GENTE COETZEE   Anoeschka Von Meck is Namibian born writer with a magnificently contagious laugh and magical ability for story telling. She is also the winner of four writing awards for the inspiring novel Vaselinetjie. Anoeschka gives us a peek into her personal experience of writing.    Q: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Was there a light bulb moment? Writing happened naturally. I'm told a story by my mum and grandmother that as a toddler I often

Inspired by Jack Sheffield, author of the ‘Teacher’ novels

BY NATASHA BARRETT It's never too late to pursue your dreams of becoming a writer, as British author Jack Sheffield proves. Determined to grant his mother's final wish, at 61 years old, Jack's first of eight novels, Teacher Teacher! was published. Jack Sheffield is visiting Australia, before moving on to New Zealand with his notebook, researching and gathering inspiration for his ninth book in the Teacher series. To find out more about Jack's writing life, I meet up with him on the balcony

Making Money in Media with Maya Fisher-French

By NICKY WILTON Maya is friendly and down-to-earth when I call her for the interview. Which makes her the perfect person to be giving advice on something many of us are a little nervous about  – money. Maya Fisher French is a successful and well-known personal financial journalist with a background in the financial industry. Her website, Maya on Money, is a comprehensive collection of articles on personal finance. She is also editor of the personal finance section of the Sunday City

Too late now for Christmas; aim for Mother’s Day!

  GINNY SWART explains how to sell your short stories to magazine fiction supplements. “Only five more shopping days to Christmas!” Does this sign raise the level of your Christmas anxiety? Like most of us, do you fit your Christmas shopping into the frantic week before December 25th? Fiction editors of magazines don’t have this problem. Long before your supermarket has hung the tinsel and switched on the electronic carols, magazine editors prepare for the festive season. When to submit your story Most of the

Spotlight on author Alex Smith

Award-winning author Alex Smith teaches creative writing at UK Writers' College

Alex Smith’s most recent novel Devilskein & Dearlove is a YA Fantasy, described by the Sunday Times as “a magical tale not soon forgotten”. She is also the author of Algeria’s Way, Four Drunk Beauties, Agency Blue and Drinking from the Dragon’s Well. Her writing has been shortlisted for the SA PEN Literary Award, Short Sharp Stories Award and the Caine Prize for African writing, and has won a Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature and a Nielsens Booksellers’ Choice Award.  Alex tutors the Novel

Catching up with Casey B Dolan – actress turned author

Casey Dolan has undertaken many different roles throughout her colourful career. Well-known as a presenter and actress in television, film and radio, as well as for being voted FHM’s Sexiest Woman, Casey was even nominated for a single in the South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2001. And that’s the subject of her memoir An Appetite for Peas - a quirky, yet heartfelt account unveiling what life is REALLY like in the spotlight. MICHELLE BARUFFOL caught up with Casey B to discover

Spotlight on Nora Vagi Brash, Papua New Guinean writer

From the Gravesite to the Stage Nori Vagi Brash speaks about her life as a Papua New Guinean poet, writer, and social activist   You probably haven’t heard of Nora Vagi Brash, and you might need a map to locate Papua New Guinea, but on this exotic island of the South Pacific, Nora is respected as one of the most outstanding playwrights and poets in the region, and the only female playwright published in the country. Having grown up in a village on the

Q & A with Multi-Award-Winning feature writer Sarah Lang – her road to success

Successful journalist Sarah Lang may have started her working life sleeping in her mother’s garage, but she has quickly climbed the ranks to become a multi-award-winning feature writer.   Born and bred in New Zealand, Sarah Lang (34), began her career as reporter for the local newspaper covering Taupo, Turangi and Rotorua (New Zealand). For the last six years has freelanced for around 20 publications including North & South, Next, Canvas, NZ House & Garden, Reader’s Digest, and the Herald on Sunday’s