Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

The Johannesburg Review of Books, a new journal of literary writing, makes its debut today, May 1. The publication, whose informal slogan is “your desultory literary companion from South Africa,” is published by Ben Williams and edited by Jennifer Malec.

Its editorial personnel comprises: contributing editors Bongani Madondo, Caine Prize winner Henrietta Rose-Innes, Short Story Day Africa Prize winner Efemia Chela; photo editor Victor Dlamini, poetry editor Rustum Kozain, city editor Niq Mhlongo, and academic editor Simon van Schalkwyk.

Here is the JRB’s mission statement.

Our aim is to fill a conspicuous gap in world letters: namely, the lack of an authoritative review from Africa covering significant books from across the globe. While African literature itself is bursting at the seams, and very well-supported by digital literati (not to mention well-explored by the global academy), it’s still the case that critical voices from Africa are not as well-heard, when it comes to considering new works of fiction and non-fiction—whether these be from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Mumbai, Toronto, Dublin or other publishing hubs—as voices from city-arbiters of literary taste like Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, and London. The JRB hopes to change that.

We also hope provide a new space for writers from South Africa, Africa and beyond to ruminate on culture, politics, history and the arts, publishing pieces that stand up both to intellectual scrutiny and to the great wash of information that nowadays causes all but the most memorable writing to fade. To that end, we will publish reviews, essays, poetry, short fiction and photographs in a single issue each month (subscribe here), plus a regular sampling of African literary life on our blog.

Our informal slogan at The JRB is—‘your desultory literary companion from South Africa’. ‘Desultory’ is meant here in its classic sense of leaping from one thing to another, in this case the various channels that modern publications are required to maintain, to ensure richness, reach and relevance over the long term. To the best of our ability, we will leap among these channels like a latter-day literary desultor, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Medium, SoundCloud, YouTube and The Reading List.

Beyond that, it’s no exaggeration to say that we also want to fight crime—by which we mean the horrors attending the world’s sharp turn to extremism, populism and storming nationalism. Book reviewing is one means of keeping the basic tenets of humanism alive: books entail, by their very nature, a meeting of minds—if not always perfect agreement between these minds—and the more that meet across the hardening boundaries of the current age, by whatever means, including the perusal of a literary review, the more cause for hope.

Among the review’s three patrons is Achmat Dangor, activist and author of the Booker- and IMPAC Dublin-shortlisted Bitter Fruit and the Herman Charles Bosman-winning Kafka’s Curse. There is also Makhosazana Xaba, editor of the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction and author of the SALA Nadine Gordimer Short Story Award-winning collection Running & Other Stories. Their third patron is the much-honoured Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Wits University, Ivan Vladislavić, who has received Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction, the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the Alan Paton Award, the University of Johannesburg Prize, the English Academy’s Thomas Pringle Award, the Olive Schreiner Prize, the CNA Literary Award, and the Kraszna-Krausz Award for best photography book.

Their editorial advisory panel features a host of award-winning names: The Guardian Best First Book Award winner, Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award shortlistee and Brittle Paper Literary Person of 2016, Petina Gappah; the Miles Morland Scholar and Baileys Prize-longlisted Yewande Omotoso; The Shining Girls author Lauren Beukes; the Commonwealth Prize-winning Happiness Is a Four Letter Word author Nozizwe Cynthia Jele; literary blogger James Murua; CA Davids; Richard de Nooy; Kgauhelo Dube; Rabih Alameddine; Patrick Flanery; Philip Gourevitch; Karabo Kgoleng; Antjie Krog; Angela Makholwa; Wamuwi Mbao; Nthikeng Mohlele; Margie Orford; Richard Poplak; Bontle Senne; Elinor Sisulu; and Tymon Smith.

We wish the JRB success and longevity.

Find out more in The Johannesburg Review of Books.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Turns 15: The Best Moments of a Modern Classic

chimamanda ngozi adichie - by ecrivain

“It wasn’t the first novel I wrote,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told the audience at the University of Nairobi, during her […]

Quramo Writers’ Prize 2018 Unveils Top 5 Finalists

Quramo 1

Lagos – 10/10/18: Quramo Publishing has unveiled the Top 5 finalists of the Quramo Writers’ Prize 2018, two weeks after […]

Enter for the K & L Prize for African Literature

k and l prize

Submissions have begun for the 2019 K & L Prize for African Literature. The $1,000 prize, which is in its […]

The 2018 African Literature Association (ALA) Book Awards | Call for Nominations

ala yale 2017

Submissions have begun for the 2018 African Literature Association (ALA) Book Awards. The deadline for submissions is 1 November 2018. The […]

Nominate a Writer for the Fonlon-Nichols Award for African Literature

nadine gordimer - collage

Nominate a creative writer for the Fonlon-Nichols Award by 1 November 2018. This award, established in 1992 to honor Bernard […]

Pentecostal Republic | A Powerful New Book Tackles the Role of Pentecostalism in Nigerian Politics

pentecostal republics ebenezer obadare

Nigerian Sociologist Ebenezer Obadare is asking us to take a closer look at the underlying forces of Nigeria’s political life. […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.