The seventh annual Fiction Issue of The Johannesburg Review of Books is here and it is absolutely stunning. Featuring a range of emerging and established writers, the issue is a feast of creative talent for the voracious reader.

The Johannesburg Review of Books, an independent literary review, publishes reviews, essays, poetry, photographs and short fiction from South Africa, Africa and beyond. This issue – Volume 7, Issue 5 – was released in December 2023.

To celebrate seven years of seven fiction issues, we have new original stories from Masiyaleti Mbewe, Wamuwi Mbao, Jarred Thompson, Simon van Schalkwyk, Werner Pretorius, Duane Jethro, Franki Jenkins and Tshegofatso Nkwane. The issue also includes an exclusive first look at a work in progress by JRB Patron, Makhosazana Xaba.

Elsewhere in the issue, get a sneak peek of the forthcoming novels by Shubnum Khan (The Lost Love of Akbar Manzil) and SE Bhamjee (Home Scar), as well as the recently published Inside your body there are flowers by Diane Awerbuck, Ndima Ndima by Tsitsi Mapepa, Innards by Magogodi oaMphela Makhene and Sand Roses by Hamza Koudri. We also feature a story from Byron Loker‘s collection New Swell, forthcoming early next year in a new edition.

Now Now: The 2023 Doek Anthology will shortly be available in South Africa, but until then you can read an excerpt from one of the stories in the collection, Mubanga Kalimamukwento’s ‘Mastitis’. The issue also features poetry by iyra e m maharaj, from her collection earth-circuit.

On the visual and auditory side of things, the JRB photo editor Victor Dlamini shared a portrait of Teju Cole and Tymon Smith compiled “A Christmas Miracle at the South African Post Office”, the JRB playlist for this issue.

Check out the full table of contents for the issue below:

New original fiction

Works in progress

Forthcoming works

New published fiction




The JRB Daily

Read the full issue here.