Tag Archives: Litnet interviews

An interview with Christopher Hope

Born in 1944 in Johannesburg, Christopher Hope was educated at Wits University and the University of Natal. He worked as a journalist in South Africa before moving to Paris and then London in 1975.

Hope has published four poetry collections: Whitewashes (1971), Cape Drives (1974), In the Country of the Black Pig (1981) and English Men (1985). He has also written nine works of fiction. His first novel, A Separate Development (1980), was banned in South Africa, but won Britain’s David Higham Prize for Best First Novel. Kruger’s Alp (1984) won the Whitbread Novel Award; Serenity House (1992) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has published four volumes of non-fiction: the autobiographical White Boy Running (1988), Moscow! Moscow! (1990), Signs of the Heart: Love and Death in Languedoc (1999) and Brothers Under the Skin: Travels in Tyranny (2003).

A playwright, broadcaster and journalist, Hope has travelled widely in Russia, Yugoslavia and Southeast Asia. He has written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The New Yorker and Le Monde. He lives in France and visits South Africa regularly.

Read my interview with Christopher here.

“Literature enables you to examine your life”: An interview with Antjie Krog

Antjie Krog was born in the Free State in 1952. She completed a BA degree at the University of the Orange Free State, a Masters degree in Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria and a Teacher’s Diploma at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Krog’s first collection of poetry, Dogter van Jefta (1970), was followed by further collections, including two books of verse for children and the English collection Down to my last skin (2000), which won the inaugural 2000 FNB Vita Poetry Award. She became well known as one of the SABC radio journalists who reported on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in the mid-nineties. Prose publications include Country of my Skull (1998), about the TRC, and A Change of Tongue (2003).

Antjie has received a number of awards and prizes for poetry, journalism and translation. For her journalistic work she won the Pringle Award and the Foreign Correspondent Award. She has received the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and was honoured by the Hiroshima Peace Foundation. Her works have been translated into English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Body Bereft (2006), Antjie Krog’s second collection of poetry in English, has been translated from the Afrikaans collection Verweerskrif; both were recently published by Umuzi, Random House’s South African imprint.

Krog is married to architect John Samuel. They have four children and live in Cape Town, where she is a Professor Extraordinary at the University of the Western Cape.

Read the interview here.

Read some of Antjie Krog’s poems on the Poetry International Web.

Read Antjie’s In Defence of Poetry (2004).

Read three poems at Jack Magazine.

An interview with Megan Hall

Megan Hall was born and grew up in Cape Town and studied at the University of Cape Town.  She has worked in the publishing industry since 1995 and is currently publishing manager for dictionaries and school literature in English at Oxford University Press Southern Africa.

Her poetry has appeared in various local journals since 1991, as well as in the school anthology Worldscapes.  A short story was published in Botsotso 14 and an essay of hers was included in Leaves to a Tree, edited by Robin Malan.  She has also edited poetry and fiction for New Contrast and taken part in both Young Voices (the 2004 South African Online Writers’ Conference hosted by LitNet) and the 2005 Crossing Borders programme, a British Council-sponsored writer’s mentorship.  She lives in Cape Town with her partner, daughter and cat.

Read the interview here.

Read Megan’s poems on the Poetry International Web.

Postcript:  Since our interview, Megan’s collection, Fourth Child (Modjaji Books, 2007), has been awarded the 2008 Ingrid Jonker Prize for the best debut collection of Afrikaans or English poetry.

An interview with Joan Metelerkamp

Born in Pretoria in 1956, Joan Metelerkamp grew up in KwaZulu-Natal.  She has published six poetry collections:  Towing the Line (Carrefour, 1992), which was awarded the 1991 Sanlam Prize for Literature; Stone No More (Gecko Poetry, 1995); Into the day breaking (Gecko Poetry, 2000); Floating Islands (Mokoro, 2001); Requiem (Deep South, 2003) and, most recently, carrying the fire, published by substancebooks in 2005.

Joan has had individual poems published in major South African poetry anthologies and in various international volumes.  She has taken part in festivals and poetry readings locally and overseas, including Poetry Africa in 2005.  She has been awarded poetry prizes and judged others, has edited the literary journal New Coin for four years, and has written poetry reviews in academic journals and newspapers.

Previously, she worked as an actress and university teacher.  She is a wife, mother, sister and daughter, living on her father’s farm in the Goukamma Valley near Knysna in the Southern Cape.

Read the interview here.

An interview with Vonani Bila

“I believe one function I have as a poet is to critique both public and private life without fear of being victimised.  I can be called an angry poet, not because I want to overthrow the ruling party, but because I am a patriot, I love this country and I have nowhere else to go.”

– Vonani Bila

Read the interview here.

Read Vonani’s poems on the Poetry International Web.

An interview with Finuala Dowling

Born in Cape Town in 1962, Finuala Dowling was the seventh of eight children of radio broadcasters Eve van der Byl and Paddy Dowling.  She has lectured at Unisa and worked as a freelance educational materials developer, writer and lecturer.  Her short stories have been broadcast on radio and have appeared in several anthologies, winning runner-up prizes in the Cosmopolitan and Commonwealth Broadcasting Association competitions.  She won the Ingrid Jonker Prize for her first volume of poetry, I Flying, and was co-winner of the Sanlam Award for poetry in 2003 for her collection, Doo-Wop Girls of the Universe.  Her novels, What Poets Need and Flyleaf, are published by Penguin South Africa.  Finuala lives in Kalk Bay with her family.

Read the interview here.

Postcript:  This year, Dowling’s third collection was co-published by Kwela Books and Snailpress.  Notes from the Dementia Ward is available online at Amazon and Kalahari.

An interview with Dara Horn

Born in 1977, Dara Horn received her PhD in comparative literature from Harvard University in 2006, studying Hebrew and Yiddish.  Her first novel, In the Image (2002), was awarded a 2003 National Jewish Book Award, the 2002 Edward Lewis Wallant Award and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize.  In 2006, The World to Come was published to acclaim.  Horn’s work has appeared in many national and international publications, and she has written for Newsweek, Time, The New Republic and the Christian Science Monitor.  She has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Harvard and at Sarah Lawrence College, and has lectured at universities and cultural institutions throughout the United States and Canada.  She lives with her husband and daughter in New York City.

Read my interview here.