This book considers what, in South Africa,
is being published and how we may value what is being published, now.
'Now' is not only post-apartheid, or after the Truth Commission --
the familiar signposts -- but beyond both Antjie Krog's Country
of my Skull (1998) -- the TRC
marker -- and J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace
(1999), a book that for many, including arguably its author, marks a
point of no return in its Afro- pessimism.
Looking beyond 2000 these surveys of
fiction, drama, poetry and autobiographical writing include coverage
of poetry in English and Afrikaans, South African Indian writing,
Zulu literature, oral performance, ‘queer’ fiction, and
literature of diasporic and ecological concern.
Coverage does not claim to constitute a
history of the literature. Rather, the accent is on a younger
generation of writers, several of whom such as Phaswane Mpe, K Sello
Duiker, Brett Bailey, Gabeba Baderoon and Lebo Mashile have received
critical recognition. Recent winners of major literary awards like
Anne Landsman, Imraan Coovadia and Sally-Ann Murray feature in
commentary of what is different now
Many writers then,
of course, continue to be writers now,
and the book does not ignore the more recent work of, among others,
Nadine Gordimer, J. M. Coetzee, Breyten Breytenbach, Antjie Krog,
Athol Fugard, Zakes Mda, Njabulo S Ndebele, Marlene van Niekerk, Zoё
Wicomb and Ivan Vladislavić.
Lit? The contraction points to a
provocation: what is South African Literature beyond 2000