Selected Literary Journalism

2015. My review for the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian of Stephen Clingman’s memoir about a white childhood in South Africa, Birthmark.

2015. An excerpt in the Mail & Guardian from my book on postapartheid writing, Losing the Plot.

2015. My review essay on new South African nonfiction by “best of the best” Jonny Steinberg and Charles van Onselen in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

2015. My piece in the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian on post-liberation writing in South Africa, based on my forthcoming book, Losing the Plot.

2015. A dialogue with Johns Hopkins World Anglophone literature professor Jeanne-Marie Jackson on Afrikaans as a “world” literature, via Litnet.

2015. Place and race in Baltimore and Johannesburg – my piece for Business Day in Johannesburg on a Baltimore exhibition of photographs by renowned US graffiti photo-journalist Martha Cooper depicting Soweto children in the streets in juxtaposition with outdoor Sowebo (Southwest Baltimore) kids.

2015. S.J. Naude’s The Alphabet of Birds is a remarkable debut in South African writing – this piece suggests why it has found such unusually rapid international uptake and critical acclaim.

2015. My essay on major South African author Andre Brink following his death at the age of 79, written for the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian.

2015. My most recent piece of literary journalism in Afrikaans, in the Sunday newspaper Rapport, on the innovative new novel Buys by Willem Anker.

2015. Mzilikazi wa Afrika’s book, Nothing Left to Steal, redefines the ideal postapartheid citizen in a country where everything appears to be up for “grabs” – this piece in the Johannesburg Mail & Guardian draws from research on my upcoming book, Losing the Plot: Postapartheid Writing and the Fiction of Transition.

2014. My long-form piece on Athol Fugard in the New Haven Review on the occasion of his return to the stage at the age of 81 after an absence of 15 years.

2014. Has Imraan Coovadia gone and written the “great South African novel”? Well, almost – see my review in the Financial Mail, Johannesburg.

2014. My view, as translator, of Ingrid Winterbach’s The Road of Excess, written for the Johannesburg Sunday Times.

2014. On the “crisis of location” in South African writing. Cover story for the Mail & Guardian‘s 2014 literary festival supplement.

2013. Full text of cut review that appeared in the Cape Times, 21 December 2013, of Don Maclennan: Collected Poems (ed. Dan Wylie) and ‘No Other World’: Essays on the Life-Work of Don Maclennan (ed. Dan Wylie and Craig MacKenzie).

2013. Review of Adriaan van Dis’s novel, Betrayal, in an essay on novels by “outsiders” on South Africa, for the Sunday Independent, Johannesburg.

2013. My recent blog on SLiPnet ( za, the website I founded at Stellenbosch University) on South Africa’s book-reviewing culture went “viral” in local literature circles, picking up over 100 Facebook shares.

Kliek hier vir Afrikaanse weergawe van bogenoemde in die Media24 bylaag, BY.

2013. Bio-critical essay on Marlene van Niekerk for Poetry International.

2013. Review of Niq Mhlongo’s Way Back Home in Rapport.

2013. Review of Mike Nicol’s novel, Of Cops and Robbers, for the Cape Times.

2013. Review of Antjie Krog’s collection of poems in English, Skinned, for Media24.

2013. Report on Dancing in Other Words Festival (Spier-Pirogue) in the Mail & Guardian.

2013. Review of Eben Venter’s Wolf, Wolf in the Financial Mail.

2013. Review of J.M. Coetzee’s The Childhood of Jesus in the Financial Mail.

2013. Does ‘SA literature’ matter? Sunday Independent, 24 February 2013

2013. Literary biographer of a great writer. Financial Mail, 24 January.

2012. An interview with Bruce Dennill of The Citizen (Johannesburg) following my receiving a SALA (South African Literary Awards) prize for literary translation in 2011 – Cas Vos’s Intieme Afwesige rendered into English as Intimately Absent (see Literary Translation).

2012. LitNet Akademies-resensie-essay:’n Geskryfde Lewe – ‘n monumentale blik op ‘n monumentale skrywer–n-monumentale-blik-op-n-monumentale-skrywer

2012. Act puts noose around the internet’s neck. Mail & Guardian, 19 October.

2011. An interview with Bruce Dennill of The Citizen following my receiving a SALA prize for literary translation – for rendering into English Cas Vos’s Intieme Afwesige as Intimately Absent (see Literary Translation).

2011. Capitalism’s not a white thing. Mail & Guardian, 16 September.

2011. Sosiale moord in die Karoo. (Review of Michiel Heyns’ Lost Ground.) Beeld, 22 June:

2011. High Noon in the Badlands. (Review of Mike Nicol’s Black Heart.) Mail & Guardian, 6 May.

2011. Why rage is inevitable. Leon de Kock comments on the Mail & Guardian reviewing-and-publishing debate. Mail & Guardian, 11 March. Click here to view

2010. Travel Ordeals from a Master of Unease. Review of Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room. Sunday Independent, 11 April. Click here

2010. A Conceptual Murder Thriller. (Review of Antony Altbeker, Fruit of a Poisoned Tree.) Sunday Independent, 6 June. Click here

2010. Making Sense of Uncertainty. Review of David Medalie. The Mistress’s Dog: Short Stories 1996-2010. Sunday Independent. 15 August. Click here to view

2010. A New Force in the New Apartheid. Review of Andrew Brown, Refuge. Sunday Independent. 28 February. Click here to view

2010. As Darkness Falls. Review of Philip Roth, The Humbling. Sunday Times. 28 February.

2010. Readers Call for Fiction-Free Diet. Review of David Shields. Reality Hunger. Sunday Independent. 4 July. Click here

2010. Hits Keep Coming but it Ain’t Enough. Review of Mike Nicol, Killer Country. Sunday Independent. 14 February. Click here

2009. Review of Jacques Pauw, Little Ice Cream Boy (novel). Sunday Independent, 30 November. Click here

2009. The Silence of the Ashes. Read of the week. Review of Richard Russo, That Old Cape Magic (novel), Sunday Times Lifestyle. Print and online. 8 November.

2009. Grim Land of Animals and Survivors. Review of Alistair Morgan, Sleeper’s Wake (novel). Mail & Guardian. 25 August. Print and online.

2009. Tóibín – Fiction’s Alchemist (review of Colm Toibin, Brooklyn). Sunday Times Lifestyle. Print and online. 30 August.

2008. De Horror! De Horror! Book of the Week. (Review of Eben Venter’s Trencherman. Sunday Times Lifestyle. Print and online. Print 24 August: p. 20. Online: Full version of review:

2008. Leaving the Forefront of African Lit. (Obituary of Es’kia Mphahlele). 18 November, Mail & Guardian. Paper and online edition. 1 November.

2008. A Consensus of Criticism. (Essay on ‘Paradoxes of the Postcolonial Public Sphere’ Conference, Wits University, January 2008.) Financial Mail, 29 February: 82-84.

2008. Review (in Afrikaans) of Isobel Dixon’s debut collection of poetry, A Fold in the Map, for Sunday newspaper Rapport.

2004. Getting onto the A-List. Review Article of Republished ‘Great Works’ of SA Literature. Sunday Times Lifestyle, August. Click here to view.

2004. Spinal Tap. Interview with Chris van Wyk. Sunday Times Lifestyle, 2 May. Click here to view

2003. The Mission. Travelogue based on a literary tour to Lesotho to Publicise Tim Couzens’s book, Murder at Morija. Sunday Times. 13 May. Click here to view

2000. Voices of the Earth. Review of Kleur Kom Nooit Alleen Nie and Down to My Last Skin by Antjie Krog . Mail & Guardian, 17-23 November. Click here to view.

Letter from Wits