Before I get into big trouble, thought I best explain myself. A few days ago, a fan of Gem Squash Tokoloshe and Sister-Sister asked me to recommend a list of South African titles because, despite being an avid reader, she hadn’t read much local fiction.
In the interest of transparency, I must confess that the connection between said fan and me isn’t actually through my books. We have a history that goes way back. Bronwyn and I met in college; I was an art student, she a hairdressing student – which is ironic because Bronwyn is now a freaking talented photographer who runs her own studio, Heart & Soul Photography. Now that I think about it though, she bloody hated hairdressing. After college, we went our separate ways into the wide world and lost contact. Decades later she saw some hoo-hah in a newspaper about Gem Squash Tokoloshe and, because we were once buds, bought it.
We reconnected through Facebook (as one does) and she told me was how much she loved my book. This immediately put her on my A-list – as you know we authors are insecure and like to surround ourselves with sycophants. Kidding. Bronwyn is one talented tattooed cat with a wicked sense of humour and a passion for recreating vintage pin up. Needless to say, when I went up to Joburg, we made a date. There, we drank whisky into the wee hours and cemented our friendship. And that, as they say in the classics, is history. Our history, at least.
Back to books. Through Short Story Day Africa, of which she is an official sponsor, Bronwyn became a passionate supporter of local literature. But, having come late to the party, she missed out on some great titles – it’s not like we writers are front page news around here (except on BooksLive and Aerodrome etc, obviously). So, last night when I got home from a book launch, I started tweeting all the books I loved and thought she might too, adding the hashtag #bestSAbooks.
The two reasons I did this are: the hashtag #booksyoumightlikeBronwyn is far too long, and after chatting to Bronwyn, we decided that a tag other people could use to recommend their best South African books would be a good promotional tool for local literature.
My list is by no means definitive. I’m tweeting the books I liked and think Brownyn will too. I haven’t read everything out there -who has? A little help from my friends would be greatly appreciated. Please, join in. Tweet your recommendations of #bestSAbooks.
And readers, know these recommendations come with the proviso that you look ’em up and decide for yourself whether you want that title on your bookshelf. Just because we all have a thirteen digit barcode attached to our name, doesn’t mean we all have the same taste.