Nadine Gordimer, South African Author and Activist

Nadine Gordimer

Nadine Gordimer (November 20, 1923 – July 13, 2013) was a South African activist and Nobel Prize-winning author. Her short stories and long form fiction explored themes of alienation, apartheid, and exile in the context of South African people.

She published her first short story collection in 1949, and her first novel,The Lying Days, in 1953. Many of her works, including July’s People and Burger’s Daughter, were banned by the apartheid government at the time they were published.

In addition to the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, and countless other awards and honors, she cofounded the Congress of South African Writers (COSAW) and was a notable member of the African National Congress (ANC). Read More→

Music in the Street by Vera Caspary (1929)

Music in the Street by Vera Caspary

Music in the Street was one of three novels by Vera Caspary, the prolific American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, that were all released in 1929, along withThe White Girl  and Ladies and Gents.

This analysis of Music in the Street by Vera Caspary is excerpted from A Girl Named Vera Can Never Tell a Lie: The Fiction of Vera Caspary by Francis Booth ©2022. Reprinted by permission.

Mae Thorpe moves away from her small-town family into a working girls’ home in Chicago, where at first, she is one of the unpopular girls with no boyfriend who stays home on a Saturday night. Read More→

7 Literary Cocktail Books: Boozy, Punny Tributes to Famous Authors

Gin Austen by Colleen Mullaney

Some of us find that books are natural partners with coffee, but a small, feisty group of literary cocktail books prove that literature and booze are inextricably intertwined as well.

These literary cocktail books aren’t so much about the true history of famous authors and their drinking habits, but punny tributes to them and their works. I guess it makes sense — after all, many writers led booze-soaked lives. Read More→

Nina Bawden, Author of Carrie’s War

Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden (January 19, 1925 – August 22, 2012) was a British novelist, children’s book writer, and campaigner. Best known for the children’s novel Carrie’s War, she published twenty-three adult novels and twenty children’s books over some fifty years.

In all of her writing, she made “use of all of my life, all memory, wasting nothing,” and claimed that if her books were read in sequence, they formed a “coded autobiography.”

She was also a fierce campaigner for rail safety after being involved in the Potters Bar train crash of 2002. Read More→

Agatha Whiskey by Colleen Mullaney (+ a Q & A with the author)

Agatha Whiskey by Colleen Mullaney

From the author of Gin Austen, Colleen Mullaney’s new book, Agatha Whiskey, is a delicious and mysterious collection of cocktails and mocktails. 

The perfect gift for mystery fans, Agatha Christie fans, amateur mixologists, and anyone who wants a fun drink to sip on all year round.

A celebration of Christie’s timeless murder mysteries, killer short stories, suspenseful plays, and unmatched characters—with cocktails that are so tantalizingly delicious, it must be a crime. Read More→

“Sweat” – a 1926 short story by Zora Neale Hurston (full text)

Sweat by Zora Neale Hurston, an anthology by Cheryl A. Wall

Originally published in 1926, Zora Neale Hurston’s short story, “Sweat,” is nuanced and eloquently compact. Hurston maximizes each word, object, character, and plot point to create an impassioned and enlightening narrative.

Within this small space, Hurston addresses a number of themes, such as the trials of femininity, which she explores with compelling and efficient symbolism.

In her introduction to the 1997 anthology entirely devoted to the story (“Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston), editor Cheryl A. Wall wrote: Read More→

10 Fascinating Facts About Christina Rossetti, Victorian Poet

Christina Rossetti drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) is among the most important female poets of the 19th century. Presented here are fascinating facts about Christina Rossetti, the Victorian English poet whose work continues to resonate and inspire.

Her popular works, including “Goblin Market,” “Remember,” “In an Artist’s Studio,” “Who Has Seen the Wind,” and “In the Bleak Midwinter,” are a small part of her prolific output.

The American author Elbert Hubbard wrote in Christina Rossetti , “Christina had the faculty of seizing beautiful moments, exalted feelings, sublime emotions … In all her lines there is a half-sobbing tone.” Read More→

6 Notable South African Women Poets

We're not all like that by Jeanne Goosen

The landscape of Southern Africa is sometimes harsh and unforgiving. The same may be said about much of the country’s history. Still, it is impossible to experience the country without feeling inspired by its culture, nature, and sheer spirit.

The country’s literary legacy has produced legendary authors like Olive Schreiner, Nadine Gordimer, and Elsa Joubert. There are just as many poets, like Ingrid Jonker, Elisabeth Eybers, and the others listed here, who have forever etched their words and phrases in world literature.

Here are six notable South African women poets to add to your reading list, with links to samples of their poetry if English translation is available. Read More→