Tag Archives: The Shining Girls

The black guy always dies first, and other problematic literary tropes

The phenomenon of black characters being the first to die was first identified in Hollywood horror movies. From the golden age of horror in the 1930s onwards, alert viewers have noticed the short shelf-life of black characters. In the first half of the twentieth century, black actors often had little name recognition in Hollywood, and…

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Should local writers always set their books in South Africa?

Along with spending too much time on Facebook and perusing the sidebar of shame on the Daily Mail website, deciding where to set one’s novel provokes feelings of intense guilt in South African writers. When writers get together, either socially or on formal discussion panels, they often confess to feeling conflicted about where to set…

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Putting our fiction on the map

South Africa has long had a fine international reputation for literary fiction. Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee have both won the Nobel Prize for literature. Coetzee has won the Booker Prize twice. Andre Brink has won a slew of international awards. And those are just the names that come immediately to mind. What we have…

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