The long-awaited republication of Watson’s acclaimed book, first published in 1995.
Buy as an ebook or in print.
“To write is, if nothing else, still among the best means available for forcing the individual to encounter those impulses of hope and despair, vanity and humility, hubris and humiliation, meanness and generosity of spirit, which work almost simultaneously in anyone’s life.” – Stephen Watson, 16 December 1995
“To savour the diary as a vehicle for the expression of a unique and extraordinarily imaginative sensibility, go back a couple of decades and discover – or renew an unforgettable encounter – with the late Stephen Watson’s A Writer’s Diary. … one of contemporary South Africa’s most eminent English-language poets, essayists and critics – arguably the most observant, humane, and digressive of his generation … Stephen Watson’s insights into language, culture, landscape, ideologies, writers, painters, politics, society, and the baffling nature of the human condition nail his colours to the mast. In this, his small volume is also a manifesto. As an approach to life as an intellectually serious business, it presents a rich and engaging range of beliefs which fan out from a primary impulse. That impulse is to grasp at the heart of the matter, with unsparing candour.” From the Foreword by Bill Nasson, Professor of History, Stellenbosch University
Launching 26 August 2015.
Winner of the 2010 Ingrid Jonker Prize
‘a rich addition to English South African writing … there is not a single poem in this volume that does not expand the reader’s consciousness … this is a literary poetry, rich in ideas’ Ingrid Jonker Prize press release Continue reading Hyphen, by Tania van Schalkwyk
“My shoes made a familiar sound on the cement paving. A pigeon near South Kensington tube station was eating a chicken leg; from Kentucky, by the looks of it. I kicked out at it. It flew a few metres and then went back to it. I warned the bird that cannibalism was the enemy of progress and that eating our American allies wasn’t going to solve anything. It was deaf to the advice.” Continue reading In the Same Space, by M Blackman
This collection of coasts and journeys, creatures and dreams is so crafted, and simultaneously substantial and light, that to read it is to be a stone skimming water.
As an unpublished manuscript, Foundling’s Island shared the Sanlam Literary Award in 2003. Continue reading Foundling’s Island, by PR Anderson
Whether describing the wonder and fright of a crab giving birth, a visit to the dentist, or an estuary full of bodies and shimmering birds, Arthur Attwell shows how the ghosts of our childhood, relationships, and the course of history continue to find and startle us.
“Here is a first collection which, combining the elegance and precision of an American master like Richard Wilbur, has an enviable capacity to contain very large matters in discrete forms.” Stephen Watson Continue reading Killing Time, by Arthur Attwell
‘Undoubtedly one of the best debut volumes in South African poetry in recent years.’ Stephen Watson
Personae is a book of voices. In assuming the identities of a variety of figures, many from biblical history, Sarah Johnson speaks of the unspoken in their lives, revealing that often troubled point of intersection between the devotional and the erotic, and also the truth – poetic and otherwise – of Emerson’s dictum: “Many . . . can write better in a mask than for themselves.” This collection is remarkable in that its voices, speaking out of their own lives and histories, connect directly, acutely to ours. Continue reading Personae, by Sarah Johnson
‘Kim McClenaghan is above all a lyric poet. Which is to say he writes chiefly of what he calls “landscapes of the heart”. And in this, his first collection of poems, he makes these landscapes palpable, indelible.’ Stephen Watson Continue reading Revisitings, by Kim McClenaghan
‘There is in Fiona Zerbst’s poetry a vein of pure lyricism which, whether sorrowing or rejoicing, goes back as far, and as deep, as Sappho.’ Stephen Watson Continue reading Time and Again, by Fiona Zerbst