"Words exchanged on short story writing": a conversation with Efemia Chela / by Nick Mulgrew


Mail & Guardian, 1 August 2014

An interview with my friend and colleague Efemia Chela.

"What do you think writers in South Africa should be focusing on? We’re super young and I just don’t, for example, relate to a lot of writing done by many of our older peers. I want to see more genre-bending, more gender-bending, more … I don’t know, innovation.

I would like to see fewer books that use apartheid as a crutch to prop up bad writing. I would like to see more tentacles in South African writing. There are very few, if any at all. Tentacles are very important. They have suction and are wiggly. What more could you want?
      But, seriously, I want to see publishing houses get bolder about what they publish. I want to read absurdist South African plays. I want to read a fantasy short story that seamlessly opens portals into stories inside other stories. I want to read more graphic novels.
      I want South Africans to write a fictional icon, in the same way [that] Okonkwo, or Patrick Bateman, or Marla Singer, is an icon. I want dystopia, utopia and the afterlife rolled up into one. I want to read feminist zines that smash together poetry and pictures.
     I want more literary journals like Prufrock that are game to take on anything and aren’t stuffy and boring like some others I could mention."

Read the full story here.