Reading with Nadia Davids. Come along!
I am very happy that my debut fiction book Stations was shortlisted for the 2017 Nadine Gordimer Award at the South African Literary Awards.
I'm disappointed that I did not win, but I would like to congratulate Roela Hattingh for winning with her collection Kamee, and I would like to thank my friend Mohale Mashigo for standing in for me at the ceremony.
Thanks to the Department of Arts & Culture and the wRite Associates for the honour.
Connected by more than their exquisite prose, Nick Mulgrew’s new stories delve into a world of killer eagles, tattoo removal parlours, hardcore punk guitarists-cum-auditors, turtle sanctuaries, plane crashes, amateur pornographers and biltong-makers – a world concurrently too strange and too familiar for comfort.
A collection of startling imagination and sympathy – set primarily in South Africa’s least fashionable cities and suburbs – these stories maintain a precarious balance between rich comedy and despair throughout their explorations of grief, spectacle, sex, nostalgia, and the lives of animals, both human and not.
With audaciousness met by trademark spiritual undercurrents and poetic flourish, The First Law of Sadness is confirmation of Mulgrew’s status as one of South Africa’s best contemporary exponents of short fiction.
On 3 March 2016, about a hundred people showed up for the first launch event for my debut collection of short fiction, Stations. As if this wasn't enough to give me palpitations, the launch took place at my Favourite Bookstore in the World: the Book Lounge.
It was pretty overwhelming, to tell the truth. Lots of wine, lots of chatting, lots of love in the room. Luckily, by my side was my friend and comrade-in-writing Masande Ntshanga (author of The Reactive, and Winner of Many Awards), and he helped steer our public conversation into many interesting directions. While it was live-Tweeted by many an attendee, I thought it prudent to record the launch myself and make it available here.
It's better to listen to it than read me write about it, but anyway: included in the below recording is the first-ever public reading of "Athlone Towers", the first story from Stations, as well as an excerpt from the title story.
Now onto the Durban launch, which takes place at Khaya Records and Ike's Books and Collectables, Florida Road, on 24 March. I'll be in conversation with Tiny Mungwe. Drinks and hotdogs will be on sale.
Stations is out now in South Africa from David Philip Publishers, and is available in all good bookstores.
I'm excessively proud to announce the release of my next book: Stations, a conceptual collection of short fiction, forthcoming from David Philip Publishers in March 2016.
The blurb goes:
In his debut collection of award-winning stories, Nick Mulgrew tells fourteen subtly interlinked tales set along the Southern African coastline from Cape Town to Mozambique, in which relationships, dreams and even narrators die; where fields catch fire, towers implode, and the shadows of the past grow long. But even from the most uneasy corners – tourist traps, colonial purgatories and libraries for the blind – these stories offer small mercies: glimpses of faith, beauty and the possibility of salvation, no matter how slight.
Told with a magpie’s eye for the vivid in the ordinary, and the surreal in the everyday, Stations presents a fresh, compelling and essential new voice.
With a cover designed by Louis de Villiers and illustration by skullboy (two sides of the same man, really), Stations is the culmination of seven years of short fiction writing, and, for me, the real beginning of my career.
(The full cover is so jarring, too, that my own mother told me I should "say a hundred Our Fathers".)
Being able to work with a historied, independent house like David Philip means that I've been able to bring out my vision of what collections of short fiction should be: coherent, thematically consistent, exciting in both form and format, and pleasurable to read. No other publishing house would ever give me such creative freedom – whether that turns out to be a blessing or not will be found out soon.
Stations includes a number of award-winning and almost-award-winning stories, including "Turning", the winner of the 2014 National Arts Festival short story award, and "Posman" a 2015 shortlistee for the White Review Prize in the U.K. & Ireland. The collection also features a handful of brand-new stories.
But, frankly, buy it only for my description of Cecil John Rhodes being stoned to near-death in Purgatory.