The Short Story in South Africa : Contemporary Trends and Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

The Short Story in South Africa
Contemporary Trends and Perspectives

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 25, 2022
ISBN 9781032129150
March 25, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
304 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book considers the key critical interventions on short story writing in South Africa written in English since the year 2000.

The short story genre, whilst often marginalized in national literary canons, has been central to the trajectory of literary history in South Africa. In recent years, the short story has undergone a significant renaissance, with new collections and young writers making a significant impact on the contemporary literary scene, and subgenres such as speculative fiction, erotic fiction, flash fiction and queer fiction expanding rapidly in popularity. This book examines the role of the short story genre in reflecting or championing new developments in South African writing and the ways in which traditional boundaries and definitions of the short story in South Africa have been reimagined in the present. Drawing together a range of critical interventions, including scholarly articles, interviews and personal reflective pieces, the volume traces some of the aesthetic and thematic continuities and discontinuities in the genre and sheds new light on questions of literary form. Finally, the book considers the place of the short story in twenty-first century writing and interrogates the ways in which the short story form may contribute to or recast ideas of the post-apartheid or post-transitional.

The perfect guide to contemporary short story writing in South Africa, this book will be essential reading for researchers of African literature.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The short story in South Africa: New trends and perspectives

Corinne Sandwith, Rebecca Fasselt and Khulukazi Soldati-Kahimbaara

2. “Translated from the dead”: The legibility of violence in Ivan Vladislavić’s 101 Detectives

Kirby Manià

3. Coloured by history, shaped otherwise: A ‘decolonial’ reading of Zoë Wicomb 

Aretha Phiri

4. Hyper-compression and the rise of the deep surface: Flash fiction in "post-transitional" South Africa

Peter Blair

5. Queer temporalities in two short stories by Makhosazana Xaba: The afterlife of Can Themba’s "The Suit" 

Cheryl Stobie

6. Queerying examples of contemporary South African short fiction

Sally-Ann Murray

7. Therianthropic power in Mohale Mashigo’s speculative short fiction

Christiaan Naudé

8. Navigating the spectacular in queer African erotic short fiction

Jenny Boźena du Preez

9. Imagining Africa’s futures in two Caine Prize-winning stories: Henrietta Rose-Innes’s "Poison" and NoViolet Bulawayo’s "Hitting Budapest"

Aghogho Akpome

10. On reading, writing and being read: Journeying with the short story

Makhosazana Xaba

11. Short stories born from the womb of the past

Siphiwo Mahala

12. "Concrete fragments": An interview with Henrietta Rose-Innes

Graham K. Riach

13. LongStorySHORT: Decolonising the reading landscape

Corinne Sandwith, Khulukazi Soldati-Kahimbaara and Rebecca Fasselt

14. "My stories will remain written the way I talk": A conversation with Niq Mhlongo

Rebecca Fasselt and Corinne Sandwith

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Rebecca Fasselt is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Corinne Sandwith is Professor of English at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.


"This volume of essays offers an up-to-the-minute overview of the extraordinarily diverse and vibrant palette of short story forms to be found in South Africa today. Combining critical acuity, theoretical eclecticism, and remarkable thematic breadth, this wonderful and timely volume provides a multiplicity of insights into a genre that refracts the complexity, the challenges, but also sheer energy of contemporary South African social dynamics."

Russell West-Pavlov, Universität Tübingen, Germany


"This volume is a groundbreaking, illuminating and incisive engagement with and interrogation of the exploration of a wider dimension of human experience that the short story genre post 2000 tackles. Setting up an interaction between the critic and literary craftsman, it will certainly provide an invaluable contribution to South African literary scholarship."

Jabulani Mkhize, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


"The Short Story in South Africa: Contemporary Trends and Perspectives provides a scholarly update on recent developments in South African short fiction, such as flash fiction, anti-detective modes, explorations of queer temporalities and spaces, and speculative Afrofuturistic dystopias. The essays in the volume are engaging, accessible, and pay close attention to textual detail – the kind of attention that short stories in particular reward."

Sue Marais, Rhodes University, South Africa