South African Womxn Writers – Day 11: Lorraine Sithole shares some Short Story Collections she loves

I read all sorts of books across all genres but, I am drawn to short stories and anthologies when I am looking for a boost of adrenaline. I go through a reading slump once in a blue moon and these collections to rejuvenate my reading mojo.

Here are my top reads from the last 5 years:

1.                   Love Interrupted, by Reneilwe Malatji [ISBN: 9781920590086 GoodReads]

In Love Interrupted, Reneilwe gives us a slice or two or three of the black woman’s life living in South Africa.

From “Angela” to “Toy Boy”, I laughed and nearly cried because on top of dealing with body-image insecuries and trying so hard not to be the “only black at the dinner table”, I have to navigate heterosexual relationships piled sky-high with patriarchal and misogynistic attitudes. Sprinkle a bit of racism, “Drama Queens and Kings”, which treacherously rears its head just to remind you that freedom is not free at all. All 13 short stories will leave you in a reflective and pensive mood because they demand that you examine your life, your networks and your environment. The two stories on Lebo were so close to home because we all know one of the two Lebos.

Loved it. Easy to read. Humorous. A great summer read. If you have roots in Limpopo, you’ll definitely chuckle. If you are Xhosa or had spent time in Grahamstown or any part of the Eastern Cape, this is your #SummerReads

2.                   Hair: Weaving & Unpicking Stories of Identity, by Joanne Hichens (Editor), Karina Magdalena Szczurek (Editor) [ISBN: 9780994680549 GoodReads]

This masterfully curated collection of 20 essays on hair as a metaphor was such a marvel to read. The collection’s 20 contributors are who’s who of the literature world and emerging voices such Mary Watson, Sally-Ann Murray, Songeziwe Mahlangu, Michael Yee and Diane Awerbuck.

3.                   The Looking Glass Anthology: Through the Single Gal’s Lens, by Flow Wellington (Editor), Jowhari Trahan (Curator) [ISBN: 9780639821009 GoodReads]

The collection explores living single and unattached to the other, another or a thing and singlehood in relationships. Being and feeling alone while attached to another being or thing. The opening poem, “A sprig of Rosemary for one”, by Abigail George, celebrated the joys and virtues of being unattached plus the adjustments being made to fit this aloneness. Food. Space. Going out. Travelling. Doing things you like without having to consult the other. Another.

4.                   Lockdown Behind the Mask, by An Anthology from 18 contributors [ISBN: 9781990971051 GoodReads]

Lockdown- Behind The Mask is a deeply moving collection of 18 personal essays about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic from a macro and personal view through the Islamic lens.

The stories are narrated and written by 18 women across the colour bar and chronicle their individual journeys in and with the pandemic.

Lorraine Sithole is a reading activist who founded the thriving Johannesburg based BookWorms Book Club over 9 years ago. Lorraine is a writer of short stories and poetry, a contributor in the collection, Black Tax: Burden Or Ubuntu,  and made the 2017 Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award Longlist. She is a publisher (RedSoil (Pty) Ltd) and a publishing consultant for Geko (Pty) Ltd. She is is passionate about childhood literacy and is spearheading a number of projects that aim to make reading for pleasure a lifelong hobby.

This month’s blog is curated by Jen Thorpe.

Jen Thorpe is a feminist writer. Her first novel, The Peculiars (2016), was long listed for the Etisalat Prize for Literature (2016) and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize (2017). Her second novel, The Fall, was published in July 2020. Thorpe has edited three collections of feminist essays – My First Time: Stories of Sex and Sexuality from Women Like You (2012); Feminism Is: South Africans Speak Their Truth (2018) and Living While Feminist (2020). Her writing has been published in Brittle Paper, Saraba Magazine, Jalada, and Litro. Find out more via Jen is also the host of the Living While Feminist Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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