Women's Month

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Women’s Month: Five must-read fiction books by SA female authors

As women, our stories are central to our emancipation. Here’s our pick of the best reads this Women’s Month.

Women's Month

Image via Adobe Stock

To begin 2020’s Women’s Month, we celebrate fiction titles, novels and anthologies by South African female writers who bring compelling contemporary narratives to the literary landscape. With most of the nation on lockdown, this is the perfect time to curl up and enjoy these beautiful stories.

Five books of fiction to read this Women’s Month

Novel: All That is Left by Kirsten Miller (2020)

Kirsten Miller presents a mystery novel infused with grief and existential longing. In the book, we encounter Rachel whose brother has disappeared and she moves to Joburg to support her sister-in-law. In the process of grieving her brother, she has to deal with her own escapism, longing and finding herself under extreme life-changing circumstances.

Read an excerpt here.

Anthology: Fools Gold compiled by Arja Salafranca (2019)

Fools Gold is an exceptional collection of Short Stories published by Modjadji books featuring international award-winning authors.

These stories explore various aspects of womanhood and life and feature the work of Makhosazana Xaba, Jolyn Phillips, Melissa de Villiers Reneilwe Malatji, Jayne Bauling, Meg Vandermerwe, Wame Molefhe, Sandra Hill, Arja Salafranca and more.

More about the book

Novel: A Question of Power by Bessie Head (1973)

An oldie, but a relevant classic from the late Bessie Head that takes on mental health from a confessional and feminine perspective. The book is set in Botswana and centres around Elizabeth, a school teacher, who has suffered a mental breakdown. She’s alienated in exile from South Africa at the height of apartheid and lives with her son (her only living relative). The book is a journey between realms, and it truly embodies the brave and wondrous spirit of Bessie Head.

Anthology: If You Keep Digging by Keletso Mopai (2019)

In her debut collection of short stories, Keletso Mopai explores contemporary South African themes that are deeply rooted in her own experiences and upbringing. Through sharply written short stories, Mopai daringly tells the stories of people who are often pushed into the background by patriarchy, racism, gender-based violence and other forms of discrimination. The shift from apartheid to democracy is honestly explored to bring forth challenges rooted in systemic violence.

Keletso Mopai discusses If You Keep Digging

Novel: As if Born to You by Susan Newham-Blake (2019)

In this novel, Susan Newham-Blake takes on the life of a black girl, Zuri, adopted by a white woman, Helen. Zuri engages in self-harm and Ana, a psychologist, steps in to help but even Ana isn’t free of self-destructive tendencies.

The story of these three women navigates trauma and healing to bring forth the struggles young girls and women face and conquer, daily.

Also read: Women’s Month: Three must-read books by Pumla Dineo Gqola