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That Old, Material Utensil, Language – Dryad Press (Michèle Betty, Joan Hambidge and Sally Ann Murray)

Take that old, material utensil, language, found all about you, blank with familiarity, smeared with daily use, and make it into something that means more than it says.

  • Adrienne Rich, “Someone is Writing a Poem”

The blurb for Sally Ann Murray’s new collection Otherwise Occupied says: ”Here, a poem is a space of enactment, a process of thinking-writing and performative exploration: idea ↔ body, lyric ↔ language, innovative necessity ↔ enduring convention.” Michèle Betty will be in conversation with Sally Ann Murray and Joan Hambidge on the complexity of language and language innovation. On how to make the familiar new and on how to use language imaginatively and creatively. She will also engage with Hambidge and Murray on their dual lives as poets, critics, mentors and departmental heads. Both Murray and Hambidge will read from recent work.

Sally Ann Murray is Chair of the English Department at the University of Stellenbosch. She has an MA (cum laude) and a PhD from the University of Natal, Durban. Her novel, Small Moving Parts (Kwela, 2009), won the 2013 UKZN Book Prize, the 2010 M-Net Literary Award for Best Novel in English, and the 2010 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for Best Publication Media 24. It was also shortlisted for the University of Johannesburg Prize (2010), and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize (2010). She was the recipient of the 1991 Sanlam Award for Literature (Poetry) and the 1989 Arthur Nortje/Vita Award for poetry. Her poems have recently been published in poetry journals Aerodrome and Five Points, and in The New Century of South African Poetry (Jonathan Ball, 2018). Otherwise Occupied is her third poetry volume, her previous collections being open season (HardPressd, 2006) and Shifting (Carrefour Press, 1992). She has also published short fiction, most recently in the Short.Sharp.Stories competition anthologies Incredible Journey (Mercury Books, 2015), Trade Secrets (Tattoo Press, 2017), and Instant Exposure (National Arts Festival, 2018).

Michèle Betty is the editor of New Contrast:  The South African Literary Journal and the founder of Dryad Press (Pty) Ltd, an independent poetry publishing company dedicated to the promotion and publication of poetry in South Africa.  She has a BA LLB from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town.  Her poems have appeared in journals both in South Africa and abroad, and have been anthologised, most recently in Michael Chapman’s New Century of South African Poetry (Jonathan Ball, 2018). Her debut collection Metaphysical Balm was shortlisted for the 2018 Ingrid Jonker Prize.

Joan  Hambidge’s  debut  book  of  poetry,  Hartskrif, was  published  in  1985.    Her  second  collection, Bitterlemoene, published  in  1986, was  the  recipient  of  the  Eugène  Marais  Prize. She  was  also  awarded  the  Litera  Prize  for  her  poem  on  Eugène  Marais  (which  appeared  in Lykdigte)  and  the ATKV  Poetry  Prize  for  her  collection, Visums  by  Verstek.  In  the  decades  since  receiving these  awards,  Hambidge  has  written  prolifically  and  produced  over  25  poetry  collections,  the  most  recent  being  Indeks, (Human  &  Rousseau, 2016) and The Coroner’s Wife (Dryad Press, 2017).  She  was  a  lecturer  and  later  a  professor  at  the  University  of  the  North.   Since  1992,  she  has  been  a  professor  at  the  School  of  Literature  and Languages  at  the  University  of  Cape  Town.  In  2016,  she  was  also  appointed to  the  Council  of  the  University  of  Stellenbosch.    She  is  an  active  reviewer,  literary  theorist  and  public  intellectual,  and  has  written extensively  on Postmodernism,  deconstruction  and  gender.  She  has  also  published  various  novels,  including Die  Judaskus(Perskor,  1988) and Kladboek (Protea,  2008). She currently holds the Hofmeyr Chair in Afrikaans at UCT.

Venue: Caritas at Temenos


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