BlackBird Books reveals exciting new look with two novels by debut authors – The Eternal Audience of One and If You Keep Digging
More about the book!
BlackBird Books has revealed the covers for two new books – featuring the publisher’s bold new look!
The books are The Eternal Audience of One, the debut novel by Rwandan-born Namibian writer Rémy Ngamije, and If You Keep Digging, the debut short story collection by Keletso Mopai – both out in June. Scroll down to find out more about the books.
The new BlackBird Books look is the result of a collaboration with Sindiso Khumalo, a textile designer based in London and Cape Town, who designed the elegant visuals for the series.
Over the next few months, BlackBird Books will be rereleasing their previous publications in line with the new design.
Find out more about the designer:
Khumalo studied architecture at the University of Cape Town prior to moving to London, where she went on to study a Masters in Textiles at Central Saint Martins. She founded her eponymous label with a focus on creating modern sustainable textiles with a strong emphasis on African storytelling. She designs the textiles in her collections by hand, using watercolours and collage. Over the years Khumalo has developed a uniquely colourful visual voice, which draws upon her Zulu and Ndebele heritage, and also speaks to the land of KwaZulu-Natal, where she is from. Sustainability, artistry and empowerment lie at the heart of her label.
In October 2015, Sindiso won Vogue Italia’s ‘Who Is on Next?’ Competition in Dubai. Khumalo feels very passionate about fashion and empowerment. She has spoken at the United Nations on sustainability in fashion and is currently working closely with the UN ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative. She has presented her work at Milan Fashion Week with the mentorship of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Festival Hall in London, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town. Her work has been published in Vogue Italia, Vogue UK, ELLE South Africa and Marie Claire South Africa as well as in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art’s ‘Africa: Architecture, Culture and Identity’ collection. Her previous clients include IKEA, Woolworths South Africa and Vodacom.
Find out more about the new books:
The Eternal Audience of One
Seraphin Turihamwe is a young man whose life is characterised by movement. After leaving Rwanda under duress and never feeling at rest in Namibia, which he believes is slow and boring, he finds himself fighting to fit in in Cape Town. So much about the city is designed to push people like him out. Through his interactions with a few reluctant mentors, loyal friends and the women he carries on relationships with, he explores and performs different parts of his identity while dealing with other issues of family, race, immigrant life and love.
Seraphin and his pursuit and struggle for inner peace and identity effortlessly meld together geography, history and how one’s experience of a place can be perceived as a relatable journey.
The novel neatly unpacks themes of movement or displacement, life as an immigrant or refugee and the life of a black youth. Seraphin’s relationships with women become markers of the passing of time and lessons learnt and provide insight into who he is and who he wants to be. Whether he ever finds rest and truly comes to know himself is up to the reader to decide.
About the author
Rémy Ngamije is a 29-year-old Rwandan-born Namibian writer, photographer, graphic designer and English educator living and working in Windhoek, Namibia. He holds BA law and LLB degrees from the University of Cape Town. Rémy currently works at St George’s Diocesan School where he teaches high school English and writes a weekly column for The Weekender, a supplement of The Namibian, Namibia’s largest daily newspaper. His writing portfolio, which consists of short stories, longform social and pop culture commentary and travel writing, can be found on his personal website, remythequill.com, one of the most widely read creative portals in southern Africa. He is also the owner and manager of The Salsa Windhoek Social Club, the only full-time salsa dancing collective in Namibia.
If You Keep Digging
If You Keep Digging is a moving collection of short stories, which will resonate strongly with a South African audience. The selection of stories highlights marginalised identities and looks at the daily lives of people who may otherwise be forgotten or dismissed.
‘Monkeys’ is a skilful commentary on domestic violence, toxic masculinity, patriarchy (and how it is racialised), power dynamics between white and black men and how children come to ‘know’ that they are white or black. ‘Skinned’, whose protagonist is a woman with albinism, is a powerful story about learning to accept that you deserve love when the world constantly tells you otherwise. In ‘Fourteen’ the author deftly demonstrates the ability to play with concepts of time and reality. It is a compelling story about potential and how one can feel unfulfilled despite having hopes and ambitions.
The collection is also deeply concerned with covering the early post-democracy years in South Africa. Each of the characters deals with questions around the ‘new’ country. The book invites the reader to think about diverse topics and perspectives, difficult family relationships, abandonment, social and class issues, power dynamics at school and at work, mental illness, witchcraft, sexuality, domestic abuse and the ancestral realm, among other things.
About the author
Keletso Mopai is a South African storyteller who was born and raised in Lenyenye Township, Limpopo. Her stories appear in highly regarded publications including The Johannesburg Review of Books, DRUM, Omenana Magazine, Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review and The Ebedi Review. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Writivism Prize and was a finalist for the 2018 Africa Book Club Competition. Keletso has a Bachelor of Science honours degree in geology.