We’re delighted that we have signed up Finding Soutbek, a thought-provoking tale of modern South Africa, written by one of its emerging literary talents, Karen Jennings.
The focal point of the novel is the small town of Soutbek. Its troubles, hardships and corruption, but also its kindness, strong community and friendships, are introduced to us in a series of stories about intriguingly interlinked relationships.
Contemporary Soutbek is still a divided town – the upper town destitute, and the lower town rich, largely ignorant – and through a series of vivid scenes, the troubled relationship between Pieter Fortuin, the town’s first coloured mayor, and his wife Anna is revealed.
Yet the past looms large and it may well be that history is manipulated to make Soutbek the birthplace of assimilation and integration through diaries from one of the 17th century Dutch explorers.
Karen Jennings’ focus on the quiet but necessary heroism of the poor and disadvantaged makes her work universal.
Karen Jennings was born in Cape Town. In 2010 her short story From Dark won the Africa Region prize in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Mia and the Shark won the English section of the Maskew Miller Longman short story competition in 2009 and is now studied in schools. More information is available from this page.
Finding Soutbek, ISBN 9781907320200 , about 165 pages, is due to be published in June, in print and ebook formats. Review copies will be available from end of April.