I don’t really give award ceremonies much thought, in the sense that I think that I MIGHT be a contender for some prize – mainly because I’ve never been nominated for anything or indeed won anything EVER in my life. Unless someone decided to dish out prizes for Procrastination or Time Wasted on Twitter for which I would be a VERY strong contender.
Literally the only time I’ve ever featured in a competition was when I got through to the second round of the Scarlett O’Hara search (they were searching for an actress to play Ms O’H in a truly APPALLING sequel to Gone With The Wind) and when a piece I choreographed got a special mention at the Dance Umbrella in the nineties.
Honestly, that’s it.
So, I was very surprised when our writing team for the one show I work on cracked the nod for the SAFTAs – our local film and TV awards. I also loved the fact that they included the ENTIRE writing team which is completely appropriate as the scripts are not just sucked out of the thumb of one writer but do, in fact, take a small village to put together. It gave me a good reason to post about it on social media, not do much writing and hit the pub for a celebratory glass of prosecco as soon as I was able.
Aside: could ALL pubs/bars/restaurants in Joburg start serving DECENT red wine by the glass this winter?? Not plonk. TIA.
It also got me thinking about the value of awards.
We may not like them, we may think they are biased but generally speaking they do mean something, even if it’s just that it’s really lovely to be acknowledged. I would probably not have bothered to watch My Octopus Teacher on Netflix (mainly because certain members of my family whom shall remain nameless said that the guy’s voice is too irritating. Ahem.) But because it’s now won a whole slew of awards including a BAFTA and an Oscar, I feel OBLIGED to watch it. Like I might be missing out.
I write commercial fiction, so the chances of me landing up on the longlist for The Sunday Times Literary Awards or the UJ Prize for fiction or indeed any of the bookish prizes in SA are very, very slim (Yes, I know actually writing a new book would be helpful – but I am too busy being a SAFTA nominated screenwriter *tosses hair*). I do think commercial fiction writers are hard done by in the awards’ arena and so I have been toying with the idea of starting a Literary Award in SA for popular fiction.
It started off as something I wanted to do to honour my late mother and mother-in-law who were both avid readers and HUGE supporters of my work. I decided I would call it the Eve Awards and it would only be open to women (Eve – my mother’s name was Yvonne, her nickname was Eve and Eve was supposedly the first woman. Geddit??)
But now I’m too terrified to have a Women’s Prize because trying to work out who’s a woman has become a minefield. I get shat upon by my kids on a weekly basis for using the incorrect pronouns for non-binary people and allowing their dead names to pass my lips.
I am trying to get it right but with the youngsters there are no prizes for trying. You get ridiculed if you say the wrong thing and they will burn a JK Rowling book on the kitchen table just to emphasise what a BOOMER/KAREN you are.
I remember being the same with my own mother. No, mom, bisexuality and bestiality are NOT THE SAME THING. Get it right! I am actually proud of the children’s wokeness (they are WOKE AF) – as excoriating as it can be when you are on the receiving end of their scorn – and I like the fact that they try to be as inclusive and sensitive as possible with marginalized groups. Even if their compassion does not extend to their aged parents with menopausal porridge brain.
So yes, I’m not entirely sure who will be eligible for the prize, but it’s something we are definitely going to do here at GO SEE DO. A prize for page-turning, holiday reads by South African authors – anybody who feels like co-sponsoring the prize, get in touch. I would also like to see us producing more commercial fiction in SA. I find myself begging my friends to hurry up and finish their books so that I’ve got something to read.
Perhaps one day when I’ve got money to burn, I will start my own commercial fiction imprint. Contrary to popular belief, just about no one makes any moolah (a Fijian word meaning ‘money’) from publishing fiction, so I will definitely be doing it for love not money. Or perhaps I will do it to find stories to turn into TV series?
Whatever. Watch this space.
Film recommendation: Stowaway on Netflix. This got several lukewarm reviews, which made me hesitate to watch it but then a couple of people – including Gus Silber – mentioned it on Twitter which made me decide to give it a whirl.
The Husband and I enjoyed it although there were a few plot-holes – like what was Michael doing in the roof when the rocket took off? However, I loved the moral dilemma at the centre of it and the suspense was FANTASTIC! Definitely worth a watch.
TV recommendation: The Estate. 7pm, Monday to Friday on the channel formerly known as SABC 3 and now called S3.
Book recommendations: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley. I got this on Bookbub – I don’t often find great books on there but this time I struck it lucky. I’m not sure how to classify this book, but there is a mystery at the heart of it where two people realise they’ve been dreaming about each other before they’ve ever even met. I enjoyed it very much.
How I Accidentally Became A Global Stock Photo by Shubnum Khan. I followed this whole incident of how she became a GSP on Twitter so I was very intrigued to dip into this collection of essays which, I have to say, is making me homesick for KZN. Thank you to lovely Helen Holyoake and Exclusive Books for my copy (which needs to be signed!!) If you’re on Twitter, do follow Shubnum, I love her Tweets and yes, buy the book which I have to say has the most gorgeous cover.
It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday for those of you who have forgotten. Love Books have a great selection of books your mother would LOVE and Exclusive’s have books AND gifts so check those out. Eva Mazza’s latest book Christine is in stores now and would make the perfect gift and there’s going to be a REAL LIVE BOOK LAUNCH next week. Yes, Eva will be in convo with her publisher, Melinda Ferguson on Thursday, 13th May 2021 at 6pm at the Melrose Gallery. You have to RSVP because numbers are limited due to Covid.
Lastly, I am THRILLED to announce that the Kingsmead Book Fair is happening this year. Yes, it is all online, but still, there is a FABULOUS line-up of authors and yours truly (the SAFTA nominated screenwriter) will be on the teen programme teaching a scriptwriting workshop. Go forth and buy your tickets now https://kingsmead.co.za/bookfair/shop/. All proceeds from the fair go towards the Kingsmead Bursary Fund.