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Willemien De Villiers

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE


I am about half-way through Julia Martin’s A Millimetre of Dust and have so far loved every second and every word of it. The comparison (made on the back cover-blurb) with the great W.G Sebald is not an exaggeration – while reading this wonderful book my mind seems to enter an altered mindspace, where all my senses are somehow heightened, similar to what I experience when reading Sebald. Absolutely wonderful in the way her writing gently teases out connections between disparate things. For me it has been the start of a valuable, nurturing reconnection with place. Thank you, Julia!

Just Keep Writing

As one of the contributors, I want to blow a big kiss of appreciation to Rosamund Haden and Sandra Dodson for their dedication and hard, hard work to commision and edit Just Keep Breathing The end result, in its splendidly groovy cover, is perfection. I found it too intense to read all the stories in one go (a bit like giving birth to one super-large baby) so savoured a couple at a time over the last few days – they are all compelling and dense in the best sense of the word; really stunningly diverse. I started with their two stories, and was deeply moved by both – simply loved the order of Sandra’s triptych – it makes so much sense to get hell out of the way to make room for paradise – and the sheer beauty and clarity of the writing; too much to go into in this brief note of appreciation. Similarly with Ros’, I so enjoyed her honest humour, and gentle interweaving of different ancestries. It held special resonance for me, as I have also many times tried to imagine an intertwined family tree – Scotland, Germany, England and Eastern Cape, Lusikisiki rooting together to create my precious granddaughter. (Grannyhood – now there’s another unsexy topic rarely explored in the literary sense, except maybe in Sarie empty-nest articles. Maybe it has something to do with the little rhyme of Ouma en Oupa sit op die stoep, Oupa gee ‘n harde poep…) Any takers?