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South African Book Fair

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Fiction as a Mirror at the Cape Town Book Fair

Thando Mgqolozana, Duncan Brown and Denis BeckettDenis Beckett has been trying for years to get people to listen to his theory on entrenching democracy. “We have only reached Democracy 0.1, we need to upgrade to 0.2,” he kept saying.

This, according to him, is the reason why he decided to write a novel (Magenta) and use characters to get the message across. Beckett was speaking at a discussion entitled “Fiction as a Mirror: Self and Social Commentary” at the Cape Town Book Fair.

Also taking part in the discussion was Thando Mgqolozana, author of A Man Who is Not a Man, about circumcision rituals. “I felt there was not enough said on this subject. The story came to me and I had to obey the voice that chose me,” he said. He prefers to refer to his book as a narrative, rather than fiction, although he says he “pumped up” the characters so that they can not be recognised.

“Authors have for years been using novels to get their message across,” Beckett said. Many people told Beckett he could not write a book with a message, but he says “writing for himself”,no other imagined reader, helped him make a success of the story.

Quote of the hour: “We have only reached Democracy 0.1, we need to upgrade to 0.2. ”
-Denis Beckett


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