30 episodes

Your local literary spotlight. A South African podcast featuring conversations about books with local writers and readers. Hosted by Vasti Calitz.

We'd love to hear from you. Send an email to areaderscommunity@gmail.com.

A Readers' Community A Readers' Community

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 24 Ratings

Your local literary spotlight. A South African podcast featuring conversations about books with local writers and readers. Hosted by Vasti Calitz.

We'd love to hear from you. Send an email to areaderscommunity@gmail.com.

    The Soft Life with Lebohang Masango

    The Soft Life with Lebohang Masango

    In our final episode for the season, Lebohang Masango about the choices we make at the intersection of love and money, and Joy Watson tells me about her favourite anti-heroines.

    The soft life can be a life of luxury, of champagne and overseas travel, or it could mean money being less of a perpetual worry. The book is about women who pursue this and see their dating lives as part of the pursuit. Lebohang is interested not just in the phenomenon of the pursuit of the soft life, but also in how it’s perceived - how black women are vilified for making choices that people make the world over. 

    Joy’s own book is ‘The Other Me’, and she recommends ‘The Blessed Girl’ by Angela Makholwa, ‘The Vanishing Half’ by Brit Bennett. Vasti recommends ‘The Eye of the Beholder’ by Margie Orford and ‘An Unusual Grief by Yewande Omotoso. Vasti interviewed Yewande in Season 3 - listen here. 

    This season of A Readers’ Community was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council.

    • 1 hr 8 min
    BONUS: Book Club with Alistair Mackay

    BONUS: Book Club with Alistair Mackay

    In this bonus episode, we bring you a live recording of a book club hosted on 1 March 2023 with Alistair Mackay. It took place at the Book Lounge, and we talked about Alistair’s novel, It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way, a brilliant queer speculative fiction set in Cape Town in the very near future.

    This season of A Readers’ Community as well as this live event was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council.

    Host and executive producer: Vasti Calitz. Senior producer and editor: Andri Burnett. Assistant producer and researcher: Kelly-Eve Koopman. Assistant editor: Simone Rademeyer.

    • 1 hr
    Rites and Rituals with Jarred Thompson

    Rites and Rituals with Jarred Thompson

    Ritual can be a powerful narrative device. On the one hand, it’s likely to bring together a bunch of characters and to bring a simmering plot to the point of boiling over. On the other hand, they are often associated with a significant life event, with a moment of transition, or with magic and divine intervention.

    One of the sites where rites and rituals have special significance is death. 

    Jarred Thompson’s debut novel, The Institute of Creative Dying, is kind of obsessed with rituals and their relationship to death. It asks, are there different approaches to dying? What do we want out of our own deaths? And that question brings together a diverse group of characters ranging from a nun, to a model, to an ex-con, all willing to experiment with different answers to that question. This is a beautifully written, atmospheric and very intriguing novel.

    Our recommendations are books about rites and rituals. Vasti recommends I Did Not Die by Tebello Mzamo and Things My Mother Left Me by Pulane Mlilo Mpondo with an honorary mention to Nondwe Mpuma’s Peach Country, which featured earlier in the season. Kelly-Eve recommends Ausi Told Me: Why Cape Herstoriographies Matter by June Bam, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilakaand Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh. Also mentioned are The Great Derangement, also by Amitav Gosh, Braiding Sweetgrass by Robyn Wall Kimmerer, and It Doesn’t Have to be this Way (look out for an episode featuring Alistair next week!).

    This season of A Readers’ Community was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council.

    Host and executive producer: Vasti Calitz. Senior producer and editor: Andri Burnett. Assistant producer and researcher (and book recommender): Kelly-Eve Koopman. Assistant editor: Simone Rademeyer.

    • 59 min
    Public Apologies with Melanie Judge

    Public Apologies with Melanie Judge

    With the lack of equity, reparation and justice experienced by the majority of South Africans since the end of Apartheid, there is a sense in the present moment of what we might call an ‘apology fatigue’. In ‘Unsettling Apologies’, Melanie Judge and Dee Smythe have put together a collection of critical writings on public apology that explores the promise of and disappointments of public apologies, by politicians, by corporates, in the legal system, and more. In this episode, Vasti talks to Melanie Judge about this thought-provoking book, and Lyle Lackay and Vasti recommend books about apology, non-apologies, and lingering injustice.

    Lyle recommends The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela by Sisonke Msimang and Our Ghosts Were Once People, edited by Bongani Kona, and Vasti recommends How to Be a Revolutionary by CA Davids.

    This season was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council. 

    Vasti Calitz is the host and executive producer of A Readers' Community. Also on our team is our producer and editor, Andri Burnett, and our assistant producer and research assistant, Kelly-Eve Koopman, and assistant editor Simone Rademeyer.

    • 50 min
    Poetry with Nondwe Mpuma

    Poetry with Nondwe Mpuma

    In this episode, join Vasti as she tries to find her way back into reading poetry. She speaks to Nondwe Mpuma, whose collection Peach Country was a wonderful invitation back into the form. Nondwe writes about home, in the Eastern Cape, and the landscape matters - its seasons and its patterns, and the daily rituals and habits that are matched to them - time ticks according to that unfolding. These poems are of course much more than that, and happily, Nondwe reads a number of her poems during our conversation.And then our book recommender today is Maneo Refilhoe Mohale, who is also a wonderful poet, and wrote Everything is a Deathly Flower. We talk about poetry generally and how to access it, and they recommend some brilliant collections.This season was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council. Vasti Calitz is the host and executive producer of A Readers' Community. Also on our team is our producer and editor, Andri Burnett, and our assistant producer and research assistant, Kelly-Eve Koopman, and assistant editor Simone Rademeyer.

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Loving Men with Kopano Ratele

    Loving Men with Kopano Ratele

    The prevalence and fear of gender based violence really cannot be overstated. The statistics and stories and experiences invade our lives, we encounter it in the news, fiction and non-fiction. For every story we read we raise our guard, we feel more afraid. And on the other side of this fear is male violence. Kopano Ratele suggests that one of the causal factors, and one of the sites of intervention, is lovelessness, or love hunger. So today’s episode is about loving men - the act of loving men and the risks inherent in that, and about men who are loving, and how that can be nurtured. We speak to Professor Kopano Ratele, who wrote the excellent book, ‘Why Men Hurt Women: Love, Violence and Masculinity’, and get book recommendations from Kneo Mokgopa for books that offer insight into or reimaginings of masculinity.

    Kneo recommends 'Between the World and Me' by Ta-Nehisi Coates and 'The Will to Change' by bell hooks. Vasti recommends 'Robert' by Robert Hamblin and 'The Wanderers' by Mphutumi Ntabeni - both of whom have been on the podcast before. Listen to the episode with Robert here and with Mpush here. Find these books at The Book Lounge!

    Kneo's article in the Daily Maverick can be found here.

    This season was made possible by a grant from the National Arts Council.

    Vasti Calitz is the host and executive producer of A Readers' Community. Also on our team is our producer and editor, Andri Burnett, and our assistant producer and research assistant, Kelly-Eve Koopman, and assistant editor Simone Rademeyer.

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

ZAR-USD ,

Great Content - Long Overdue

This podcast is long, long overdue. The quality engagements at the in-store book events and the Open Book Festival needed to reach a wider community. Super happy you have translated the experience into a podcast.

The production quality is professional, top shelf stuff.

May the book sales soar!

JSWSA ,

Best book shop can only make the best book podcast

Cannot wait to listen to more episodes and to celebrate books!

MartinC8000 ,

Local book stuff, yay!

Very enjoyable! Glad to hear some local voices. I subtracted one star because there was a distinct lack of cats :p. Other than that, great!

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