impressive debut

by Emma Ruby-Sachs

Contemporary Johannesburg is the setting for this impressive debut about an unlikely trio of women brought together in the wake of a Canadian water executive’s murder. Under cover of night, an activist group, led by a young woman named Nomsulwa Sithu, digs up water pipes installed earlier in the day. The group hopes to stop the privatization that has led to widespread water shortages and cholera outbreaks. An employee for the water company, Peter Matthews, arrives from Toronto, demanding to know why local authorities have failed to protect his company’s work. After butting heads with local councillors, Matthews spends a drunken night on the town and leaves a young girl with a bloody lip. The next day his desecrated body turns up in a field. Read more…

by Stephen Kelman

When Stephen Kelman started shopping Pigeon English, his first novel, around to literary agents, no one warned him not quit his day job—he didn’t have one to quit. And no matter, because what happened next was the stuff of literary dreams: a bidding war between 12 of Britain’s top publishers. When the dust settled, 33-year-old Kelman, whose bio cites stints as a warehouse operative and local government administrator, emerged with a six-figure advance, international rights, a two-book deal and the unenviable pressure of being The Next Big Thing. Read more…