Welcome to Rofhiwa Conversations. You should expect to hear two artists whose work we admire deeply, connect across worlds. Meandrous, is perhaps the best word with which to capture the feeling of this conversation – indeed it is our favorite kind. It goes wherever the spirits deign to take our guests. Like sitting in your mother’s living room and listening in. Our guests may read to one another or they may sing to one another. Our guests may talk about art and craft; about writing and creating and what to do with the frustration of stagnation. They may talk about family or work or love or loss or joy or hunger. Meandrous.
We celebrate the US publication of Sifiso Mzobe's Young Blood, the novel named one of the Most Anticipated Crime Novels of 2021 by Crime Reads. Mzobe will be in conversation with novelist, short story writer and editor, Jacob Ross whose crime fiction novel, The Bone Readers won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017.
Sifiso Mzobe is a writer, content editor and translator. He was born and bred in Umlazi Township, south of Durban, South Africa, where he obtained his primary schooling and where he currently resides. After attending St. Francis College, he studied Journalism at the Damelin Business Campus in Durban.
His debut novel, Young Blood, charts the life of a teenager who drops out of school and joins a car hijacking syndicate. So raw was Mzobe’s rendition of the story that Young Blood went on to win the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for Best English Fiction, the SALA First Time Published Author Award and the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. Mzobe also made it into the “Africa 39 List,” a UNESCO initiative which names 39 of the most promising authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora.
His second book, a collection of short stories titled, Searching for Simphiwe was published by Kwela Books in April 2020. He is currently working on his second novel titled, Durban December.
Jacob Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor and creative writing tutor. His crime fiction novel, The Bone Readers won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017. His literary novel Pynter Bender was published to much critical literary acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Regional Prize and chosen as one of the British Authors Club’s top three Best First Novels. His latest book is Tell No-One About This, a collection of stories written over a span of forty years, including from Song for Simone(1986) and A Way to Catch the Dust (1999) and more than a dozen new ones. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been a judge of the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, the Olive Cook, Scott Moncrieff and Tom-Gallon Literary Awards. Jacob is Associate Fiction Editor at Peepal Tree Press, and the editor of Closure, Contemporary Black British short stories.