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Margie Orford

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Fifteen Men Launched Today

Fifteen MenI am a book with a damaged cover, but what is written between the lines could save a country from disaster.
– Rashied Wewers

The Groot Drakenstein prison sees the launch of Fifteen Men this morning – the first event of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. The book contains pieces that emerged during a creative writing workshop I conducted, born out of the inaugural 2007 FLF and run over nine months.

All proceeds from the sale of Fifteen Men go to community projects through the FLF Library Fund. Here’s the book blurb:

Sinewy, riveting and frightening, Fifteen Men is a collection of writing by South African prisoners that speaks of the places and experiences rarely glimpsed, rarely represented in our fractured and violent society.

Fifteen Men is a literary tribute to the power of quietness, and to the quiet heroism of fifteen writers who dared to face the dark places of the mind to produce the pieces contained in this book. Over a period of nine months, in a dusty prefab classroom, the men chose quietness as a way of reflecting on and articulating pain and loss; of creating stillness in the present; of tentatively mapping alternative futures where, as Steve Sam writes, ‘I believe that the past cannot tear my future apart.’

The contributions of these men, all of whom are serving very long sentences, mirror the hearts, minds and the violent childhoods and adulthoods of the men who crowd South Africa’s prisons. They offer reflections that we ignore at our peril.

Prison life … makes the quiet become violent and the violent quiet.
– Mario Rousseau

Fifteen Men is published by Jonathan Ball.

ISBN: 9781868423224


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