The things are rather lit

Apologies for the title, but I’m trying to be cool. But now that I have your attention, welcome to our Literature edition – it definitely is lit. We have been working on it for quite a while. A literature supplement of this size has been my dream for quite some time and I am immensely proud of every person who had a hand in putting it together.

I’m most proud of the writing competition this week. We received an overwhelming number of entries, showing the importance that literature has in our lives.

Relating to the content of this supplement, we received a message from someone indicating their displeasure at how much we covered queer issues in our last edition. I think this is exactly why we need this discussion and exposure, let alone all the other aspects that make this line of discussion not only relevant, but necessary. Almost everyone has heard about President Trump’s comments on transgender people in the military, Australia is making moves towards joining a host of countries that allow for marriage equality but masses of people are trying to oppose this move, and our own Deputy Minister of education, Mduduzi Manana, felt so insulted by being called ‘gay’, he felt it necessary to beat a woman. To say that our current coverage is irrelevant is not only ignorant, but small-minded.

Queer literature is a growing industry for those identifying as queer, and those for who don’t, but who are feeling more comfortable buying, reading, and writing their stories. Queer Africa 2, which features UP’s own Emma Paulet, was launched at UP two weeks ago. Read our review of the book on page vii.

Literature can also change the way you think. There are countless authors out there that will challenge your understanding of the world. This can be from the way you look at the influence of sport on gender-based violence in Jos Dirkx book Tackled(page viii), to influencing the idea generations have about each other and the histories of people living on the other side of the track (or century) on page vi.

From a young age, books start to have an impact on us. Try telling the average person that you didn’t grow up with the likes of Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, or Rand Al’Thor (if you know who this is, can we please be friends) and you will get all sorts of over reactions. Sadly though, there are far too many people that don’t have access to the world of books, whether it is the actual books they don’t have access to, or the ability to access the information in a book. Perhaps if we all did our bit to help those less fortunate than us, a little of the pressure can be lifted – much like Michelle Nkamankeng, an 8 year old author who is doing her best to spread her passion (page vii).

Enjoy our edition and happy reading.

Shaun Sproule

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