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Crime Beat

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

International Thriller Writers Opens its Portals to SA Krimi Authors

About six weeks ago an email from the internationally renowned crime writer David Hewson did the rounds here letting us know that membership fees to a US-based organisation called International Thriller Writers had been ditched. As a board member he was on somewhat of an international membership drive and wondered if there were writers in South Africa who might want to join.

Well, seven did straight off and as of the beginning of this month the SA chapter stands at 26, some of us writing in English, some in Afrikaans, and a lone representative of the Zulu language – Meshack Masondo – although he arguably has the biggest readership in our country. He just needs a translator so he can reach an international audience. The language issue is an interesting one for the ITW as it’s the first time they’ve incorporated a chapter where members write in different languages.

However, as book promotion is merely one of the ITW’s missions – conferences, festivals, book tours – being among the others, simply because your book may be in a language other than English doesn’t mean, as far as the ITW board’s concerned, that you mightn’t be a star turn at a conference. And as SA has a number of secure online bookshops, those authors publishing in English who don’t find international publishers can still be bought by the curious in Denver, Florida, or San Antonio, Texas. Wherever, actually.

ITW offers writers and publishers an amazing amount of exposure and promotional help. Already debut novelist Jassy Mackenzie has experienced first hand their extraordinary enthusiasm. Each month the ITW showcases books being released that month by their members and Jassy not only got the website treatment but was interviewed even before her book was in our local bookshops. And certainly long before anyone got round to reviewing, let alone interviewing her. You can check out the interview here.

In a first for ITW, this month they list an Afrikaans krimi, Rooi Luiperd by Francois Bloemhof, among 37 October releases – another first for the ITW as they’ve never featured that many books in a single month before.

ITW also runs an annual competition for its members and that is on the boil right now. So, for those publishers who published crime novels and thrillers this year – Human & Rousseau, Pan Macmillan, Two Dogs, and Umuzi – here’s an opportunity to pit your authors against the best the ITW has to offer. All the information you need is right here.

The local members of ITW are: Francois Bloemhof, Andrew Brown, Peter Church, David Dison, Hazel Friedman, Tracy Gilpin, Andrew Gray, Joanne Hichens, Dirk Jordaan, Tim Keegan, Richard Kunzmann, Jassy Mackenzie, Angela Makholwa, Rob Marsh, Meshack Masondo, Deon Meyer, Mike Nicol, Margie Orford, Chanette Paul, Michael Sears, Roger Smith, Piet Steyn, Sue Rabie, Jane Taylor, Stanley Trollip, Quintus van der Merwe, and Michael Williams.

If you’ve published a crime novel or a thriller with a commercial publisher or you’ve published books about real crime, you’re eligible to join ITW. ‘Active Membership’ (for writers) is free; ‘associate membership’ (for publishers, academics, enthusiasts) is $95 a year. Simply apply on their website. The process takes about a week but look at what you have available to you.

Finally, crime fiction addicts check out the October issue of The Big Thrill – the webzine of the ITW.


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