A new Afrikaans writing guide was published by Penguin recently. Die Afrikaanse skryfgids contains practical tips for various styles of writing.

The book was compiled by Leti Kleyn, a lecturer in Academic Literacy at UP and a professional publisher, and Riana Scheepers, an established fiction writer.

Kleyn explained that she identified a gap in the range of Afrikaans books available to writers as there were books that offered writing guidelines for specific genres but there were none that combined the different genres into one single guide. This book does not solely cater for prospective literary writers but for various other genres such as media, film, copy and advertisements.

“The book shows [you] how to become a better writer by offering practical skills on how to develop writing talent,” Kleyn explained. She added that they wanted to move away from focusing soley on literature because it is important to know how to use your writing talents to not only establish yourself as a writer but also to earn a living. Professor Henning Pieterse, Director of Creative Writing at UP, poet, translator and short story writer, also contributed to the book by writing a piece about translating poetry. In this section Prof. Pieterse draws the reader’s attention to the difference between the literal and figurative meaning in poetry and he then explains how to accurately translate a poem without distorting the essence of it.

Prof. Pieterse explained that this book is valuable because the reader not only gets a general overview of the different genres of writing but also because each section was written by very successful and established writers in that specific genre. In addition, the book offers the reader practical examples and advice. According to Prof. Pieterse, the book also contains a list of recommended sources that can be consulted after each section which makes it an especially effective beginners’ guide for students. He added that, “[This book is] the first of its kind and also the most wide-ranging. [It] is an encyclopaedia for the aspiring and established writer.”

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