“Although this, of course, was not strictly true: I so desired Maureen that at times I temporarily lost my mind, any sense of restraint. That I imagined, with a sudden swell of emotions and enlightenment, how desperately I craved Greek salad: cucumbers. Lettuce, onion rings and baby tomatoes, only dressed with her springs, her womanly eruptions resultant from our imagined carnal sieges.” – Nthikeng Mohlele, Micheal K: a novel

This month Nthikeng Mohlele will publish his sixth Novel llumination, which he describes as “…an exploration of the nature and pitfalls of an artistic life. The backbone of the narrative is essentially a love story, but also how the charges and passions inherent in art, particularly music, interface and become transformed when fused with passions and anxieties of a more personal and discreet kind”

Bearing this great milestone in mind, we are cheekily releasing this conversation, where Dr-Alma-Nalisha sat in conversation with the award-winning author. Nthikeng published his first book The Scent of Bliss in 2008 and he has also written other acclaimed novels including Pleasure, a novel that won various awards including the 2017 University of Johannesburg Prize for the K. Sello Duiker Memorial Prize.

His fifth novel, – Micheal K – is a response to JM Coetzee’s 1983 Man Booker prize winner Life and Times of Micheal K. The novel explores the weight of history and of conscience. Zakes Mda describes the writing in this book as “a work of reflective intensity, re-imagining character from JM Coetzee’s world of stark and sparse prose”.

During this enlightening conversation, Nthikeng described the writing process and the inspiration of the book, which would’ve intimidated a perhaps lesser writer. Further to this, he shared his thoughts about how pivotal it is for readers and writers to read their contemporary writers. He spoke about some of his favourite writers including the likes of Zukiswa Wanner, Yewende Omotoso, Sue Nyathi and Niq Mhlongo. He also blesses us with a list of 5 books to read which include the works of the late Professor Kgositsile.

Bold, brave and inspiring. This podcast is a master class in literature and re-imagining.

Twitter: @nthikengmohlele