Getting to know the writers of Songbird

Songbird is an exciting new anthology that has been released by Cover2Cover, as part of our series of FunDza anthologies. Like us, the FunDza Literacy Trust believes that reading ignites the imagination, it encourages critical thinking, and it develops empathy and a deeper understanding of the world. FunDza commissions writers to produce new stories – in English and other South African languages – that appeal to young people, and it’s providing a platform for the South African youth to get published too. It’s a wonderful process for us, because we collaborate with the FunDza Literacy Trust to develop new young writers. FunDza asks young writers to send their stories in – and the selection process begins. After editing, selected stories are released to thousands of people on the FunDza mobi site. Finally, those stories are chosen to appear in printed form, in our FunDza anthologies, with Songbird and Other Stories being the latest book. Who are these people behind the stories? It is a great honour to introduce the writers of this anthology.

Sello Mahapeletsa is the author of the Harmony High novel, Playing with Fire. He is a qualified teacher, working permanently at Sephala Primary School in Limpopo. In addition to training as a teacher, he studied Creative writing with Intec College as he had always loved writing poems, plays and novels. In 2003 he wrote his first young adult novel, When Lions Smile (Kwela Books) which was prescribed for Grade 10 and 11. In 2007 he went on to publish his second novel, Tears of an Angel (Kwela Books). In his spare time he teaches young people drama.

Epiphanie Mukasano is originally from Rwanda where she used to be a teacher. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature and a Masters degree in Child and Family Studies. She now lives as in Cape Town with her husband and children and works at the Human Rights Media Centre. Her poems have been published in various collections including ‘Kilimanjaro in my Lap’. She has written a number of , and she also writes short stories that have been published on the FunDza site.

Michelle Faure, who describes herself as a compulsive writer, grew up in the Eastern Cape and started her writing career as a journalist for the Port Elizabeth Herald newspaper. She has written short stories for the FunDza Literacy Trust as well as the novels Rescue and After the Tears (part of the popular Harmony High series) for Cover2Cover Books. She is currently writing and working in China.

Morena Lincoln Maoka is from Katlehong, but he is currently living in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. He is studying a Bachelor of Arts at Wits University. He says his Grade 8 Afrikaans teacher was always complimenting him about how good and clear his essays were and she often read them out to the class. Since then he’s been writing in his spare time. He’s a big fan of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and his favourite novel is Thirteen Cents by K. Sello Duiker. Morena won a FunDza writing prize for his short story, ‘Normalisation’.

Baeletsi Tsatsi is a Market Theatre Laboratory graduate. She practices as a freelance storyteller, facilitator, stage manager and writer. Her aim is to create work that advocates storytelling into the main stream market. Baeletsi was part of FunDza’s ‘Mentoring Young Writers’ programme in Johannesburg and is a facilitator of FunDza’s writing workshops in Gauteng.

Jenny Robson lives in Maun, Botswana, where she worked as a music teacher and writer. She has published many YA novels and has won the Sanlam Youth Literature Prize five times. She was given the UNESCO prize for Youth Literature in the Service of Tolerance for her novel, . Her novels have been translated into German, Spanish, Dutch and Korean. She is a regular writer for FunDza.

Cover2Cover is immensely proud to have worked so closely with these writers. They are great people and their stories, as shared in Songbird – are simply fantastic.