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“Literature Everywhere Needs Writers that are Paid” – Nthikeng Mohlele

Rusty BellSmall ThingsNthikeng Mohlele recently chatted to Africa39 about the books and authors who have influenced him personally and professionally, his recent artistic projects and the challenges facing writers.

“I think literature everywhere needs writers that are paid, prizes worth winning, greater cross pollination between world cultures and civilisations through translations and preservation,” the author of Rusty Bell and Small Things says.

“Why should great books be out of print—yet no drug dealer runs out of cocaine and heroin or whatnot?”

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What are the main challenges you see facing artists, writers, and literary culture in your country and region? How are you ameliorating these difficulties? What specific things would you like to see done in order to address these challenges?

I suppose the overarching limitation in South Africa is the fact that people don’t buy fiction like they do non fiction. Second, as a developing country in a devolving region, it is to be expected that there are more pressing things to people’s time and resources than chasing books—an unfortunate tragedy. Writers should be paid as well as well paid DJs—for instance.

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