Thibedi Mokgokong is a poet who discovered writing through the strain of living in a house where “a child is seen but not heard.” Poetry was a way to express complex and suppressed emotions in a verbose but quiet manner. The weight in his poetry comes from words and expressions long kept but never spoke.
Jeannie Wallace McKeown lives in Makhanda (previously Grahamstown) and works full-time at Rhodes University. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes, and has had poems published in New Coin, New Contrast, Poetry Potion, Aerodrome and other literary journals. Her work appears in the anthologies Voices Of This Land 2nd Edition, For Rhino in a Shrinking World, the EU Sol Plaatjie collections VII and VIII, and on the AVBOB Poetry website. She is the mother of two boys, has just the perfect number of cats, and a dog who wasn’t planned but is now an integral part of the family. Her collection, Unremembered Poems, will be published by Modjaji Books in 2019.
Her poem “Even-Handed” is featured in The Coinage Book Two. It is a simple and beautifully written reflection on the concurrent exploration, experimentation, growth and change within ourselves and others.
His fiction has been published in the likes of Afrosf: Science Fiction by African Writers, and Omenana. His poetry has been published in The Coinage Book One, and his academic work featured in The Thinker. He is also a proud charter member of the African Speculative Fiction Society.
Recently, Mandisi has been experimenting with speculative poetry with a focus on fantastical, science fiction and/or elements of horror. His poem, “Black Hole Fugue” explores the theme of change through the ups and downs of anxiety and depression. While the poem itself is not precisely science-fiction, there is a clear allusion to black holes, and the almost fugue state of depressive episodes. Much like the current science around black holes states, a depressive episode can feel like a time warp, where something is sucking you in (the gravitational pull of a black hole sucks in all matter, including light), and you don’t know what’s on the other side.
As a freelancer, she also operates under “all things creative”, a company which specialises in event planning, book design and layout, corporate and branding identity, photography, video production and copy-writing.
2018 sent her on a whirlwind word-adventure of finding her writing voice. She experimented with poetry, the result of which a poem titled “Age Rage” – an ode to a woman coming to terms with her fading beauty and changing body as she struggles to find relevance in the new and continuously changing world – which will be featured in The Coinage Book Two.