SA's sci-fi siren set to seduce Hollywood

A week after her latest novel, The Shining Girls, hit the Sunday Times Bestseller list in the UK, Lauren Beukes began negotiating film rights to the book.

This is on top of South African movie producer Helena Spring acquiring rights to Zoo City - Beukes' previous novel, which won the Arthur C Clarke and Kitschies Red Tentacle literary awards.

The Shining Girls centres on a time-travelling Depression-era drifter, Harper Curtis, who must murder the "shining girls" - bright young women who possess some alluring, but unnameable, quality that makes them burn with potential - in order to continue his travels.

Speaking about the film rights, Beukes said: "It's four offers on the table - plus three other inquiries, but they're very serious offers and we're hoping to close a deal very soon."

She added "Winning the Arthur C Clarke award for Zoo City put me on the map with big publishers.

"It helped to have a brilliant agent and a cool concept for the new book - all of which were factors in the perfect storm of the five-way bidding war over The Shining Girls at the Frankfurt Book Fair."

Joburg, Chicago, share similarities

Beukes, who has lived in Chicago, felt she knew the city well enough to use it as the primary location of The Shining Girls.

Besides, she noticed quite a few similarities between Chicago and Johannesburg, the city where she was born, including "government corruption, violent crime and segregation, but it's also an incredibly bright and vibrant city with amazing architecture and friendly people".

Setting the book in Joburg would have distorted the story, she said.

"It's a book about time travel and I was primarily interested in the 20th century.

"If I'd set it in South Africa, apartheid would have overwhelmed the story, when I wanted to talk about a lot of other things, from women's rights to the rise of the skyscraper, the loops and tangles of history - the issues that come up again and again."

Her next novel, Broken Monsters, will be set in Detroit.

The Shining Girls is published by Umuzi, Exclusive Books, R185.

Source: The Times/wikipedia, via I-Net Bridge, by Andile Ndlovu
17 May 2013.

Congratulations to the winners at SAMRA Conference 2013!

People’s Choice Award: Sangeeta Gupta and Andrew Vincent, for Insight Simplicity

Best First Time Speaker: Andries Noeth, for Real-time Measurement

Best Overall Paper:
Bronze – Neil Higgs, for Do We Have an Effect?
Silver – Vanessa Maritz, for Between Fact and Fiction
Gold – Andries Noeth, for Real-time Measurement

Thank you to all the presenters, the guests, the delegates, and the organisers for a wonderful conference! SAMRA was established in 1963 as a voluntary association of marketing researchers. The SAMRA Board, which consists of ten elected representative seats, manages SAMRA. There are four regional branches in South Africa based in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. Namibia also has a small branch.


Academy award-winner Forest Whitaker
turns in a solid performance as a cop searching for the murderer of a white teenager in the movie ‘Zulu’, a violent and often shocking portrayal of South African gang culture where traces of apartheid still linger.

An AFDA Johannesburg Honours (2012) student film won the Edge of Your Seat Audience Award for the best thriller at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth held in April in Seattle, Washington.