13. On sounds

 We talk to two powerful poets and performers who work across and beyond a range of narrative and performative forms and traditions.

 

Unladylike caught up with Natalia Molebatsi and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers on a recent visit to South Africa.

 

Listen here

 

Our guests

 natalia
Natalia Molebatsi is a writer and poet who has appeared throughout Africa, Europe and
the USA. Her performances and recordings, often with her band The Soul Making, combine poetry with with jazz, funk and hip hop.
Her first collection  was Sardo Dance (Ge’ko Publishing, 2012), and her work appears in anthologies such as Letter to South Africa: Poets Calling the State to OrderHappiness the Delight-Tree: An Anthology of Contemporary International PoetryNew Coin, and the Anthology of World Poetry, and in academic journals. Nathalia edited We Are: A Poetry Anthology published by Penguin, and has run creative writing workshops all over the world.
Her performances available on CD include Come as you are: Poems for Four Strings (also on Spotify) and Natalia Molebatsi & The Soul Making.
You can read and hear some of Natalia’s poetry on Badilisha Poetry Exchange or watch her in performance on YouTube.

 

Phillippa Yaa de Villiers is a writer and performance artist. She has written for television and the stage, and in 2014  was the Commonwealth Poet, performing at Westminster Abbey in the presence of 2000 representatives of the Commonwealth and the Royal Family.
Her collections of poetry are Taller than Buildings (Centre for the Book, 2006) and The Everyday Wife (Modjadji Books, 2010). She edited No Serenity Here, an anthology of African poetry,  and her writing has been widely published in journals and anthologies. Her plays include Where the Children Live, and the autobiographical one-woman show, Original Skin, which toured  in South Africa and abroad.
Like much of her work, Original Skin centres on Phillippa’s negotiation of  her identity. The daughter of an Australian mother and a Ghanaian father, she was given up for adoption at nine months of age, and brought up by her adoptive parents, a white family in apartheid South Africa. She didn’t discover she was adopted until she was 20 years old. Since then she has lived and studied in France and England, returning to South Africa to teach creative writing.

 
Image of Phillippa

 

You can read and hear some of Phillippa’s work on Badilisha Poetry Exchange or the Poetry Archive. There’s an extract from her performance of Original Skin on YouTube.

 

Be warned: Bad music alert
The fusion of sound and words in these interviews is unintentional – we recorded one interview in a pub, so please forgive the background noise (including the worst song ever written). It does improve as it goes on. We promise to never record near cutlery again.

 

Our thanks to Professor Deirdre Byrne of the University of South Africa’s Institute for Gender Studies for arranging the interviews,  asking a question or two of Phillippa, and taking Kelly to see giraffes.

5. On swearing

Our guests in this episode create very different work. Patricia Cornelius writes uncompromising, realist drama, while Toni Jordan is the author of best-selling contemporary fiction. But we’ve brought them together to talk about something close to both their hearts – swearing.

(Note: This episode may include swearing. A bit. Well, actually, a fucking lot.)

Listen here:


(If you’re on a mobile device, use iTunes, Audioboom or your favourite podcast app.)

About our guestsTIny Useless

Toni Jordan has been a newspaper columnist, a writing lecturer, molecular biologist, quality control chemist, and  door-to-door aluminium siding saleswoman.

Her first novel, Addition, was an international bestseller, published or about to be published in eleven countries. It was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick and long-listed for the Miles Franklin award.

Fall Girl (2010) was published internationally and has been optioned for film, and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards. Her latest, Our Tiny, Useless Hearts is out now.

 

Patricia Cornelius is one of Australia’s most innovative and acclaimed playwrights. She was a founding member of Melbourne Workers’ Theatre and has written over twenty-five plays including Savages, Slut, Jack’s Daughters, Max, and Lilly and May. She co-wrote Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?  and its film adaptation, Blessed. Her novel, My Sister Jill, was published in 2002. 

Patricia’s many awards include a Gold AWGIE and Green Room awards, the Jill Blewett Award,  the NSW and Victorian Premier’s Awards for Drama, and the Patrick White Playwrights’ Award.

Patricia’s play SHIT was presented by the Melbourne Theatre Company and at Forty-five Downstairs and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Cast photo of SHIT


Peta Brady, Nicci Wilks and Sarah Ward on stage in SHIT.
Production photo: Sebastian Bourges

 

Toni Jordan’s essay ‘Blue Meat and Purple Language’ appears in the anthology Purple Prose,  edited by Liz Byrski and Rachel Robertson and published by Fremantle Press. Her new novel, Our Tiny, Useless Hearts, is published by Text.

The script for Patricia Cornelius’s play SHIT is published by Red Door.