Joan Hambidge: Iconoclast(ic)

Stilet 32(1), March 2020 – Issue CfP

As part of an alternative series of publications – to be read parallel to the SA Academy for Science and Art’s ongoing series of published tributes to Hertzog Prize winners – Stilet is soliciting abstracts for a special issue celebrating Joan Hambidge.

Despite her iconoclastic irreverence of Afrikaans traditional views, Joan Hambidge is arguably one of the most important living Afrikaans poets/authors/academics. In many ways, she can be said to be the Kathy Acker of Afrikaans – as she writes against the grain of language, disrupting the hierarchy of texts and salient novelistic structures through a number of stylistic, thematic and linguistic devices. Her work engages with the boundaries of body-mind-text-culture assemblages and situates her as in a queer frame in that her oeuvre not only works against narrativity, the generic pressure of narrative toward closure and the fulfilment of meaning, but also pointedly disrupts the referentiality of language and the language of reality.

An issue dedicated to Hambidge promises to be a valuable addition to the existing list of writers, poets and playwrights in the Academy’s tribute series, and may lend further nuance to the existing canon.

Although she has not been awarded the Hertzog Prize for Literature – perhaps because of her status as queer author, or perhaps because of her iconoclastic orientation toward the institutions of Afrikaans – she has won the coveted Marais Prize for Literature, the Litera Prize and the Poetry Institute of Africa Prize. Political from its inception, her work invites the reader to stay with the trouble – to resist utopian thinking in favour of Foucauldian heterotopias, which, disturbing as they are, prompt creative lines of inquiry.

Final articles (between 6,000 and 8,000 words) are expected by the end of 2019, with publication in March 2020. Submissions may be in English, Afrikaans or Dutch.

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