- Category: TOW 2005
Rayda Jacobs, novelist and documentary filmmaker, was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She left for Toronto, Canada in 1968 and lived there for 27 years. She had started writing at a very young age, sending her first story to Springbok Radio at the age of twelve. She continued writing and finally, in 1994, her collection of short stories,The Middle Children, was published in Canada. Populated with unforgettable characters, the stories address issues of rejection, abandonment, self-esteem and political change with humour and poignancy. When she returned to S.A. in 1995, her first novel, Eyes of the Sky was awarded the Herman Charles Bosman prize for English Fiction. In 1998 her second novel, The Slave Book was published, followed by Sachs Street. On one level the three books can be viewed as a trilogy, but each can stand completely on its own. Her latest novel Confessions of a Gambler, won the Sunday Times Literary Award for Fiction and the Herman Charles Bosman Award in 2004. The novel is currently being adapted for film, and is being hailed as one of the most exciting feature film projects for 2005. Confessions of a Gambler is set in Cape Town and tells the story of Abeeda, a feisty Muslim woman who also happens to be a gambling addict. It reaches into the depths of Muslim culture and provides a vivid insight into the community, its rites and rituals, beliefs and mores.
Rayda Jacobs’ writing has led her into other areas. She wrote ten feature articles for the Cape Times on the One City Many Cultures programme in Cape Town, which in turn led directly to her hosting radio programmes on culture, identity, and religion. She has produced a number of documentary and film programmes for television. Among these was God Has Many Names, for eTV, and Portrait of Muslim Women, which was broadcast on SABC Television. She served on the Editorial Committee of Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1999 and has undertaken lecture and book tours all over the world, including Germany, Sweden, Norway and the Caribbean.
The Middle Children, Second Story Press, Toronto, 1994
Eyes of the Sky, Kwela Books, Cape Town, 1996
The Slave Book, Kwela Books, Cape Town, 1998
Sachs Street, Kwela Books, Cape Town, 2001
Confessions of a Gambler, Kwela Books, Cape Town, 2003
Postcards from South Africa, Juta Books, Cape Town, 2004