Announcing the publication and tour of Swedish poet Athena Farrokzhad in South Africa


We're proud to announce, in association with Argos Books in the USA, the publication of Swedish poet Athena Farrokhzad's incredible debut White Blight, translated from the Swedish by Jennifer Hayashida, for the first time in South Africa.

The first foreign book on uHlanga's list, White Blight is being released in SA in conjunction with Farrokzhad's two-week tour of Gauteng and Cape Town this September, which she is making with the support of Open Book Festival, Hear My Voice Poetry Sessions and the Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria. Tour dates are at the bottom of this post.

Specially printed in Latvia, this mirror-faced book contains an evocative interweaving of voices exploring migration and assimilation by one of Sweden's foremost leftist and feminist intellectuals, delicately translated by Jennifer Hayashida. This once-off tour and run of 250 books is a must-see and must-own.

"This vital book exposes the dense tectonics churning beneath migrant dreams. Accusatory, loving, full of grief and sage truths, Athena Farrokhzad’s White Blight speaks eloquently to the troubled inheritance of diasporic survival. Through a litany of terse voices, Jennifer Hayashida’s sensitive translation describes the nexus of filial obligations and projections under which the narrator sinks from view. The intense beauty of devastation and the poignancy of betrayal emerge with startling frankness: “Your family will never be resurrected like roses after a fire.” “I have spent a fortune for your piano lessons / But at my funeral you will refuse to play.” These white lines make me ask, what has been bleached out in all of our stories? I read this book, and I remembered my humanity." — Sueyeun Juliette Lee


  • Thursday 30 August, 2 p.m. – Last Thursdays Poetry Session, Es’kia Mphahlele Library. Tshwane

  • Saturday 1 September, 11 a.m. – Jozi Book Fair Poetry Workshop with Athena Farrokhzad, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg

  • Saturday 1 September, 1:15 p.m. – Jozi Book Fair Swedish Poetry Performances with Emil Boss, Jenny Wrangborg and Magnus Gustafson, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg

  • Sunday 2 September, 11 a.m. – Jozi Book Fair Discussion: Writing, struggles and the working class with Magnus Gustaffson and Jolyn Phillips, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg

  • Sunday 2 September, 2 p.m. – Jozi Book Fair launch of White Blight, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg

  • Wednesday 5 September, 8 p.m. – Rioters in Session, Fugard Theatre, Cape Town

  • Thursday 6 September, 6:30 p.m. – Grounding Sessions, Zer021, 46 Canterbury St, Cape Town

  • Thursday 6 September, 8 p.m. – Open Book Discussion: Who are You? with Aminatta Forna, Sue Nyathi and Jen Malec, A4 Ground, 23 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town

  • Saturday 8 September, 12 p.m. – Open Book Discussion: Poetry Matters with Vangile Gantsho and Toni Stuart, Fugard Theatre, Cape Town

Tickets available from Jozi Book Fair and Open Book Festival