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My name is Finn Jupiter – the Prologue

PROLOGUE “I’m going to have to call you back,” Finn Jupiter said as she crossed the school’s parking lot. “People who never run … are running.” Living in Colorado, the first thing that came to her was a grainy news photo of Columbine High a day after Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had made it […]

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The time I stole an AK-47

The first thing I ever stole was an AK47 machine gun with a luminous green scope. An object of murderous beauty. Of course, it wasn’t real. Rather a cheap plastic replica toy, no doubt fashioned in a Chinese warehouse where children the size of teaspoons spend 29 hours a day screwing poisonous plastic moulds together […]

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Extract from Ka-Boom! – the time I tried to become an Olympian

‘Hey, Bob. This is Destiny calling.’ So that Monday I phoned the national Olympic throwing coach. As one does. To protect his identity, we shall call him Bob. This is pretty much how our conversation went: ‘Hi. Is this Bob?’ ‘It is. Who is this?’ ‘A future Olympian, actually.’ ‘Really? You sound a little old.’ […]

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Hi mom, thanks for coming

By Gareth Crocker Most people believe that an author’s life is festooned with glamorous book signings, extravagant gala events and meetings with one’s bank manager, during which one does little more than swim laps in one’s money vault. The truth, of course, is somewhat different. To illustrate my point, consider book store events. Typically, these […]

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‘Wait … let’s not murder this beautiful animal for sport,’ said no trophy hunter ever

An Open Letter to animal lovers, everywhere – The fight to save the White Lion is at a critical point By Gareth Crocker A friend of mine was recently involved in a rhino relocation programme and the experience both moved and haunted him in equal measure. The rangers explained that rhinos are particularly easy to […]

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Hold on a minute, I thought I was the author here?

An Author’s Life #6 By Gareth Crocker As I see it, there are quite a number of problems with being an author these days. Firstly, there’s the rather unfortunate issue of it not paying very much. Sure, there’s the joy of holding one’s own book in one’s tear-stained hands and the thrill of seeing your […]

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My favourite place in Joburg is an old dark room with a sticky floor

Column written for The Times newspaper – October 9, 2013 By Gareth Crocker After my publicist informed me of this assignment, I was tempted to do the predictable author thing and write about a heavenly glade or an idyllic valley nestled between the rocky bosoms of some enchanting mountain range. Where rabbits hop and deer […]

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If our vocabularies had a fight, mine would stab yours in the neck

– An author’s life #5 So I once studied the dictionary. That’s right. You heard me. Studied the dictionary. And it wasn’t one of those pitiful ‘concise’ or ‘pocket’ editions either. Pfff… Oh no, dear reader. It was a monster. A paper behemoth. It could origami itself into a replica of the moon. It put […]

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Open Book Festival in Cape Town – smashing event, scary city

– An author’s life #4 In Michele Rowe’s acclaimed debut novel, What Hidden Lies, there’s a thought-provoking dedication in the front of the book which describes Cape Town as ‘Crime with a view’. Given that I live in the utopian city of Johannesburg, my first thought was that perhaps the phrase is a little, well, […]

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Eureka! And now we’re all going to die

– An author’s life #2 (original version written in 2009) History is littered with tales of how great discoveries were made purely by mistake. Consider the likes of penicillin, brandy, the microwave oven, artificial sweetener, X-Rays and, according to the Interweb, half a bajillion other items. In fact, even Viagra was apparently a bit of […]

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