15 + 5 questions for Dominique Botha


15 + 5 questions for Dominique Botha

Her moving debut novel, False River, won several awards and this year her first poetry collection, Donkerberg, was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize. LAUREEN ROSSOUW asks the questions.


1. Explain yourself in a hashtag?


2. What do you listen to in your car?  

Uphill, Johann Sebastian Bach; downhill, Robert Nesta Marley.  

3. What do you read first thing every morning?     

Tea leaves. 

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4. What band do you listen to but are embarrassed to talk about?

In that sense I am unembarrassable.

5. What is the best present you have received?         

An identical twin. 

6. Your guilty pleasure?

Huisgenoot and NikNaks.

7. And your pet hate?

Loud muzak in restaurants. It destroys my zest for life.

8. Is there a movie you rewatch often?

The Deerhunter. The Godfather. Manon des Sources. Amarcord.

9. How would you describe your style?

Carike Keuzenkamp with attitude.

Dominique Botha with Laureen Rossouw.
Dominique Botha with Laureen Rossouw.

10. What quality do you least like about yourself?

Call my siblings — they can elaborate on this.

11. And in other people?


12. Favourite dish that you make for your family?            


13. If you could be in a love scene in a movie with anyone, who would it be?    


14. Five items you can't travel without?

- A resolution to never ever travel again.

- A book I am embarrassed to speak about.

- A return ticket.

- A suitcase with wheels.

- Blistex.

15. Your children are Gen Z. What do you think you can learn from them?

You can learn all about Norse mythology and the Greek pantheon because of the video games that keep them busy.

16. What international publications do you read regularly?

The Guardian just because it's free, The Spectator for its cheap shots, The Economist for pillow talk, The New Yorker for the soporific length of the articles.


17. Who are your favourite South African writers?

Karel Schoeman for the cadence of his paragraphs and scope of his magisterial oeuvre.

JM Coetzee for his sentence construction, each perfectly tuned. Eugène Marais for his longings.

FA Venter for his treasure trove of bygone words, Bessie Head so we don't forget, Martin Versfeld for his earthly wisdom, Adam Small for Kanna hy kô hystoe, Marlene van Niekerk because she can make the language sing across four octaves.

18. And poet(s)?

Currently the Boland is my favourite poet: bergbruidjies, porseleinblom, geldbeursies, sukkelbossie, rooibeentjies, bewertjiegras, sokkiesplant, nooienshaar, waternael, paddabos, gansgras, bobbejaantou, patryskos, wildemagriet, snotrosie, altydvygie, klokkiesheide, aandbossie, dronkwortel, kooigoed, kinkelbos, blouklokkie, suurkanol, vroubossie, wildestokroos, sporrie, malvas, kwasgras, soetgonna and oortjies.

19. What lies next to your bed?          

My dog.

20. What are you looking forward to?             




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