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Byron Loker

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

About Byron Loker

Byron Loker is a writer, photographer and filmmaker and author of the short story collection, New Swell (2006), published by Juta Double Storey and prescribed in Grade 9 in the Western Cape and Gauteng. The title story was longlisted for the ‘Twenty in 20 Project‘, a Twenty Years of Freedom initiative to identify the best South African short stories published in English during the past two decades of democracy. His short story ‘Your Stop’, was anthologised in Touch: Stories of Contact by South African Writers (2009). He was an associate producer of the AFDA film school graduation short film ‘There Are No Heroes‘ (2011), while his film production experience includes serving as a production assistant on ‘Entropy‘ starring Stephen Dorff and Bono (1998). He has written an animated film school short ‘A Cape Tail: Van Hunks And The Devil‘ (1994). He is currently developing short and feature film projects for production in the United States and working on his first novel, working title Stuyvesant Town.

New Swell is a highly accomplished debut collection, making for entertaining and engrossing reading … his stories have been likened to those of both [Herman Charles] Bosman and Hemingway. There is, that is to say, a distinct and distinctive voice lending unity to this collection… If the flat naturalism recalls Hemingway, other stories, in their deliberately straight-faced contemplation of horrors, recall Bosman. Hardly constitutes a reasoned rejoinder to the dark prognostications of, say, Disgrace: the stories do not pretend to reflect in any serious way on South African realities, and we would not want them to.’ – Michiel Heyns, Sunday Independent

‘Byron Loker is a particularly gifted and dedicated writer’ – André Brink

‘I hope you do know how much André believed in your talent. He lives on in us, all of us. And in his magnificent work.’ – Karina Brink

‘Byron Loker’s stories are different from anything that has been written in English in South Africa – they are fresh, honest, off the wall but simultaneously clear moments of everyday life. At the same time they owe much in tone and style to the work of Herman Charles Bosman without being in any way imitative. It is as if the short story tradition, which was interrupted by the dictates of apartheid, has been resumed.’ – Mike Nicol

‘Great: funny and melancholy and understated. I really liked “Hemingway” and “My Friend Carl”, the Darrington stories are amazing, and the whole thing works really well as a whole.’ – Henrietta Rose-Innes

‘Short stories that make up an entire picture. The kind of book you can give to a teenage boy (surfing is a major theme), but also full of subtle wry insights and adult humour. Some of the stories made me laugh so much, I almost wet my broeks… the last was pure simple everyday tragedy. I have just re-read it — it’s that good’ – Helen Moffet

‘In the end it is Loker’s prose that is the singularly most important element in his stories. That this is tight, spare and controlled means that the collection pulses with energy, and here lies the essence of its readability.’ – International Publishers Marketing

‘… a genre which is not exactly new, but is increasingly coming into its own on the international literary scene, and even more so on our local market … [the] ‘short story novel’. It comprises a collection of interrelated short stories, which can be read separately as individual pieces in their own right, but which reveal the total scale of their meanings only within reference to each other, interacting in this way to form a whole which could be read as a novel. In South African fiction, recent examples of this fascinating … genre range from Mary Watson’s beautifully intricate Moss (2004) to Byron Loker’s freshly rewarding New Swell.’ – Karina Magdalena Szczurek

‘… true to life, anecdotal, funny and poignant… a very perceptive eye for the nuances of everyday life. A relaxing, fun read that won’t disappoint.’ – The Book Lounge

‘I liked the voice of the narrator and I found these stories fresh and just different enough to be intriguing. – Valerie Borchardt ( – Elie Wiesel, John Ashbery, T.C Boyle, Andre Brink, Ian McEwan, David Guterson)

‘… an easy page-turner, rich with insight into what it means to be young, South African … carefree and conscious – alive with the unknown’ – Shape Magazine

”n kaliedoskoop van komieklike karakters en situasies en pleke … Byron Loker is ‘n kortverhaalskrywer om dop te hou … uitstekend … Dahlagtig’ – Dr. Abraham De Vries, Beeld

‘ … all SA surfers and students should read this, hilarious and real – beauty!’ – Bob Skinstad

‘ [a book] with heart and attitude … read this book. It’ll make you smile. Smiling is good for you’ – Liquid Magazine

‘Filled with the kind of characters who say “Howzit, bru”. Funny and poignant’ – Mail & Guardian

‘Quirky, funny writing’ – The Argus

‘Byron Loker is reminiscent of a young, surfing, slightly-less-fucked-up Charles Bukowski. His work is modern-day South African Beat, easy to read, sharply observed, engaging, sad, but also very funny.’ – Surfers’ Path

‘… Loker’s wit reflects a sensibility engaged with the human condition at a deeper level’ – Colin Bower, Sunday Times

‘Byron Loker has learnt the lessons of that master [Ernest Hemningway] in shaping a style that carries no fat. The strictness of his talent is a tonic to the culture of letters, as also the body politic. Byron never writes for gravy. His work is free, independent and bracing” – PR Anderson

‘No doubt Gordimer is our Grande Dame, but who are her pages and ladies in waiting? Writers of literary fiction who are relatively young or who have started publishing relatively recently. Here are some names that come to mind immediately – SA Lit “Youthquakers”: Shaun Johnson, Kgebetli Moele, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Kopano Matlwa, Byron Loker, Ceridwen Dovey, Maxine Case, Louis Greenberg, Ingrid Winterbach.’ – Ben Williams,

‘Immensely talented’ – Victor Dlamini

‘Die styl hel duidelik oor na dié van André P. Brink’ – Die Burger

‘Someone I admire, both as writer and human being.’ ‘[stories have] a light touch which has the effect, as such touches at best can do, of dredging up certain shadows or resonances that go on resonating…Very affecting–and stylistically, sure-footed to a fault’ – Stephen Watson

‘Short story writers of note include Graham Lancaster, Byron Loker and Sean O’Toole’ – The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. 42, No. 4, 167-201 (2007)


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