All the stories in ‘Discovering Fire’ explore the relationship between public event and private consequence in South Africa’s tumultuous past. Against backdrops ranging from Sharpeville in the 1960s to the bloody realities of the 1980s and beyond, characters respond to each other in ways that are indelibly marked by their responses to the troubled and often violent world in which they find themselves.
David Robbins has received numerous awards for his writing, beginning with a CNA Literary Award in 1986 and culminating twenty-four years later with a Lifetime Achievement Literary Award supported by the South African Department of Arts and Culture.
He is widely regarded as a writer of significant insight and ability. He began publishing in 1985. His books include travel and short fiction, as well as some biography, history and socio-political analysis.
The socio-political realities in South Africa for most of the second half of the 20th century ensured a constant tension between public events and private responses. The powerful short stories collected here explore this general theme. In the background are the public events themselves, while the sharpest focus is reserved for the portraits of ordinary people coping with varying degrees of private consequence.
About the Author
Born in the Eastern Cape and widely acknowledged to be one of South Africa’s foremost travel writers, David Robbins began his career with fiction. He sold his first short story at the age of nineteen. ‘Discovering Fire’ is his second volume in this genre. Of his first, The Wall (published in 1989 and focussing on rural Afrikaners), the reviewer in New Contrast remarked that the collection contained “some of the most valuable fiction produced by a South African in recent years”. The same has already been said of his second collection.