Ivan Vladislavic and what-what : among writers, readers and ‘other odds, sods and marginals’.
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This essay is an experimental quodlibet on some recent Johannesburg imaginative writing. It works outwards from a creative ‘overview’ of Ivan Vladislavić's position in South African literature to a perspective on versions of citiness represented by newer, black authors such as Niq Mhlongo and Phaswane Mpe. Unable to deny the neighbourly appeal of Vladislavić's signature ‘white writing’, however, I turn to a discussion of Portrait with Keys: Johannesburg and what‐what (2006), focusing especially on his use of fellow writers as generative literary‐cultural antecedents who enable him to bookmark the material streets of Johannesburg through an inspirational, written spirit of place.