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Stephen Gray

Stephen Gray is a South African novelist and editor of the Penguin Book of Southern African Verse.

I

Ulva Cottage Hamilton Scotland 1 January 1869

Dear Mr Andersen, My name is Anna Mary, Last-born of Mary my mother, deceased Of the desert fever while I was but a ‘wee bairn’; I am but ten, too young to remember her voice. I do like your fairy tales so much – the tin soldier and the ugly, Ugly duckling. I would like to go and visit you; When Papa comes home from Africa I...

Poem: ‘Letter’

Stephen Gray, 21 February 1991

I go out to post a letter get gunned down To purchase milk in a bottle get gunned down

Go to the festival in Fordsburg to see a film About Langston get a bomb thrown at me

Take a taxi from Bok Street with a dozen Others get picked off arbitrarily

Squat on the banks of Benoni Get shack raised skull stoved

Take the Soweto train get evicted Before New Canada by vigilantes

Clubbed by police...

Diary: In Johannesburg

Stephen Gray, 5 April 1990

By September 1989, State-President P.W. Botha, quivering from his stroke, has resigned before the TV cameras. Already the press joke is out: P.W. stood for Past World. Welcome Future World: new State-President F.W. de Klerk.

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