Review Eye of a Needle

Fick’s Eye of a Needle is a delightful assemblage of passionate, probing layers. It’s a compelling re-imagination of our lived experiences … fear, desire, weakness, happiness, grief, strength, love, abuse, poverty.  And more.

It eschews in places the normal, disrupting convention, hard-at-work to extract melody from the unsuspecting coatings of words; boldly gripping the reader through the witty and tantalising opening lines of the at times very, very short stories.

This here is an exhibition of artistry, an unforced arrangement of words to effect music; there is thought-provocation, and there is fun, altogether marvellously interlaced to transmute, to stir, to shake. Riveting, Eye of a Needle is as garden-fresh as it is daring. Snatch it to meet your neighbour, your colleague, and (perhaps) yourself.

Eye of a Needle is a mouth-watering, winning pleasure!


Maruping Phepheng was born in Christiana, North West Province. He wrote and published three novels – What Happens In Hankaroo…Of Anger and Revenge, and Tlhokaina. He also wrote and published an anthology of short stories called Nightfall. His other work appears in leading literary platforms like Carapace, Ons Klyntji, New Coin and Tyhini. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University.

Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award

Recently I made the longlist of the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award. ‘The longlisted poems are in a range of South Africa’s official languages, and will all appear in volume six of the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology,’ according to the press release.

My poem was among those ‘highly commended’. I was thrilled. Although I have been writing poetry for a number of years, I always have this nagging doubt about its quality. This will go a long way towards dispelling that doubt.

A shortlist of three poems will be selected by the famous poet, Professor Mongane Wally Serote, and announced on 24 September, National Heritage Day. The winner will be revealed at the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival in Johannesburg on 9 October.

I don’t have much hope of winning. I’m just happy to run with the big gnus 🙂

Eye of a Needle Release date: 30 September


Influenced by Lydia Davis, Maxine Chernoff and Flannery O’Connor, this debut collection of short stories is an interesting blend of flash fiction and longer narratives. ‘Running a stop street’ and ‘Thoughts of a soldier’ experiment with punctuation, ‘Opposites attract’ uses the same sentence structure to demonstrate opposing concepts, while ‘Love at first bite’ takes a cheeky look at love through the lens of a Mills & Boon novel.

The gritty reality of ‘Shadow kids’ coexists with the imaginary world created in ‘Akere’. The fable ‘Courage the mouse’ is light and playful while ‘To die for’ describes an abusive relationship.

Told in the first, second and third person the stories in the collection are designed to take the reader on a journey into the writer’s world with passion, insight and humour.

“A worthy collection.” Eben Venter