Phumlani Pikoli might still be trying to define himself as a journalist, but he became an author when he self-published his first book The Fatuous State of Severity, a collection of short stories accompanied by illustrations and a short film.
Why did you write The Fatuous State of Severity as a collection of short stories?
I wrote the book as a collection, because I realised that I had written a number of stories that I hadn’t shared and didn’t know what to do with. So, putting them into one space seemed to make the most sense.
Why was it necessary to include illustrations and a short film?
The illustrations came from an organic process of sharing the stories, as I was writing, with close friends. Some of them are illustrators and could visualise some of what I wrote, so they just ran with it. It also just made sense to keep playing with the project and the different dimensions of it, which could be moulded into different mediums. So it’s continuous experimentation: the film, the documentary, the illustrations etc.
Many new authors are going the self-publishing route. Why is this?
In the age of democratised information, where a lot of processes are demystified, social media counts as publishing and the advances in technology have made resources cheaper; it makes sense that people would take chances on non-traditional forms of creating.
Why is the SA Book Fair important?
Well, the importance of events like this is always access and opportunity for people who’d regularly not have it. It’s a great space for me to get to speak directly to audiences and learn from other authors. It also affords me the chance to tell people that the doodles in the book were actually done by professionals.