Q&A with new PEN SA Head of Communications, Nadia Krige
22 Jan 2019
PEN SA extends a warm welcome to Nadia Krige, who has joined the permanent staff at PEN South Africa as its new Head of Communications (originally the Newsletter Editor). She was asked about what drew her to work for PEN SA, what makes PEN SA an important organisation, and what she hopes to contribute to our work.
Q: What motivated you to accept PEN SA’s invitation to interview for the PEN SA Head of Communications position?
A: As a freelance writer, editor and social media manager, I’ve made a commitment to myself to only work with organisations, brands, agencies etc whose values and principles resonate with me. It’s not always the easiest commitment to keep and ever so often I find myself being tempted to ‘sell out’.
So, when an opportunity such as this one comes around, where I can contribute meaningfully to an organisation who stands for freedom of expression and promotion of the arts and supports the local literary community, I grab it with both hands.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background and describe the personal imprint you wish to bring to PEN SA?
A: For the past eight-and-a-bit years, I’ve been carving out a career in the online media space. I started out as a content producer at Traveller24 and took on the role of online editor at Cape Town Partnership a couple of years later. After the organisation closed down in 2017, I decided to try my hand at consulting. I’ve been lucky to pursue a variety of projects, contribute to a number of publications and manage a few social media accounts on behalf of clients whose visions and goals align with my own. What has made this journey even more rewarding and meaningful, is the fact that I have been able to do it as part of our family media agency, Solid Stuff Creative.
Although I revel in all things media-related and have certainly developed a strong affinity for more visual types of storytelling, books have always been my first (and true) love. In fact, after completing my undergrad in media studies at UCT, I rounded off my academic career with an Honours and a Masters in English Literature.
If I had to choose a trait that defines me, it would undoubtedly be curiosity. As PEN SA’s Head of Communications, I’d like to harness that natural ‘nosiness’ to tell truly interesting stories about South Africa’s dynamic literary community.
Q: What action(s) taken by PEN SA stand out for you?
A: I have always been hugely impressed by the swift manner in which PEN SA responds to matters of global injustice and infringements on freedom of speech, media freedom, censorship and the like.
In recent history, I was particularly heartened by the strong stance PEN SA took against the censorship of Inxeba.
It’s such an important South African story and it would have been a major loss to our cultural landscape if the attempts to silence it were successful. I’m very proud to work with an organisation who encourages the telling of all stories – especially the ones that may leave society feeling slightly uncomfortable.
Q: Tell us about the last book/s you read?
A: I’ve had quite a good reading streak lately! I just finished People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks and have The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (with Douglas Abrams) on my nightstand.
Prior to this, I gobbled up Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux and found his descriptions of travelling through Africa – from Cairo to Cape Town – poignant, disturbing and hopeful all at once.
Another book that made an impact on me recently was Softness of the Lime by Maxine Case. Her descriptions of life at the Cape in the late 1700s and pre-colonial Madagascar drew me in completely and made me feel like I was right there in the midst of it.
Q: How can PEN SA members engage with and bring to your attention their literary accomplishments?
A: I’ll be manning the PEN SA Twitter account on a daily basis, so they can get in touch with me there.
If they’d like to send me news via email, they’re welcome to use firstname.lastname@example.org.