Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Interview with Deon Meyer on BBC's The Strand

As I've been participating in Dorte's excellent 2010 Global Reading Challenge, I've been introduced to several fantastic-sounding 'new to me' crime and thriller writers.

One writer who's name seems to keep cropping up very regularly when it comes to participants looking for or discussing books set in the African continent, is South African Deon Meyer. As I already had Africa covered with tales set in Ancient Egypt and Botswana, I didn't need to get my hands on any of Meyer's books for the challenge - however from what everyone else has been saying, I'm going to keep an eye out for him in future anyway.

According to Meyer's website, he was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province. After military duty and University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein, as a reporter. Since then, he has worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative director, web manager, Internet strategist, and brand consultant.

In 1994 he published his first Afrikaans novel, which has not been translated, "simply because it was not good enough to compete on the international market. However, it was a wonderful learning experience". All his later novels have been translated into 20 languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Bulgarian.

Meyer is widely considered South Africa's best crime writer, and his brand new novel, THIRTEEN HOURS (already a #1 bestseller in South Africa) will soon be released in the UK and the US. In anticipation of that, Meyer was interviewed by Mark Coles for the BBC programme The Strand on Monday.

In the interview, Meyer discusses both his latest novel, which follows a murder investigation in real time, and the challenges of writing as time passes and how crime fiction has radically changed since the end of apartheid. You can listen to the fascinating full interview here.

Have you read any of Deon Meyer's books? What do you think of his South African-set crime novels? How quickly should I jump him up near the top of my tottering TBR pile? Thoughts and comments welcome.


  1. I've read two of Meyer's books and rated them both very highly (a 4/5 for Dead at Daybreak and a 4.5/5 for Devil's Peak) - they're an interesting mix of action and character development that you don't see a lot of plus they do have a real sense of place. I'd suggest you read one sooner rather than later.

  2. Craig - I'm in your camp. I'm reading Margie Orford Like Clockwork and that will cover the S.A. leg of my contribution to Dorte`s Challenge. However I just bought Devil`s Peak since I couldn`t wait any longer to read Deon Meyer after all what I'm reading about his books.

  3. Guess I need to get my hands on one of his books because if he's anywhere close to being as good as SA's Roger Smith, then he'll be required reading.

  4. I have not read him yet, but with the reviews I have seen around I suspect I will have to before or later. Perhaps for the global challenge - and if not this year, we can always take a new round in 2011.

  5. DO read Deon Meter's 13 HOURS - it's fantastically good.

    It's what I would call a "policier" and his ensemble cast of cops is damn good. I reckon this book puts him on a par with Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin.

    (Try also a new SA crimewriter: MIKE NICHOL).

  6. Hi,

    Fan of Deon Meyer? Watch this video interview on youtube: or dailymotion: