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Tracey Farren

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Whiplash Film Script

I am going to write Whiplash as a screenplay. I want to get a producer attached and apply for funding from the NFVF to develop the script. It could make a powerful film, if handled sensitively. I’d like to put it out there that I’m looking for experienced feature film producers or directors who have a feeling for the story and would love to get involved.

Whiplash Talks

I am talking and reading quite a bit in October.
-9th October in the evening at ‘Fiesta’ restaurant in the Cape Quarter, Cape Town (de Waterkant).
-16th October, Adams bookshop in Durban.
-23rd October, a quick one at the Alpen Hotel in constantia, somewhere between 7.45-9.30 am. That’s right am! It’s the Women’s Bussiness Network meeting before work, I guess.

Whiplash Availability

As I have mentioned, distribution has been a bit slow. The distributors took a while to get going. If you don’t see it in your bookshop, please order it. You need to order it in Sandton City for instance, there is no stock there at the moment. The distributor is PSD. Exclusive’s have it on their system, as do Wordsworth. Otherwise, there is always as an easy fallback.

twelve fantastic reviews!

I am still quite shocked. Whiplash has received twelve wonderful reviews in the past three months! The soures have ranged from the Bussiness Day to the You mag. The Mail and Guardian even published a long exerpt of Tess’s raw voice. I am incredibly grateful that ‘Tess’ stole her way into people’s hearts, regardless of their intellectual and cultural backgrounds. I have to just mention that Whiplash has also been rated book of the month on three popular websites, including the Women24 bookclub.

My best review so far came from a woman who has worked as a prostitute for the past twenty five years. She is an agency worker, as opposed to a street worker, but knows the industry in all it complexity. She thanked me for writing the book, saying that it was astoundingly authentic. I have pasted some of her letter below:

“Although I can’t say I had the hard times that Tess had, and never had a dependency, I could totally relate to the really got the street worker’s lifestyle on the mark. It has it’s real life moments. I could feel how human she is, that she has the same feelings and emotions just like any young woman not in that industry would feel. She also wants to love and be loved. I really enjoyed it. I read it in 2 days, that’s with working all day. Whoever says they hate it, is prejudiced against the less fortunate and has no compassion or undertstanding. Probably one of those who goes afround saying prostitutes break up homes and spread stds. They don’t realise that it’s errant husbands that break up homes and all promiscuous people spread stds. I hate those unenlightened, idiots who think they can stand and judge others. There is a Tess around every corner, and if more people were aware of this, most of the Tess’s out there could be helped. I felt for Tess like I felt for the hijacker in Tsotsi. She is only human like all the rest of us, but for some wrong turns in life.”

Many people have remarked that Tess made them cry their eyes out. Well it was my turn to cry when I received this letter.

Whiplash is in the shops!

Whiplash is finally in the stores. There was a bit of a delay; the book store managers received news of Whiplash a bit late. Customers have taken the initiative, however. They have been walking into Exclusives and Wordsworths and ordering the book! If you don’t see it on the shelves, please ask for it. Otherwise get it via the BOOK Finder.

Briliant news: The Women24 website readers gave Whiplash a five star review and voted it book of the month in July! I am really happy because the subject of the book is risky. There must be book store managers out there who think, ‘Mmm, a prostitute? Is this ‘arthouse?’ or smut?’ The Women24 vote of confidence affirms that the book has market appeal among discerning readers.

What a launch!


Wow! What a fabulous gathering! The Gaslight cafe (Surfers Corner, Muizenberg) was PACKED; we had to stand on chairs to see the belly dancers. Julia Nowicki of Dance Alive studio led the belly in electric green satin. The good red wine lent visceral intensity to the drumming and the rolling and the lashing of hips. There is something about belly that reminds me of cantering war horses, adorned with bright tassles. My publisher, my editor and I all spoke from the heart. When I think about it now, the speeches revealed a quality of activism that seems to be building around this book. It is a first book for all of us; for Colleen Higgs of Modjaji books, for my agent, Ron Irwin, and for me. It was tuned away by the mainstream press, sometimes with regret. It was deemed too risky. The book, I think, is vulnerable to the very same prejudices that a sex worker might encounter in the public eye. Colleen and Ron swept past the prejudice and aligned themselves with the book’s fighting spirit.
I want to thank all the people who came last week to celebrate ‘Tess’s’ debut into middle class society, and all the people who have called or emailed, saying that they have been crying or laughing in sympathy with Tess.

Nice Smile by Tracey Farren

(This story first appeared in Women Flashing, an anthology of flash fiction from Anne Schuster’s Women’s Writing Workshops>)

‘Here, take money for beers. I need shots of gangsters drinking’

I get beers at Auntie Sina’s. ‘What’s he doing, this whitie?’ she asks.

‘Taking snaps for New York.’

Auntie Sina snorts, ‘He’s making you look like skollies.’

‘Let’s start with you,’ the ou teases, ‘you’ve got such a nice smile.’
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Welcome to Tracey Farren’s Blog

tracey-cropped1.JPGWelcome to my blog.

My first novel, Whiplash (Modjaji Books) has just been published by Modjaji Books. It was inspired by the feisty street workers I met during my journalistic research. I was fascinated by the horror of their daily lives, and the audacious courage that it takes to confront it. The main character, ‘Tess’ was born of my deep curiosity and their indomitable spirit.

I have started a second novel called Snake in the Grass. It is a psychological thriller about a little farm girl who watches a charming stanger destroy her family. She is the only one who cans stop him!
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