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Louis Greenberg

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Louis Greenberg Latest

Visit my new website,, for information on my solo work, S.L. Grey’s writing, colourful pictures and more.

Latest book: Under Ground

Under Ground, the latest S.L. Grey novel was published in the UK in July 2015 and is now in paperback. Click here for all the available South African online buying links, or pop into your local bookshop. You can also visit the Pan Macmillan website for various international buying options.

Look out for the fifth dose of S.L. Grey, The Apartment, emerging from July 2016.

A a page-turning locked-room mystery from the combined talents of Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg, writing as S. L. Grey. It is perfect for fans of Under the Dome by Stephen King and films such as The Hole and The Descent (with a pinch of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie).

The Sanctum is a luxurious, self-sustaining survival condominium situated underground. It’s a plush bolt-hole for the rich and paranoid – a place where they can wait out the apocalypse in style. When a devastating super-flu virus hits, several families race to reach The Sanctum. All have their own motivations for entering. All are hiding secrets.
But when the door locks and someone dies, they realize the greatest threat to their survival may not be above ground – it may already be inside . . .

Dark Windows is now available

Dark Windows is now available in southern African bookshops and online. Click here for all the available South African online buying links, or pop into your local bookshop. You can also buy it from southern Africa on Kindle and in other electronic formats.

“This novel is one of the most interesting and remarkable to be published in South Africa for some time.” – The Times
“Greenberg has come of age as a writer, expertly investigating rebellion, responsibility and permanence.” – Sunday Times
Click here for more reviews.

Johannesburg is becalmed. A wave of New Age belief and an apparent cure for crime have radically altered South Africa’s political landscape.

Jay Rowan has been hired to black out the windows of random vacant rooms. He’s trying to keep out of trouble, but he’s a pawn in political aide Kenneth Lang’s project Dark Windows. A mystical charlatan has convinced Lang’s boss that she can affect the ultimate transformation with a supernatural visitation, the Arrival, and Lang needs to prepare for its coming. When Jay and his married girlfriend Beth realise that someone has died in every room, political and personal tensions come to a head and Jay, Beth and Lang must confront the past they’ve been trying to avoid.

Dark Windows is a moody, intelligent literary thriller.

The Downside trio by S.L. Grey

Praise for The New Girl

“A surprisingly funny, deeply weird horror novel … genuinely fresh” SFX
“A must read” The Independent
“Well paced, brutally barbed and surprisingly satisfying”

Praise for The Ward

“Equals – if not trumps – the disturbing, creepy horror of their first” The Independent, 2012 Books of the Year
“Startlingly well written” The Times
“An original and unsettling novel from an exciting new talent” SFX

Praise for The Mall

“One of the cleverest, creepiest and most memorable horror novels for ages … a masterful debut.” The Independent
“Deliciously evil” The Guardian

The New Girl by S.L. Grey

The Mall and The Ward, urban horror-thrillers co-written by Sarah Lotz and me under the name S.L. Grey, are published by Corvus in the UK and in other territories. The New Girl is coming in October 2013.

Visit S.L. Grey’s BOOK SA page for the latest news and reviews.

HOME AWAY: 24 hours, 24 cities, 24 writers

Being South African isn’t as black and white as it used to be. People from all over the world make South Africa their home, while South Africans have more geographic freedom than ever before. This unique and captivating collection is a snapshot of South African writing today: emigrant and immigrant South Africans, living at home and away.

In Home Away, twenty-four chapters by twenty-four writers, set in cities all around the world, make up one global day, a mosaic reflecting on the nature of home. As the provocative stories in this collaboration suggest, often it’s when we are far away from home that we see it most clearly.

Read more and see a gallery of the contributors

Buy Home Away

Media coverage of Home Away:

January 2011: Home Away reviewed by Lauri Kubuitsile on Thoughts from Botswana. “A very good read”.

December 2010: Home Away is one of LitNet’s Top Ten Local Literary Reads of 2010.

October 2010: Giveaway in O Magazine.

September 2010: Home Away is Book of the Month in Woman and Home. “A wonderful mix of memoir, travelogue, humour and fiction.”

September 2010: Home Away reviewed on Bid or Buy. “Beautiful and thought-provoking; the stories are remarkably different in tone and style, yet fit together as a cohesive whole to make a powerful statement.”

14 September 2010: Bruce Dennill reviews Home Away in the Citizen. “A fabulous idea”

12 September 2010: Tim Hopwood reviews Home Away in the Herald. “I far preferred the non-fiction”

5 September 2010: Maureen Isaacson reviews Home Away in the Sunday Independent. “This is fascinating material.”

19 August 2010: Claire Reddie gives Home Away 5 out of 5 in You. “A delight to read … a wonderful break from the humdrum of normal life”

12 August 2010: Shafinaaz Hassim publishes the full English review of Home Away on Sopabox Shafinaaz. “Never have I been so vividly held captive by the intricate balance of metaphor and narrative as I have with this new work-of-art compilation”

August 2010: mini-review in Classic Feel. “An original and inspired concept”

July 2010: Home Away reviewed in 021 Magazine. “both an exciting book in its own right and a great sampler of the talent we have”

12 July: Tali Barnett reviews Home Away on Tali-vision. “A dizzying dance of voices, places and spaces that reflect the experience of the South African traveller”. Review also published in The South African.

– Home Away selected for Missing Home promotion.

18 June 2010: Tiah Beautement reviews Home Away on Travelling Write Along…. “None of the stories were related, but they all fit together in this disjointed, but brilliant fashion.”

15 June 2010: Joanne Hichens reviews Home Away in the Cape Times. “I am a satisfied reader. I feel as if I have indeed been on an incredible journey.”

6 June: Shaz Hess resenseer Home Away in Rapport. “Ek is nog nooit so geboei deur die fyn balans tussen metafoor en vertelling as wat ek was met Home Away … Dit wys Suid-Afrika het sy plek in die wyer wêreld gevind. [I have never been as fascinated by the fine balance between metaphor and narrative as I was with Home Away ... It shows South Africa has found its place in the wider world.]”

– Home Away selected for Exclusive Books Homebru promotion.

12 May: Mandy J. Watson gives Home Away 9/10 in an in-depth review on “It is a magnificent compilation”.

6 May: review and feature by Janet van Eeden on LitNet in which many of the writers talk about their pieces.

30 April: Charles Thompson resenseer Home Away op Nuus24: “Greenberg se versameling is ‘n kleurvolle mengelmoes van kontemporêre skrywers en stories.”

28 April 2010: Vivien Horler notes Home Away in her Across My Desk column in the Cape Argus.

19 April: review by Don Makatile in the Sowetan: “The writing, as befits writers of the calibre of the contributors, is top-drawer material.”

16 April: The Mail & Guardian runs an extract from “The Generator Man” by Moky Makura (7 a.m., Lagos)

16 April: Cape Town launch covered in Chew The Magazine (See also the BOOK SA report on the launch here.)


Seventh Street, Melville. The pavement outside Sam’s café. The area no more than about four square metres, like most of the photographs. The concrete bricks are stained with years of gum and spilled drinks, dropped plates of Thai duck salad, cigarette butts, the discarded clippings from the wire-sculptors’ informal factory. And dust, grains of sand, particles of scraped-away paper, dog droppings, leaves, skin and hair, all rendered into a fine, breathable talc. The angle of a protruding column from the wall of the restaurant is scuffed and marked by the daily rubbing of the sculptors’ and vendors’ pants and shoes. The FeastBurger bag is crumpled in its lee. The lid of a Junior CheesyFeast box pokes from the neck of the brown paper parcel. It’s an arm’s length away. Renée’s arm, as it lies, groping in a mixture of surprise, humiliation and jolting pain away from her. In the corner of the picture, her face lies flattened against the concrete bricks, blood trailing from her nose, making satisfactory mud with the pavement’s organic dust. In the other corner, the toe of a man’s worn black leather shoe. A hand-sized tin and wire mantis presses into her head, cutting, its foreleg perilously close to her brain. Renée on the pavement, in Melville, with her first FeastBurger bag, narrowly escaping an unintended death.

From The Beggars’ Signwriters, now a collectors’ item. Get it now!


Reaction to The Beggars’ Signwriters

Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2007.
Shortlisted for the 2007 University of Johannesburg debut Prize.

“Greenberg has written a novel which reminded me of how soothing good writing can be. His characters are drawn with a gentle perception and his ability to translate female thoughts is especially remarkable. … His descriptions of the details of food preparation are a joy to read.
But it is not only with women that he finds his mark. He has written a story which sprawls across the minutiae of life. Greenberg’s style reminds me of Robert Altman’s camera shots.”
Janet van Eeden, The Witness, 9 August 2006

Selected as one of Barry Ronge’s favourite books of the season in Books & Leisure, November 2006: “This interesting South African novel starts in Melville … one woman takes with her a psychological obsession with pain and abuse which started in her childhood and blossoms into dangerous sexual games … It’s erotic but not sexy. It’s more about the way the scars of a life lived in South Africa express themselves in unexpected and dangerous ways.”

10 things Colleen Higgs loved about The Beggars’ Signwriters

“Finely observed, touching, funny, and so beautifully written. I usually read crime novels, so this was a departure from the bloodstained halls of my preferred genre, but I’m surprised what a pleasant departure it was, and how involved I became in the lives of the characters.”
Jassy Mackenzie

The Beggars’ Signwriters has a fascinating architecture. Louis uncovers people’s foibles and failings with great tenderness and insight. His portrayal of the muse, fickle, withholding and erratically munificent, is particularly apt.”
Liesl Jobson

“It’s heady stuff, insightfully narrated, that looks at the nature of art and the existential drama of just being alive. Greenberg gets convincingly into the minds of his varied characters.”
“Williams Choice”, Northcliff & Melville Times, 30 June 2006

“Greenberg’s writing is both delicate and controlled, his observations astute and his eye for emotional detail fine. … The real strength of the book lies not in its ‘message’, nor in its contrivances, but in its sensitivity and the precision with which Greenberg has captured the difficulty of life in a 21st century city, the fragmentation of dreams in its jaws … For this reason, it is both rewarding and instructive.”
Gwen Podbrey, Jewish Reporter, 7 July 2006

“Die verhaal is onderhoudend geskryf en ‘n mens word gou betrek by hul intriges.”
Marius Crous, Beeld, 2 October 2006

“If you have ever wanted to be a fly on the wall, to know what goes on behind closed doors, and even better, inside people’s minds, you will get a kick out of The Beggars’ Signwriters.”
Amanda Blankfield, The Write Co

“Greenberg se skryftalent blyk duidelik uit sy debuut. … Die beeld van die bedelaar se advertensiebord … [is] ‘n kragtige, oorspronklike metafoor”
Salome Snyman, Rapport, 30 July 2006

“His novel draws the reader in with its detailed descriptions, recognisably South African situations and characters, and warm narrative.”
Warren Robertson, People, 29 June 2007

“Louis Greenberg’s debut novel is an interesting and daring venture … Greenberg’s writing is insightful, the descriptions are vivid and he provides substantial depth. In many instances his characterisation is superb and he has a remarkable talent for getting inside the head of any character, be it a middle-aged academic or a teenage girl.”
Trish Murphy, Sunday Independent, 30 July 2006

“One looks forward to Greenberg’s next novel. I hope it’s set in Melville – what with wiccans, Satanists, artists, street artists, galleries, gays, lesbians, shushi restaurants, lounges, and a very buzzy nightlife, it’s an exciting place for a book! And it’s a completely different Johannesburg to Vladislavic’s who can get a quiet art out of the ordinary, the everyday. Greenberg revs up through fiction and plot.”
Read the Bookmark review on by William Pretorius.

Read an interview with Bruce Dennill of The Citizen, 22 September 2006.