Fourthwall Books was established in Johannesburg in 2010 by designer Oliver Barstow and writer and editor Bronwyn Law-Viljoen. Back then we had one simple goal in mind: to publish visual books that we ourselves would like to own; books that were out of the ordinary—provocative, experimental, well designed, interesting to read, pleasing to hold and look at. We’re still pursuing that goal, though perhaps with a little more clarity than before and also having learned a few important things about books along the way. In 2015 Oliver moved on to new things in Amsterdam, Carla Saunders came on board as our designer and artist and writer Terry Kurgan joined Fourthwall Books as a co-director and editor.
We have now published 38 books and won several prestigious awards: the 2010 Jane Jacobs Best Urban Book Award (New York) for Writing the City into Being; the 2011 Antalis Book Design Award for Fire Walker; the 2015 Jan Rabie Rapport Prize for Non-Fiction for Nagmusiek; the 2015 Kyknet Rapport Prize for Fiction for Nagmusiek; and most prestigiously of all, the 2016 Eugene Marais prize for Nagmusiek. Hanging on a Wire was the joint winner of the 2018 NIHSS award for non-fiction.
Read more about Fourthwall’s mission to raise the bar in South African publishing in this interview. In the literary journal Aerodrome, see why Percy Zvomuya of the Mail & Guardian calls editor Bronwyn Law-Viljoen “A bibliophile for all seasons.” Look at some of our beautiful and innovative book designs on creative online showcase Between 10 and 5, and read what art director Oliver Barstow has to say about the creative and conceptual thinking behind them.
Where you can buy our books
Our books are available to purchase from our office and right here on our website, but also from independent bookstores Clarke’s Bookshop in Cape Town, and Love Books, David Krut Bookstores (at both Maboneng and Rosebank outlets) and Bridge books in Johannesburg. We are now distributed outside South Africa by Idea Books. If your local or international bookstore does not yet stock us, get on their case!
Fourthwall Books people