Selling LipService



Selling LipService, Tammy Baikie’s remarkable debut novel, was the winner of the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award in 2016. Daring in scope and exhibiting exhilarating virtuosity, it takes South African fiction into a space last seen with Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City. Dr Pamela Nichols, a lecturer at the Wits writing centre, commented on behalf of the judging panel: ‘This is firstly technically very clever in its articulation and development of languages, which are already familiar and nearly formed in our daily lives. The invention and play with ways of talking and thinking reminded me of Clockwork Orange. Secondly, it makes a convincing argument for the need to reassert the literary and the always partially unknown human, before we are swallowed up by ad men. It presents a Huxley-like future conveyed with a Burgess-like linguistic skill: brilliant, and guaranteed to appeal to anyone who loves reading.’


I was one of them – just as stroke-stricken, equally lost for words. We were as kinbled as our brain MRIs pinned up, on the wall of the ward. Each one with an almost identical inkblot lesion – a black mark against our names and the naming of all things.

Since coming of haemorrh-age, Frith must wear a LipService patch to write or speak. The words the patch produces are not her own. Scripted by copywriters, they promote one sponsoring brand or another. With them, ‘You’ – a voice in her head that is the patch’s brand persona and her conformist alter ego – appears. 

Through the noise of You talking a variety of different LipService brands, Frith struggles to find her way back to speaking for herself. She believes her tastures – her ability to taste things she touches – are the key. But other elements of this consumerist society are equally interested in tastures for commercial gain.


Tammy Baikie is a translator who is qualified with French and German as source languages and dabbles in Russian. After four years living and working in Germany, she returned home to South Africa where her translation career has continued with advertising and communications as her field of specialisation. Tammy attended the SUISS summer writing programme in Edinburgh and completed an MA in Creative Writing at Wits. She was longlisted in the 2010/2011 Fish International Short Story Contest. ABOUT THE AWARD

Formerly known as the European Union Literary Award, the Dinaane Debut Fiction Award was established in 2004 and has proved to be a driving force in uncovering new and talented South African fiction writers. The word dinaane in Setswana means ‘telling our stories to one another’, which connotes the many strands of conversation that weave into the common language of fiction. Non-fiction takes the lion’s share of book sales in South Africa, with local fiction limited to around 17% of all sales. Locally, the written fiction market is under threat. However, this award, the only one of its kind, aims to promote new southern African literature that speaks to both a local and international audience. 

The previous winners of the Dinaane Award are:
• Andrew Miller, Dub Steps (2014/15)
• Penny Busetto, The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself (2013/14)
• Ashraf Kagee, Khalil’s Journey (2011/12)
• James Clelland, Deeper than Colour (2010/11)
• Zinaid Meeran, Saracen at the Gates (2009/10)
• Megan Voysey-Braig, Till We Can Keep an Animal (2008/9)
• Kopano Matlwa, Coconut (2007/8)
• Fred Khumalo, Bitches’ Brew and Gerald Kraak, Ice in the Lungs (2005/6) – joint winners
• Ishtiyaq Shukri, The Silent Minaret (2004/5)

Kopano Matlwa’s book Coconut, winner of the award in 2007, has been translated into Swedish, Dutch, French and Italian. The book is part of the curriculum in schools across South Africa. Fred Khumalo’s follow-up to his award-winning novel Bitches’ Brew, Seven Steps to Heaven, has been prescribed as a set work at Unisa. And Ashraf Kagee, Ishtiyaq Shukri and others now have careers as novelists – all as a result of the award.

ISBN 978-1-4314-2479-5
GENRE Fiction
FORMAT Trade Paperback 
SIZE 235x155mm
EXTENT 184pp
RIGHTS Non-exclusive World rights
RELEASE May 2017