Author Archives: Jonathan Ancer

About Jonathan Ancer

I'm a journalist, cryptic crossword junkie, podcaster, enthusiastic cyclist, Billy Bunter book collector and a Billy Bragg stalker. I have written three books: The Victor Within; Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson; and Betrayal: The Secret Lives of Apartheid Spies. I love words and will post some of the columns and articles I have written over the years on this blog. They include: View from the G-spot (my time as editor of a community newspaper in Grahamstown), Virgin Cyclist (the build up to my first Cape Town Cycle Tour), Pop psychology (my take on fatherhood), Angry Utterances (10) (how crossword puzzles unlock the world's secrets and the meaning of life), as well as profiles and features I've written for the Sunday Times. I launched the Independent Newspapers Cadet School in 2010 and have been freelancing as a journalist/editor/media trainer since leaving the company in 2014. I've also produced a podcast biography series called Extraordinary Lives and an authors' podcast called Amabookabooka. Let me know what you think.

Grilling an octopus

2020’s hit documentary My Octopus Teacher has inspired a string of memes, spoofs and even a mockumentary. I grilled the pyjama-shark-dodging, shape-shifting, ink-squirting, fish-chasing, human-cuddling octopus about becoming an instant sea-lebrity. (Warning: contains puns!) Why did you decide to let … Continue reading

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Rachel’s Second Chance!

Rachel turned 12 on 26 November. She was a bright and cheerful baby and sailed through her crawling-walking-talking-toilet-humour milestones. When she was five we noticed there was something wrong – she would become so pale, her lips would turn grey … Continue reading

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Old School

A few months back I received a Facebook invitation to the Highlands North Boys’ High School Class of ’88 reunion. I marked that I was “interested”, but the truth is that I was ambivalent about going. It’s not that I … Continue reading

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Celebrating The Joy of Matt

For a few months at the beginning of 2018 at about 3pm every Friday my phone would ring … I’d be hoping that I wouldn’t get The Call, because that call meant pain! It was Matthew Buckland with his plans … Continue reading

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Amabookabooka: The Quarantine Chronicles

We have been running a daily interview with authors in lockdown for our special series Amabookabooka: The Quarantine Chronicles. The authors we’ve interviewed have written all sorts of books: crime (Deon Meyer), organised crime (Caryn Dolley), historical fiction (Fred Khumalo), speculative fiction … Continue reading

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Betrayal book launch

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How a Wombat and a Jackal kept the wheels of justice turning

When I was summonsed to be a judge’s mountain-biking sidekick, it was really a butt-bruising, hair-raising sentence The wheels of justice turn slowly … but 59km into the second day of the sani2c the wheels of justice stopped turning altogether. … Continue reading

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Prof Jansen’s ‘As By Fire’ generates Heat

What are the real roots of the student protests of 2015 and 2016? Is it actually about fees? Why did so many protests turn violent? Where is the government while the buildings burn, and do the students know how to … Continue reading

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The super spy you love to hate

What a thoughtful review of Spy by Robyn Sassen! My View by Robyn Sassen and other writers YOU WILL BE hard-pressed to pause in Jonathan Ancer’s critical biography of one of apartheid’s most notorious spies, Craig Williamson, once you start … Continue reading

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A book about the unspeakable, the unthinkable, and the unimaginable

Sue Brown’s memoir The Twinkling of an Eye tells the story of a small boy with a giant heart. By JONATHAN ANCER. Continue reading

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