Save Shakspur from shipwreck

Author, playwright and publisher, Robin Malan.

“True or False: Shakespeare wrote a play called The Seastorm.

That’s one of the questions in A Sillie Shakspur Quizze, a book of 200 questions compiled by octogenarian Pinelands resident, author, playwright and publisher, Robin Malan.

His independent publishing house, NiborPublisher, plans to bring out this intriguing quiz book in association with Junkets Publisher, the highly successful small independent publisher of new South African plays and winner of the Fleur du Cap Special Award for Innovation in Theatre in 2020.

“This quiz,” says Robin in the introduction, “can be whizzed through solitaire, or with two or more teams competing, or in a lecture-hall of students, or in a classroom of school-learners.” Selected questions could even be used as mini research-projects: “Go to the library and try to find the answers to these four questions.”

“It is going to be a very special book,’ says book-designer and typesetter, Jo-Anne Friedlander of User Friendly, whose office is in Vredehoek. ”It is jam-packed full of photographs and graphics about Shakespeare’s life and work and some of the actors who have peopled his plays.” For instance, who is this Shakespeare character about to pot a red ball? In the play, she says to her companions, “Let’s to billiards. Come!”

It also has some lovely pen drawings by Observatory writer and cartoonist, André Trantraal.

But it looks as if this “Sillie Shakspur” might be running aground in its own “seastorm” because of a lack of funds. So, the two publishing houses are asking for help from you, the readers. They need R20 000; there are 200 questions in A Sillie Shakspur Quizze. That’s R100 per question and the publishing houses are asking you to sponsor as many questions as you can. If you can sponsor more than 10 questions, you will join the Super-Saver Shakspur Society (SSSS) and earn their “undying love” – now who could ask for more?

Nibor and Junkets are also running a competition. Answer this one “really sillie” question to stand a chance of  receiving a copy of the book, when it is published: “In Hamlet, who was Horatio’s girlfriend?”

For more details on how you can contribute to this initiative, email You can also send your answer to the competition question to this email address.