Why the title, 300 Grams?

For one thing, it is the average weight of a human heart. This is the landscape that the main character, Jane, navigates throughout the novella. She is consumed by matters of the heart – guilt, rage, love, and obsession. She is also deeply trapped in the rituals of anorexia nervosa and self-harm. Every gram counts.

You can watch a short book trailer below:

What is it about?

300 Grams is a hybrid novella written in a rather experimental style. It can be loosely divided into three story arcs.

One, is Jane the marine biologist and researcher who is obsessed about octopuses, her weight, and keeping things organised. When her world is jolted she turns to unhealthy ways of coping, such as cutting herself, and going on more and more dangerous research voyages. Her various past traumas are slowly revealed and her mind has a strange and surreal way of perceiving the world. She is an unreliable narrator, in the sense that it is difficult to tell what is real and what isn’t.

Two, is the scientific voice of Jane, the one obsessed with marine life. This part of the book is non-fiction in nature, and shows through weird points of connection how closely Jane’s behaviour is linked to creatures of the ocean. It allows the reader to question and consider deeper levels to the story.

Three, is told in the format of a film script, together with historical images. It links the great myth of Kraken to the current difficulties that Jane faces.

Ultimately these three narrative voices hold different plots, and yet they all blend together in a way that seems like it is ultimately one universal story.

What type of reader will enjoy it?

My influences include Lidia Yuknavitch, Maggie Nelson, and Emma Glass. I write with heavy doses of imagery and metaphor, and it is a form of visual art for me.

My intention is to create beauty with my work, through its rhythm and the sound it makes as it spills off the reader’s tongue. This, for me, is more important than the story itself.

So the reader who will enjoy my style of writing will naturally be drawn to the avant garde, to surrealism and prose poetry. I don’t write page-turning, quick-read fiction. It’s more of a sensory experience of language.
Some people hate that and just want a really good story that is easy to read and that states events simply. Those aren’t my people.
Others love it because of the dark nature of the content I write about and how I describe the miniatue. These are definitely my peeps.

I like to believe that my writing attracts poets and artists, usually those who have been through emotional and physical trauma or turmoil themselves. It provides a point of resonance, without being cliche. This isn’t a typical book or novel about self-harm and anorexia nervosa. It isn’t formulaic or predictable. Yet, I hope that through the nuances and the unsaid, that those who read it will be deeply moved, especially if they share a similar emotional landscape.

Artwork by Pomnolia

Why is 300 Grams self-published?

I did it this way for two main reasons:

1. I wanted full creative control. I designed my own cover, hired my own editor, and retain all my rights (digital, print, film and audio). These are often negotiated too far in the favour of the traditional publisher.
I know that by doing so I also put all the marketing and promotional activity on my own shoulders, in addition to all the production costs, but deep in my gut this felt like the right move.

2. I wanted to be able to donate a large portion of the profits to the charity of my heart, TWLOHA (more on that below). Through self-publishing I am able to start with a larger pool of income from the sales and can therefore give more.

I know that there is more credibility for writers when going the traditional route, but I also know that I have created this work with professionals at the top of their game, and am confident of its high quality.

300 Grams was written as part of my MA in Creative Writing and the work was scrutinised and edited by not only a phenomenal supervisor (who herself was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Fiction – Stacy Hardy), but also by local and international professors in the field. It was then put through another rigorous bout of editing by the incomparable Mishka Hoosen.

"300 Grams is a radical work that defies genre boundaries between fiction and non-fiction, art and writing, poetic enquiry and scientific research. It is a work that transverses not only the circularity of trauma, but the promise of regeneration - what grows from violence and hatches from healing."
Stacy Hardy
Editor of Chimurenga

Can I read an excerpt before I buy a copy?

Of course.
You can download a preview of the first 9 chapters below:

OK. I’m sold. Where can I purchase 300 Grams?

I’m thrilled that you asked! Here you go:

Finally, but most importantly, here is more information on TWLOHA, the non-profit organisation that I donate a large portion of my royalties to:

To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.
It started with a story.

Founder, Jamie Tworkowski, didn’t set out to start a nonprofit organization. All he wanted to do was help a friend and tell her story. When Jamie met Renee Yohe, she was struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts. He wrote about the five days he spent with her before she entered a treatment center, and he sold T-shirts to help cover the cost. When she entered treatment, he posted the story on MySpace to give it a home. The name of the story was “To Write Love on Her Arms.”

But it was more than just a story.

The words and the life it represented shed light on the reality of contrast—pain and peace, addiction and sobriety, regret and freedom.
Soon Jamie and his friends were answering messages from people around the world. They longed to lift the heavy weight of depression. They wanted to be free from addiction or self-injury, to stay alive and live fully. They were mourning those they’d lost to such struggles, and they reached out to ask what they could do to bring hope to their communities.

 

TWLOHA believes:

You were created to love and be loved.

People need other people.

Your story is important.

Better days are ahead.

Hope and help are real.

Since 2007, TWLOHA has helped millions of people around the world with their message and support.