arja-salafranca-south-africaArja Salafranca, Arja was born in Spain in 1971 to a Spanish father and a South African mother, and has lived in South Africa since the age of five. In 1993, she received a degree in African Literature and Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand . She has had fiction and poetry published in a number of local journals and anthologies, including The Finishing Touch (Cosaw,1992), Like a House on Fire (Cosaw,1994), LyfSpel/BodyPlay (Kagiso,1994), The Torn Veil (1998) and in In the Rapids (Kwela, 2001).

Salafranca's first poetry collection, A life stripped of illusions, received the 1994 Sanlam Award for poetry, while a short story, ‘Couple on the Beach' was a winner of the same award in 1999 for short fiction. Her second collection of poetry, The fire in which we burn, was published in 2000.

 

Sarah Penny, writing in The Sunday Independent, has said of the collection: "Reading the 24 poems in this collection is akin to being permitted a glance at a personal journal. Written in a free-verse style, the lines have a taut, punchy shape. The form is effective, helping to contain the immediate emotional contact the poet makes with the reader."

 

Kobus Moolman writes: "The poems, although they cannot extinguish ' the fire in which we burn', certainly encourage us to live the burning more honestly" while Paul Wessels opines: " The fire in which we burn is rough, raw poetry for the 21st century."

 

In 2003, a collection of prose and poetry, Glass Jars Among Trees , which Salafranca co-edited with the poet and New Coin editor Alan Finlay, was published by Jacana. Salafranca has worked for various newspapers in Johannesburg and now edits the arts and culture pages and the Sunday Life supplement in The Sunday Independent .