Meet Derrick Spies

South Africa is brimming with literary genius. Meet some of these writers…

Derrick Spies

What 5 words would you use to describe your writing?
Words on a page / screen

Who is your favourite author?
There are plenty. Terry Pratchett, James Patterson, Brent Weeks, Trudi Canavan, Peter F. Hamilton. George R. R. Martin (before the rest of the world heard about Game of Thrones)

What are you reading right now?
The correct answer to this question would be your e-mail and the sentence I’m typing, but fiction wise, I’m not reading anything at the moment (there’s just not enough hours in a day). Current non fiction reads includes articles on Fracking and tips for organic planting.

How do you define a good piece of writing?
A good piece of writing is hard to define… there are so many different styles and genres of writing, and I have different expectations from each of them. As a professionally trained journalist, with ten years plus of writing for a living behind me, I do tend to be a bit or a grammar Nazi. Correct spelling and punctuation are always important and the lack thereof tends to put me off immediately. 

But it’s more than that. From a journalistic perspective, a piece of writing is good if it makes sense. There is an adage that states write what you know. For a journalist, this is probably the best advice anyone could ever give you. I always maintain that if I don’t understand something I’m writing about, how can I expect my readers to? 

It’s also a good piece of writing if it succinctly portrays the events that have taken place while at the same time going beyond the straight forward who what where when how. A great example of good journalistic writing would be the recent feature done by City Press on the Faces of Marikana (

A good piece of fiction, for me, must create a believable world that you can immerse yourself into. 

Why do you write (to relax, to vent, etc…)?
Why do I write? Because I must. Because the ink is in my veins. It’s a compulsion. It’s so bad that I started my own newspaper just so that I could have a platform to continue writing. 

What do you listen to while writing?
When writing news articles I’m usually not listening to anything, except the click clack of the computer keys as I type. When writing fiction, sometime between midnight and 3am, I tend to listen to Metallica. (In fact two tracks on repeat, Turn the Page and Whiskey in the Jar).

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
I would never do that to any actor, ever… unless, maybe, Morgan Freeman?

What’s on your desk right now?
Perhaps a better question would be what’s not. Invoices, stapler, various assorted papers, notes, bluetooth keyboard, computer, newspaper, hand sanitizer, flash drive, empty tea cup (which reminds me… I want tea).

With other art / creative channels interest you?
 I love gardening, graphic design and photography.

Writers have a reputation for being a little eccentric. How would you respond to this?
 I have no idea what they’re talking about 😛 


Have a look at Derrick’s website,  Metro Newspaper.

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