Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

John van de Ruit

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Icarus Allsorts

It’s been a rather momentous week in many ways: Spud wrapped up filming on Sunday in Durban, my trip to the London Book FAir was cancelled due to an Icelandic Volcano, and today is Spud’s and my birthday. (For the second year in a row the little bastard received more birthday greetings than i did.)

So, the movie… what does one say after having gone through an experience like that? It was intense, profoundly mesmerising, and surely one of the greatest adventures of my life. To be back in the old haunted dormitory at Michaelhouse and to see Spud’s Good Knight duvet draped over my old bed, spewed out so many memories both nasty and beautiful. So too, the euphoric pleasure of witnessing the genius of John Cleese inhabiting The Guv with the touch of a neuro surgeon was beyond explanation and incredibly humbling. To the producers Ross Garland and Brad Logan, screenwriter and Director Don Marsh, DOP Lance Gewer, the entire army of crew, the school of Michaelhouse and the inspired cast, I can only doff my cap to your incredible effort and passion for the integrity of the story. Considering the film is now moving into the editing phase, it’s far too early to predict how good it might be come November. That said, I sense there is something incredibly special and resonant about this film and I look forward with no trepidation and only charged anticipation. Today I’m setting off into the mountains to begin work on the making of Spud The Movie, which I’m writing in collaboration with Ross Garland. The book will trace the behind the scenes shenanigans of exactly what it takes to make an independent film in South Africa. The book will be released with the film in November and for those of you intrigued by Spud, films, and everything in-between I suggest you sneak a peak if you are so inclined.

One of the great ironies of my working life is that people almost always ask me about the future rather than the present. When I was touring Learning to Fly, just about everybody wanted to know about the film. Now that the film is underway I’m continually asked, “Where is Spud 4?” This isn’t an easy one to answer. Whilst it’s true that I haven’t begun writing it, I do have a rather clear idea of what I plan to do with it. You may have to be patient, but I’m sure you would agree that I have to end this nonsense with a perfectly constructed BANG!

More anon


» read article

Spud – The Movie filming starts this week…

…as the redoubtable Sally Scott, who’s covered the story like it’s a proper beat, mentions in her latest Spudwise article:

And so it begins. It’s no secret that the doings of 13-year-old KwaZulu-Natal boarding school pupil Spud, aka John Milton, are to be committed to the big screen – in fact filming starts today in the Midlands.

Little did Durban’s John van de Ruit know, when his first novel was published by Penguin Books in September 2005, that his diary-style tales of a pre-pubescent schoolboy’s turbulent ride through an elite KZN boarding school, would become such a runaway success.

Spud, which won the 2006 Bookseller’s Choice Award, was soon whizzing around the world.

Sitting on the London Underground one afternoon I counted three commuters, in one carriage, reading Spud.

» read article

Spud the Movie website launched!

Spud the Movie

Hello all – the ‘Spud the Movie’ website has launched and is open for business!

So all the information you’ve be wondering about like auditions, release dates and all your other burning questions about the movie can be directed to the website. Click on the below link to enter the website:

Other key links:

Important information about auditions:


» read article

Spud the Movie Update!

Spud the movie is well on track for a 2010 shoot and cinema release. Casting for the movie will begin in August 2009. Information about how to audition will be available at from 15 July when the film’s website launches. Visit the website from that date to find out when, where and how to audition. There will also be an online process so that we can go to the ends of the earth or least the ends of Mpumalanga to find our Fatty and the rest of the crazy Spud characters.

» read article

How Spud – Learning to Fly got started

Dear Reader

In Spud, the character of The Guv inscribes a book of poetry, which he presents to Spud Milton on his 14th birthday. It reads, “Here’s to all the beginnings, and the possibilities they bring.”

Spud – Learning to Fly’s beginning was August 2007. In a few short years I had written two books, performed hundreds of Mamba shows and lived the life of a celebrated nomad. Running on red bulls and adrenaline, and mostly overawed by the sudden turn in my fortunes, my new roller coaster life took on a life of its own, and I merely chased its wake. The Madness Continues (and continues…) book tour was gruelling and I realised that I had reached an end of sorts. Call it the end of the beginning. I needed a break, a break from the daily buzz, a break from Spud, and mostly a break from myself. I decided to disappear, and so I did. For five months I didn’t mention the “S” word, avoided all contact with the world, and relished my ordinariness. It was a beginning of sorts.

» read article

Spudcast! Soundbite from the New Spud Audiobook

Spud AudiobookOne of my earliest memories of childhood was driving on long and mostly torturous trips to far-flung areas of Southern Africa. My parents soon discovered that an effective way of preventing war between my now lovely sister and myself, was to pop an audiotape into the tape deck (remember them?)

I can recall listening to stories by Dick Francis, Agatha Christie and Roald Dahl – I also remember my father driving the family around our suburb extremely slowly and repeatedly. Despite driving all day we couldn’t let the holiday die until Hercule Poirot had taken his time evaluating the evidence and letting us know whom the murderer was.

[more >]


» read article

How to sound like James Earl Jones in just five days

John van de RuitDear Reader

Announcing…. Spud the Audiobook Recording

– or –

How to sound like James Earl Jones in just five days.

The week started on a bad footing when my traditional boys-only Transkei fishing week ended three days prematurely. This was largely on account of gale force winds, dwindling whiskey reserves, and our fishing boat drifting out to sea.

After a hearty SAA breakfast of grated cabbage roll on soggy lettuce, I dismounted my Airbus to find absolutely nobody waiting for me at the airport. I must say the Penguins (my publishers) are usually quite good about arranging a hearty airport welcome complete with hired fans, fake news cameras, and a sturdy bunch of fake flowers. Alas I found myself bereft in the mighty concrete jungle and after just shy of three hundred offers for a taxi, I grimly shuffled off towards the bright red hell of AVIS.


» read article

Remember to Spread the Love Always

John van de RuitWelcome to my official blog and thanks to those who made it happen. (Spud would say “wickedly splendid.”) I look forward to hearing from Spud fans, curious bloggers, late night lurkers and other people with far too much time on their hands.

I must begin by saying that the job of writing is indeed a weird profession. My publisher hands me the sales figures and informs me that Spud is now officially a phenomenon and that everybody is going mad about it. But here at my writing desk at home I see very little evidence first hand. So now I can talk directly to you and let you know some of the madness that is me and my life. In return you can share your thoughts with me. Good, bad or otherwise.


» read article