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Who's who in attendance at the launch of The Relatively Public Life Of Jules Browde by Daniel Browde

The Relatively Public Life Of Jules BrowdeIt was a packed house for the launch of Daniel Browde’s book The Relatively Public Life Of Jules Browde at Exclusive Books Hyde Park. Notably in the crowd were Justice Edwin Cameron, George Bizos and Ivan Vladislavić.

It seems that people were there not only to honour the late Jules Browde – a South African advocate and acting judge as well as a human rights activist – but also to listen to his grandson Daniel’s tales about him and to give him support. As Business Day‘s Tim Cohen, who led the conversation with Browde, said: “The book is wonderful for many reasons, but one of them is recording history.”

Cohen said the book was not really a memoir or a biography, as Browde wrote freely about the writing process, and that the end result contains “quite a bit of Daniel Browde”.

Browde laughed in reply and said: “I tried to write the traditional biography but at the end of six months that became nine months, I realised I hadn’t finished anything. I took the bits and pieces I had to my sister and that’s where the book really began.”

He added: “I wanted to introduce myself as the biographer as well.”

One of Browde’s concerns in writing the book was that there are already “too many books about aging white lawyers!” But he said he had so many rich stories of his grandfather that he decided to go ahead.

Cohen wanted to know how Browde decided which stories to leave in and what to leave out, and the author admitted that that was one of the big contestations he had with his grandfather, who really wanted one of favourite memories of the war to be included, but Browde had to make the difficult decision to leave it out. “I had to make a choice of about 25 stories from 50 to tell, and had to leave some out,” he explained.

Perhaps this means there could be a second book in Browde …

Jennifer Platt (@Jenniferdplatt) tweeted live from the event:

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