Jason Staggie

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Jason Staggie
BornCape Town, South Africa
OccupationWriter; filmmaker
NationalitySouth African
CitizenshipSouth Africa
Alma materUniversity of Cape Town (2005) (Psychology) Prague Film School (2010) (Directing and Screenwriting)
GenreTransgressive fiction

Jason Staggie is a South African filmmaker and writer of transgressive fiction and literary fiction. His style has been compared with Anthony Burgess, Chuck Palahniuk and Irvine Welsh.[1]

Staggie is best known for his controversial, acclaimed 2013 debut novel Risk. Risk was nominated for a South African Literary Award in the Best Young Author category,[2] and revolves around a group of hedonistic university students who create the ultimate dare game, which culminates in them attempting to trigger a modern-day revolution. It has been likened to an African Fight Club and Less Than Zero[3] Staggie's background has been influenced by his being a nephew of Rashied of the Hard Livings gang,[4] though this was not a direct influence on Risk.[5] His filmmaking was influenced primarily by Quentin Tarantino,[6] and his skills led to his being selected as a finalist in the 2013 Kevin Spacey Jameson Prize.[7]

Staggie is currently planning another book, named Epic.[8]

Early life[edit]

Staggie grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. His mother Cheryl removed him from criminal surroundings, for which he dedicated to her his book Risk.[4]

Since university[edit]

Staggie graduated UCT with a degree in psychology in 2005,[9] then moved to Ireland to raise funds for charities. After Ireland he taught ESL in South Korea before moving to Prague, Czech Republic, where he studied directing and screenwriting at Prague Film School.[3] He is now living back in Cape Town,[8] studying for his honours at UNISA.[5] He is also making a documentary about the Hard Livings gang.[10][11]

In 2013, Staggie's Fluxus video poem "Requiem for Lithium" was selected for the Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver.[12]

In 2014, Staggie's short story "Beaufort West" was published in the Sunday Times Lifestyle magazine's “FFWD >> 2034 The Future Fiction Edition”. The special edition was published to celebrate 20 years of democracy in South Africa and featured short stories by 40 top South Africa authors set in South Africa on 27 April 2034 – 20 years after the publication date.[13]


In 2021, Staggie's debut documentary feature film, Hard Livings premiered at the Durban International Film Festival.[14][15][16] The film was well received at the festival[17] and was a finalist for the Audience Award.[18] The film also screened, amongst others, at the One People International Film Festival in Cape Town,[19][20] The African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York City,[21] as well as the Tagore International Film Festival, where it won the Critics Choice Award.[22]


  1. ^ "Jason Staggie Discusses His Transgressive Novel Risk". Umuzi. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  2. ^ "2014 South African Literary Awards Finalists Announced". sala.org.za. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Risk". Good Reads. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b "A high-risk life leads from film to novels". Tonight. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Risky Business". City Press. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Nothing Ventured: Capetonian 'RISK' Author Jason Staggie on His Daring New Novel". Afripop!. Archived from the original on 24 August 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Jameson First Shot News". Jameson First Shot. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Staggie makes Hard Livings film". Business Day Live. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Jason Staggie - The Power of Storytelling". A New Uprising. Archived from the original on 15 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Staggie makes Hard Livings film". Independent Online. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  11. ^ "NFVF Approved Projects 2014 – 2015: Cycle 2".
  12. ^ "On Screen". Thecinematheque.ca. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Read Sunday Times' Future Fiction Edition Featuring Short Stories Set in 2034 from 40 Top SA Authors - Books LIVE". Books LIVE @ Books LIVE. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  14. ^ DIFF | Hard Livings, retrieved 10 November 2021
  15. ^ "SPLA | Hard Livings". Spla. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Durban International Film Festival announces films in competition – Durban Film Festival". Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Hard Livings an intriguing documentary about gangsterism". SowetanLIVE. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Local content dominates at this year's Durban International Film Festival". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  19. ^ "ONE PEOPLE FILM FESTIVAL". onepeoplefilmfestival.com. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  20. ^ Williams, Brian Tristam. "Hard Livings". Nu Metro Content. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  21. ^ "NYADIFF 2021". nyadiff21.eventive.org. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  22. ^ "FILMS OF THE MONTH – MAY 2021 – TIFF". Retrieved 10 November 2021.