Tiaan, 17, writes first book

Tiaan de Bod holding a copy of his debut book, Polybius, at Tygerberg High School in Parow.

Tiaan de Bod, a 17-year-old, grade 11 learner at Tygerberg High School in Parow has written his first book.

The book titled Polybius is based on the urban legend by the same name about an arcade cabinet that mysteriously appears in an arcade and then silently disappears after about a month, leaving no trace says Tiaan de Bod.

“While the arcade cabinet is in the arcade, it is frequented by men in black suits, supposedly to collect data on the amount of time people spend in arcades,” he said.

“However, during this time, many children would apparently experience headaches, insomnia, night terrors, depression, and sometimes even death with no explainable cause for it. Many people, children and adults alike, would also disappear,” he said.

The young author says that his love for creative writing stems from reading and watching any form of media exploring the “more twisted side of things.”

“The more removed from reality a piece of media can become, the better it was. However, the horror genre in books isn’t quite as strong as it used to be, and I reckoned I would rebuild that reputation however I could,” Tiaan said.

The book can be purchased directly from Tiaan at or via the publisher’s website

The book took the young author two years to complete and was published via Beyond the Vale Publishing.

“I wrote down any loose ideas I had for about a month and I then proceeded to forget about the book for six months… until lockdown struck,” he said.

“During the next year, I would have much time to work on the book; about four months of writing and eight months editing. The final six months was the entire process of polishing the book and getting it to its printed version.”

He says what he enjoyed most about the creative process was planning the storyline. He enjoyed getting ideas for scenes and writing them down, without knowing how they’d fit together at the time.

“I loved attempting to logically string together many occurrences to form a coherent plot,” he said.

“Though, I think this phase was the best, because all the inspiration for the book was still at its freshest and I wasn’t yet worn out in the slightest.”

When he is not writing Tiaan enjoys baking pastries, exploring anything that’s “strange or absurd”, watching peculiar documentaries on YouTube, and reading books such as Piranessi by Susanna Clarke and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

“I also have two pugs whom I love very much. And lastly, I drink my coffee with the milk poured in first, as it should be,” he adds.