Time of the Writer unveils authors and a challenging programme for its 19th edition

Panashe Chigumadzi.1

Panashe Chigumadzi

THE authors headed to Durban of the 19th edition of Time of the Writer have been revealed by the Centre for Creative Arts t the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Ten writers from South Africa and Africa will meet for a week of stimulating literary dialogue and exchange of ideas. Audiences can engage with award-winning writers, from a variety of political and social contexts, on the creative and technical processes and perspectives which shape their writing.

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Evening readings and discussions will take place at 7 pm at eKhaya Multi Arts Centre (KwaMashu), Ohlange High School (Inanda), Umkhumbane Hall (Cato Manor), Umlazi Cinema and Clermont Hall.

This year’s panel discussions couple authors whose writings share semiotic marrow and are loosely titled after books and papers that echo their literary sentiment.

The evening panels are:

  • Tuesday, March 15: The Madness of History at the eKhaya Multi Arts Centre in KwaMashu. Ashwin Desai and Mishka Hoosen will have a conversation on the importance of retrospective meditations on self, historical figures and the family.
  • Wednesday, March 16: Why Must a Black Writer Write About Blackness? at Ohlange High School. In this Dany Laferrière inspired panel discussion Panashe Chigamudzi and Eusebius McKaiser share their experiences as writers who write without curiosity’s gaze.
  • Thursday, March 17: They Write What They Like at the Umkhumbane Hall in Cato Manor. Crossing the borders from short stories to novellas to poetry to essays, writer Niq Mhlongo gives insight into his unique take on the world across genres and mediums.
  • Friday, March 18: Tuning In… at Umlazi Cinema. Writing for listeners is an art that requires its own stage, a stage of which Christa Biyela and Mandla Ndlovu are accomplished masters. These two audio drama maestros open their lyrical vaults and with it the history and depth of the Zulu audio drama.
  • Saturday, March 19: The Alchemy of Fiction at the Clermont Hall. How pliable is truth? Can one measure the elasticity of the human imagination and if pushed, would one ever erase the self from one’s own story? In this panel, musician turned author, Nakhane Touré, and Nikhil Singh discuss the roles fantasy, biography and imagination play in the erection of the worlds they create.

Conversations that Matter is a daytime programme of roundtable discussions, led by experts across the various fields of literature, that provides a space for people to share and contribute towards this vital topic of decolonisation within literature.

The following topics will be under discussion during the day from 11 am.

As part of the festival’s focus on decolonising South African literature, the festival will gather leading voices from every facet of literature in the areas of writing, editing, publishing, translation, marketing, bookselling and promotion (including events), to interrogate the central question of how to go about decolonising literature in South Africa, from writing to readership.

  • Tuesday, March 15: Conversations That Matter: The Book & Knowledge Production at the KwaMashu Library. Writers – Niq Mhlongo, Panashe Chigamudzi, TO Molefe, Percy Zvomuya, Nakanjani Sibiya and poet Mputlane wa Bofelo – meet to expose the landmines that await writers who render text that challenges literary traditions and their inherent exclusion of certain voices.
  • Wednesday, March 16: Conversations That Matter: The Book & GateKeepers at the Ohlange Library. To probe the accessibility of literary institutions and the tribulations of those tasked with creating that access, this conversation culls from the experiences of both publishers and distributors. Has the South African literary landscape shifted to accommodate previously poorly documented and valued contributions? Which attitudes delay decolonising access? To open the discussion are Professor Sihawu Ngubane, Thabiso Mahlape, Kholeka Mabeta, Duduzile Mabaso, Mandla Matyumza and Siphiwo Mahala.
  • Thursday, March 17: Conversations That Matter: The Book & Readership at UmKhumbane Hall in Cato Manor. To explore questions on readership often posed to booksellers, librarians and festival organisers are Cedric Sissing (Adams Books), Benjamin Trisk (Exclusive Books), Fortescue Helepi (African Flavour Books), Sinenhlanhla Buthelezi (Goethe Library), Tebogo Mzizi (eThekwini Municipality Libraries), Mignon Hardie (FunDza Literacy Trust), Frankie Murrey (Open Book Festival), Dr. Maria Van Driel (Jozi Book Fair) and Jennifer Platt (Sunday Times). This conversation draws on the challenges of pricing, public expectations and historical misconceptions on reading cultures in South Africa.
  • Friday, March 18: Conversations That Matter: The Book & Language at Umlazi Library. An interrogation of the notion of linguistic hierarchies in print media, literature and academic institutions requires contributions from academics and cultural producers whose careers are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of marginalized languages. This conversation will be initiated by Eric Ngcobo, Dr Mpho Monareng, Dr Gugu Mazibuko, Dr Pamella Maseko, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa and Wangui Wa Goro.
  • Saturday, March 19: Conversations That Matter: The Book & Intersectionality at Qashane Library. As a result of recent shifts in the quality of contributions produced outside the academy, the topic of Intersectionality has relocated academics and social commentators alike. The youth are proving to be the aorta of the argument and keeping pulse with contemporary readings on Intersectionality demands the voices of those who bravely tackle this pertinent and inflammatory subject. To open the discussion are Eusebuis McKaiser, Milisuthando Bongela, Nakhane Toure, Lindokuhle Nkosi, Mputlane Wa Bofelo, Mbali Matandela and Zethu Matebeni.

All events are free to library or student cardholders. For members of the public without either card, a nominal fee of R20 will be requested at the box office from one hour before the event

For more details about this years’ Time of the Writer, visit the http://www.cca.ukzn.ac.za or call 031 260 2506.

The eThekwini Municipal Libraries along with the Centre for Creative Arts will be on hand at each venue in order to aid those without library cards to sign up for one on the spot, all that it requires is a valid ID document and proof of residence.

This year’s festival is presented in partnership with various organisations including the eThekwini Municipality libraries department which is hosting the Conversations that Matter discussions.

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