Franschhoek Literary Festival 2016: It’s my story and I’m sticking to it


Sindiwe Magona.

THERE are many more ways to share stories, imagined or real, than just the written word. So, expand your storytelling horizons at the Franschhoek Literary Festival 2016, which runs from May 13 to 15, in the Western Cape.

Participants will explore the spoken word, graphics, the shared experience of live action role playing, and stories on the page and screen.

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Among the many authors heading to the festival are: Fred Strydom (The Raft); Lauren Beukes (Broken Monsters); Sindiwe Magona (Chasing the Tails of My Father’s Cattle); Nakhane Touré (Piggy Boy’s Blues); Finuala Dowling (Notes from the Dementia Ward, The Fetch); Professor Jonathan Jansen (Leading for Change); Nthikeng Mohlele (Pleasure), Rehana Rossouw (What Will People Say?); Niq Mhlongo (Affluenza); Jacqui L’Ange (The Seed Thief); Beverly Rycroft (A Slim, Green Silence); Chinelo Okparanta (Under the Udala Trees); Bridgett Pitt (Notes from the Lost Property Department); Deon Meyer (Icarus); French author Bernard Minier (The Frozen Dead); Israeli author Liad Shoham (Asylum City); Paige Nick (Death by Carbs); Sally Andrew (Recipes for Love and Murder); Irish writer Sara Baume (Spill Simmer Falter Wither); and Mark Winkler (Wasted).

For those interested in politics and history there will be a number of interesting sessions:

  • Justice Malala (We Have Now Begun Our Descent), discusses the subtleties of identity politics in the current South African context with City Press editor Ferial Haffajee (What If There Were No Whites in South Africa?) and philosopher, Jacques Rousseau (Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience);
  • Richard Poplak (co-author with Kevin Bloom of Continental Shift: A Journey Into Africa’s Changing Fortunes) explores the implications of China’s growing presence on the continent, with Kevin Bloom, Moeletsi Mbeki (Manifesto for Social Change: How to Save South Africa) and Tom Burgis (The Looting Machine);
  • Songezo Zibi asks Greg Mills (How South Africa Works), Sarah Wild (Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science) and Victor Kgomoeswana (Africa is Open for Business) about what is needed from and for South African entrepreneurs?; and
  • Redi Tlhabi leads a discussion with Anemari Jansen (Eugene de Kock: Assassin for the State) and If We Must Die author Stanley Manong (a former commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe) about their books that deal with transgressions made by individuals in the name of politics.

Other festival picks include Harry Garuba, from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies speaking to Margaret Daymond about Everyday Matters: Selected Letters of Dora Taylor, Bessie Head and Lilian Ngoyi). These three pioneering South African women’s stories of struggle, exile and endeavour are depicted in their personal letters.

Another must is FLF founding director Christopher Hope (Jimfish) chatting to former Rand Daily Mail editor Allister Sparks (The Sword and the Pen: Six Decades on the Political Frontier) and former editor-in-chief of The Star and The Witness, Richard Steyn (Jan Smuts: Unafraid of Greatness) about the historic events they covered during their tenures, at the height of apartheid and the struggle.

The art of children’s writing and illustrating will be covered by Korky Paul (illustrator of Winnie the Witch), Bontle Senne, Helen Brain (Jamie and the Magic Whistle, Jamie and the Horse Show) and Marlene Winburg (Manyeka Arts Trust). And Palesa Morudu (Cover2Cover), Arabella Koopman (Nal’ibali), Elinor Sisulu (Puku Children’s Literature Foundation) and Margie Cunnama (FLF Library Fund) discuss how providing books in mother-tongue and other languages helps to encourage multilingualism.

Throughout the festival there will also be the chance to see films and to listen to music.

All four screenings of Akin Omotoso’s film Tell Me Sweet Something are sold out, but I recommend you watch Blood Lions, a documentary which uncovers the realities about the multi-million dollar canned lion hunting industry in South Africa. Ian Michler will introduce the screening and answer questions afterwards.

Other picks include:

  • Michele Magwood talking to Jenny Hobbs (True Blue Superglue) about her latest book, her writing life and her time as founding member, then director, of the FLF.
  • Pictures Worth A Thousand Words with writer/director Sam Wilson in the chair. Games developer, Geoff Burrows, and writers, Lauren Beukes and Raffaella Delle Donne, revel in the growing art (and business) of telling stories through graphic novels, comics and game development.
  • This Is How It Was… in which Victor Dlamini is joined by Javier Perez (Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement), legendary storyteller, Sindiwe Magona, and Irish author, Sarah Baume, in exploring the rich traditions and the global origins of fiction in oral storytelling.
  • And What a LARP, in which live action role play writers, Roxy Kawitzky and Simon Ratcliffe, discuss the liberating powers of interactive storytelling through LARP, with young adult author, Sally Partridge.

For the full programme visit Tickets can be be bought at


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