Authors to share their stories at the Midlands Literary Festival


Nkosinathi Sithole will be speaking about his debut novel Hunger Eats A Man at the Midlands Literary Festival. Photo: Supplied

THE annual Midlands Literary Festival will be taking place at Yellowwood in Howick on August 27 and 28, writes Estelle Sinkins.

Like last year, however, there will be an event in Durban to open the festival on Friday, August 26. Hosted by Ike’s Books and Collectables in Florida Road, the evening kicks off at 6 pm and will include appearances by Jessica Pitchford (Switched at birth); Fikile Hlatshwayo (Blacks do Caravans); Thomas Mollett (the Oscar Pistorius case) and Ashwin Desai, who will be talking about William Shakespeare as the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s birth.

blacks do caravan large

Blacks Do Caravan. Photo: Supplied

The action then heads to the Midlands for two days packed full of talks and opportunities for book lovers to hear from and interact with a range of authors in a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere.

Among those taking part in the event are:

Darryl David, who will be speaking about his latest book, Church Tourism In South Africa;

die laughing

Die Laughing. Photo: Supplied

Joanne Hichens, editor of Die Laughing, the latest anthology of the Sharp. Stories short story writing competition run under the banner of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown;

Desai who co-authored The South African Gandhi: Stretcher-Bearer of Empire with Goolam Vahed;

Hilton chef Jackie Cameron, who has just released Baking with Jackie Cameron;

I am still here

I Am Still Here. Photo: Supplied

Irene Fischer, author of I Am Still Here, who was hit by a truck and brain damaged, but survived to tell her story in this book.

Bishop Michael Nuttall, author of A Voice within Church and Society, will do a talk titled Number Two To Tutu;

Howick artist, Vincent Reid, who will present Drawn In Africa.

switched at birth

Switched at Birth. Photo: Supplied

Pitchford, author of Switched at Birth, which tells the story of how, in 1990, two South African mothers were faced with an impossible choice: should they surrender the child they had lovingly raised in order to get back the baby they had given birth to? Megs Clinton-Parker and Sandy Dawkins chose nurture over nature, simply unable to give up their two-year-old sons who were switched at birth at an East Rand Hospital. Instead they decided to try to make their strange relationship work and to sue the South African state, whose negligence had altered the fates of two families forever.

Hlatshwayo, who has penned the book Blacks Do Caravan, to encourage caravan camping as a form of tourism and getting South Africans to think out of the box when it comes to choosing holidays.


Hazara. Photo: Supplied

Former editor of The Witness, John Conyngham, who has penned the poignant and compelling memoir, Hazara: Elegy For An African Farm. The book stitches together a multi-layered tapestry of Anglo-South African life, with its interwoven destinies shot through with imperial associations, and its divided loyalties and love of the land.

Nkosinathi Sithole, whose debut novel Hunger Eats A Man, tells the story of Father Gumede, known as Priest, who loses his job as a farmhand and realises he can’t afford to love his neighbour as he does himself. Despondent and enraged, he cuts off all ties to the church and politics, determined to make a living – at whatever cost. It will take a strange story written by his son Sandile – a comical, terrifying and prophetic tale in which the downtrodden rise up to march on the wealth of a neighbouring suburb – to show Priest the hope and humanity inherent in the human spirit. Beautifully poetic, funny and highly relevant, Sithole’s debut novel highlights the ongoing plight of many rural South Africans and the power of a community working together to bring about change.

Other authors and speakers attending the festival include: Heinrich Bomkhe (Sarie); Mike Norris (Artist Round The Bend); Chris Mann (Lifelines); Elwyn Jenkins (The Chronicles of Peach Grove Farm: A Rare Children’s Book; Thomas Mollett, who will revisit the Inge Lotz murder and the Oscar Pistorius; Barbara Siedle (The Lady In White); Brian Khoza (Smiling After Lost Love); Karina Szczurek (Flame In The Snow: The Love Letters Of André P Brink and Ingrid Jonker); Mari Pete (Step Through); Elizabeth Pienaar (Bobby); and Nicky Grieshaber (A Rolls by any other name – would it sell as sweet?).

The Mpophomeni Conservation Group, meanwhile, is looking forward to the launch of Nikki Brighton’s Mnandi – A Taste Of Mphophomeni. Copies of the recipe book can be ordered through ahead of the festival.

For the full programme see below:

Saturday, August 27
9 am to 9.30 am: John Conyngham – Hazara: Elegy for an African Farm
9.30 am to 10 am: Brian Khoza – Smiling after lost love
10 am to 10.30 am: Nikki Brighton- Mnandi- A taste of Mphophomeni

10.30 am to 11 am: Tea

11 am to 11.30 am: Thomas Mollett – Inge Lotz Murder Revisited
11.30 am to 12 noon: Mari Pete – Step through
12 noon to 12.30 pm: Darryl Earl David – Church Tourism in SA
12.30 pm to 1 pm: Mike Norris – Artist round the bend

1 pm to 2.30 pm: Lunch

2.30 pm to 3 pm: Elizabeth Pienaar – Bobby
3 pm to 3.30 pm: Allen Goddard – Wendell Berry – Prophet of Bloom
3.30 pm to 4 pm: Irene Fischer – I am still here
4 pm to 4.30 pm: Fikile Hlatshwayo – Blacks do caravan
4.30 pm to 5 pm: Thomas Mollett – Oscar Pistorius vs The Truth

Sunday, August 28
9 am to 9.30 am: Michael Nuttall – Number two to Tutu
9.30 am to 10 am: Elwyn Jenkins – The chronicles of Peach Grove Farm –
a rare children’s book
10 am to 10.30 am: Heinrich Bomkhe – Sarie

10.30 am to 11 am: Tea

11 am to 11.30 am: Chris Mann – Lifelines
11.30 am to 12 noon: Barbara Siedle – The lady in white
12 noon to 12.30 pm: Jackie Cameron – Baking with Jackie Cameron
12.30 pm to 1 pm: Ashwin Desai – Gandhi – stretcher-bearer of Empire

1pm to 2.30 pm: Lunch

2.30 pm to 3 pm: Vincent Reid – Drawn in Africa
3 pm to 3.30 pm: Nkosinathi Sithole – Hunger eats a man
3.30 pm to 4 pm: John Matisonn – God, Lies and Spies
4 pm to 4.30 pm: Jessica Pitchford – Switched at birth

For more information on the Midlands Literary Festival phone 081 391 8689 or e-mail or

Alternatively, like the Facebook page: Midlands-Literary-Festival-2016.


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