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Franschhoek Literary Festival

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Archive for the ‘Drama’ Category

FLF Discussion: Word of Mouth, Or, How to Get People Reading Your Books

Nicky Stubbs, Toby Mundy, Zukiswa Wanner and Marita van der Vyver

Chaired by Toby Mundy (from Atlantic Books UK) Word of Mouth took a look at what it takes to get books off the shelves. Panelists included Nicky Stubbs (Book Promotions) and popular authors Marita van der Vyver and Zukiswa Wanner.

Just Dessert, DearDis koue kos, skatBehind Every Successful ManMen of the SouthStubbs was quick to point out that word of mouth is the best way to sell books in South Africa. Publicity will win over advertising every time as South Africans (at least) seem to set greater store by personal recommendations.

Wanner and Van der Vyver confirmed that getting people reading the book and recommending it to their friends is the most effective, but often also the trickier strategy. Wanner joked that she carries copies of her books in her bag and harasses people in restaurants to buy them, while Van der Vyver said she’d heard of authors who would walk into bookstores and rearrange the books to their advantage (though admits she’s too scared of being caught on security camera to do so herself!).

The internet and the social networking sites seem to have become their new weapon of choice with both authors using Facebook to promote their work.

Wanner is also the brains behind Read SA, a network of 70 plus published, local authors who are committed to getting people reading – by doing public readings, workshops and festivals. It seems that the old adage remains true – if you want something done, do it yourself.

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The State of the Review

Zukiswa WannerGabeba BaderoonEtienne van HeerdenMike van Graan

“Reviewers are often considered parasites, the pigs at the pastry cart, or the tick birds of the literary rhinoceros,” said Jenny Hobbs, an organiser of the Franschhoek Literary Panel, chairing a panel that included Gabeba Baderoon, Etienne van Heerden, Mike van Graan and Zukiswa Wanner. This illustrious gathering explored the state of the literary review in South Africa in a lively debate.

Hobbs reflected that books are often labelled by the majority of folks as “highbrow, popular, or trash, before they’ve been picked up, and going to plays is a thing for lanies.” She quoted Wally Serote, who said that something is wrong in our country when so few people read. “And yet,” said Hobbs, “too often, critics either neglect books, or seem to want to put people off reading,” she said.

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FLF Bookings Open Today

FLF header
Bookings for the 2008 Franschhoek Literary Festival are now open.

Tickets for all events, including classical concerts and restaurant events, are available from the Franschhoek Wine Valley & Tourist Association. Contact email is and the tel number is +27 (0)21 876 3603. Visit our bookings page for more.

Tickets cost R60, R20 for students, unless otherwise indicated. These prices include a substantial donation to the FLF Library Fund. For more information on the events, see our 2008 Programme.

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Mike van Graan’s Bafana Republic: Like a Zapiro Cartoon Come to Life

Lindiwe Matshikiza (ii)Lindiwe Matshikiza received a double-encore standing ovation last night from the standing-room-only audience (well, at least until the house manager found more chairs!) who attended Mike van Graan‘s one-person satire, “Bafana Republic”.

The play is like a living, breathing Zapiro cartoon: side-splittingly funny, extremely dark, and very dangerous in its fearless flaying of big wigs and direct attacks on the taboos of contemporary politics – especially the pieties about “Africa’s development” spawned by the 2010 World Cup.


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Roll Up! Roll Up! for Mike van Graan’s New Play

Mike van GraanTheatre-lovers take note: the Franschhoek Literary Festival will host the South African première of Mike van Graan’s new play, Bafana Republic, a one-person satire on the 2010 FIFA World Cup starring Lindiwe Matshikiza.

The première takes place at 8pm in the NG Church Hall, Huguenot Street (Franschhoek Main Road), on Friday 11 May – preceded by a complimentary glass of wine from Vrede en Lust. There’s a second showing at the same time on Saturday 12 May.

Seats are just R75 each, and booking is essential: call 021 876 3603 or 3062 to reserve a place!


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