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Franschhoek Literary Festival

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The 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival Programme

Alert! It’s time to get ready for the 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival. The programme is live on the festival’s homepage, and we’ve posted it as a single, downloadable PDF below. (Click here if you’re having trouble downloading the pdf.)

Tickets will be available from Webtickets starting Monday, 16 March.

Make your plans now – if past festivals are anything to go by, these events will sell out fast.

Happy perusing, and see you in Franschhoek!

Franschhoek Literary Festival Programme 2015 by Books LIVE

Announcing the Inaugural Andre Brink Memorial Lecture

André P Brink

The Franschhoek Literary Festival is honoured to announce the establishment of an annual lecture to be delivered at the festival by a guest lecturer, in memory of longtime FLF friend André Brink.

Brink passed away on 6 February, at the age of 79.

PhilidaDevil's ValleyLooking on DarknessAn Instant in the WindThe Other Side of SilenceA Chain of VoicesOther Lives

Mediterreense herinneringeBidsprinkaanPhilidaDie eerste lewe van AdamastorBidsprinkaanDonkermaanHoud-Den-Bek

In this first year, the inaugural lecture will by presented by Associate Professor Harry Garuba, from the University of Cape Town’s Centre for African Studies and English Department.

André Brink’s wife, Karina Magdalena Szczurek, will introduce the series at the festival on Sunday, 17 May.

Details of the lecture will be announced on the FLF 2015 programme, which will be available by mid-March.

Book details

  • Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life edited by Okwui Enwezor, Rory Bester
    EAN: 9783791352800
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Top photograph courtesy Victor Dlamini

The 2015 Franschhoek Literary Festival Wine Writers’ Awards

Wine Writers Invited to Submit Entries for Two Prizes

In the 7th year of the annual Franschhoek Literary Festival Wine Writers’ Award, we invite writers to submit entries in one or two categories, to win prizes with a total value of R25 000.

Writers who live in South Africa are invited to enter the short-form and/or long-form categories. Wine journalism on a South African wine topic will be considered. If necessary, articles will be translated for judging purposes.

Writers entering articles for consideration for the short-form prize should submit 6-8 pieces of up to 1 000 words each, written for a column or a blog. At least six pieces must be submitted to offer the judges the opportunity to assess the consistency of writing across the range.

Entries for the long-form prize should be between 1 000 and 4 000 words. They can either be unpublished, or published between 1 March 2014 and 28 February 2015. Only one entry per writer will be accepted.

The closing date for submission is Tuesday 31 March 2015.

  • Articles should be submitted in MSWord format to
  • Include a cover page with the author’s name, the publication and date of publication for short-form entries and previously published long-form entries, the article title, and the author’s contact details.
  • State whether the submission is for the short-form or long-form prize.
  • Short-form pieces must be sent in one batch, not individually.

The entries will be sent, without names attached, to a panel of independent judges, comprised of two local wine experts – radio broadcaster John Maytham and chef/cookbook writer/wine-and-food-pairing consultant Marlene van der Westhuizen, and the international judge for the 2015 competition, Tim Atkins – wine master, wine journalist and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

The judging panel will consider the following criteria in making their decisions:

  • Excellent, well-informed writing of literary quality
  • Technical accuracy
  • Fresh perspectives and insights
  • Good storytelling – wit and humour welcome
  • In the case of the short-form entries, consistent excellence across all the entries.

The judges’ decision will be final.

The winner in each category will receive R12 500, and the overall winner, chosen from the two category winners, will receive an original artwork.

The prizes the 2015 Wine Writers’ Awards are funded by the Franschhoek Literary Festival, and will be presented by the CEO of the Franschhoek Wine Valley at a special event at the festival.

For information on the Franschhoek Literary Festival or the Wine Writers Awards, contact Ann Donald at

Authors confirmed (so far) for Franschhoek Literary Festival 2015

Start planning for FLF 2015 …

A number of international authors, and South African writers based overseas, have confirmed their attendance at the festival from 15-17 May 2015.

John Boyne (Ireland) Boyne’s latest novel A History of Loneliness, is a deep and subtle examination of culpability and innocence, about a ‘good priest’ caught up in the scandal following the revelations of abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland.

Chris Bradford (England) (Young Samurai series) will be in South Africa for the Book Week for Young Readers programme at schools in the Franschhoek Valley in the days preceding the main festival, and will be part of an event for schools at the main festival, on Friday 15 May.

Jackie Kay (Scotland/England) Acclaimed poet, short story writer, and memoirist, Kay will participate in a number of events, and will also be part of the judging panel for the high schools’ Poetry for Life finals, which will be held at the FLF (see for information).

Eshkol Nevo (Israel) Nevo’s latest book, Neuland, will resonate with many South Africans as it explores the need to get away from one’s homeland in order to understand it, and oneself, more deeply and honestly.

Romain Puertolas (France) The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe, Puertolas’s first novel is raking in positive reviews and he’s sure to be a popular panelist at the festival.

Sarah Waters (England) Waters has a strong fan base in South Africa for her historical fiction, and is sure to attract keen audiences. Her latest novel, The Paying Guests, is perfect holiday reading now in preparation for her appearance at the festival.

We are delighted that a number of South African writers based outside the country have also confirmed their attendance:

David Attwell (York University) Good news for anyone wanting to get to grips with the work of Coetzee, Attwell will be in Franschhoek to talk about his new book, Face to Face with Time: JM Coetzee and the life of writing, to be published in 2015.

Belinda Bauer (Wales) Bauer is one of the most exciting crime writers to gain ascendence in recent years. Her latest novel The Facts of Life and Death, is out now.

Lyndall Gordon (Oxford) The biographer of many beloved literary figures, including Virginia Woolf, the Brontes, and Emily Dickinson, Gordon’s newest book, Divided Lives, is a memoir about her relationship with her extraordinary mother. (Gordon may also be presenting a life-writing masterclass/workshop).

New (to the festival): local names to look out for…

GG Alcock Alcock’s memoir, Third World Child, is a story of a unique life that could only emerge from South Africa.

Ekow Duker A Ghanaian author, based in Johannesburg, Duker has written two well-received novels — Dying in New York and White Wahala.

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, author of A Human Being Died that Night, will be at the festival with her new book, Dare We Hope?

Daisy Jones, winner of the Sunday Times Best Cookbook of the Year Award for Star Fish — a very useful guide to cooking fish from sustainable stocks.

Zelda la Grange, author of the bestselling memoir, Good Morning, Mr Mandela, will share her memories of Madiba.

Bongani Madondo, music journalist and author of I’m Not Your Weekend Special: Portraits on the Life + Style and Politics of Brenda Fassie, will add a jazzy note to the lineup.

Thando Mgqolozana, a powerful voice emerges in the three books by Mgqolozana, A Man Who is Not a Man, Hear Me Alone and Unimportance.

Emma Sadleir & Tamsyn de Beer (latter still to confirm her attendance), offer don’t-ignore insights into being active on social media in their book Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex.

Jaco van Schalkwyk, an artist and author whose first book The Alibi Club (also available in Afrikaans) introduces an exciting new voice to the SA literary scene.

There will, of course, be many other familiar names from previous festivals, plus a host of new names still to be confirmed. Details of these authors and participants will be revealed in the new year.

(The programme will be available on the FLF website from mid March 2015 — an announcement will be posted on the FLF website,, the Franschhoek Literary Festival Facebook page, and on the Twitter feed, @franlitfest.)

For more information, please contact Ann Donald at

Listen to Audio Recordings of Selected Events from the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival

Did you miss out on the Franschhoek Literary Festival this year? Or is there an event you would like to relive? Good news! Audio recordings of a selection of events have been made available to listen to or download.

A Sportful MaliceVyf-en-veertig skemeraandsange uit die eenbeendanser se werkruimteWhat's Gone Wrong?The Fall of the ANC

Opposite MandelaFalse RiverThe Shining GirlsSouth Africa's Suspended RevolutionWater Music

The available events are:

Mbeki in Hindsight
The fall and gradual rehab of the former president was discussed by Prince Mashele (The Fall of the ANC) with Alex Boraine (What’s Gone Wrong?), Mark Gevisser (Thabo Mbeki: the dream deferred) and Tony Leon (Opposite Mandela).

SA’s Political Leadership Quagmire
Ray Hartley asked Adam Habib (SA’s Suspended Revolution), Rhoda Kadalie (In Your Face) and Prince Mashele (The Fall of the ANC) if, in their opinion, our leaders are sinking or treading water to stay afloat.

Favourite Poems
Akwe Amosu, Finuala Dowling, Phyllis Muthoni and Douglas Reid Skinner each get 15 minutes to discuss their favourite poems by another poet.

Taboo Topics
John Maytham engages with novelists Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls), Damon Galgut (Arctic Summer), and Michiel Heyns (A Sportful Malice) about their new books, their hesitations when it comes to themes, and their definite no-nos.

The Poet as Novelist
Breyten Breytenbach (vyf-en-veertig skemeraandsange) and Dominique Botha read between the lines of their poetry and their prose.

The Colonial Aftermath
Francis Wilson, who has a lifetime’s experience of the Eastern Cape and its heritage, talks to Margaret MacMillan (Daughters of the Raj) and Yewande Omotoso about lingering colonial traces in India and Nigeria.

SA PEN: The Importance of Reading
Margie Orford engages Carole Bloch of PRAESA, Mark Heywood (SECTION 27) and Elinor Sisulu (Pukupedia) about this critical skill for learning and a lifelong enjoyment of books.

‘That white smiley thing’
Redi Tlhabi, Hagen Engler, Eusebius McKaiser and Ndumiso Ngcobo mull over some of the assumptions South Africans make about each other, and face up to the difficult question: Can we change our attitudes, or is the historical damage too overwhelming?

Book details

2014 SA Wine Writers Awards Winners Announced

The Franschhoek Wine Valley and the Franschhoek Literary Festival are delighted to announce the winners of the two categories for the 2014 FWV SA Wine Writers’ Awards.

The judging panel was comprised of:

  • CapeTalk broadcaster, literary critic and wine enthusiast, John Maytham
  • Chef and author of six bestselling cookbooks, teacher of French Brasserie Luxe cooking and a wine-and-food pairing consultant, Marlene van der Westhuizen, and
  • British wine columnist for The Independent, and contributor to Decanter, The World of Fine Wine, Revue du Vin de France, China and Shanghai Daily, Anthony Rose

The comments below, supplied by Anthony Rose, sum up the discussion and decisions of the panel.

The winner of the long form category, for his piece titled From O’Keefe to Lismore and back, in high heels, published on the digital magazine website in October 2013, is Jacques van Zyl.

Comment: This is perhaps the most elegiac of all the pieces and is beautifully written and constructed. It draws you in and drills down to the wine itself with its very personal description of the winemaker and its beautiful evocation of the wine. There’s a moving voice here that combines personality, subjective and objective, and wine into one seamless whole.

Tim James took the honours in the short form category for six blog posts on, posted between April 2013 and January 2014.

Comment: We like the scope of this entry and the good humour and compassion behind the writing style which is easy and unpretentious, all the time dwelling on the things that matter in wine, i.e the wine itself. Championing pinotage, a controversial subject, is done well. In its quiet way, for the wine values it espouses, this is a powerful voice.

Of the two winners, the entry that received the unanimous vote of all the judges in its category was that of Jacques van Zyl, and thus he will receive in addition to his cash prize, an original artwork selected by the Franschhoek Wine Valley, under whose auspices the Wine Writers’ Prizes falls.

The entries were judged without the names of the writers attached, and the judging panel considered the following criteria in making their decisions:

  • Excellent, well-informed writing of literary quality
  • Technical accuracy
  • Fresh perspectives and insights
  • Good storytelling
  • In the case of the short-form entries, consistent excellence throughout the year

The cash prizes the 2014 Wine Writers’ Awards were presented by the CEO of the Franschhoek Wine Valley, Jenny Prinsloo, at a special event on Friday 16 May 2014.

Free Poetry Event to Showcase Young Voices at the Franschhoek Literary Festival

Franschhoek Literary Festival will play host to a free poetry event on Friday: The InZync Poetry Sessions.

InZync involves a multitude of poetic styles and traditions, in all languages.

The session will feature Khanyisile Mbongwa, Rimestein and The INKcredibles, and takes place on Friday at 7:00 PM at the Franschhoek School Hall. Entrance is free.

Press release:

Stellenbosch Literary Project presents: The InZync Poetry Sessions live at Franschhoek Literary Festival.

The InZync Poetry Sessions have created an expressive word culture within the Stellenbosch region.

Having coined the phrase “the place where the POETREES meet”, InZync encourages a diversity of poetic styles and traditions, and facilitates an all-inclusive platform. InZync prides itself on its multilingual celebration of the music within all spoken languages.

The Franschhoek session will be no different. Showcasing the voices of the youth from the surrounding Boland area, the session will feature:

Khanyisile Mbongwa, who has been with InZync since 2011. With her fiery stanzas Khanyi always ignites the minds of listeners.

Rimestein, a writer who acts as a tour guide, taking listeners to the unexplored depths of Afrikaans Poetry.

The INKcredibles, a vibrant group of young poets, redefining performance poetry.

Stiek uit for that spectacular vernacular brought to you this year by Franschhoek Literary Festival

Date: Friday 16 May 2014

Venue: Franschhoek School Hall

Time: 7:00 PM

Entry: FREE

To give you an idea of what to expect, have a look at The InZync AutumN Slam that went down last month:

YouTube Preview Image


The SLiP Collective

PS We are providing 50 Seats for The InZync Mense that need transport to Franschoek. If you are interested, email to confirm your spot.


The FLF Library Fund: Instilling a Love of Reading in Franschhoek’s Children

Every ticket bought at the Franschhoek Literary Festival contributes towards the FLF Library Fund, an initiative to encourage a culture of reading in the Franschhoek valley.

The FLF Library Fund has donated thousands of children’s books in libraries in Groendal, and in 2012 employed a full-time librarian to help set up and run three primary school libraries, with another on the way.

FLF Library Fund librarian Margie Cunnama says she believes their is a vast difference between “being able to read and wanting to read”, and says the Fund is playing a huge role of instilling a love of books in the children it serves.

“My mandate is to instill a love of books and reading in the children of our valley,” Cunnama says. “Jacquie Spiers and The Kusasa Project already do an amazing job of teaching them to read. I hope that from the library experience, with such solid support from the FLF, they are learning the joy of reading.

“I feel strongly that there is a big difference between being able to read and wanting to read. It is when a person loves reading that learning becomes easy and a pleasure. It is so rewarding to see the children rush eagerly into the library, listen and interact with enthusiasm to stories read aloud, and excitedly and conscientiously borrow and return library books.

“Thanks to our project the school libraries are now well stocked with books in both English and the children’s mother tongues, a privilege afforded to very few schoolchildren in South Africa. I honestly believe that this project will have a lifelong impact on the future of these lucky children.”

One of the main reasons for starting the FLF in 2007 was to encourage a culture of reading in the Franschhoek valley. This means that each seat you buy makes a contribution to the great cause of creating confident readers.

The FLF Library Fund:

  • has donated several thousand age- and language-appropriate new books to schools, creches, a container children’s library in Groendal and the village library
  • employed a qualified librarian in October 2012 who has upgraded and helps to run three primary school libraries, with a fourth soon to be established
  • helps to cover the cost of part-time library assistants
  • continues to donate new books to these and other school and local libraries

New Faces at the Franschhoek Literary Festival

Two of the top international authors coming to the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival are Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s List, and top Israeli writer Shifra Horn.

This year’s festival takes place between 16 and 18 May.

Tamara Walks on WaterSchindler's List

Keneally, who hails from Australia, is best known for his Booker Prize-winning novel Schindler’s List, which Steven Spielberg adapted into an award-winning film.

Keneally has published 56 other titles, including novels, non-fiction and children’s books, and is an outspoken doyen of wordsmiths with a huge sense of humour, who has wowed literary festivals world-wide.

Readers can hear him speaking to Mike Wills of 567 Cape Talk on Friday, 16 May, in Masterwriter Australia and on Saturday in The Territorial Imperative with Yewande Omotoso and Richard de Nooy, chaired by the equally outspoken Zukiswa Wanner.

Shifra Horn is a leading Israeli women author, who has also lived in New Zealand and Japan. As a leukaemia survivor, Horn has a unique world vision and approach to life.

Readers can hear her speak on Friday, 16 May, in Identity: cultural resource or confinement?, in which she, Njabulo Ndebele and Richard de Nooy will discuss an issue all South Africans grapple with, chaired by broadcaster, writer and film-maker Kgomotso Matsunyane.

Visit our website at and take a look at the 175 authors coming this year.

Don’t miss this great annual celebration of writers and reading!

Book details

Jenny Hobbs Steps Down from the FLF, Ann Donald Takes the Reins

The Franschhoek Literary Festival has this announcement to make from founder and director Jenny Hobbs:

FLF Announcement by Books LIVE