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Franschhoek Literary Festival

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Judging Panel Announced for the Franschhoek Literary Festival Wine Writers’ Prize

The three judges for the Franschhoek Literary Festival Wine Writers’ Prizes in 2014 are:

John MaythamCapeTalk broadcaster, literary critic and wine enthusiast.

Anthony Rose – British wine columnist for The Independent, and contributor to Decanter, The World of Fine Wine, Revue du Vin de France, China and Shanghai Daily.

Marlene van der Westhuizen
– chef and author of six bestselling cookbooks, including Abundance, Delectable and Sumptuous; teacher of French Brasserie Luxe cooking and a wine-and-food pairing consultant.

Please note that entries are due in by Monday 31 March. For more information click here:

2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival Programme Now Live

The programme for this year’s Franschhoek Literary Festival is now live on the event’s website. The annual three-day celebration of books and writers is being held from Friday 16 May to Sunday 18 May.

Tickets can be booked from Wednesday 19 March at midday on Webtickets. Check back periodically for any additions or amendments to the programme.

Some highlights from the 2014 programme:

FRIDAY 16 MAY 2014

Army of the LeftDark WindowsApocalypse Now NowThe ThreeThe Fall of the ANCWhat's Gone Wrong?Thabo MbekiBare & BreakingFalse RiverBom BoyThe Shining GirlsArctic SummerMeditasiesKlawerjas

Are there boundaries to your imagination?: Savannah Lotz (aka Lily Herne) grills Louis Greenberg (Dark Windows), Charlie Human (Apocalypse Now Now) and Sarah Lotz (The Three), about their limits, if they have any.

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

Writing Through the Pain: Karin Schimke (Bare & Breaking) probes the healing power of words with Dominique Botha (False River), Yewande Omotoso (Bom Boy) and Helen Walne.

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.

Adam Small in Samespreking: Joan Hambidge (Meditasies) bespreek met Adam Small (Klawerjas) die unieke bydrae van sy werk tot die Afrikaanse dramakuns en digkuns.

Revelling in South African English: Journalist Rebecca Davis talks to three authors who expand the boundaries of SAE: Nadia Davids (An Imperfect Blessing), Kgebetli Moele, and Claire Robertson (The Spiral House).


Black Widow SocietyKobraOf Cops and RobbersWater MusicMarrying Black Girls for Guys Who Aren't BlackKingUntitledNinevehHomemaking for the Down-at-Heart Lost and Found in JohannesburgRichard RiveRediscovery of the OrdinaryThe Garden of Evening MistsPhilida

Criminal Intentions: Four éminence grises of SA crime fiction – Angela Makholwa (Black Widow Society), Deon Meyer (Kobra), Mike Nicol (Of Cops & Robbers) and chief interrogator Margie Orford (Water Music) – convene to define their objectives and plot forthcoming mischief.

For Love or Money?: ‘Why do you write, if not for money?’ is the question Hagen Engler asks of novelists Gareth Crocker, Sarah Lotz and Kgebetli Moele.

What’s to Become of Biography?: Now that letters are becoming extinct and handwritten records rare, where will biographers find their hard material? Henrietta Rose-Innes asks of poet/novelist Finuala Dowling, Mark Gevisser, and Shaun Viljoen (Richard Rive: A partial biography).

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

Truth be Told: Does fiction do a better job of telling the truth, as Doris Lessing averred? Michele Magwood explores the issue with novelists Damon Galgut, Njabulo Ndebele and Tan Twan Eng (The Garden of Evening Mists).

Literary Doyen: Victor Dlamini in conversation with André Brink about his novel, Philida, set on a Franschhoek farm in the slave era, and his long and distinguished career in South African letters.

SUNDAY 18 MAY 2014

The Daughters of MarsSouth Africa at War, 1939-1945South African BattlesWorld War TwoWalkThe Big StickThe True Story of David Munyakei, Goldenberg WhistleblowerInvisible FuriesTo Catch A CopThe Accidental AmbassadorMy Big Fat Gupta WeddingLiterary Landscapes

Between Reality and Imagination: Michele Magwood discusses the process of creating fiction from observed and lived experiences in specific cultural contexts, with Israeli Shifra Horn, Australian Thomas Keneally, and Malaysian Tan Twan Eng.

War Stories: Bill Nasson invites fellow war experts Tim Couzens, Norman Stone and James Whyle to recount some of the strange and lesser-known tales of conflict they have unearthed during their researches.

Writing in Two Languages: Victor Dlamini talks to three writers whose work is published simultaneously in their mother tongues and English – Dominique Botha, Richard de Nooy and Billy Kahora – about the differences between their two versions, and the difficulties involved in cross-translation.

The Considered Canon
Taking into account their dual roles as academics and novelists, Imraan Coovadia, Nadia Davids and Michiel Heyns give their views on what is generally considered the South African literary canon – and whether the very idea of a canon is too exclusionary.

Rocking the Boat: SA society is blessed with mavericks who are not afraid to speak truth to power. Manning the oars in this galley, with Rebecca Davis as coxswain, are ex-politician Tony Leon, commentator Prince Mashele, journalist/comedian Marianne Thamm and cartoonist Zapiro.

African Pastoral: Harry Garuba discusses recent novels embedded in rural landscapes: Dominique Botha’s False River in the Free State, André Brink’s Philida in historical Franschhoek, and Claire Robertson’s The Spiral House set in the 18th century Cape and then-Northern Transvaal.

Book details

  • Literary Landscapes: From Modernism to Postcolonialism by Harry Garuba, Ina Grabe, Merry M Pawlowski, Carrol Clarkson, Johan Geertsema
    EAN: 9780230553163
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Local Luminaries at the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival

An abundance of good books have been published since the 2013 Franschhoek Literary Festival and festival-goers this year can look forward to meeting many of these authors.

Arctic SummerWalkWhoever Fears the Sea
UntitledLost and Found in JohannesburgApocalypse Now NowZebra CrossingThe Fall of the ANC

The biggest and best festival yet, the 2014 FLF – which runs from 16-­18 May – will present 170 authors, journalists and subject specialists in more than 100 events over the three‐day period. We are looking forward to welcoming back many of our best writers, all with new books, including Damon Galgut (Arctic Summer), James Whyle (Walk), Justin Fox (Whoever Fears the Sea), Kgebetli Moele (Untitled: A Novel), Mark Gevisser (Lost and Found in Johannesburg), Richard de Nooy (The Unsaid), and Sarah Lotz (The Three).

Testifying to the vibrancy of the South African publishing landscape across genres, there is a lot of excitement at the number of new voices and faces that will appear this year, among them Charlie Human (Apocalypse Now Now), Constance Ngcaba (May I Have this Dance?), Dominique Botha (False River), Helen Walne (The Diving), Meg Vandermerwe (Zebra Crossing), Nadia Davids (An Imperfect Blessing), Penny Lorimer (Finders Weepers), Prince Mashele (The Fall of the ANC), Shelagh Foster (Your First Year of Work), and Sonwabiso Ngcowa (In Search of Happiness).

Coordinated by Finuala Dowling, poetry will be well represented. Adam Small, Adrian Different, Akwe Omusu, Arja Salafranca, Breyten Breytenbach, Douglas Reid Skinner, Gus Ferguson, Joan Hambidge, Khadija Heeger, Nathan Trantraal, Phyllis Muthoni (Nairobi), and Pieter Odendaal will all feature in discussions and performances, including a poetry slam on the evening of Friday 16th.

Adding considerably to the depth and breadth of the events are authors and subject experts such as Adam Habib, Andre Brink, Antony Altbeker, Arthur Attwell, Darrel Bristow-­Bovey, Finuala Dowling, Francis Wilson, Harry Garuba, Imraan Coovadia, Ivan Vladislavic, Marianne Thamm, Mark Heywood, Max du Preez, Mike Wills, Njabulo Ndebele, Rhoda Kadalie, Richard Calland, and Tim Noakes (the latter debating the high fat diet with Professor Lionel Opie, chaired by Dennis Davis, in what is sure to be a sell-out event).

The FLF will have the privilege this year of hosting Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu, as well as other prominent public figures, including Alex Boraine, Lindiwe Mazibuko, and PJ Powers, and business people such as Michael Jordaan, Herman Mashaba, and Peter Vundla.

Finally, the organising committee is absolutely delighted that radio queen Redi Tlhabi will be joining us at the festival this year. Redi had to withdraw from last year’s festival, but will participate in a number of events at FLF 2014.

The full programme for FLF 2014 will be posted on by mid-­March. Tickets can be booked thereafter on For more information on the Franschhoek Literary Festival, contact Ann Donald at

Book details

Historians to Commemorate World War I Centenary at Franschhoek Literary Festival

In July 1914, the world went to war, ending 85 years of peace between the great powers in Europe. Writing in the Washington Post, Gerard de Groot noted: “A century after its outbreak, Europeans remain obsessed with the 1914-18 war; they still find it difficult to shoulder its heavy burden. The deluge of books that will mark the war’s centenary is proof of this obsession. A market for these books exists because the war bewilders, frustrates and angers those who seek understanding.

We are delighted to announce that two eminent historians – Margaret MacMillan and Norman Stone – will join us at the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival, where the centenary of World War One will be commemorated in a number of events.

Was the ‘war to end all wars’ caused by weak leaders and poor decisions, and could it have been avoided if even one of them had been strong enough to say no? One of the most highly-respected historians in this field and winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for a previous book, Margaret MacMillan’s latest work, The War that Ended Peace, considers the socio-economic conditions that existed in Europe in the first decade of the 20th century, and examines the role played by Europe’s leaders in the build-up to war. Her critical analysis of the period and its leaders not only lends insights into the past but also offers much to consider today. A Canadian by birth, Professor MacMillan is the Warden of St Antony’s College and a Professor of International History at the University of Oxford.

Norman Stone breaks the mould of traditional historians, being described variously as ‘notorious’, someone who ‘always avoids the obvious’, and a ‘fearsome foe of drippy-liberal state culture’. Once an advisor to Margaret Thatcher, Stone is a provocative historian and an engaging writer and speaker. He knocks on its head the notion that history is boring; he’s witty opinionated and, as a fellow historian puts it, ‘relishes in giving it a tonk’. Professor Stone brings with him to Franschhoek his extensive knowledge of European history represented in numerous books, including World War One: A Short History (which ‘remains the best since AJP Taylor’, says local historian Bill Nasson, who will chair a number of the history events at the festival), and his latest, World War Two: A Short History.

The War at HomeSouth African BattlesThe Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War

A number of local historians who have published new books in the past year will also be present at the FLF this year, including Elizabeth van Heyningen, (The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War), Albert Grundlingh and Bill Nasson (The War at Home: Women and Families in the Anglo-Boer War), and Tim Couzens (South African Battles).

The full programme for FLF 2014 will be posted on by mid-March.
Tickets can be booked thereafter on

For information on the Franschhoek Literary Festival, contact Ann Donald at

Book details

Save the Dates for the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival: 16 – 18 May

Since its first year in 2007, the Franschhoek Literary Festival has grown in size and stature into one of South Africa’s most popular celebrations or writers, writing, and reading.

Up to 120 local and international authors will gather at this year’s festival, joined by hundreds of visitors. As the festival has grown in popularity, early booking for accommodation is recommended, and would‐be attendees are advised to reserve their tickets soon after the programme is released.

The festival offers a range of literary conversations, debates, and panel discussions, focusing on books published in the year since the previous festival, and others of current literary, social, and political relevance. Key events held in addition to the main programme include the announcement of the shortlists for the annual Sunday Times Fiction Prize and Alan Paton Award, the presentation of the FLF Wine Writers’ Prizes, readers’ dinners and a Poetry Slam for young poets.

The informal nature of the main events complements the laid-­back ambience of the Franschhoek village, where festival-­goers mingle with authors in the local restaurants and coffee shops between events, or browse through the second‐hand bookshops in the village. ‘Pop-­‐up’ bookshops in the Town Hall and outside each event venue ensure the titles of all the participating authors are available.

The festival was the brainchild of South African author and Franschhoek resident, Jenny Hobbs, and locally born, UK-­based author Christopher Hope. It has been nurtured with the passion and commitment of a small committee, adding great value to the South African literary landscape, with ticket sales contributing substantially to the FLF Library Fund.

The aim of the FLF is to make books more accessible, and to promote a reading culture in the Franschhoek community and to this end, the Fund has appointed a fulltime librarian serving four primary schools and purchased hundreds of new books for these and other local libraries.

In 2012, the first Franschhoek Literary Festival Book Week for Young Readers was launched in the week leading up to the main festival. This initiative brings participating children’s authors to every school in the Franschhoek valley, reaching up to 4,300 learners with readings, talks and performances that expose the children to the wonder of books.

The full programme for FLF 2014 will be posted on by mid-­‐March. Tickets can be booked thereafter on

For information on the Franschhoek Literary Festival, contact Ann Donald at

FLF Wine Writers’ Prize 2014: Call for entries

It is with great pleasure that we send out the call for entries for the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival Wine Writers’ Prizes. Changes to the format of the awards now allows for prizes to be awarded in two categories, as well as a prize for the overall winner selected from the two category winners.

After receiving feedback from a number of people regarding the word count requirements for each of the two categories, the organisers have amended these to the following:

Short form: Up to 1000 words
Long form: 1000-4000 words

Please find a document outlining the criteria and rules with these changes, below.

By way of explanation of the long-form category: this was included to offer a new opportunity for those writers who wish to explore a wine topic in greater depth than is possible in shorter formats, in line with publishing opportunities created by new online sites such as and, along the lines of international publications and websites that publish longer pieces (some up to 15 000 words). As stated in the original release, for this category there is no pre-publication requirement.


Revisit the 2013 Franschhoek Literary Festival with Books LIVE’s Liveblog

The 2013 edition of the Franschhoek Literary Festival has been moved to the archives – thanks to all who attended, we hope you had as memorable a time as we did!

You can revisit the festival’s highlights on Books LIVE’s liveblog, where the top tweets from our three-day literary jamboree are presented as they were posted, session by session:

Sunday Times and Nal’iBali’s New Storytime Book Launched in Franschhoek

Press release from Nal’ibali:

The Sunday Times, in partnership with PRAESA (The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), launched the new Sunday Times Nal’ibali Storybook today (16 May 2013). Attended by the Western Cape Minister of Education, Donald Grant, the event celebrated ten new children’s stories commissioned by the Sunday Times and written by South African authors.

The illustrated stories will be printed in all our official languages, starting with English and followed with isiZulu and isiXhosa later this year. The storybooks are aimed at young children from Grade R to Grade 6 with the first 200 000 copies donated to schools, reading clubs, libraries and other NGO reading initiatives around the country.

The Sunday Times has already produced two such storybooks and distributed 2 million copies of these to schoolchildren nationwide. Having received a generous donation from Mrs Coralie Rutherford this year, Times Media has been able to commission a new book and incorporate it as part of a joint literacy initiative with PRAESA. The initiative, Nal’ibali, supports bilingual literacy development and encourages parents and children to engage with each other through reading and storytelling.

“We have been fortunate to work with a number of talented South African authors and illustrators in putting together this magical collection of stories. A treasured storybook can be just the thing to spark a love of reading in children and this is precisely our intention – to skill children to become readers for life,” comments Patti McDonald, publisher of Times Media Education’s supplements.
“Books and stories deepen our thinking and understanding by stretching our imagination while encouraging creative problem-solving. To have stories that our children can relate to in their home languages is an invaluable asset that we need to keep growing in our country,” comments Dr Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA.

The Storybook launch, held at the Dalubuhle Primary School in Franschhoek, as part of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, was attended by the school’s pupils. It included a reading by Chris van Wyk of his contribution Mr Hare meets Mr Mandela in English and in isiXhosa by volunteer librarian Ms Siphokazi Mangwane.

Any donation to our readers’ fund will help us print, translate and distribute the books for free. Here are the details:

Account: ST Readers
Reference: Book
Standard Bank
Acc no: 001604783
Branch: Rosebank
Branch code: 004305

~ ~ ~

Books LIVE covered the launch on Twitter:

Cancellation: Anthony Horowitz Unable to Appear at the Franschhoek Literary Festival

We regret to announce that Anthony Horowitz has had to cancel all his appearances at the Franschhoek Literary Festival for medical reasons and will be returning home to London tonight.

Event 81: Anthony Horowitz in conversation with John Maytham will be cancelled.

Event 10: The Power of Horowitz will be replaced by ace storytelling duo Chris Van Wyk and Paul Geraghty

Event 52: Bestsellers will still take place with Kate Mosse and Jenny Crwys-Williams.

We know how much his fans were looking forward to meeting him and apologise for the disappointment.

Tickets will be refunded: please contact webtickets on

Fringe Events at This Year’s Franschhoek Literary Festival

Festival goers to this year’s FLF will not only be entertained by the jam-packed FLF programme, but can also enjoy a number of fringe events taking place over the three days of the festival.

Friday 17 May

David Walters and The Ceramics Gallery present SGRAFFITO – Words on pots

Inspired by the FLF, SGRAFFITO (inscriptions or drawings scratched or printed onto pottery) will exhibit works from Sue Howard, Ralph Johnson, Susan Lomas, Yvonne Martin, Ineke Nicolle, Ella-Lou O’Meara, Linda Patterson, David Walters & Sarah Walters. The gallery is open from 10am to 5pm.

Saturday, 18 May

Noseweek editor Martin Welz will chair four extraordinary activist-experts talking about news stories that every South African ought to know (more) about – but government would rather you didn’t. Featured speakers: Richard Young on the arms deal, David Klatzow on criminal prosecutions, Shaheen Moolla on the destruction of South Africa’s ocean fish stocks and Mariette Liefferink on the rising flood of acid mine drainage and radioactive fallout.

“Live news” sessions and showings of documentaries will take place at the Protea Hotel Franschhoek on Saturday, May 18, between 10am and 3pm.

Check the Noseweek website at for more details.

Friday 17 to Sunday 19 May

See the FLF programme for 5 classical music concerts by Music Revival including the FREE Concert Voices for Africa in the NG Church on Saturday at 6pm, starring Beverley Chiat, new talent from the Anzwi Omzansi competition and the local Simunye Choir.

Sunday 19 May

Students from the Waterfront Theatre College will present a collection of original, literary inspired performances, based on 5 literary plot types: the quest, voyage and return, rebirth, overcoming the monster and rags to riches, on the streets of Franschhoek. The short street theatre performances will entertain festival goers as they move from one event to the other.

Find out more at