Books

6 reasons you don't want to miss the Franschhoek Literary Festival

06 May 2018 - 00:00 By Kate Sidley
The Franschhoek Literary Festival is the biggest party for writers around.
The Franschhoek Literary Festival is the biggest party for writers around.
Image: Supplied

Across the land, writers are rummaging through their wardrobes, looking for a jacket. Because from May 18 - 20, they'll be shedding their coffee-stained hoodies, blinking into the sun, and heading to show their wares - books and brains - at the Franschhoek Literary Festival brought to you by Porcupine Ridge and Sunday Times.

Now in its 12th year, FLF is South Africa's biggest get-together of writers and readers. There are more than 123 events, featuring over 200 writers. And it takes place in one of the prettiest, winiest, foodiest spots in the country.

Here are six reasons you don't want to miss this year's event:

1. IT'S GOING TO BE FIERY

Festival director Shelagh Foster says the nonfiction panels will push people's buttons. "We'll be talking about politics and leadership, climate change and drought, feminism. There's a sense of urgency and impatience, of strong voices and new ideas."

Some top picks: Jacques Rousseau's session on the scourge of institutional patriarchy and corruption with Prince Mashele, Pallo Jordan, and Ronnie Kasrils; and Richard Poplak discusses the riotous politics of our nation with General Bantu Holomisa and journalist Eric Naki.

2. IT'S GOING TO BE FUN

Pops Mohamed and Dave Reynolds will be telling magical stories through their music using steelpans, a 10-string harp guitar and African instruments.

3. IT'S GOING TO BE GLOBAL

Foster says that there are more overseas authors this year than ever. The mega popular Kate Mosse and Kate Furnivall are both in the lineup with new historical novels guaranteed to delight your book club. British spy writer Mick Herron - described as "between John Le Carre and Ian Fleming" - and Gregg Hurwitz, author of the Orphan X series.

4. OUR FAVES WILL BE THERE

Homegrown crowd-pleasers Redi Tlhabi, Jacques Pauw, Sisonke Msimang, Glynnis Breytenbach, Mandy Wiener, Nic Mhlongo, Deon Meyer, the list goes on, will all be at FLF.

5. YOU CAN WRITE TOO!

Writers talk about their process. There are workshops on writing for stage and screen with Vaya director Akin Omotoso and others; poetry-writing with Karin Schimke and Jolyn Phillips; essay writing with Hedley Twidle; writing for social media with Gus Silber; and memoir writing with Dianne Stewart.

Kate Sidley will also be talking to international authors Kate Mosse, Orly Castel-Bloom and Maya Fowler about what it actually takes to write for a living. 

6. THERE WILL BE HIDDEN GEMS

Stories of coelacanths and lions. Moving personal stories, like the man who was told he would never walk again, but fulfilled his dream of finishing the Dakar Rally. Stories of adoption, and surviving cancer and abuse and heartache. Stories of overcoming. Stories that stay with you.

For the full FLF programme, visit flf.co.za. Popular sessions sell out fast, so don’t tarry.  Tickets (R70 per event, unless indicated) are available at webtickets.co.za. A limited number of student tickets (R20) will be available per event, and per student. Student card
required. 

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