These authors have agreed to speak about their books at the Festival in 2019.
Nearly two decades after Ramaphosa was anointed as successor to Nelson Mandela, he has at last taken office as president of South Africa, but the party he leads is divided and the country and its institutions are battered and bruised. Ralph Mathekga, author of the best-seller When Zuma goes, is one of South Africa’s leading political analysts, having taught politics at the UWC and worked as a senior political analyst at National Treasury. In his latest book Ramaphosa’s turn: Can Cyril save South Africa? Ralph Mathekga turns his attention to the pressing question of whether Ramaphosa can pull South Africa out of the quagmire of state capture, poverty and corruption.
Catching Tadpoles is the fourth memoir of the well-known activist and politician Ronnie Kasrils. A Yeoville-born boykie with Yiddish roots, Kasrils writes about his childhood and coming-of-age, during the years between the second World War to the onset of Apartheid. With a remarkable memory and flair for the written and spoken word, Kasrils revels in the social, sexual and political awakening of a roguish boy’s adventures with girls, rock music, bohemian culture and leaping across the colour barrier. The story climaxes with the Sharpeville Moment of March 1960. In it, Kasrils holds up a mirror up for all South Africans to better understand themselves and their country.
Siya Khumalo grew up in a Durban township where one sermon could whip up a lynch mob against those considered different. Drawing on personal experience - his childhood, life in the army, attending church, and competing in pageants -- Khumalo explores being LGBTQI+ in South Africa today. In You Have to Be Gay to Know God, he takes us on a daring journey, exposing the interrelatedness of religion, politics and sex as the expectations of African cultures mingle with greed and colonial religion.
You Have to Be Gay to Know God won the 2019 Desmond Tutu-Gerrit Brand Prize for a debut work in an official language of South Africa.
Sonja Kruse will deliver the Ian Player Memorial lecture on Sunday afternoon.
Her book Ubuntu Girl recounts her adventure in 2009 when, inspired by a dream, she set off walking and hitchhiking carrying only a backpack, a camera, a phone and R100 in her pocket to prove that the spirit of Ubuntu is alive in South Africa. Along the way she was warmly welcomed into the homes and hearts of 150 families from 16 different cultures. She uncovered her own fears and preconceived ideas and returned home profoundly changed.
Lori-Ann Preston was a teacher in East London before she won the Golden Baobab Award for early Childhood books and took up writing full-time. She will be running fun-filled workshops for children to encourage a love of reading. Lori-Ann has written The Ama-Zings, Thabo the Space Dude: Log Book 1 and Thabo the Space Dude: Log Book 2 – which deal with the adventures of Thabo, a young boy whose family is relocated to Mars. Her third book Trixie: The Mischief-Maker tells of the hilarious exploits of a young girl who attends the worst school in the world where rules include ‘No singing; no sharing; no helping and no cry-babies’.
JL Powers will join Izak de Vries, Hannes Barnard and Luke Molver in a panel discussion on Africa and its representation. Currently she lives and works in America but has also lived in KwaZulu-Natal. She is an author, editor, publisher and historian with a special interest in Africa. Her books explore social issues involving violence, sexuality and race. She will be focussing on two of her novels This Thing called the Future, which won numerous awards and her latest novel Under Water
Children’s author Kim Broughton lives and works in Durban as a textile designer and interior decorator. She began writing her first novel Lionsgate, when she was staying on her sister’s farm in Lionsriver in the Midlands. Her main character is a 10-year-old girl called Ava who has moved to a new home with a new stepfather. Ava starts to make friends, but then she realizes that there is something strange about them. Why are they only visible to her? Are they related to the children who went missing under mysterious circumstances 5 years earlier? Kim will be participating in the workshop at Howick prep on Friday morning as well as the Storytelling workshop for children on Sunday afternoon.
When a friend, about to be married, was afraid of being labeled ‘the lazy makoti’ (the lazy daughter-in-law), Magau Seshoene left the corporate world and started giving cooking lessons. She went on to host a TV series and became the food editor for Sunday World. Five years later her book The Lazy Makoti’s Guide to the Kitchen has proved a roaring success in South Africa, outselling Jamie Oliver and Ottolenghi. It is in its 5th print run and has won major international awards. The recipes are packed with fresh ideas and tips on how to navigate the kitchen and produce wonderful food with a distinctly South African flavour.
Zanele Njapha is 24 years old and a woman of many parts: she is the Founder of Zutifil, a company that specializes in upcycled corporate gifts; she is the Chairperson of ACADAID, a non-profit that focuses on improving academic results among the youth and she is passionate about writing. She brings us her coming-of-age romance novel An Eye for Love - a delightful escapist read about a young lawyer Amanda Elizabeth Nene whose life is turned upside down by a charming man. Their romance forces Amanda to confront her past, question her values and face the grim-reaper head on.
Local Hilton resident, retired Professor of Ethics, occasional Witness columnist and academic writer, Martin Prozesky brings us his first work of fiction Warring Souls. It is the story of conflict between Sarah Williams, the radical Professor of Christian Ethics at the fictitious St Mark’s College near George and Dr Gerald Meyer, the staunchly evangelical vice-chancellor. The novel explores what can happen when faith gets taken hostage by greed, power and politics and it carries a vital, ethical messages for believers.
Fiona Snyckers is the author of Young Adult novels, a mystery series as well as two high-concept thrillers. Her new novel Lacuna is a powerful critique of JM Coetzee’s Disgrace. It is the story of Lucy Lurie whose gang rape was the subject of Coetzee’s celebrated novel and whose character was shown in that account to be passive, peaceful and lacking in agency. Snycker’s novel however, shows Lucy to be no-one’s lacuna. Her attempts to claw back her life, her voice and her agency might be messy and sometimes misguided but she refuses to be silenced. Her rape was not a metaphor. This is her story.
Michelle Sciacca gave up her job in advertising and marketing in order to spend more time in the realm of the imagination, which she writes about in her fantasy series the Epic Tales of Skydalon. The books Battle for Bearer of the Light and Tribal Championships recount the adventures of a group of three friends and a monkey who discover a portal to another world in a Baobab Tree. In the fantastical world of Skydalon they have to learn to ride dragons, read minds and solve riddles as well as demonstrate loyalty and courage in the face of impossible odds.
Luke Molver is a freelance illustrator, writer and comic book creator and is the creative force behind two critically acclaimed graphic novels: Shaka Rising released in 2018, and its sequel King Shaka: Zulu Legend, which continues the saga of the eponymous Zulu monarch. In the new book, King Shaka faces intrigue and danger from the European visitors arriving on his shores, as well as conspiracy and treachery from within his own kingdom. Both graphic novels aim to entertain as well as educate readers. They include a comprehensive educational section that relates directly to the comic, giving a historical context to the story and discussing Zulu customs, culture and language of the time.
Local author Marilyn Mills has recently launched a children’s book ‘Mbali – the Eco Warrior’.
There are three stories in the book and each story revolves around litter and recycling.
She has illustrated the stories herself using litter and off cuts of craft material.
Marilyn is a retired School Marketer and has been involved in Environment Education for many years. She is passionate about education and writing.
Join former Methodist Bishop Peter Storey on his inspiring journey from his life as a sailor to leading the South African Council of Churches in its darkest hour. His memoir I beg to differ tells the remarkable story of how he ministered to Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, founded Life Line SA as well as Gun Free SA, had a close shave with death with Desmond Tutu and witnessed the forced removals of District Six. In it he shares the conviction that inspired him to minister amidst the teargas and violence of the apartheid regime.
Julia Martin grew up in Pietermaritzburg and now lives in the Cape where she is Associate Professor of English at UWC. She writes creative non-fiction. Her latest book, The Blackridge House – A Memoir, which Mark Gevisser declared ‘a quiet masterpiece’, is a careful reflection on memory, family, belonging and loss. It tells the story of the author’s search to find the old wood-and-iron house where her mother Elizabeth (Betty) grew up. Her quest, helped by old photographs, forgotten documents and the kindness of strangers, unearths unexpected discoveries of ancestors, wars and lullabies. Folded into the story are tender conversations between a mother and daughter.
Elana Bregin is Durban-based South African writer who draws her inspiration from the people, landscapes and conundrums of the country that is part of her. She has a list of published work that includes adult and young adult novels, children’s stories and short fiction published in SA, UK and USA. She worked for many years as a full-time editor for publishers and now earns her living as a freelance editor and gives creative-writing workshops from time to time. Her talk ‘Not wanted on the voyage’ will be about the trials and tribulations of trying to get published today and the tenacity that’s needed to win through in the end.
Hugh Bland’s book The Trappist Missions - KwaZulu-Natal’s Forgotten Treasure provides a beautiful full-colour record of the architecture, murals, stained glass windows and objects d’art of the 21 Trappist missions of our province. The book includes a short biography of the founder Abbot Francis Pfanner as well as the story of the Marianhill Monastry and its outreach. His intention is to draw attention to the remarkable achievement of the Trappist Order and create renewed interest in the preservation of these beautiful heritage sites.
Self-taught writer Gloria Keverne achieved her life’s dream 34 years ago when her first novel become an international bestseller. She’d left school at age 15, married at 18 and started writing immediately. A Man Cannot Cry was born in the little town of Luanshya, on the Roan Antelope Copper Mine which employed her father and husband in colonial Northern Rhodesia. An ex-editor of LIFE MAGAZINE, the legendary New York Agent, Julian Bach, called the book the finest first novel he’d read in his almost 50 years in the literary world. Her new novel Broken Wings looks set to follow a similar trajectory.
Hannes Barnard’s book Halley se Komeet is a coming-of-age novel set in Danhauser and Newcastle in Natal in 1986. The main character, 16-year-old Pete de Lange finds himself in deep trouble when a brutal incident changes his life forever. Will the experience turn him into a man or pass him by like Halley’s Comet?
Hannes Barnard will join Izak de Vries, JL Powers and Luke Molver in a panel discussion on Africa and its representation.
We don’t talk about it. Ever is the harrowing but ultimately redemptive story of Desiree-Anne Martin who grew up in Cape Town in the 1980’s. Her debut memoir tackles the darkness of abuse, addiction, sex work and self-destruction as well as her recovery and self-acceptance. In this story Desiree-Anne finds her real voice which is candid, humorous and inspiring to bring out into the open those things that were previously left unspoken.
Khaya Dlanga is a highly regarded marketing professional who has worked as an award-winning advertiser for Cocoa Cola and is currently marketing manager for Heineken South Africa. He is also a great raconteur with an ability to turn anecdotes into wonderful stories full of humor and pathos. Unafraid of controversy, he tackles topics such as race, feminism, as well as how to take a sneaky break from family life. His book These things really do happen to me describe everyday experiences that have shaped his life.
Erica Platter will be bringing us her new book Durban Curry: Up2Date, the sequel to Durban Curry – So much of Flavour, which was runner-up in the Best in the World Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards in 2015. Erica describes her new book, which she co-wrote with Clinton Friedman, as more “food stories” than recipes – although there are recipes, of course. The stories can be traced right back to the 1860’s when immigrants came from India bringing spices, seeds and recipes from the motherland. Over time the cuisine has changed and become redder, hotter and more varied, as each kitchen, chef and cook does it differently.
Guide, retreat leader and teacher, John Roff, will build a bridge to nature, using simple words, natural music, and nature-based poetry from a range of authors, including Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, David Whyte, Issa, and some of his own. Poetry is a way of bridging the perceived distance between us and nature. It gets us out of our minds (in the best possible sense), and into an intuitive space where we are open to wonder and experience., where we acknowledge connectedness with the entire earth community.
Richard Hunt, farmer and conservationist, grew up within sight of the Drakensberg mountains and it is his abiding love and respect for the area that infuses his book The Spirit of the Drakensberg. The twelve chapters are based on the demarcated Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife areas– a unique approach that informs the reader of the highlights and dramatic scenery waiting to be discovered in each particular section of the Berg. It took Richard Hunt six years to capture these mountains in their changing moods and seasons; enticing one to take to the footpaths, if only from an armchair, to enjoy the spectacular beauty that unfolds, page by page. The photographs are contextualised by succinct captions, allowing one to share Hunt’s passion for this ancient mountain range, and recognise its deep spirituality and endless lure.
Izak de Vries matriculated at Voortrekker High School in Pietermaritzburg is currently the Marketing Communications manager for LAPA Uitgewers. He has written short stories and childrens’ books and has contributed to numerous anthologies. He joins JL Powers, Hannes Barnard and Luke Molver in a panel discussion on Africa and its representation.
The conversation will examine the question of cultural appropriation and whether or not writers should be limited to writing within their own cultures.
Ekow Duker has worked as an oil field engineer, investment banker and corporate strategist. His current profession is in data analytics in Johannesburg. White Wahala, his debut novel, was a finalist for the 2011/12 EU Prize for Literature.
Yellowbone, his fourth novel, spans three countries – South Africa, Britain and Ghana. It is an enthralling story exploring identity, justice, deceit and truth: In Mthatha, light-skinned Karabo is called 'Yellowbone'. People expect her to coast through life on her looks but she moves to London to study architecture. At a private recital, a priceless violin binds her fate to that of virtuoso André Potgieter, who hides a secret: though no saint, he sees angels. And he will do anything to keep seeing them.
Most people described former Midlands resident 'Mad Mike' Hoare as an officer and a gentleman. His son, Chris Hoare, spent 12 years researching and writing this authoritative and referenced biography, revealing there was also some pirate thrown into the mix. In 1965 Mike Hoare led 300 ‘Wild Geese’ across the Congo to crush a communist rebellion and become a legend. Things went wrong in the Seychelles in 1981 and Mike went to jail for hijacking a Boeing 707. Of the book, Frederick Forsyth said: 'I found this book a cracking read and recommend it to those who want to miss a night's sleep.'
Fred Khumalo completed his MA in creative writing from Wits University with distinction and is the recipient of a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University. In 2008, he hosted Encounters, a public-debate television programme, on SABC 2. His books include Bitches Brew, Seven Steps to Heaven, Touch My Blood and Dancing the Death Drill.
Talk of the Town is his first short story collection, comprising stories he wrote over many years. The title story was shortlisted for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. In this vibrant collection, Khumalo explores identity and belonging, through tales about African foreign nationals in South Africa, xenophobia, South Africans abroad, exiled comrades during apartheid, and past and current township life. At times hilarious and at times gut-wrenching, this is a collection that will move you.
Steve Wimberley tells a good tale. By day (and through some nights) he tends to small animals suffering from a host of ailments. Tales of Dr Grumble is a collection of twenty of stories which he’s told his friends around a camp fire over the years. They encompass the joy as well as the sadness of being a veterinarian.
The title of Ashwin Desai's talk is Rama's Pose, Malema's Animal Farm and Ahab's Pursuit of the Great White.
Ashwin Desai wrote the foreword of Erica Platter's latest book Durban Curry Up2Date. No doubt that his talk, following Erica's on Sunday afternoon, will be a riveting end to the Festival!
Cuba and Lungile Ikaneng are the founders of Young Authors Book Initiative (YABI). The initiative gives all participating learners (the Yablings) a chance to write a short story which forms part of an edited, published and printed book which is then donated to their school and library. The latest YABI collection will be launched during a session at the Midlands Literary Festival.
Cuba Ikaneng (aka Makhubalo Ikaneng) has written and directed films for TV and cinema. He is also the author of 4 books and has written and directed numerous plays, one of which was staged in New York. He will be touring theatres in India in September with his play ‘Sick leave and the Blanket Dance’.