Alert! Careful readers of today’s notice from Penguin Books on the Penguin Prize for African Writing shortlists will have seen that the winners of the prizes will be announced “on Saturday 4 September 2010 at the Mail and Guardian Literary Festival”.
Run that by BOOK SA again? The Mail & Guardian what??
A new literary festival for South Africa is big news – and it’s big news that remains under tight wraps, as BOOK SA has been unable to pry, despite frantic efforts this morning, much further information about the event.
Thus, we are forced to march directly into the realm of abject speculation. Here are some gleanings that may or may not have anything to do with the forthcoming fest:
- If the Penguin award winners are announced on Sat 4 Sept, then we can assume that the fest will run from Fri 3 to Sun 5 Sep at the very least, and will likely take place in Johannesburg.
- M&G books editor Darryl Accone (pictured above) appears to be one of the organisers.
- M&G editor Nic Dawes – who’s a Penguin Prize for African Writing judge – was known to be scrounging around for JM Coetzee’s details some while back, and JM Coetzee is now known as a festival-goer, so we may be seeing the Master of Adelaide return to the general vicinity of his old hunting grounds later this year.
- In the 1990s, the M&G ran a litfest, so this counts as something of a revival.
- Other names floating in the ether around the event – but only as whiffs of rumours – are Milan Kundera and China Miéville.
- Given that there are only 46 shopping days left between now and the mooted start of the festival, the organisers must be feeling the walls closing in.
- The domestic SA Lit events calendar is getting FULL.
BOOK SA will stay on top of this story, of course, and bring you more information as it comes to light. Meanwhile, crowdsourced speculation is very welcome in the comments section below.