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2013 Franschhoek Literary Festival Round-up: Mtutuzeli Nyoka’s Speech from the Opening and More

The Books LIVE team was out in full force at the Franschhoek Literary Festival this year, live-tweeting from various panels and compiling a liveblog of each session. The liveblogs are online here if you want to recap on any of the sessions.

A Hill of FoolsThe Hungry SeasonTeam TrinityKilling for ProfitDiepslootRigtingbedonnerdWith Both Hands WavingThe Limpopo Academy of Private DetectionThe Second World WarThe Kelly Khumalo StoryFlat Water Tuesday

We’ve collected some of the articles and opinion pieces on the festival, starting with Mtutuzeli Nyoka’s speech from the opening event, in which he reflects on his journey as a writer:

To all the writers, publishers, editors, the organisers of this highly esteemed event, the press, friends and family, honoured guests, and all the many people who, unseen and unheard, quietly make it possible for the book industry not only survive but thrive in our country, I greet you.

It is both a pleasure and a privilege for me to be standing in front of all of you today, and I should first express my gratitude to the organisers of the Franschhoek Book Festival for their invitation to me to speak here tonight.

Bibi Burger attended the “Feeding Africa” discussion with Leonie Joubert and Michelle Matthews and wrote about it for SLiPNet:

“Feeding Africa” saw sustainability consultant Michelle Matthews in conversation with popular science writer Leonie Joubert. The topic of the discussion was Joubert’s new book, The Hungry Season: Feeding South Africa’s Cities, which deals with various issues related to food security.

SLiPNet’s Kavish Chetty found that “nothing of value” was said at the “Trial by Twitter” discussion with Fiona Snyckers, Julian Rademeyer, Sam Wilson and Ann Crotty and was disappointed with the discussion, or lack thereof, at the “Mampoer Shorts” discussion with Anton Harber, Fred de Vries, Osiame Molefe and Justin Fox:

I am sure that when my gracious editors dispatched me to Franschhoek, they could not anticipate having signed me up for this: an investor’s meeting sans investment. Mampoer Shorts is an online longform journalism platform, aiming to host non-fiction which cannot be accommodated within the formats of available media – newspapers, at the one side of the spectrum, can at best host around 1,500 words, while the exhaustive length of books can be more consuming for the writer. Anton Harber, co-creator and editor, speaks of how he finds 5,000 – 12, 000 words “a very attractive length to tackle”; his co-presenter Justin Fox speaks of this as a “comfortable length”, his “natural length”.

Also for SLiPNet, Chantelle Gray van Heerden attended the panel discussion “To frack or not to frack” and the “Found in translation” session.

The Contemporary Literary Practice honours group at Stellenbosch University attended the festival as part of their report-writing module and wrote about the talks they attended for LitNet. Clarista Kotze did not share Chetty’s disappointment in the “Mampoer Shorts” discussion, Louis Roux left the discussion “Does patriarchy lead to sexual violence, or are submissive or absent mothers also at fault?” feeling angry and Tembi Charles was converted in the “Dystopia in science fiction” discussion and enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith’s discussion with Jenny Crwys-Williams.

Ean Barnard enjoyed “The Suitcase under the Bed” workshop with Alison Lowry and Tracey McDonald while Naydene Fisher went to find out what publishers really want from Steve Connolly, Melinda Ferguson, Debra Primo and Ron Irwin:

You’ve got a story to tell. So what now?

You wrote a book. So what now?

You write. So what now?

“The Suitcase under the Bed”, presented by veteran publishers Alison Lowry (20 years in the publishing industry) and Tracey McDonald (13 years), was a publishing workshop focused on the practical implications for any aspiring author approaching publication.

What do publishers really want from authors in South Africa today?
Steve Connolly, MD of Random House Struik, put this question to a panel consisting of Melinda Ferguson, features editor at True Love and publisher at MFBooks (the Joburg imprint of Jacana); Debra Primo, publisher at UKZN Press; and Ron Irwin, an American literary agent, writer and academic who lectures creative writing at UCT.

Crwys-Williams managed to nab an interview on 567 Cape Talk with Antony Beevor, while he was down for the festival:

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