New Coin is looking for a new editor to begin work in January 2019 (first issue: June 2019).
The editor should have a good sense of the range of genres and sub-cultures in South African poetry today, and be willing to engage constructively with new writing and writers.
The main responsibilities would be:
• selecting and compiling material for each issue
(two issues a year – typically 50 poets submit work to each issue)
• selecting cover art for each issue
• identifying and selecting new books to review, and finding knowledgeable reviewers
• corresponding with poets, notifying them of acceptances and rejections, as well as making constructive editorial suggestions
• appointing a judge for the annual DALRO Prize
• liaising with the designer of New Coin on production matters
• maintaining the New Coinpage on Facebook
• promotion of New Coin
• liaison on administrative matters with the publisher – the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA) at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
The editor can be based anywhere in South Africa. He or she will have the support of an editorial advisory board appointed by the ISEA. A small stipend is paid for the work.
If you’re interested, please send a letter of motivation spelling out your vision for the future of the journal, together with a short CV, to firstname.lastname@example.org before 31 October 2018.
Celebrating 13th anniversary of their existence, the South African Literary Awards (SALA) have shortlisted twenty three (23) authors from a total of just under two hundred (200) submissions received for 2018. The winners will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony on the 6th November at UNISA.
Following the passing on of the 2nd National Poet Laureate, Prof Keorapetse Kgositsile, the prestigious South African Literary Awards will announce his successor as well as introducing two additional categories: Novel Award and Children’s Literature Award.
The Awards will be followed by the 6th Africa Century International African Writers Conference whose International African Writers Day Lecture will be delivered by Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah, the renowned, highly respected scholar, prolific author and public speaker, who is also the founder of the Center for Advanced Studies of African Societies in South Africa.
The Conference is also taking place at UNISA over two days, i.e. 6th and 7th November 2018.
“We are excited that South African literature continues to flourish, with many young writers coming into the scene, sharing platforms with their more established and experienced counterparts,” said Morakabe Seakhoa, Project Director of the South African Literary Awards.
Seakhoa, however, expressed sadness and concern that “we still see less and less of works written in African languages”.
Founded by the wRite associates, in partnership with the national Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) in 2005, the main aim of the South African Literary Awards is to pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves as groundbreaking producers and creators of literature, while it celebrates literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories, value systems and philosophies and art as inscribed and preserved in all the languages of South Africa, particularly the official languages.
With thirteen successful years of existence, thirteen categories and over 161 authors honoured, the SA Literary Awards have become the most prestigious and respected literary accolades in the South African literary landscape. SALA prides itself in not only acknowledging established authors but as a platform to budding writers through the First-time Published Author Award category.
We congratulate the 2018 nominees for their sterling work and keeping South Africa’s literary heritage alive.
You’ve written for magazines like Fair Lady, taught young up-and-coming writers and even performed your poetry at the opening of Parliament in 2004. Do you have a favourite experience of where your storytelling has taken you?
Every experience matters! Being a magazine journalist taught me a lot about looking at the world objectively, performing in Parliament meant that the whole country was listening to my voice and my art, and teaching young people gives me a spiritual feeling of finally coming to meet the purpose of my talent.
Now it seems you’re creating opportunities for others to find their talent. You held your own self-funded poetry competition – PrimPoetry – in Khayelitsha earlier this year. What was that like?
The competition left me with sleepless nights for days. I am so inspired by the talent that exists in our communities – the language skills of those poets are exceptional.
Why do you think it’s important for people to give back to their communities when they’re able?
It’s one of the ways that we can bring positive change in our world. It also eliminates the culture of complaining too much and doing nothing! One of my mantras is “If you want something and it’s not there, start it yourself and invite like-minded people to join you.”
PrimPoetry allowed people to enter for free and to perform poems in Afrikaans, isiXhosa or English. Why do you think we need more opportunities that are open to all, regardless of income or home language?
For so many centuries a lot of people have felt excluded due to their race or class. That’s not fair. If we truly want to live in a world without exclusion, we need to begin on a journey that leads us there.
Are there any more plans for competitions that people can enter?
We had one at the Rainbow Art Organisation in Delft on Saturday the 8 of September and we will be having others in the very near future. We always do a call out on our PrimPoetry Facebook Page, so keep an eye on that if you’re interested in entering.
Can you tell us a little about the children’s book you’re working on for isiXhosa and English learners?
I got inspired to write for children after I had my son. I suddenly wanted to speak in a language that children can understand. This is a collection of stories that I think will make an impact on children today. It’s also important that I write in my mother tongue because there is clearly not many books that are written in our home languages.
What kinds of resources and opportunities do our young people need to make sure they grow up loving books and confident about telling their own stories?
Children need to have libraries close to their homes. They need their parents or siblings to take the time to read to them, to be taken to storytelling clubs, book clubs or recreational centres. People like us need to bring the skills we have to our communities so that we can create that change.
Do you have any advice or encouragement for people interested in starting a poetry or storytelling event in their own communities?
Identify people that have interest in poetry and start a group. Share ideas and ask for advice from organisations, or people that work with poetry and literature. People are wonderful resources!
Nal’ibali’s annual multilingual storytelling competition is running this September for Literacy and Heritage Month. Aimed at reviving a love of storytelling amongst adults and children, and connecting South Africans to their rich and vibrant heritage, the theme of this year’s contest is South African Heroes. Enter by telling the story of your favourite SA icon, your personal hero, or a fictional hero in your language, and you could be crowned this year’s Story Bosso! To find out more about Nal’ibali and Story Bosso, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Xarra Books in collaboration with Jozi Book Fair will be hosting a fitting tribute to the late Keorapetse Kgositsile, a poet, author and political activist, affectionately known as Bra Willie. His latest book, Homesoil In My Blood, proudly published by Xarra Books, is a trilogy of poems. This book showcases a selection of poems from his remarkable cutting-edge poetry collection and features a foreword by Mandla Langa.
The launch will take place on the 02nd of September 2018 at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown Johannesburg from 16:00 to 16:50pm.
Kgositsile was born in 1938, and spent 29 years in exile, primarily in the United States. He made his return to South Africa in 1990 and was named South Africa’s Poet Laureate in 2006. In 2008, he was awarded the national Order of Ikhamanga Silver for ‘excellent achievements in the field of literature and using these exceptional talents to expose the evils of the system of apartheid to the world’.
Kgositsile’s poetry includes “Spirits Unchained” (1969), “For Melba” (1970), “My Name Is Afrika” (1971), “The Present Is a Dangerous Place to Live” (1974), “Places and Bloodstains” (1975), “When the Clouds Clear” (1990), “If I Could Sing” (2002) and “This Way I Salute You” (2004).
Kgositsile was one of the first to bridge the gap between African poetry and Black poetry in the United States and he was an influential member of the African National Congress.
It would be easy to write about Megan Ross’s Milk Fever as strictly a collection of poems about young motherhood, and while yes, this is the case, and a very good collection about young motherhood it is, I feel there is much more to this collection than its subject matter.
Not more in the sense that its subject matter is somehow trivial or incidental, but more in the sense that, technically, Ross is a very good poet, and just what makes her poems good should not be something that we ignore.
Milk Fever is published by uHlanga Press, a name which has been doing remarkable things in the South African poetry scene of late. They are responsible for bringing to the world Koleka Putuma’s Collective Amnesia, a book which is breaking records in the South African poetry publishing game. Alongside Putuma, uHlanga have an impressive roster of poets including Genna Gardini, Douglas Reid Skinner, Francine Simone and Nick Mulgrew. Amongst these bright lights of the South African poetry scene, Megan Ross’s flame does not dim. Her work is mature and confident, despite this being her debut collection, and her growth as a poet is something we should look on with optimism.
It is almost a backhanded compliment in some ways to write of a woman poet that her work is Plathian. Whilst Sylvia Plath was a brilliant writer of verse, it can be a cliched and reductive comparison.
I do think Ross is Plathian, not because she is a woman writing about the deeply personal with a great degree of angst (which she is), but rather because the two both have a similar gift for effective, hard hitting imagery, and a knack for making the personal universal; for connecting the things that happen to us as individuals with the great big cogs of history, science, culture and language.
Ross’s opening poem, “Object” sets the scene:
“At night when it is the city’s turn to light the sky,
She dreams of creation splitting open under teacher’s pen,
Ink-spliced parts dictated by biology, geography, mathematics, cosmology.
(as if time really is an endpoint a corporeal destination as if seas really do part)”
It is a testament to the immense confidence that Ross has as a young writer to open with a poem that is so confrontational.
In it Ross lays down a challenge both to society in general (“even without sons we still are…”), and to language and poetry in particular: “punctuate us if you dare”. It reads like the voice of a woman claiming space for herself in a space which is yet to fully understand or accept her. In it the poem itself becomes a metaphor for an inadequate world in which, despite its inadequacies, one still wants to live.
Ross is trying to write herself both into and out of language and history. This ironic tension gives the poem its power, and lays down the themes of futility intermingled with hope that dominates this collection.
The groundwork for the collection’s focal imagery and symbolism is laid in the first few pages. Imagery and symbolism which is, arguably, exploded as it progresses. The middle part of this book is kaleidoscopic, as Ross fiddles with (nay, ratchets) form and meaning, diction and syntax, until the very fabric of the universe starts to come apart at the seams. For instance:
“Your milk comes apart so it can be held
Like soft frangipanis inking your skin”
Ross’s allusions and associations are strange, yet they are held together by an imagistic vocabulary that develops as the book proceeds. Images of dryness, wetness, bodily fluids, flowers, blades and a host more are developed and re-used and re-contextualised as the book goes on. The effect is surrealist stream of consciousness that somehow retains a sense of central logic.
These images and themes are used as vehicles to confront a range of topics, of which young motherhood is but one. Old relationships, platonic and otherwise, familial bonds, love, death, self-harm… these are all dealt with in this book, and it would be a crime to ignore all of these things in favour of the book’s supposed selling point, that is, a book about young motherhood.
There is a great deal to love about the middle portion of this book but also a great deal to miss if one is not careful.
Ross’s diction can be deceptively simple, and to truly do it justice would require several readings. Here, in the belly, Ross masterfully weaves a web of interconnected images and allusions which connect like strings on a conspiracy theorist’s pin board. It would take far too much time to break it all down here.
One simply has to dive in and trust that one will emerge unscathed on the other side. Or not. I don’t think unscathed is what you want to be when you emerge at the end of this collection, and I doubt that anyone actually would.
Ross manages to take us a fair distance from the shore in this collection, and the effect can be disconcerting. However, she does a good job of reeling us back in whilst doing minimal damage to the integrity of our psyches.
Whilst the middle of the book has a quality of formic dissonance to it, the end resolves like a melody settling on the first note of the scale. There are some truly memorable lines here, like, “In the drying there is life”, and “I know genesis has its place”, both from subsections of “Love in the Year of Bleeding”.
Both go a long way to heal the wounds inflicted by the beginning and middle. Dryness is synonymous with death in most of the book; the dryness of ageing, of the vast salt plains of youth we mistook for flavour but which ultimately drain us of our vitality; but here she offers us hope.
The same goes for “I know genesis has its place”, a deceptively simple, almost tautological line that alludes to the genesis of the bible, but also to genesis as a kind of change; change which can be violent but ultimately necessary and productive.
Admittedly, sometimes, Ross’s lines can get caught up in themselves, and some may find in this collection the kind of baffling deliberate opaqueness that makes much modernist and post-modernist poetry inaccessible. There are certainly instances of lines falling flat, or syntactic structures that repeat themselves just once too often, breaking the spell (“refrigerator eggs stained to teeth and bone” is one such syntactic device).
Overall, however, I think one would be remiss to sleep on this collection. Dive in, get lost, find yourself, and don’t for a second try to punctuate any of it.
Bhekumusa Moyo, Zimbabwean protest poet and playwright
What role do you think storytelling – in communities, families or even individually – can have in creating social change?
Storytelling is a powerful communication tool for social cohesion, recording history and development. It can inspire change or incite a people to act on a social issue. Our personal stories are also a source of energy. Each story told has the potential for inspiring the next person. The experiences we go through can be used as a learning tool by those who haven’t experienced those things. I derive my own personal mojo from stories of key pioneers of pan-Africanism.
Tell us a little about your own experience with writing and performing in Zimbabwe.
Writing and performing in Zimbabwe is a life-changing experience. It certainly has its ugly phases – the darkest corners being draconian laws inherited from colonial Rhodesia. The laws that make the lives of critical and protest artists like me hell are the Public Order Security Act and the censorship board. These have curtailed any work which challenges those in power. Minus these challenges of arrest, persecution and banning, though, Zimbabwean audiences are supportive of art that speaks truth to power.
Which of your works are you most proud of having written?
I am proud of 1983-The Dark Years. This is a politically charged play on the Gukurahundi genocide which swept Matabeleland from 1980 through to 1987, leaving a trail of sorrow and deaths numbering around 20 000. The play was banned in 2010 but, with support from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, we managed to stage it in various places. This year, after Mugabe, the play had a week of full houses at Theatre in the Park in Harare. I’m also proud of one of my poems called They Shall All Fall. This poem speaks of how people will dethrone dictators no matter how strong they are. Here’s an extract – “All that flies lands sometime / one by one in no particular order / they shall all fall.”
What language(s) do you use to write and perform in? Do you think choice of language is a political act for artists?
I write in Ndebele and English. Ndebele is my mother language. I will not stray far from it, as it carries rich idioms, proverbs and expressions of my people. Even when I perform, I juggle English and Ndebele. Language is a political act. My English must have deep roots to the imagery of my community so that I don’t struggle. Language, like culture, carries the essence of the peoples’ struggles. Language is the heartbeat of a community and yes, it’s a political tool too for engagement or disengagement.
There are many ways of protesting. Using literature – both written and oral – has a long and powerful tradition in Africa. Who are some of the protest writers who have inspired you?
I am greatly inspired by Athol Fugard, Professor Chinua Achebe, Christopher Mlalazi and the general struggles of my people, especially the women and mothers of my village who always show resilience even in the face of travesty.
Have you ever found it difficult to be a politically active writer in Zimbabwe?
Yes, Zimbabwe has very draconian laws, as I alluded to earlier. The censorship board is the biggest culprit – a club of old men who make it difficult to be politically active as a writer.
Of course, the elections are coming up very soon in Zimbabwe. What role do you think writers – whether they are poets, singers or journalists – play in this important time?
Chinua Achebe says that ‘writers give headaches.’ I feel it is important for artists at this time to inspire debate on the elections and comment strongly on institutions and individuals who can make or break the election. Artists must motivate citizens to vote, inspire peace as well as play the watchdog role and whistleblowers in cases of human rights abuses.
What kinds of opportunities would you like to see for African writers and storytellers in the future?
I am hoping that universities will embrace storytelling as a medium of passing on information. This can be done in formal learning spaces or creating festivals within academic years for African writers to bring their wisdom. I’d also love to see more writing residencies and literature festivals for different language activists. Storytellers must be brought to the table as much as other professionals to educate and speak openly on issues of social change.
Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit: www.nalibali.org.
This year in another collaboration between InZync Poetry, the Stellenbosch University Museum, the Bellville Public Library, Cape Town Central Library, the Fugard Theatre and Open Book Festival, the Cape Town Poetry Slam returns to Cape Town, with three prelim slams and a final slam at the Fugard Theatre on 8 September.
In 2018 we are looking for the second Cape Town Poetry Slam Champion! There will be three prelim slams, one in Stellenbosch, the second in Bellville and the third in Cape Town.
The top three poets from each of the prelims will move onto the second round, which is the final, at the Fugard Theatre in collaboration with the Open Book Festival, and the poets will battle it out for the title of Cape Town’s Poetry Slam Champion!
All of the prelims and the final will be hosted by amazing local poets such as Allison-Claire Hoskins, Roché Kester, Samora Magwa, Quaz Roodt and there will be live beats by DJ Deco.
The judges for this year’s slam are Cape Town rapper Jitsvinger, poetry slam champion, writer and performer Siphokazi Jonas and Lingua Franca spoken word movement director Mbongeni Nomkonwana. The final will also include a short performance by each of the judges.
MCs and judges at Cape Town Poetry Slam 2017
There are lots of prizes up for grabs for the winners of the prelims and the final, all to the value of R14 200. Cape Town’s Poetry Slam Champion will walk away with R2 500 in cash, a R500 Book Lounge voucher and a video poem to be produced by InZync!
The winners of each prelim will also participate in a workshop to prepare them to battle it out for the title of Cape Town’s Poetry Slam Champion. Budding poets can sign up on the day of each prelim, it is first come first serve, with a maximum of 25 sign ups per prelim.
The details of the three prelim slams are as follows:
Prelim 1: 11 August – Stellenbosch University Museum, 13:00 Prelim 2: 18 August – Bellville Public Library, 13:00 Prelim 3: 25 August – Cape Town Central Library, 13:00
The final is on 8 September at the Fugard Theatre at 20:00.
Tickets will be on sale for R50. Bookings will be open from early August and can be made at Webtickets.
InZync Poetry is a Non-Profit Organization based in the Western Cape dedicated to the expansion of multilingual and multimodal poetry platforms in the Cape.
Our founders are Adrian ‘Diff’ van Wyk and Pieter Odendaal and together our team run poetry workshops with emerging poets called the INKredibles, and host poetry shows. In 2016 InZync collaborated with Koleka Putuma to create a video for her poem ‘Water’ and released an EP of poems called InterVerse. In 2017 InZync Poetry hosted the Cape Town Poetry Slam, and in 2018, we published the multilingual poetry anthology ConVerse in collaboration with Woordfees.
InZync has collaborated with many local and international poets to bring multilingual poetry to Cape audiences.
In an extraordinary debut, Megan Ross writes the uneasy truths about unexpected motherhood and all its emotional detritus. In deftly and experimentally navigating the angst, joy and self-reckoning that comes with the choices and misadventures of young womanhood, this is a collection that brings together the evocative with the provocative, and the feminist with the personal, in a bold and startling poetic style. Hallucinatory, image-wet, and navigating the eternal tides of spirit and body, Milk Fever is a chimeric dreamscape in which a woman reconfigures, remembers and rebirths herself.
Date: Thursday, 26 July 2018
Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Rd, Melville, Johannesburg | Map
Words lift off the page to animate the body, as Poetica and #cocreateSA again team up to present a phenomenal programme of readings, performances, discussions and workshops using rap, poetry and the spoken word,at #cocreatePOETICA. The event, now in its third year, runs as part of Open Book Festival, brought to you by the Book Lounge and the Fugard Theatre. This year it will run from 5 to 9 September, in Cape Town.
“This year’s #cocreatePOETICA celebrates three years of partnership between the Dutch Consulate General and the Open Book Festival Poetica programme. Through our national campaign, #cocreateSA, we have established a successful collaboration. Even though our countries differ, there are many parallels in the public and cultural debates on identity, integration and transformation. By cocreating cultural interventions, we have and continue to build mutual understanding and trust between the Netherlands and South Africa,” says Bonnie Horbach, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Previous years have seen Dutch and South African artists collaborate to create performance pieces on issues pertaining to history, language and culture. Last year #cocreatePOETICA took this further with a three day series of interactions exploring place, language and identity, culminating in an event where results were shared with the public.
The #cocreatePOETICA line up once again includes a world-class selection of established and emerging artists, and partnerships with groups that are fundamental to the Cape Town poetry scene. #cocreatePOETICA is delighted to work with InZync, Lingua Franca, Grounding Sessions, and Rioters Session in 2018.
Artists not to be missed include Babs Gons, a Dutch writer, performer, theatre director and teacher of creative writing. She is part of spoken word collective De Vurige Harten Club (The Fiery Hearts Club) and Club Spoken, an agency of professional performance artists. Gons is also a juror of the J.M.A. Biesheuvel Prize for short stories and hosts various programs, including the musical-literary show Babs’s Word Salon. For many years she was the artistic director of Poetry Circle Nowhere, and before that she organised a monthly platform for young poets and writers in Paradiso, Amsterdam. She joins #cocreatePOETICA thanks to support from the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Swedish poet and playwright Athena Farrokhzad’s debut collection of poetry Vitsvit (White Blight) has been translated into 12 languages and staged several times as a play. It explores the topics of language, body and family within a context of revolution, war, migration and racism. Her second book, Trado, published in 2016, is a collaboration with the Romanian poet Svetalana Cârstean. Farrokhzad joins #cocreatePOETICA thanks the Embassy of Sweden’s support.
Dean Bowen and Sjaan Flikweert at #coecreatePOETICA 2017. Pic supplied.
Ivan Words is a Dutch spoken word artist, musician and songwriter. His work explores what expression as a necessity means. Words is the co-founder of spoken word platform Spoken World and has on several occasions been a house poet for FUNX and a speaker for TEDx. In 2016, he won the House of Poets Poetry Slam in Rotterdam. He also facilitates workshops, is a presenter, and performs in theatre productions.
Canadian poet and anthropologist Roseline Lambert published Clinique, her first collection of poetry, in 2016. The sequel The Uniform was published in the magazine Exit, earning her the Félix-Antoine-Savard Prize for Poetry 2017. Her work has been published in reviews such as Estuaire, Art le Sabord and la Revue de la Compagnie à Numéro. Her approach to writing is built through the integration of ethnographic and theoretical texts in her poems.
Peruvian Jorge Vargas Prado is a poet, narrator, editor and cultural manager. He has published storybooks, poetry anthologies and a novel, and works as a translator. Vargas Prado has been part of the editorial team at Dragostea Publishing House and participated in the musical projects Chintatá and Ishishcha. The most important part of his work is related to Peru’s originary languages, endangered due to Peruvian colonial racism.
Gabeba Baderoon is the recipient of the Daimler Award for South African Poetry and is on the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund.She co-directs the African Feminist Initiative at Pennsylvania State University and her collections of poetry include The Dream in the Next Body, The Museum of Ordinary Life and A Hundred Silences. Her new collection, The History of Intimacy, is due later this year.
Sindiswa Busuku-Mathese won the 2018 Ingrid Jonker prize for poetry for her debut collection Loud and Yellow Laughter. Books Live called the collection ‘an uncommon balance between emotional tenderness, creative flexibility and analytical and structural integrity’. The collection was also shortlisted for the 2016 University of Johannesburg Prize in the Debut category. Busuku-Mathese has published poems in local and international poetry journals such as New Coin, New Contrast, Prufrock, OnsKlyntji, Aerodrome, Sol Plaatje European Union Anthology and Dryad Press: Unearthed Anthology.
Award-winning writer and performer Phillippa Yaa de Villiers’ poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Everyday Wife won the Poetry Award at the 2011 South African Literary Awards and she was chosen as Commonwealth poet in 2014, reading her poem Courage, written for the occasion, at Westminster Abbey. Original Skin, her autobiographical one-woman show, has toured to great acclaim in South Africa and abroad. Her latest collection, Ice Cream Headache in my Bone was published in 2017.
Roché Kester’s poetry has been published in the UWC Creates anthology titled This is My Land and her prose has been featured in Powa’s Women’s Writing anthology titled Sisterhood. She currently coordinates the weekly poetry event, Grounding Sessions, and was co-curator of #cocreatePOETICA at Open Book Festival 2016.
Puleng Lange-Stewart is a writer, theatre and film maker. Her primary focus is in interdisciplinary performance and multimedia integration. She was one of three shortlisted writers in the national PEN student writing competition in 2016 and her writing has appeared in the 2017 African Literature curriculum at UCT. Her first independent short film Until the Silence Comes was selected for the Cape Town International Film Festival 2017 and was nominated for an audience award at the Shnit International Short Film Festival 2017.
Mbongeni Nomkonwana’s list of talents includes actor, playwright, theatre director, poet and standup comedian. He won the Cape Town DFL LOVER+ ANOTHER poetry slam 2012, and went on to compete in the national finals. Nomkonwana has since performed at OFF THE WALL poetry sessions, at InZync Poetry, 2012 HEAIDS Conference at UCT, Jam That Session, Brand House Marketing Campaign, and Last Poet’s: Rhythm Poetry1. He is co-founder and resident poet at Lingua Franca, and in 2013 he teamed up with Lwanda Sindaphi to coordinate the poetry for the annual Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival.
Poet and Executive Director of InZync Poetry Pieter Odendaal also works with SLiP (the Stellenbosch Literary Project). His PhD at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane centres on performance poetry as a way to promote tolerance in socio-ecological systems. Some of his poems appeared in the collection Nuwe Stemme 5 and his debut collection is out this year.
Recently named as one of Forbes Africa’s ’30 under 30’ Koleka Putuma is an internationally acclaimed poet, theatre maker and spoken word artist who has toured extensively abroad and in South Africa. Her debut collection Collective Amnesia is in its seventh print run, and is a fearless, unwavering exploration of blackness, womxnhood and history. Putuma’s numerous accolades include the 2014 National Poetry Slam Championship and the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize.
In her debut collection Milk Fever, Megan Ross writes about unexpected motherhood and all its emotional detritus, the angst, joy and self-reckoning that comes with the choices and misadventures of young womanhood. Ross is the 2017 winner of the Brittle Paper Award for Fiction and an Iceland Writers Retreat alumnus. She was a runner-up for the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize and the 2017 National Arts Festival Short Sharp Stories Award.
Lwanda Sindaphi has an extensive career as an actor, playwright, theatre director and poet. He won the 2011 DFL + LOVER Another Poetry Slam and went to compete in the National finals. He was included in Badalisha Poetry’s Top 10 poets in Africa and is the co-founder of Lingua Franca Spoken Word Movement. His play Kudu recently enjoyed a successful run at the Baxter Theatre Centre and he won best Director at the 2013 Baxter Zabalaza Theatre Festival for his play Death the Redeemer. Other theatre highlights include touring internationally with The Handspring Puppet Company on Warhorse.
Toni Stuart is a poet, performer and spoken word educator, working between London and Cape Town, across various inter-disciplinary collaborations with a range of artists. She has performed here and in Europe and her work has been published in anthologies, journals and non-fiction books in South Africa and internationally. Stuart was the founding curator of Poetica at Open Book Festival.
Writer and performer Adrian van Wyk became the youngest poet to win the Verses Poetry Slam at the age of 17. He is host and organiser of the InZync Poetry Sessions, events organiser for the Stellenbosch Literary Project, as well as a monthly facilitator for the InZync Poetry workshops which are focused on helping school children between the ages of 16 and 18 to become poets and tell their story.
The eighth Open Book Festival will take place from 5 to 9 September at the Fugard Theatre, D6 Homecoming Centre, The A4 Arts Foundation and The Book Lounge from 10:00 to 21:00 each day. For further information and the full programme, which will be available in early August, visit www.openbookfestival.co.za.
Open Book Festival is organised in partnership with the Fugard Theatre, The District 6 Museum, The A4 Arts Foundation, The Townhouse Hotel, Novus Holdings, The French Institute, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Embassy of Sweden, The Embassy of Argentina, The Dutch Foundation for Literature, UCT Creative Writing Department, University of Stellenbosch English Department, and Central Library, and is sponsored by Leopards Leap, Open Society Foundation, Pan Macmillan, NB Publishers, Jonathan Ball, and Penguin Random House.
Ons Klyntji, a magazine published and launched every year at the Oppikoppi music festival is looking for submissions “written or visual”.
There is no set theme, but we do appreciate material that concerns the here and now: love & politics, drought & roll, the road & the verge, music & the movement, spirits & genes, the city & the land, origins & myth, cursor & click, if you liked this you might also like & suggested for you. (This means: you write what you left swipe.) Writings about South Africa, Africa, South Africans and Africans will be appreciated.
Your three best poems
Short stories no longer than 2500 words
Photographs, graphics, sketches, images, doodles etc that work in black and white, and smallish (Ons Klyntji is printed the size of your back pocket)
Book and CD reviews of no longer than 150 words a shot (focus on South African and African material, fiction or non-fiction, poetry or non-poetry)
Interviews with a creative of your choice (max 2000 words)
A short thesis on why South Africans consider the orange traffic light to be an invitation to speed the hell up (max 100 words)