Due to the success of the inaugural Lowveld Book Festival last year, the festival will once more take place at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River, Mpumalanga, from 18 to 20 August 2017.
The Lowveld is not only home to many of South Africa’s literary talents, but is also the setting for a vast array of books and poems.
The response from publishers, authors and visitors was overwhelmingly positive last year, and this year visitors can look forward to a host of interesting authors, including Karina Szcuzurek (The Fifth Mrs Brink), Tony Park, Adam Cruise, Athol Williams, Bridget Hilton-Barber, Elaine Pillay, Tracy Todd, Mercy Dube, Mario Cesare, Jayne Bauling, Derick van der Walt, DJ Sbu and Isabella Morris to name a few, as well as a socio-political discussion, various workshops and poetry readings.
Tony is the author of 13 novels, set in Africa, and six biographies. His 14th novel, The Cull, about an elite anti-poaching squad, is due for release in October 2017.
Adam is a conservation and travel writer, who works for a variety of magazines and newspapers. His books include the well-received Louis Botha’s War in 2015 and In the Pursuit of Solitude (2012). Adam has just moved back to South Africa, to Sabie, after spending a few years writing and indulging in the Mediterranean culture on the French Riviera.
Athol is an award-winning poet and social philosopher. He is the author of Pushing Boulders: Oppressed to Inspired, which tells of his journey from poverty to earning master’s degrees from five of the world’s top universities including Harvard, Oxford and LSE. He is the only person to be awarded the Sol Plaatje EU Poetry Award twice, was a winner of a poetry prize at Oxford, and was a runner-up for the 2016 SA Literary Award for Poetry. He has published three books of poetry and is the author of the Oaky series of children’s books. He is currently a doctoral candidate Oxford University.
Bridget’s colourful career in the media spans more than two decades. Former travel correspondent for Radio 702 and former editor of South African Airways’ (SAA) magazine Sawubona, she is best known for her wild and wacky travel writing and books. Her first memoir, Garden of My Ancestors was a bestseller. Now in her ninth book, a political memoir, Bridget takes you on a poignant journey back to her life as a student activist in the final days of apartheid in the mid 80s where she was betrayed by a police spy and ended up in jail.
Elaine has written academic books and short stories. Zwai and the Little Creature is her first children’s book. In March 2017, she represented South Africa in Fiji Islands at the Centennial Celebration of the Abolition of Indentured Labour in Fiji.
Mario’s career has taken him from Timbavati and Mala Mala to Olifants River. His memoir – Man-eaters, Mambas and Marula Madness – provides a wealth of lessons on conservation and stories of life in the bush, as it is enjoyed only by those fortunate enough to live on a Big Five reserve.
More recently, Mario wrote The Man with the Black Dog, a touching story of a man and his faithful canine companion. With a naturalist’s eye for detail and the bigger picture of managing a fragile ecosystem through years of drought and plenty, Mario brings a storyteller’s delight – and a dash of Italian passion – to sharing his world.
Jayne’s 25th book will be published during 2017 – Game Plan, the third novel in her Soccer Season trilogy for Cover2Cover Books. Her first 17 novels were romances, published by Mills & Boon in the UK, and translated into over 20 languages. In recent years, her focus has been on writing for youth. Her YA novels have been awarded the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa, the Sanlam Gold Prize for Youth Literature and the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Award. One of them, Dreaming of Light (NB Publishers), was chosen to represent South Africa on the 2014 IBBY Honour List, and was also shortlisted for the Media24 M.E.R Prize for best youth novel. Two of her novels have been DBE-approved as high school set-works. Her short stories for adults and youth have been published in a number of anthologies and literary journals, and two have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, while she has twice had stories for younger children shortlisted for the Golden Baobab prize. She has won poetry prizes from SAfm Radio and People Opposing Women Abuse. She also writes stories for FunDza Literacy Trust. A former Johannesburger, Bauling now lives in White River, Mpumalanga.
A bumper programme
The organisers’ goal is to reach out to the surrounding rural schools and expose children to the joy of stories and reading; to encourage teenagers to read more, whether electronic or printed books; and to support local writers and illustrators through workshops hosted by published authors.
“We hope to draw visitors and well-known authors from across the country to White River and introduce them to the creative talent resident here, as well as to motivate local authors and artists by uncovering their work and exposing them to a wider world of literature,” explains Louis van der Merwe, Chairman of the Lowveld Book Festival.
A balanced programme is promised, with the inclusion of poetry, folklore, workshops, storytelling and story-time for youngsters, panel discussions, historical Lowveld literature, interviews with authors, YA literature, performing art and a book fair.
South African authors will be selling and autographing their latest publications and authors will be slotted into events to ensure interesting discussions that grapple with the issues confronting South African literature and reading.
The Lowveld Book Festival is a multi-cultural event that will encourage a love of reading and acknowledge the role played by writers and poets in society, and we seek financial partners who embrace this important objective.
The full programme and information about ticket sales will be available from mid-June at www.lowveldbookfestival.co.za. For more information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.