The acclaimed festival, which runs from May 16 to 18 this year, features more than 150 of South Africa’s top writers and artists, including political cartoonist Zapiro, writers James Whyle, Adam Small, Marianne Thamm, Don Pinnock, Nick Normal, Tim Noakes, Palesa Morudu, Liz McGregor, Eusebius McKaiser, Reg Lascaris, John Hunt, Rachel Jafta, Adam Habib, Arthur Goldstuck and Mark Gevisser, to name a few.
The festival website outlines its history thus:
“The first Franschhoek Literary Festival took place in 2007 with two main objectives:
- To bring together a broad cross-section of mostly South African English-speaking writers and a few distinguished authors from overseas, aiming to present quality events that inspire and inform.
- To raise funds for local community and school libraries, for which the FLF Library Fund was established.
The Festival runs from Friday to Sunday during the third weekend in May, preceded by the Book Week for Young Readers. This is a time of low-season prices and the events take place in village venues within a few minutes’ walk of each other, which creates a vibrant ambience in streets buzzing with book-lovers. FLF 2013 was the busiest and liveliest in the festival’s seven-year history and many of the events were sold out in advance.
The emphasis is on informal discussions and spirited debates between several writers with a chairperson, or one-on-one conversations, and occasional talks. Starting at 10am and ending at 5pm, up to eight one-hour events run concurrently with half an hour between each. Fringe events include literary and publishers’ dinners, book launches, writing workshops, a school spelling bee, wine writers’ prizes and classical music concerts. In 2008 the FLF was honoured to host the Commonwealth Writers Prize events.
So we’ll see you there. And if you want to come and be seduced by words and images on the Great Karoo, check the festival programme for our slide presentation.