Time of the Writer 2014

The Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) is proud to announce the programme for the 17th Time of The Writer: International Festival of Writers - a weeklong showcase set to provoke, inform and inspire interesting debates and panel discussions. The festival, which brings together some of the world's finest novelist, authors and storytellers to Durban, features participants from India, Kenya, Nigeria, Botswana, Togo, and Guinea takes place from 17-22 March at the UKZN Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Twenty writers will be gathering for a week of literary dialogue, exchange of ideas and stimulating discussion under the theme Freeing Our Imagination in solidarity with Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina's clarion call for Africans to use their creativity to imagine and create a continent free of the existential burdens of colonialism. 

Opening night (March 17) will feature all participating writers as they make brief presentations at the UKZN Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, with the first night of the festival dedicated to the late great South African thinker, academic and prolific writer, Professor Mbulelo Mzamane, a past participant of Time of the Writer. Prof Mzamane passed away on 15 February, having made his mark through his writing and scholarship with titles including The Children of Soweto, The Children of the Diaspora and other stories of Exile and Where there is no vision the people will perish: Reflections on the African Renaissance among others. Nelson Mandela described him as "visionary leader, [and] one of South Africa 's greatest intellectuals."

The rest of the week's evening presentations will be panel discussions with writers talking about their writing and the issues dealt with in their work.

New Voices from India

The first panel discussion of the festival on Tuesday, 18 March, entitled New Voices from India will focus on writing from the sub-continent with Indian authors Satyagit Sarna and Prajwal Parajuly. Satyagit Sarna is an author and lawyer based in New Delhi. His debut novel Angels Share, described as a love story, a political commentary, and coming-of-age novel, was published in 2012 by Haper Collins. He will be joined by Prajwal Parajuly, whose books The Gurkha's Daughter: Stories and Land Where I Flee have been lauded in international press. This panel discussion will be facilitated by author, Shubnum Khan.

Mzansi Women Voices

The second panel of the evening, entitled Mzansi Women Voices features South African writers Angela Makhlowa and Praba Moodley. Returning to Time of the Writer after her debut in 2007 Angela Makhlowa is an author and public relations consultant. She became the first black female crime author with her debut novel Red Ink . She has since published a drama novel, The 30th Candle and will be releasing her third novel later this year. Praba Moodley published her first novel The Heart Knows No Colours in 2003, which was followed up by two more novels, A Scent So Sweet (2006) and Follow Your Heart, the sequel to her debut novel. She writes for magazines and has been featured in publications such as Elle and Oprah Magazine. The panel discussion will be facilitated by author, Shafinaaz Hassim.

Writing the Policy Debate

Wednesday's night (March 19) programme kicks off with a panel discussion titled Writing the Policy Debate, featuring South African writers and political analysts Professors Adam Habib and Paulus Zulu. As one of the country's most recognizable political analysts and Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, Professor Adam Habib has long been considered one of the most astute experts in the areas of transformation, democracy and development. He holds qualifications in Political Science from the University of Natal and Wits. He earned his masters and doctoral qualifications from the Graduate School of the City University of New York. His latest work is the book South Africa's Suspended Revolution.  He will be joined by Professor Paulus Zulu, author and Director of Human Sciences Research Council.  A noted writer, academic and community leader, Professor Zulu holds a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has published extensively in the fields of politics and sociology both nationally and internationally. His latest book is entitled A Nation In Crisis. This discussion will be facilitated by Ben Fogel. 

Writing in Francophone Africa: trends and issues

The second panel discussion of the night is entitled Writing in Francophone Africa: trends and issues. This panel discussion will look trends in Francophone literature with a discussion by authors Sami Tchak (Togo) and Tierno Monénembo (Guinea).  Togolese writer Sami Tchak won the Grand Prix of Black African Literature for the entire range of his work. He has published Femme infidèle, Lomé (1988), Place des Fêtes, (2001), Hermina (2003), La fête des masques, (2004), Le paradis des chiots, (2006), Filles de Mexico (2008). Tierno Monénembo was born in Guinea but has lived in exile in Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal before settling in France and Cuba. He has published nine novels and a stage play since 1983. Tierno Monénembo is the winner of France's 2008 prix Renaudot, which is awarded annually to the author of an outstanding original novel. He won the prize for his book, "The King of Kahel." The panel discussion will be facilitated by Bernard DeMeyer of UKZN French department and is presented in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa.

Writing the Historical Moment

Thursday night's activities open with the panel discussion Writing the Historical Moment looks at key historical moments shaping the current South African political landscape. This panel will take the form of an in-depth interview that will feature activist, researcher and political economist Professor Patrick Bond. Bond is an academic with extensive research whose work draws from NGO work in urban communities and with global justice movements in several countries. He is currently the Director of the Centre for Civil Society at UKZN and is involved in research on economic justice, geopolitics, climate, energy and water. This panel discussion will be facilitated by Xolani Benedict Dube. 

Chronicling The Contemporary African Story

Time of The Writer has a strong history of spotlighting young talented writers dealing with contemporary topics. The festival aims to create an even greater focus on stories from the younger generation and this is highlighted in the second panel of the night. Chronicling The Contemporary African Story brings together two South Africa authors, Kgebetli Moele and Niq Mhlongo. Kgebetli Moele's debut novel, Room 207, was published in 2006 by Kwela books and was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book (Africa) in 2007. It was the joint-winner of the Herman Charles Bosman Prize for English fiction as well as joint-winner of the University of Johannesburg Prize for Creative Writing in the debut category. His second novel, Book of the Dead received the South African Literary Award in 2010. He released his third novel Untitled-A Novel in 2013. Niq Mhlongo is a Soweto born journalist and author. Mhlongo has presented his work at key African cultural events, including the Caine Prize Workshop, and was a 2008 International Writing Program fellow at the University of Iowa.  He released his debut novel Dog Eat Dog in 2004, which has been translated into Spanish. He has since released two more novels, After Tears (2007) and the highly praised Way Back Home in 2013. The panel discussion will be facilitated by Duduzile Mabaso. 

Story-telling Programme

Understanding the rich history that storytelling carries on the continent, The Time of The Writer festival is excited to present a story-telling programme, in collaboration with the Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust, taking place on Friday, March 21. This will see two storytellers, Nomsa Mdlalose and Mshai Mwangola in a panel discussion that will look at the art of storytelling. Mdlalose is a South African storyteller with years of experience and is the Managing Director of Kwesukela Storytelling Academy with a Master's Degree in Storytelling. Through her work at the Academy, she promotes the ancestral oral tradition as a heritage of sophistication, wisdom and philosophy. Nairobi-native Mshai Mwangola is talented performance scholar, storyteller, and oraturist. She has performed, conducted performance workshops, researched and worked with and for diverse performance ensembles and individuals in four continents with a career spanning over 25 years in acting, directing and story-telling. She is the chairperson of the Governing Council of the Kenya Cultural Centre. The panel will be facilitated by Dr. Gcina Mhlophe.

From The Mouth of Babes

The second panel of the night will focus on youth literature, From The Mouth of Babes, featuring youth literature writers, Lauri Kubuitsile (Botswana) and Khulekani Magubane (South Africa). Lauri Kubuitsile is a writer living in Botswana who has published three children's books, two detective novellas and three collections of short stories for children co-written with two other Botswana writers. She has published three romance novels with Sapphire Press- Kwaito LoveCan He Be The One?, and Mr Not Quite Good Enough. Kubuitsile was the 2007 winner of the BTA/ Anglo Platinum Short Story Contest and the recipient of the Botswana Ministry of Youth and Culture's Orange Botswerere Award for Creative Writing in the same year. In 2009 she won the Baobab Literary Prize (USA) in the junior category and in 2010 in the senior category. She was on the shortlist for the 2011 Caine Prize. Khulekani Magubane is a South African journalist and author. At the age of 23 has published more than 18 books in the past 8 years. Although he is a children's author his work deals with issues such as class, race and religion. Saneliswe Ntuli will facilitate the panel discussion.

In addition, Time of The Writer and the Gcinamasiko Arts & Heritage Trust will host a special matinée for children to be held at the UKZN Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Saturday, 22 March at 14h00 – 16h30. The matinée will feature Mdlalose and Mwangola where they will be joined by Gogo MaBhengu and Lwazi Thwala.

New African Women Writers Rising

The final day of the festival features a discussion entitled New African Women Writers Rising, will focus on the stories and work being produced by young female writers from Africa. This panel discussion will feature prolific authors, Hawa Jande Golakai(Liberia) and Chibundu Onuzo (Nigeria).  Born in Liberia, Hawa Jande Golaka moved around extensively with her family due to political and economic unrest. She lived in Togo, Ghana and Zimbabwe before coming to Cape Town as a student in 2003. She trained and worked as a medical researcher in immunology. Her first novel The Lazarus Effect is a gripping fictional drama set in Cape Town.  She will be joined by Nigerian author Chibundu Onuzo, a young author whose debut novel The Spider's King Daughter has received critical acclaim. She has been shortlisted for this year's Commonwealth Book Prize and the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize as well as longlisted for the Desmond Elliot prize in the same year. This panel discussion will be facilitated by writer Sandile Ngidi. 

Finding the South African Funny Bone

This features South African writers, Sarah Britten and Zukiswa Wanner. Britten is a former journalist, artist and author from Johannesburg. She has been published extensively and wrote her Master's research report on South African humour (with a focus on Madam & Eve) and has a doctorate in Applied English Language Studies. She has published three novels focussing on the colourful and unique art of South African insults, The Art of the South African Insult, McBride of Frankenmanto: The Return of the South African Insult,  More South African Insults. Zukiswa Wanner is a journalist, author and blogger. Wanner's works include The Madams: A Wildly Provocative Novel (2007), Behind Every Successful Man (2008 Men of the South (2010). Her latest work is Maid in SA: 30 Ways to Leave Your Madam (2013). She is a founding member of the ReadSA initiative, a campaign encouraging South Africans to read South African works. The panel discussion will be facilitated by writer and radio personality Ndumiso Ngcobo.

Seminars and Workshops.

In addition to the nightly panel discussions at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, the festival's Community Outreach programme features a broad range of day activities including seminars and workshops that aim to promote a culture of reading, writing and creative expression. The festival also conducts visits to schools, and presents a prison writing programme. Book launches take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre's Wellington Tavern deck prior to the evening shows, from 18h45.

Tickets are R25 for the evening sessions, R10 for students, and can be purchased through Computicket or at the door one hour before the event. Workshops and seminars are free.

For more details about this years' Time of the Writer, visit the festival web page or call (031) 2602506

Organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (University KwaZulu-Natal), the 17th Time of the Writer is supported by the City of Durban, the French Institute of South Africa, and the KZN Department of Arts and Culture. The Centre for Creative Arts is housed in the College of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is a special project of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

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