I was excited to read that the 19th Time of the Writer Festival, which takes place in the middle of March this year, has taken heed of South African author, Thando Mgqolozana’s, statements about South African literature.
In opting out of a “white literary system” at the Franschhoek Literary Festival last year, Mgqolozana elicited a national discussion around the idea of “decolonising the literary landscape” in South Africa. At the heart of his position are the concepts of increased diversity, access and inclusiveness.
It’s an important discussion to be had and one we need to take seriously – as writers, readers and consumers.
In an attempt to facilitate the discussion, this year’s Time of the Writer includes a special programme under the theme Decolonising the Book.
A thorough interrogation of this theme necessitates the inclusion of voices from all facets of literature – writing, editing, publishing, translation, marketing, bookselling and promotion. Because as Mgqolozana says, transformation will not happen with the writer alone.
Conversations that Matter is a daytime programme of roundtable discussions, led by experts across the various fields of literature, that aims to provide a space for people to unpack the theme of decolonising the book.
Evening panels will then be a summing up of the day’s discussions. And they will take place in venues in Clermont, Cato Manor, uMlazi, Inanda and KwaMashu.
The 19th Time of the Writer festival is presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) in partnership with the eThekwini Municipality Libraries department. The daily programmes will be held at municipal libraries around Durban.
Tiny Mungwe, festival manager at the Centre for Creative Arts, says: “The change is very big for us and by breaking from years of tradition we will have another set of operational challenges, but it is something we believe is absolutely crucial for the festival and for the face of literature in South Africa if we are to effect some kind of shift in our thinking.”
So, if you’re passionate about South African literature, make a point of diarising March 14 to 19. This year’s festival promises to be different and engaging.
All events are free to library and student cardholders. The public without either car, can attend for a nominal fee of R20, payable at the door an hour before the event begins.
Participants in the events will be announced soon and I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.
For more information in Time of the Writer, watch this space, visit the UKZN website or call 031 260 2506.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
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