Top fiction writers speak at Franschhoek Literary Festival

Zakes Mda. (Photo: Gallo Images/Tammy Booyzen)

EVENT: Franschhoek Literary Festival.

Booking has opened for the 2022 Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF), taking place there from 13 to 15 May.

There are many events focused on writers of fiction and their work. Among the participants are leading authors such as Mandla Langa, Zakes Mda, Sindiwe Magona, Lionel Shriver and Damon Galgut. There are also workshops designed to focus on particular areas of writing that could be inspirational for any aspiring or practicing writers looking for some input.

On Friday 13 May, all at 10:00 but in different venues (so you’ll have to make some hard choices), Shriver talks to author and publishers Karina M Szczurek about her new book, Should We Stay or Should We Go; Fred Khumalo, author of the recently released Two Tons o’Funspeaks to distinguished fiction writers Sindiwe Magona and Mandla Langa about their common theme of children looking for parents; fellow bestselling authors Jackie Phamotse and Deon Mayer discuss his new thriller, The Dark Flood; and Máire Fisher talks about what makes a feelgood novel work with Daily Jones and Lucinda Hooley, authors of love you madly.

Later that day, theater director Marthinus Basson talks to Booker-winner Damon Galgut about “fiction as an act of resistance – against ageing, complacency or depression”. This is surely one of the hottest tickets of the festival. At the same time, the multi-award-winning Finuala Dowling (who will discuss her new novel by her, The Man Who Loved Crocodile Tamerswith John Maytham on the Saturday) discusses the art of creating morally complex characters with Karen Jennings, whose novel The Island was longlisted for the Booker Prize, and Joanne Joseph, whose Children of Sugarcane has been acclaimed since it was published a few months ago.

That afternoon, Joseph (who will also be interviewed on the Sunday) speaks to Elif Shafak, author of The Island of Missing Trees, about “Turkey, Cyprus and fiction as resistance to political and cultural rupture; two writers of newly published thrillers, Andrew Brown (The Heist Men) and Mike Nicol (hammerman) tell Fred Khumalo about reimagining “the chaos of real-world policing in South Africa”; and novelist Michiel Heyns talks to SJ Naude, author of the story collection Mad Honeyabout “the courage to imagine distant lives”.


Tsitsi Dangarembga.

ALSO READ: Franschhoek Literary Festival: A host of exciting book discussions to take place

Galgut reappears to talk to Mark Gevisser in a live interview later that day, and Yewande Omotoso discusses her new novel, An Unusual Grief, with essayist Dr Wamuwi Mbao. Omotoso will also facilitate a panel on Saturday, talking about women’s voices and generational fiction with Tsitsi Dangarembga (This Mournable Body) and Magona.

Zakes Mdaone of South Africa’s most beloved authors, talks about his novel Wayfarers’ Hymns, to Refilwe Moloto that day too; Brown and Meyer have a talk about villains in thrillers; and Fred Khumalo talks about his own work (and being funny) with fellow novelist Sue Nyathi.

Mbao talks to Mandla Langa, about his novel The Lost Language of the Soul, on the Saturday afternoon, and Maytham has a virtual engagement with bestselling author Jeffrey Archer, while Sara-Jayne Makwala King talks about “going it alone”, with self-published bestsellers Jackie Phmatose and Dudu Busani-Dube. The latter takes part in another panel, on the Sunday, with Sue Nyathi (A Family Affair), Sally Cranswick (Women out of Water) and Qarnita Loxton (Being Diane).

There is also a Sunday workshop on romance writing, led by Sarah Bullen.

Click here for the full FLF programme.

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