Why you should check out the Franschhoek Literary Festival this weekend
It’s that time of year where some of South Africa’s most phenomenal authors gather at various venues in Franschhoek.
Although it hasn’t been without it’s controversies, the Franschhoek Literary Festival has not only become a place where we celebrate South African literature, but has also evolved into one where important conversations around issues such decolonising the literature landscape have sprung from.
(Remember last year when Eugene de Kock showed up much to the dismay of many, including the families of those whose lives were lost because of him and were at the event at the time)
We’ve obviously still got a long way to go before we see more efforts into diversifying and supporting black African writers, but it’s clear when you look at this year’s line-up that the organisers have listened to the cries and appeals for more conversations around black literature.
So if you’re a lover of lit, good food and wine, here’s just a few of the reasons you should postpone all your other plans and head out to Franschhoek instead.
The line-up includes local and international authors
For those of you who are fans of Joanne Harris (bestselling author of Chocolat), Sophie Hannah (her new Hercule Poirot novel is out now) and Lesley Pearse (bestselling novel of Belle, The Promise, Stolen and many more), you’ll be able to catch them in action throughout the weekend as they partake in various panel discussions and talk about everything relating to their writing craft.
Watch this space for our forthcoming interviews with them!
On the local front, the list is packed with so many awesome authors I don’t even know where to begin.
From Paige Nick (author of Death by Carbs) and Mohale Mashigo (author of The Yearning), to Thandeka Gqubule (journalist and author of No Longer Whispering to Power, the new Thuli Madonsela book) and Anastacia Tomson (transgender author and LGBTQIA activist), you’re spoilt for choice.
Too see a list of all the authors who will be attending the festival, you can head on over here:
Good food, wine and plenty of tourist-y things to do
Part of the appeal of the festival is that it takes place in such a beautiful part of the country. With so many guest houses, wine farms and restaurants in the picturesque little town, it’s no wonder that many of those who choose to attend the festival, make an entire weekend of it.
There are wine tasting options aplenty, so make the most of your trip and add it to your list of things to do when you’re not at the festival.
And if you’re looking for something additional to do in between the panel sessions you’re attending, the Franschhoek Village Market is something that you definitely want to check out.
From arts and crafts to some of the best homemade foods and beverages you could get your hands on, there’s a little something for everyone – including your kids.
The Franschhoek Literary Festival Library Fund
You’ll be attending for a very good cause. In an effort to grow and develop and cultivate a love of reading in local schools, the FLF Library fund has helped to already establish four primary school libraries.
So far, they’ve managed to get more than 5 000 books in local primary schools and more than R1.5 million has been spent in an effort to help with the facilitation of these libraries, including the training of staff and stocking new books.
To find out more about the fund, you can visit the FLF website here.
Book buying and potential signing opportunities
Because what would a literary festival be if there weren’t any opportunities to do a bit of book shopping? Exlcusive Books usually sets up shop in the Town Hall, so if you discover new authors you’d like to try, you’re in luck.
Oh and if you want to have your book signed by an author, I’ve always found that hanging around after the panel sessions is a good time to ask (in my past experiences, they also announce that some authors will stay behind to chat, so do listen carefully to see if that is an option).
Most importantly – be polite. Authors aren’t under any obligation to provide you with their signature – most do because they genuinely don’t mind their fans asking – but acting like you’re entitled to it because you bought their book is a big no.
Above all, book festivals like these provide you with opportunities to not only hear your favourite author chatting about their books, but it’s also gives you the chance to discover your next favourite read.
For more information on where to buy tickets and the events taking place, visit www.flf.co.za.